CD Scavenger Hunt (September update)

The hunt for CDs always continues but September is always a slow month because of back to school and getting the house ready for Fall/Winter. September is also slow because there aren’t as many new releases because the Summer concert/release season has come and gone and a lot of new albums are planned closer to the Winter holidays. There were more than a few big releases though and I was at the record store buying them up on sale…..

Newbury Comics

Anthrax – Worship Music (2011) – $12: One of the most anticipated releases of 2011 for me because of the reunion with singer Joey Belladonna but also because there hasn’t been a new Anthrax record since 2003′s WE’VE COME FOR YOU ALL. That’s 8 long years! There’s been a lot of drama in the Anthrax camp at the singer slot with John Bush leaving and Belladonna coming in for a reunion tour, then Dan Nelson replacing Belladonna for a new record. When that didn’t work, Bush came back for festival dates and to try and record the Nelson material but that didn’t work and Belladonna came back for the Big 4 tour dates. Get all that? WORSHIP MUSIC has the classic lineup intact, save for Rob Caggiano on guitar, and it sounds like the band never parted ways with Belladonna back in 1992. I’ve been an Anthrax fan since the beginning and this is a classic ’80s styled release and it sounds great. Regular price was $16 so I saved $4.

Edguy – Age Of The Joker (2011) – $10: I have this love/hate releationship with Edguy. When they first came out in the late ’90s, they were a pure Power Metal band that I discovered while getting completely immersed in the growing Power Metal resurgence. As time went on, I had a harder time with the change in sound on albums like HELLFIRE CLUB (2004) and ROCKET RIDE (2006) to a more Hard Rock sound…..at least that’s what I hear. I always buy Edguy’s albums though and they’re always really good but I think they get overshadowed now by Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia projects. I couldn’t pass up the album though and it was on sale the day of release for $10, a $6 savings compared to the $16 regular price. I’ve read online that there’s a limited edition two disc version with six bonus tracks but it wasn’t available at the record store the day of release. Actually, I had no idea there was a special edition or I might have waited and bought online.

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011) – $16: The only reason why this new Dream Theater album seems so expensive is because I bought the special edition with the bonus DVD documenting the drummer auditions the band held to replace the departed Mike Portnoy. I thought that was pretty interesting and I wouldn’t mind seeing new drummer Mike Mangini’s (ex-Annihilator, Extreme, Steve Vai) induction to the band. Not really a surprise pick seeing that Mangini already worked on some of James LaBrie’s solo projects. This is Dream Theater though and I’m going to buy the album anyway, the only difference being do I want to shell out an extra $3 for a bonus DVD? The standard version was $13 on sale with a regular price of $16, the special edition was $16 on sale with a regular price of $22…..I saved $6 and got the bonus DVD that I’ll probably watch once!

Doro – 25 years In Rock…..And Still Going Strong (2011) – $20: Now here’s the reason I made the trip out to the record store this particular week! Doro Pesch has been around a long time and she is still kicking ass! I’ve been following her since the Warlock days and it seems that I’ve acquired a large Warlock/Doro collection over the years. Back in 2008, Doro celebrated her 25th year in Metal with a huge concert in her hometown of Dusseldorf, Germany with a ton of special appearances and guests from across the Metal world including a Warlock reunion! I’ve only seen and heard bits and pieces online and through various Doro releases but now the entire collection is finally seeing the light of day in the U.S…..it seems that this was released in Europe in november 2010 through Nuclear Blast Germany. The package includes 5 hours of concert footage & a documentary on 2 DVDs and a 43 minute audio CD of parts of the live 25th anniversary concert. The DVDs include the full anniversary show, the behind the scenes look at the show and a bunch of live extras from various festivals over the last few years. I would have preferred the full show on audio so I’m going to see if it’s available on that earlier European release. Regular price was $30, paid $20, saved $10.

Saxon – Call To Arms (2011) – $10: The new Saxon record was the only reason I made a second trip to the record store during September…..like I said, it was a slow month but I’m not missing a new album from one of my favorite bands! CALL TO ARMS was released a few weeks earlier in Europe and I’d read some great reviews so I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the cover doesn’t impress but the music sure does! There were two versions of this CD: the standard and the special edition that included the Live At Donington 1980 live album. That Donington ’80 live album has been repackaged so many times that it’s become kind of a joke, if you already own the original like I do then there’s no reason to buy the special edition. The original Donington ’80 is relatively easy to find as well. Regular price here was $13 (the special edition was $16) and the sale was $10 ($13 for the special) so I saved $3.

Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (2011) – $14: Just like Edguy, I have this love/hate thing going with Sebastian Bach. Most of the time, I find the guy to be full of himself and he really hasn’t released much since Skid Row’s SUBHUMAN RACE (1995). Granted that he did Braodway and a lot of work on television with MTV Networks and reality TV but his solo projects haven’t been barnburners for me. He had the group The Last Hard Men, a half studio/half live album, a covers album, ANGEL DOWN (2007) and the Frameshift collaboration in 2005. For me the Frameshift record is the best of them all so I wasn’t expecting much. Then I look at the guy and he embodies that “rock star” persona and you know the talent is there so I always have hope. I heard the first single, the title track, and it sounded pretty good so I decided to take the chance.  I ended up buying the special edition with the bonus DVD that include the making of the album, live bonuses and videos while the proper CD has a bonus track ‘Jump Off The Wagon’. Regular price was $20, paid $14, saved $6.

House Of Lords – Big Money (2011) – $13: One thing I like about the Newbury Comics I shop at is that they group all the Frontiers Records’ new releases together in the new release section, I end up buying albums I totally forgot about all the time! Right next to the Sebastian Bach was the new House Of Lords which, just like Doro, I seem to have acquired almost all of the band’s albums very quietly. The problem with that is I usually end up not giving these House Of Lords albums enough time on the stereo…..maybe it’s because the first two albums were so good? Frontman/co-founder James Christian is back again as the only one left from the glory days and he’s done a great job of keeping HOL alive, the guy also still has a great voice. I forgot about this album so I grabbed the only copy in the store for the $13 sale price. Regular price for this Frontiers import was $17 so I saved $4. Just a quick thought…..I realize the crest is the band’s trademark but couldn’t we vary some of these album covers a little?

Michael Monroe – Sensory Overdrive (2011) – $10: This CD was a complete out of the blue purchase. I’m not a big Hanoi Rocks or Michael Monroe fan because I just never got around to buying most of the albums. I have a few but I bought them years ago and haven’t revisited them in years. So I’m browsing the regular priced Rock section and I notice one of the clerks stocking a section so I asked the guy if he had good stuff. The guy told me to give this disc a try so I took it and added it to my shopping basket. If you’ve read this website long enough then you know I always grab a handbasket when I walk in and I fill it with all the good stuff I find. When I’m done, I make my decisions, keep what I’m buying and I restock the other CDs back on the shelves where they belong. When it came down to decision time, the reason why I took a chance on Michael Monroe was because the other competing albums had multiple copies and this had only one, the others were a few dollars more, this was a lower price and I quickly pulled up a few reviews on my phone. I figured $10 sale price was worth a chance…..regular price was $13 so I saved $3.

Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising (2011) – $12 used: I ended up find ing the latest Amon Amarth album on my third and final trip to Newbury Comics in September, I actually went back to the store the day after I bought the Saxon, Bach, Monroe and Lords albums because I forgot to buy my wife a CD she asked me to pick up. So I go back in and I decide to do a quick double check of the Metal section because how much is really going to change in 24 hours? Well SURTUR RISING wasn’t there the day before and there were two copies: a new one for $20 and this used one for $12! This is the special edition digipak that includes the 10 song CD and the 33 track DVD – BLOODSHED OVER BOCHUM, GERMANY 12/28-12/31/2008. I saved the $8 over the regular price and the content value is great for that price but this was a solid purchase because 1) the digital download I received from the promo company had a glitch in it and I couldn’t download the entire album and 2) I haven’t seen a copy of SURTUR RISING stocked in any of the various Newbury Comics locations I’ve been in since a month after the album’s release. The search is over and I paid just under what the original sale price was on the new release date.

Kik Tracee – No Rules (1991) – $3 used: If you find one great bargain then there’s bound to be another! Nothing else of any significance cam out of the quick check of the Metal section so I went over to the bargain bin for a quick check and there it was right in front of the ‘K’ section. I’ve been looking for a good copy of NO RULES for a long time but everytime I search Kik Tracee on Ebay, the available copies are either going through a bidding war or the BUY IT NOW is set extremely high. I quickly checked Ebay for some current prices and the range was as low as $15 for a used CD and as high as $75 for the Japanese import. Either way, $3 for a mint condition used CD is an awesome price, especially considering the demand and my quest for the album. Instant purchase! Of course, I forgot my wife’s CD when I was ready to check out but I did go back and get it. Average price on Ebay is around $25 but I will go with the lowest price I saw of $15 so I saved $12.

