Donnerstag, 19. Oktober 2017

the black dahlia murder - nightbringers

this band is regular as clockwork. every two years a new record and this procedure continues since the debut "unhallowed" from 2003. so without any confirmation, i prepared myself for a new album this year and wouldn't you know it, there was one in the pipeline. the new baby goes by the name of "nightbringers" and the first thing that let me burst with anticipation was the awesome cover art by necrolord a.k.a. kristian wåhlin. i wasn't a fan of the "abysmal" art concept and was therefore more than happy with this great artwork.
he also drew the "nocturnal" cover and in the face of the ten-year-anniversary of that classic dahlia record it seemed like the perfect idea to let the man go for "nightbringers". he did an outstandingly good job. so expectations were high. can "nightbringers" live up to that? partly. the album has some undeniable fantastic moments. songs like "of god and serpent, of spectre and snake", the title track "nightbringers" or "catacomb hecatomb" are pure gold.
on the other side songs like "jars" or "as good as dead" don't really click with me. don't get me wrong, this is complaining on a high level. of course, the album is a good listen - i mean, it's a black dahlia album after all - but i am not sure if i consider this full length a classic in ten years. well, that's just my opinion. go, pick up a copy and form your own on "nightbringers". vinyl variations are plenty for this eighth album of the band.
if discogs information is complete then there are at least ten different colour variations. i snagged the exclusive european mailorder edition on white vinyl. i ordered a copy as soon as pre-orders went up at emp and thus were too early for the impericon edition on opaque red with black splatter. as i didn't want to go through the hassle to cancel an order for another one, i stuck with my white copy and am happy with it. comes with a big poster. 300 copies made. metal blade. 2017.

Dienstag, 17. Oktober 2017

august burns red - phantom anthem

what a great band august burns red is. i saw them live again at this years reload festival and i am always amazed at how this band seems to fly under the radar. they got an afternoon slot and the crowd was pretty small for a band with such qualities. i wasn't complaining, lots of space to dance and sing-a-long. they played one new song and so my anticipation was rising for the new record. a fellow record collector tipped me off and so i pre-ordered my version at impericon mailorder.
the first thing that came to my mind after i spun the record for the first time, was that "phantom anthem" was packed with hits. their last record "found in far away places" was lacking memorable songs. i enjoy it every time i listen to it but afterwards there is no song stuck in my head. the new record has loads of such songs. it's the same august burns red recipe as always but there is something about it, i fail to explain. whatever it is, it makes the difference between a great record and a masterpiece. check out "frost" and "invisible enemy" and glance a slice of brilliancy.
there were a bunch of vinyl versions available throughout all kinds of internet shops. in hindsight i think i rather would have ordered the white with red marble version which seemed to be an european edition. anyway, my blue with gold marble copy looks pretty nice as well. the gold marble was quite tricky to photograph and looks better in reality. the gatefold sleeve is a standard affair but is sturdy and works well with the double vinyl set. fantastic album that i can only recommend to everybody slightly interested in heavy music. 500 copies made. fearless records. 2017.

Sonntag, 15. Oktober 2017

crowbar - equilibrium

i am always there to open my wallet when there is another crowbar re-issue coming my way. when such thing happens, i don't hestitate anymore. i made this mistake with the back on black re-issue of "sonic excess in its purest form" and am now dependent on second market copies coming around. so when i saw a re-press of "equilibrium" appearing in the high roller records newsletter it was obvious what i was going to do. this version right here is technically speaking a first press.
the italian label night of the vinyl dead, which is famous for their quality re-issues of metal albums that never got the vinyl treatment in the first place, is responsible for this nice platter. finally. the record is already seventeen years old but old crowbar stuff never fails to deliver. actually all crowbar stuff never fails to deliver. "equilibrium" is packed with that typical kind of sludgy, doomy and groove-laden metal which initially makes one think of no other band but crowbar. check out "glass of liquid pain" and the brilliant "down into the rotting earth" to get an impression.
of what i have heard and read about "equilibrium", the general opinion on this album is that it is probably one of the weakest crowbar albums. i really can't go conform with it. apart of the admittedly super bad artwork - i just can't stop thinking how absolutely dull the front picture is and the art on the insert looks as random as can be - this album is a scorcher. even the cover song of gary wright at the end is great. sturdy cover sleeve and insert with a subtle coloured vinyl. black vinyl with bird-shit splatter. mine is #314 out of 333 copies. night of the vinyl dead records. 2017.

