Not a huge amount out today, compared to last week’s madness anyway, but there are a couple of important new releases at least!
Voices – Frightened
This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Comprised mostly of ex and current Akercocke members (with links to other great bands like Shrines and The Antichrist Imperium), Voices’ previous album London was a masterpiece and a very tough act to follow. But the two singles released since, Petrograph and Dead Feelings, were top dollar and bode well for a satisfying and different follow-up.
Aura Noir – Aura Noire
Another great band, one of the key black thrash bands, back with a much-anticipated new album. The three guys here have been in a wealth of great bands like Virus, Immortal and Mayhem (as well as a gazillion others) so there’s a lot of talent here. I’m a big fan of 2008’s Hades Rise and it’s been a good six or so years since previous album Out To Die so it’s exciting to have them back.
Anthrax – Kings Among Scotland
Glasgow crowds always goes totally ape-shit for Anthrax so recording a live show here was a good call. I reckon I’m done with these guys now though. I know their last couple of studio albums were well-received but they didn’t do much for me and I’ve got enough live Anthrax stuff to live without this. Usual bunch of formats available… take your pick.
Count Raven – Storm Warning and Destruction Of The Void
Couple of early-90s doom reissues here from Metal Blade. Only available on digital or vinyl so I’ll probably pass. The vinyl editions do look pretty sexy though.
And I think that’s as far as I’ll go, nothing else on my radar today. Let me know what’s on your shopping list today.
Goddamn new releases! Coming round here trying to get ma tree fiddy.
Behemoth – Messe Noire
Exciting new live album from the exciting band that brought you 2013’s exciting The Satanist. Choose between CD/DVD, CD/BR and plain old vinyl. This looks like a pretty sexy package and I’m sure it’ll be a massively entertaining show with the exciting The Satanist album getting played in full. Exciting.
At The Gates – Gardens Of Grief
Here’s a CD and vinyl reissue of the renowned Swedes’ debut EP (originally a split with Grotesque) from Dissonance Productions. I never got into these guys so maybe this might be a good place to start for me… at the beginning. I think the more decayed death metal style they had here is possibly more up my street too. And I love the cover.
Lizzy Borden – Love You To Pieces and Menace To Society
A couple of lovely vinyl reissues here. Another band I never really explored although I do have Master Of Disguise and rate it very highly. These are intriguing but if I’m going to dig into this band’s discography I’ll probably opt for the CDs cause they’re a good bit cheaper and have bonus demos and stuff.
I reckon that’s quite enough for me to be getting on with. There’s the reissue of Metallica’s $5.98 EP… too but I’ve already got two versions of that so behhh. But it would be remiss of me not to at least mention it and I wouldn’t want to be accused of being remiss. No way!
As always let me know what new releases are most like to part you with your tree fiddy.
Time for another merciless whittling-down of the day’s new releases and reissues.
Winterfylleth – The Hallowing Of Heirdom
Now on a new label, Spinefarm, the UK black metal faves have decided to go completely acoustic for their latest album. After the slightly-disappointing The Dark Hereafter it’s a welcome change of tack. And if you know the band’s catalogue you’ll know that if any band can pull this off, they can. I’ve only listened to a brief snippet and it sounded great, reminding me of Ulver’s brilliant Kveldssanger. Get the 2CD version if you want maximum tuneage.
Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Memories In Rock II
The World’s Greatest Guitarist continues milking his recent return to rock with this third, yes third, live release. There is a (fairly average) new song here at least, and the Jap version also includes the two “new” songs that they released digitally last year. The DVD seems to be just interviews and docs rather than the live set. I kinda want it as a memento for seeing them last year but it seems pretty surplus to requirements at the moment.
And that’s the lot for me today. There is also the hotly-tipped Feast Of Water from Messa but that’s not really up my street. But I mention it for all the doom-botherers out there because I am a benevolent HMOverlord. Give us some chat in the comments about what you’re buying or not buying today.
Not done a collection post for a while so I thought I’d share some highlights from the last couple of months’ buying activity.
I might as well start with the most recent purchases. The big new one is Iron Maiden’s latest live album The Book Of Souls – Live Chapter. I love how the packaging matches the deluxe book format of the studio album, the two together make a lovely set. Musically, this is the most excited I’ve been about a Maiden live release for a while too: the cream of their last album, some really well chosen oldies that fit in well with the new stuff and a great job on the production and mixing.