Best Buy

Chickenfoot – III (2011) – $13: There is never any reason to go to a big box retailer like Best Buy, Target or Wal-Mart for a CD unless there is some exclusive release or variation. I walked into Best Buy about an hour after the doors opened the morning the new Chickenfoot was released and I couldn’t find a copy! I asked a sales associate and he looked at me like I was insane. I asked the cashier I saw reading a magazine, she had no idea. I even got the sales flyer and showed these people the CD…..they searched the FOUR racks of CDs they had and there was nothing. New release rack? Nothing. Finally I asked for the store manager because why advertise a limited edition release exclusive to Best Buy if you aren’t going to display it on the sales floor? The manager comes up, makes a call, and a fresh box of CDs arrives from the stockroom! I got one, another guy grabbed one and the fresh out of high school sales associate stocked the other 20 or so CDs in the new release rack. All this for a simple CD? No wonder the business is in shambles! Regular was $16, sale price $13, so I saved $3.

Total = $133

Total (year) = $802

Average Price (per item) = $8.72

Total Savings (month) = $65

Total Savings (year) = $735

Total CDs (year) = 86

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011)

Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011, Frontiers Records)

  1. Growin’ Up In California
  2. Lay It On Me
  3. Bye Bye Baby (Not Tonight)
  4. Follow Your Heart
  5. Time Of Our Lives
  6. No Time To Lose
  7. Live For Today
  8. It’s Not Over
  9. End Of The Day
  10. Rock N’ Roll Tonite
  11. Say It With Love

Band Lineup:
Jack Blades – Lead Vocals & Bass
Brad Gillis – Guitars 
Kelly Keagy – Lead Vocals & Drums
Joel Hoekstra – Guitars
Eric Levy – Keyboards & Piano

Additional Musicians:
Will Evankovich – Guitars on ‘Growin’ Up In California’

Producers: Night Ranger
Executive Producer: James Blades

Country: USA

Total Time = 54:24

Night Ranger
Frontiers Records

Night Ranger is back again with their new studio album, SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA, and it’s another album that follows the traditional Night Ranger melodic rock sound. If you go back and listen to the band’s back catalogue then you know that Night Ranger just isn’t a ballad band as they have been pigeon-holed as since the multi-platinum success that followed their biggest hit, ‘Sister Christian’, back in 1983. What Night Ranger have always been at their core is a twin guitar Rock band and they have always written solid uptempo Rock songs that highlight the guitars. On a lot of their past records, some of my favorite songs and some of their best songs are ones that weren’t singles…..Night Ranger has always been about the whole album and they always create albums of high quality songs.

The opening track ‘Growin’ Up In California’ is a pure Hard Rock song with a great trade-off between guitarists Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra that reminds me of classic songs like ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ and ‘When You Close Your Eyes’ from back in the day. What a great way to start a record! Uptempo Hard Rock that’s so easy to sing to with it’s infectious hooks, the solos are blistering and the lyrics give a nod back to the late ’70s and ’80s when these guys were up and coming. ‘Lay It On Me’ continues the guitar driven Rock sound with a song that sounds very Damn Yankees (is there really that much different between either band with Jack Blades as the main guy?) crossed with a little Bon Jovi maybe. Big gang choruses with heavy drums and big guitars, including another guitar solo that reminds you Mr. Brad Gillis was once in Ozzy’s band! Definitely a great heavy track. Asking for three in a row would be truly great because you know that a ballad is coming eventually and ‘Bye Bye Baby (Not Tonight)’ continues the uptempo Rock with even more guitar! What I like about ‘Bye Bye Baby’ the most is the vocal harmonies…..Kelly Keagy and Jack Blades have always been a solid team trading off vocals and you can hear their harmonies brilliantly. That’s another great Night Ranger trademark…..two solid lead singers. The opening of ‘Follow Your Heart’ has this cool ’70s feel to it and, if you listen closely, you can detect a similarity in parts of the guitar and drums after the bass and keyboard intro that have a touch of Judas Priest’s ‘The Sentinel’. It’s very slight but listen for it. ‘Follow Your Heart’ is another heavy track with a very basic riff and modern sound and it would easily fit on more modern HOLE IN THE SUN but the classic ’80s Night Ranger sound filters in and out with the vocal trade-offs and harmonies around the chorus. I really like that swirling twin guitar riff that runs through the song, you can tell that the Gillis/Hoekstra guitar tandem is just as solid as the classic team of Gillis and former guitarist Jeff Watson.