Sonntag, 8. Oktober 2017

nile - in the beginning

i never bought just one single hammerheart records release and i think, i never bought any items via their store. still i get the regular newsletter of this label from the netherlands. for good reasons i am now sure of. in one of the more recent newsletters i got information about pre-orders for a new nile release. when it's about nile, i am all over it. doesn't matter what. therefore i was strongly interested in this compilation release called "in the beginning".
this release compiles their first mini album "festivals of atonement" from 1995 and their second demo "ramses bringer of war" from 1997. relapse records released this in 2000 but i didn't find any info on if it was after the release of "black seeds of vengeance" from the same year or before it. anyway, back in the day relapse licenced the vinyl rights to hammerheart records, which made it available on black vinyl only. now, seventeen years later, hammerheart re-issued it and i am happy as can be.
after a smooth pre-order process, i hold this lovely compilation in hands. "festivals of atonement" is such a strong release. it might even become my favourite pre-"annihilation of the wicked" material. especially "extinct" is a doomy, egyptian underworld scorcher. the "ramses bringer of war" demo can't hold up to but is good nile standard, which is still better than most other death metal in the world. the presentation is super slick with some gold ink on front and back cover and very nice "sand" vinyl, a.k.a. transparent beer vinyl. 300 copies made. hammerheart records. 2000/2017.

Freitag, 6. Oktober 2017

aversions crown - xenocide

another tech death album for my collection. this time it's about aversions crown third full length called "xenocide". this album and me had some sort of starting problems. before this record i never heard any tunes of this australian death metal monster. this had probably to do with the fact that there were never any vinyl versions of their previous albums. that changed with "xenocide". the difference to the usual pre-order procedure at nuclear blast was that there wasn't any pre-order process. nuclear blast simply put some imported u.s. copies in their store, right there for the taking.
like always nuclear blast had just a limited quantity of their u.s. pressings in stock - fifty copies all in all. this plus the missing of an european vinyl pressing made these copies high-in-demand items. i was unsure whether to get one or pass on it. i read a negative review and this kind of influenced my mindset towards the band. nuclear blast had a counter of how many copies were still available and when it was stripped down to only four copies, i couldn't resist anymore. with the record now in hands and after i listened to it a few times, i am happy that i bought it despite the initial bad taste in mouth.
"xenocide" is a great album. of course it offers the usual ingredients of the genre. nothing innovative here but aversions crown understand to write good songs. the lead guitar and the apocalyptic melodies are the main attraction. every song has depth and stands on its own. the only thing the band lacks is a bit more of individuality. for fans of the genre this is an absolute safe game. others i advise to take a listen at first. as for myelf i friggin' love this album. scorcher! check out a few songs here. the presentation is solid. gatefold cover with not so good artwork and lovely electric blue with red splatter vinyl out of 500 copies. funny how my second disc partially misses some splatter. nuclear blast records. 2017.

Dienstag, 3. Oktober 2017

archspire - relentless mutation

the next technical ambitious record on this blog. this time it's about the new archspire album "relentless mutation". archspire is a canadian band that crossed my path this year on my technical death metal kick. i found a copy of their second full length "the lucid collective" via a german record store and distro and joyfully recieved the information that the band was recording new material for their third full length. at some point, i believe two months ago, the label offered pre-orders for physical copies.
they had a blue and a blue with splatter variant on sale through the season of mist u.s. store and a clear variant through the european store. the rest were all black. ordering from the european store meant increased shipping costs because it sits in france, therefore i wanted to wait it out until some german distro had coloured copies on offer. a risky game because i didn't know if that was the case anyway. fortunately high roller records came to my rescue with this lovely opaque blue version.
the new album is a killer all the way through. the band stripped down their amount of songs from eight to seven but this isn't a downer at all, because these seven songs are all a tech death fan could ask for. uneblievably intense with an improvement of song writing. all songs are unique and so deliciously evil, i am completely blown away. one of the best records this year. check out "calamus will animate" and "the mimic well", my favourites. the music makes up for the weak cover art. 100 copies on this nice shade of blue. season of mist records. 2017.

Samstag, 30. September 2017

whitechapel - the somatic defilement

finally. finally someone had the sense to press the debut full length of whitechapel to vinyl. i remember lively how i discovered the band for me. it was 2008, i believe and it was the high time of a social network called myspace. through friends-lists i stumbled upon numerous great bands and one of them was whitechapel. they had two songs of their debut in their music player - the title track and "devirgination studies". i was playing them to death and ordered a cd copy via the amazon market place for cheap. then i played the cd and thus the whole album to death.
i still have my cd copy and every once in a while, after i listened to one of my whitechapel records on vinyl and the question arose, why there was no vinyl edition of "the somatic defilement", i grabbed the cd for a listen. so you may understand my excitement when i saw this very album on vinyl for pre-order at emp.de. without a moments hestitation i made my way through the payment process and waited for the album to arrive. now i finally hold the lp in my hands and the album aged damn well.
it's a record without any flaws. the record is less progressive than their further output and way more direct but still with great technical skills and fantastic song writing. lyrically it's all about stories about women obsessed serial killers. that changed on further records but seems logical with regard to the band's name - whitechapel is the district in london where the infamous jack the ripper struck terror into people's hearts. the only little downer is the revised cover art, which metal blade used for their cd re-release from 2013. the original candlelight records release cover would have been cooler. on the other hand the vinyl colour looks sharp. 300 copies on tan marble a.k.a. "pale violet marbled" vinyl. metal blade. 2017.