I’m also very pleased to finally have a copy of The Obsessed’s S/T debut album. This is the only one of their albums that I’m missing in my collection so I’m well-chuffed to finally have a copy… and with a ton of ace bonus tracks too. And while I was picking that up I treated myself to Saxon’s 10 Years Of Denim & Leather too. This is a CD/DVD repackaging of the Greatest Hits Live! album and video so nothing new for me here. But it’s a nice package and… it’s Saxon innit.
A big package
Got two massively enjoyable box sets recently too. Whitesnake’s 1987 30th Anniversary Edition is superb value, stuffed with goodies, handsome booklets and loads of bonus tracks. The best of which is the 87 Evolutions disc which is worth the price of admission on its own: a fascinating insight into the early versions of each song and the progression from the initial writing sessions to the finished article. The only (minor) let down is the perfunctory DVD doc on the making of the album.
And I also got folk overload from the new Pentangle set The Albums: 1968-1972 which is one of the best things I’ve bought this year. Superb albums from a genuine supergroup, great sound, gazillions of wonderful bonus tracks and a lovely booklet too. I previously had The Time Has Come box set, which is good, but I much prefer hearing the albums as they were and this new set is a revelation. Can’t stop listening to it.
On the extreme metal front, I picked up the very limited CD edition of the new The King Is Blind albumWe Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer and got a nice note from the singer Steve Tovey too! He’s a good lad. The new Satyricon album Deep Calleth Upon Deep was a must-buy and is another fine release from the black metal veterans. And, after picking up the recent Holy Terror box set that I posted about recently, I decided to round it off by finally picking up Guardians Of The Netherworld: A Tribute to Keith Deen. This collection of demo and live tracks makes for an excellent archive release and a wonderful memorial to the band’s late vocalist.
I’ve not been buying much vinyl lately but I’m very pleased to have grabbed the new vinyl edition of Paradise Lost’s Live At The Roundhouse. Recorded at the band’s 25th Anniversary show in London, this 2013 live album was originally released through the Abbey Road Live website but was a bit too pricey for my liking. This new live set is much better value and a lovely addition to my PL collection. I’m chuffed to finally have a copy and the set list is awesome!
Hope you enjoyed this look through these new additions to the HMO Vault! All of these releases come with the HMO goodness guarantee. Get involved.
With original member Graham Oliver ousted from the band, Saxon had to quickly recruit a new guitarist in time for their tour to support the excellent Dogs Of War album. In stepped Doug Scarratt, ex-David Hasselhoff guitarist(!) and a friend of Saxon drummer Nigel Glockler. Coincidentally, Glockler had made his Saxon album debut on the 1982 live release The Eagle Has Landed and now his pal Doug made his on the sequel The Eagle Has Landed – Part 2. The use of the title evoked the band’s NWOBHM glory days, presumably in an attempt to signify to lapsed fans that the band had returned to metal. But it also bravely invited comparison between the 1996 lineup and the classic Saxon of yore.
But The Eagle Has Landed – Part 2 ducks the comparison by weighing heavily towards the band’s more recent material. In fact, with the exception of five songs, all of the material here is drawn from the band’s early-90s output. It sounds great and the band performs well. Doug Scarratt fits in seamlessly (showing off his chops on a tastefully shredded solo spot) and Biff Byford puts in a powerful, committed vocal performance despite sounding like he’s got a frog in his throat. In fact, he makes it work for him. The sound of him straining and pushing to hit the notes adds a real edge of excitement to tracks like Forever Free.
Although the new lineup acquits itself well, the focus on new tracks drags the album down, especially in the middle section. Ain’t Gonna Take It, Crash Dive and Can’t Stop Rockin’ are decent enough on their respective studio albums but they don’t cut it in a Saxon live set. But the second disc recovers well with Solid Ball Of Rock and Great White Buffalo proving effective live before some oldies-but-goodies see the album out on a high. The only blip in the older tracks is a version of Denim & Leather that’s marred by an overbearing guest spot from Yngwie J. Malmsteen who solos over everything that can possibly be soloed over.
Diehard fans/collectors will find the rare performances and historical value of The Eagle Has Landed – Part 2 make for a worthwhile release. But collectability aside, most listeners will find it a bit uninspiring and, while it certainly has its moments, it’s the least exciting of the Saxon live albums to this point: a solid but unspectacular start to the band’s post-Oliver career. The new lineup would have to impress mightily when they unleashed their next album.
There has been lots of exciting news coming out of the Paradise Lost camp lately with not just one new release on the horizon but two! So I thought I’d be super-efficient and just deal with both in one handy post.