No Night Ranger album is complete without ballads and ‘Time Of Our Lives’ is another great Night Ranger ballad and it could become one of their signature songs live. Kelly Keagy did lead vocals on ‘Sister Christian’ and ‘Goodbye’ back in the ’80s and he’s still a phenomenal singer bringing passion to the ballads and it’s no exception here. Of course, the harmonies with Kelly and Jack are present throughout the song and the chorus is absolutely huge but the piano work is really great, Eric Levy filling the sound out with a superb performance giving it that touch of beauty. No time to rest after a great ballad because ‘No Time To Lose’ cranks the guitars again throughout this anthemic sounding rocker that has one of the catchiest chrouses on the album. Everytime I hear this song, the foot starts tapping, the fist starts pumping a little and I’m singing right along. Most of the songs on this album are exactly like that, they get you right away and the melodies and harmonies are hard to get out of your brain! Another great set of duelling guitar harmonies that give the song such a big sound. Things slow down slightly with ‘Live For Today’, more mid-tempo but still very melodic. Definitely a song that fits more along the modern style off the previous album HOLE IN THE SUN but it also has this slight trace of ’60s psychedelia. Actually, ‘Live For Today’ reminds me of the SEVEN album from 1998 and that would easily fit with songs like ‘Panic In Jane’, ‘Sea Of Love’ and ‘Peace Sign’. ‘It’s Not Over’ is another melodic rocker with Kelly Keagy on vocals and follows the formula of the rest of the uptempo rocker on the album. This is that one song where I feel like there’s something missing or that it’s all a bit too much of the same thing. This isn’t a bad song, I just feel like I’ve already heard it a couple times already.

The opening to ‘End Of The Day’ casts away that “sameness” from other songs on the album, it has a touch of acoustic country-fried twang to it but it leads into a definite modern riff with a bit of feedback and it moves into more modern territory. It’s sounds a little more edgy compared to the rest of the album, maybe it’s Kelly Keagy’s vocal because he’s got that great gritty delivery. When I first heard ‘End Of The Day’, I pulled Kelly’s two solo albums and compared, this could easily fit on either. I like the tone of the guitars, not completely clean but still expertly played. This is a great song and it definitely stands out. The band gives us a rock anthem with ‘Rock N’ Roll Tonite’ and it needs to be immeadiately added to their live set. I like the underlying Hammond organ under the guitars and the ’70s sounding guitars…..Night Ranger always have fun as a band live and they play some covers and medleys during their shows and I think that ‘Rock N’ Roll Tonite’ is a product of that, this would be a great set opener. Last song on the album is another solid uptempo Hard Rock song, ‘Say It With Love’, that capitalizes on those trademark harmonies the band is known for. I almost could compare this with the opening song ‘Grownin’ Up In California’ in some parts and it really ends the album on a high note.

Bottom Line:
Leading up to the release of SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA, one of the press releases I read said that Night Ranger was going to return to their classic Melodic Rock sound. I’ve been a fan of the band since 1982, has Night Ranger ever deviated from the sound that made them popular? I’ll admit that 2008′s HOLE IN THE SUN is a little more modern and experimental compared to the classic MIDNIGHT MADNESS (1983) or 7 WISHES (1985) from their platinum era but Night Ranger has been creating the same brand of Melodic Rock all along….take a listen to their late ’90s albums NEVERLAND (1997) and SEVEN (1998) and you will here classic ’80s Night Ranger. SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA is another successful album with a bunch of catchy Rock songs that are well-written, have excellent vocals and great guitars. I’ll bet a lot of people forget that Night Ranger at it’s core is a twin lead guitar band and the highlight on SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA is the attention paid to getting the guitars of Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra in your face! SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA is one of the better Night Ranger albums since the ’80s and it would have been the natural follow-up to SEVEN (1998). There have only been two new studio albums since the ’90s and I hope that the energy and quality of this album keeps the band in that creative mindset for years to come…..Night Ranger makes great records, bottom line. This album is highly recommended.