Freitag, 29. September 2017

the dillinger escape plan - one of us is the killer

since i got into this musical entity of complexity and since i snagged two full length releases of them so far, i am always on the look-out for the rest of dillinger's output. these days i do not try to chase down a band's back catalogue as fast as possible, i won't rush things. there is simply too much stuff to buy and good things come to those who wait. in this case i was caught by surprise more than anything else. one day i got a message from a good friend with a picture of his copy of "one of us is the killer".
he said he just bought it in a record store with a voucher plus the store had a discount on all its items. these factors made for a pretty good deal on the record. the version he got sells for an average amount of round about thirty bucks on discogs and he snagged it for under the half of it. we got to talk a bit about the band and their unique sound and how we admire their innovativeness. but why am i telling you this? because the same good friend sent me another message a few hours later.
it contained a link to the german impericon shop and there it was: "one of us is the killer" brand new and on fancy white splatter vinyl for 9,99€. how could this be? a record that usually sells for at least the triple, still available after four years of its initial release and for a friggin' tenner. i don't know what's wrong with people but i threw this sucker in my cart as quick as i could and thanks to a friend i am now the proud owner of a shining copy of the dillinger escape plan's fifth album release. and what a strong record it is.
despite all complexity, all chaotic rhythms the band managed to even sound catchy in those moments. the actually real catchy and pop melodies among the chaos bring the second core element into their unique sound. check it out here. you won't be disappointed. the presentation is very elaborate. everything follows a black and white colour scheme. it all makes perfectly sense and feels valuable. sturdy sleeve and dust sleeve, insert in poster size, cd in slip sleeve and 180g white with black splatter vinyl. i have an euro pressing on heartwork music which is or was an imprint of bmg music. it was actually released on sumerian records and the band's own label party smasher inc. 2013.

Montag, 25. September 2017

arch enemy - will to power

i had some troubles with ordering a copy of arch enemy's new record, called "will to power". when pre-orders went live at some point in mid july, there were numerous options to choose from. there were also some box set editions. i am usually not the box set type, unless it is for a band i really hold dear. as this was not the case with arch enemy but i was (and still am) listening a lot to their last full length "war eternal", so i did consider buying a copy. the emp exclusive looked good and so i ordered one.
it was supposed to come with a slipmat, a patch, additional 7" and loads of more stuff. additionally the colour-way, clear with red splatter, was exclusive to this edition. quite a cool package. "so why do the pictures show a different vinyl edition?", you might ask. well, one and a half week befor the actual release i got an e-mail from emp with the message that the wholesale wouldn't deliver the box set plus a refund of my money. fuck that! not bad enough i wouldn't get the box but it would also be pretty difficult to get any other limited colour edition so close to release date.
fortunately the home label, century media, had some copies on gold vinyl left. not my favourite colour-way but in combination with the gold foil ink from the cover, i thought it was ok. was the only option left anyway. fast forward a few days and i got another e-mail from emp, now stating that it was all a mistake, the box was of course available and i had a week to buy it back. oh man, i was thinking. should i buy it back, cancel the century media order and all that? too much hassle, i decided plus i already invested the rest of the refund in another record. what a pain.
what's "will to power" musically about? well, it's that melo death metal that i already knew from "war eternal" with a little difference - it is not as good as the predecessor. when they don't play after their usual recipe, they're great. songs like "first day in hell", "dreams of retribution" and especially "reason to believe" are so good. the rest is a bit dull in my eyes. we'll maybe it'll grow on me. the presentation is buisness as usual apart from the super duper booklet. loads of great artwork and real fun to read along to the lyrics. gold vinyl limited 300 copies. century media. 2017.

Dienstag, 19. September 2017

amon amarth - the crusher

another record from amon amarth's early days. "the crusher" is the band's third full length album from 2001. again the guys recorded their material at the abyss studios where peter tägtgren mixed and mastered it. the album was well recieved by fans and i can see why. it's fourty five minutes of all amon amarth stands for. if you know any stuff of the band and liked it, you can't go wrong with "the crusher". because of the really bad cover i was always sceptical about this album but with repeated listens, it may even attack the top position of "versus the world" in my personal ranking.
there are so many strong songs on this record, that i fail to name a favourite. check out "as long as the raven flies", "a fury divine" and "the fall through ginnungagap" for some amon amarth melodic death metal supremacy. i bought my copy, just like the "once sent from the golden hall" copy of the last post, from the metal blade europe ebay store. for all of their amon amarth vinyl re-presses they sold a special ebay store exclusive version. all come on "flame" splattered vinyl, a clear orange with red splatter variant.
i opted for this edition because it is limited to 200 copies for "the crusher", whereas for "once sent..." and "the avenger" they were limited to 300 copies. in this case metal blade didn't stand true to the original pressing as the first press came on a double lp edition. still this re-issue looks super lovely. matte cardboard sleeve, a poster, cool custom metal blade dust sleeve and this nice colour-way. all hand-numbered with my copy being #72. metal blade records. 2001/2017.