First up is the main event, the band’s new album Medusa. It’ll be out on September 1st and promises to continue the band’s increasingly heavy direction. The cover has a very cool folk-horror vibe and the vinyl single Blood And Chaos (coming out on August 3rd) has great artwork too. Their last album made my yearly Top 10 and I’ll be surprised if Medusa doesn’t end up in this year’s list. It’s an exciting release from a veteran band that’s still in vital form.
And if all that wasn’t awesome enough Music For Nations have lined up a 20th Anniversary reissue of their 1997 album One Second. It was the album that followed the massively successful Draconian Times and, in the words of frontman Nick Holmes, marked “for better or worse the beginning of a very experimental stage for the band.” It’s maybe not what some people think of as classic PL but it was an interesting progression from the band at a point where they could easily have stagnated: a great album with some classic songs.
The new edition will come with the live audio of the 1998 Shepherd’s Bush gig that has previously only been available on the DVD Evolve. This means there are a few B-Sides from the era that are not represented here but the live disc is a value-for-money bonus that makes it worth another punt (not to mention the usual liner notes and all that stuff). You can finally just listen to it without the band’s haircuts putting you off.
It’s all good news for Paradise Lost fans. These two releases, not to mention the blistering Vallenfyre album Fear Those Who Fear Him, should keep all you miserable buggers happy for a while.
I’d like to calm the jets on the spending after my Record Store Day extravaganza but let’s take a look at today’s new releases and see if that’s likely to happen. The answer is: probably not.
Voivod – Rrröööaaarrr, Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross (Reissues)
Wouldn’t normally kick off with reissues but I’m pretty excited about these. And no need to worry about splashing the cash here because I’ve paid for them already via the Pledge campaign (now closed). Don’t worry if you missed out though, because these are now on general sale. Vinyl versions or hugely-expanded deluxe 2CD/DVD sets with bonus tracks and live footage aplenty. Prices look very reasonable for the deluxe versions and all of these have been out-of-print for donkeys so reissues are overdue and welcome.
(And Noise Records have just announced another pledge campaign too. This time for Kreator with reissues of their first four albums Endless Pain, Pleasure To Kill, Extreme Aggression and Terrible Certainty. They aren’t as extras-laden as the Voivod reissues and none of the albums are especially hard to find either but Extreme Aggression and Terrible Certainty come with bonus discs and there’s the obligatory liner notes, vinyl editions and signed copies etc…)
Skyclad – Forward Into The Past
These innovative folk metallers have been a huge, essential part of my musical upbringing but since the split with frontman Martin Walkyier I’ve not really paid much attention to their movements. I did check out their last album In The… All Together and found it was a bit mixed so I’m not hugely excited about this. But they’re still enough of a name for me to at least check it out online. And the return of classic-era guitarist Dave Pugh is appealing too.
Witchfynde – Divine Victims (Box Set)
The reissues keep on coming… There’s been a lot of welcome NWOBHM reissues lately (Samson, Holocaust, Savage all spring to mind) and here’s another. This time Witchfynde get the same box set treatment that Samson enjoyed from Hear No Evil Recordings. I don’t think any of these albums are as difficult to find as the Samson ones were but it’s still a great value set: three albums with bonus tracks and a booklet from NWOBHM expert John Tucker. I’ll be buying this at some point.
Cirith Ungol – King of the Dead (Ultimate Edition)
The guys at Metal Blade follow up last year’s tasty reissue of Paradise Lost with another Cirith Ungol deluxe. This time it’s the band’s second album King Of The Dead, here expanded with live tracks and a live DVD or you can get a vinyl edition if you prefer (although it was reissued on vinyl a while back already). The CD/DVD edition looks like a very cool set though. I approve.
Fates Warning – Awaken the Guardian Live
Prog-metallers Fates Warning release this weeks obligatory live set. Their performances celebrating the 30th anniversary of the classic album getting a release in various formats. The jewel in the crown being the 4CD/DVD/BR set that has their two festival appearances included.
Elsewhere, the River Runs Red line-up of Life Of Agony return with A Place Where There’s No More Pain. Sounds like decent, heavy alternative rock for people that like that kind of thing. There’s more NWOBHM from Cloven Hoof with Who Mourns For The Morning Star. They’re a band I don’t know anything about but the new songs I heard sounded fun! And last, but not least, we have American hardcore terrors Terror with their intriguing new EP The Walls Will Fall.
And that’s about the lot for me. This week is more about the reissues for me but there’s definitely some intrigue among the new albums too. Nothing I’d run out and buy but definitely stuff that I’ll check out online. Let me know what you think about this week’s offerings. Anything you’re excited about that isn’t here? Any startling omissions? Let me know and, until next time… happy hunting.