Favorite Songs:
‘Grownin’ Up In California’, ‘Bye Bye Baby (Not Tonight)’, ‘Time Of Our Lives’, ‘No Time To Lose’, ‘End Of The Day’

CD Scavenger Hunt (August update) – The Birthday Edition

This is one of the rarest moments in my 29 years as a practicing Metalhead…..I didn’t spend any of my own money on music!!!That’s a crazy statement considering how much I do spend! August 16th marked my 39th birthday and I gathered all my presents (cash & gift cards) and decided to spend them wisely. The first thing I did was buy my $30 ticket to the Mr. Big concert and keep some money aside for a nice meal afterward but, after that was taken care of, the rest was marked for the Hunt!

(NOTE — I will list what the actual prices were but I didn’t actually spend my own cash, the savings will be the same as the actual price.)

I did receive a few actual gifts from my wife and kids…..

Black Sabbath – Born Again (2011 Deluxe Edition) – $38: My quest to acquire all the post-Ozzy Black Sabbath deluxe editions continues and my wife and kids came through with this awesome album…..BORN AGAIN! I remember seeing this album cover in the record stores back in the day and wondering what kind of heaviness was on there. Of course when I bought it years later, I found out and it’s one of the most underrated Sabbath albums, and Metal albums, of all-time especially considering all the hype with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan replacing Ronnie James Dio. The package includes the original record remastered, two bonus tracks and the BBC Friday Rock Show broadcast of Sabbath at the Reading Festival in August 1983 along with a great booklet. Is this package worth the $38? To me, the collector and a big Sabbath fan, yes! If I was buying this on my own I probably would have found the best price online but my 13 year old daughter had a list with specific details, instructions, prices and locations for these CDs at the record store. I’d rather have the CD in my hands right away anyway so I was psyched to actually find it in a record store and have my daughter retrieve it. The price is so high because this is a new release only available as an import. Saved $38.

Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer (2011 Deluxe Edition) – $28: The quest continues! Now I only need the HEAVEN & HELL deluxe edition to keep the collection updated but that’s another post. DEHUMANIZER is one of my favorite records, especially from Black Sabbath, and it’s got Ronnie James Dio on the mic! This was a big deal record for me back in 1992 because this was the big reunion with Dio and I had tickets to the Boston, MA show at The Orpheum! The package includes the remastered album with a second disc that includes three bonus tracks and five live tracks from the concert in Tampa, FL on 7/25/92 and a great booklet. I checked my original CD copy from 1992 and the ‘Time Machine (Wayne’s World version)’ is there already so, for me, the bonuses are the single edit of ‘Master Of Reality’ and the B-side version of ‘Letters From Earth’. Is $28 worth it? Yes and the price is comparable to online vendors even though this is also an import. Again, my daughter had her instructions and she came through big time! Saved $28.

Grave Digger – The Clans Are Still Marching (2011) – $22: This was a must have purchase for me months ago when it came out because I love Grave Digger and their last few records have been great but also because this was a 2 disc package with the live record on CD and the show on DVD. When the album/DVD came out, the local record store had two versions: a DVD copy with the bonus CD and a CD copy with the bonus DVD. In the end, it’s the same thing except for the packaging, one was in a DVD case and one was a hardcover CD book. Either way you buy it, you’re getting the same deal. There were two copies of each package style on the day of release but there was a price difference of $3 between the two with the DVD style being cheaper. Of course, I waited too long and someone else bought the DVD style copy. Who are these people? Who else in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts likes Grave Digger? Obviously someone because my daughter had to pay $3 more for the CD style copy! Like I said, same content inside with both the CD and DVD containing the full show. Saved $22.

The rest of my gifts were cash and gift cards so I spent them wisely after I put money aside for the Mr. Big show…..

Ghost – Opus Eponymous (2011) – $10: I have been hearing a lot about Ghost since this album was released in Europe in October 2010 but I waited until the North American release in early 2011 to add it to my want list. A lot of Mercyful Fate/King Diamond references and influences from what I can tell but I haven’t cracked the cellophane on this CD yet to find out for myself. Probably the biggest influence on me to buy this CD was my Metal friends that work at the Newbury Comics I go to…..both recommended it highly! These guys have seen me every week for the last number or years and they know I’m a devout Metalhead so Ghost became a serious recommendation. I grew up in record stores and I used to buy a lot of albums based on the album cover, this cover screams old school late ’70s/early ’80s Metal! Regular price on this was $14 but I got it on sale for $10 so I saved $4 but, because it was gift money, I really saved the full $10.

Bitch – Be My Slave & Damnation Alley E.P.  remaster (2011) – $16: This remaster was a total surprise because I didn’t have a clue that it was going to be released. I already have the originals of both albums on vinyl from 1982 and 1983 and that’s the reason why I never got around to buying the original 1989 Metal Blade CD issue (still in print) but, when I saw this on the new release rack, I snapped it up! What makes this new remaster is the bonus DVD of the band’s performance at the Keep It True XIV Festival in Germany back in April, classic performances from the band’s L.A. stomping grounds in the early ’80s and a couple of music videos. Add in a previously unreleased bonus track, ‘Let’s Go’, that’s a recorded demo from 1985 for the subsequent album THE BITCH IS BACK and it’s a lot of bang for the buck for some classic ’80s Metal. Obviously Bitch is active so you can head over to Bitchmetal.com to find out more about the band. No choice on this one, regular price all the way but it wasn’t my money so I saved the full $16.

Black Tide – Post Mortem (2011) – $5: I got into Black Tide back in 2008 when they released their debut record LIGHT FROM ABOVE and I enjoyed it a lot so I was definitely getting the new album. I was so into that first record that it even made my Top 30 of 2008! It’s a crowded Hard Rock and Heavy Metal world so I put POST MORTEM on the want list but it wasn’t at the top…..then I got a $5 gift certificate sent to me from Best Buy for my birthday so I ended up buying this album there for $5 ($10 regular price). Again, birthday money used so I saved the full $10 including the coupon. Even though I’m psyched about the new album, and getting it for a really great price, it was really an afterthought kind of purchase. Best Buy has no selection whatsoever for music, the CD section is maybe four racks now and it’s disappointing to see that the iTunes gift card section is larger. A sign of the times?

Airrace – Back To The Start (2011) – $17: You may remember Airrace as the band that gave drummer Jason Bonham (son of the late Led Zeppelin skinsman John Bonham) his first proper recording gig with the 1984 debut SHAFT OF LIGHT. Unfortunately, the band broke up shortly after but they have reformed (without Bonham) and recorded this new comeback album. I had no idea Airrace was back but I saw this single copy sitting in the new release rack at the record store and I grabbed it before anyone else had a chance. One thing I’ve learned over the years: always grab what you see first and make a final decision just before checkout. $17 is a lot for a single CD but this is an import on Frontiers so I wasn’t surprised at the price. If I was spending my own money then I would try online first but the price is pretty much the same when you factor in shipping, etc. Saved $17.

Deep Purple – Fireball (25th Anniversary Edition) (1996) – $12 used: I love Deep Purple, probably the second most important band in the formation of what we call Hard Rock and Heavy Metal today. I got into Purple back in 1984 with their comeback album PERFECT STRANGERS , I was 11 or 12 at the time and I’ve bought every Purple album since. With all the classic albums getting up their in years, the band and record label have created some great anniversary editions that include B-sides, alternate takes and remixes along with detailed booklets. I found out about these editions back in the late ’90s when they were first released but they were extremely expensive in the $25 to $30+ range as imports. I’ve slowly started picking these up a little cheaper when I find them. I’ve learned a lot about these reissues through The Highway Star website and I have four out of seven of these anniversary editions that start with IN ROCK (1970) and are currently up to COME TASTE THE BAND (1975). I’ve seen regular price copies around $20 lately but getting this used and in pristine condition for $8 cheaper was a steal! Saved the full $12.

Alice Cooper – Love It To Death (1970) – $7: I’m trying to fill all the holes in my Alice Cooper collection in anticipation of the new album WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE (2011) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the record store oblige me by having a lot of old Alice on sale in the bargain bin. I have everything from CONSTRICTOR (1986) on but there are a few holes from the ’70s in my collection. There are some great songs here: ‘I’m Eighteen’, ‘Caught In A Dream’, Is It My Body?’, and ‘Ballad Of Dwight Fry’ that I’m familiar with from the Alice Cooper box set from 1999. I’ve seen copies of LOVE IT TO DEATH priced as high as $15 in some stores but my Newbury Comics had it for $10 regular price, $7 bargain bin sale price for a brand new, sealed original pressing. I saved the full $7 and I’m hoping that a little more searching will turn up a few more older Alice albums on sale.

Alice Cooper – Welcome To My Nightmare (1975) – $6: You can’t really by a new album that’s a sequel and understand it if you don’t already own the original! I surprised myself when I realized that I still had an old cassette of WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE instead of a fresh copy on CD, I swore I had already bought the CD! Called home and had the family double check and it’s not in the case so this was a quick no-brain purchase. Can’t beat the bargain bin sale price of $6 which was a savings of $4 off the $10 regular price. Unfortunately there weren’t more Alice Cooper CDs in the bargain bin besides this and LOVE IT TO DEATH because I would have bought as many as I could at these rock bottom prices. Brand new, sealed original pressing with classics like the title track, ‘Only Women Bleed’, ‘Cold Ethyl’ and ‘Department Of Youth’. Now if I could just find the first two Alice albums, PRETTIES FOR YOU (1969) and EASY ACTION (1970), I’d be really happy! Saved $6.

Cauldron – Chained To The Nite (2009) – $6 used: Check out that old school Metal album cover! It just screams ’80s Metal! I picked up Cauldron’s latest album BURNING FORTUNE (2011) back in February but I passed on buying this debut because there were so many copies in the racks (I consider more than three copies of an independent Metal release many) and I knew I could get it whenever I wanted. I kept this album on the want list but I kept passing it up until I saw a used copy among the three new ones at half the price so I went for it. Turns out that there’s a two track bonus disc included with two songs from their self-released 2007 E.P. INTO THE CAULDRON…..an added bonus! The regular price on the new CDs were $13 so buying used saved more than half the price right away but this is free money I’m playing with so I saved the entire $6 price tag.

Riot – The Privilege Of Power (1990) – $8 used: One of the very few Riot albums I don’t own…..and that’s only because it’s readily available on Ebay anytime I want it. I’ve been in a Riot mood for the last couple months because the new record is going to be released soon so I’ve been listening to the first six records (1977′s ROCK CITY through to 1988′s THUNDERSTEEL) regularly. Plus, the new album has the THUNDERSTEEL/PRIVILEGE band lineup so seeing this CD used was a sign. PRIVILEGE was re-released twice in the last few years: Collectible Records re-released it in 2003 with slightly different artwork and Cherry Red Records released it with THUNDERSTEEL as a double disc set in 2009. The copy I found is the original CBS pressing so someone had this in their collection and dumped it to the store for quick cash…..just like the old days, their loss is my gain. I estimate that the regular price would be around $15 so buying used saved half but buying with free money saved the full $8.

Nashville Pussy – Say Something Nasty (2002) – $5 used: Another used bargain! Nothing is better than someone going to the record store and dumping their collection for quick cash! I have never done that in my life with the exception of returning a CD I bought thinking I didn’t own it but that’s something different entirely. I’ve been into Nashville Pussy since their first record LET THEM EAT PUSSY (1998) after reading about the band in some of the Metal magazines and checking them out online. Plus, the album cover for that debut is pretty racy! The thing is that I never went forward buying Nashville Pussy CDs after that first album until I received their last record FROM HELL TO TEXAS (2009) and I always think I have the albums in my collection! I’m missing two more so I’ll be looking for HIGH AS HELL (2000) and GET SOME (2005) on my next trips to the record shops. I’ll take a bargain priced CD any day and I estimate that I saved around $10 just buying used but I saved the $5 price using the birthday gifts.

Paul Black’s L.A. Guns – Black List (2005) – $6 used: Are we talking about the L.A. Guns we know from the ’80s with the couple of hits? In a way….yes. Turns out Paul Black was the original singer in L.A. Guns before the band got signed and was replaced by Phil Lewis just after the band got signed to a record deal. After Tracii Guns left L.A. Guns for what seems the millionth time in 2005, he hooked up with Paul Black and started doing gigs. BLACK LIST is a collection of demos of original songs by the original L.A. Guns lineup with Black on vocals. The album came out in 2005 with it’s fair share of controversy because at the time Tracii was playing with Paul Black and the regular L.A. Guns with Phil Lewis was still recording and touring…..then Tracii Guns forms his L.A. Guns so you have two touring L.A. Guns and then the singer carousel goes round again with Black leaving for former Guns’ singer Jizzy Pearl (ex-Love/Hate) who replaced Phil Lewis years ago. Did you get all that? I never bothered paying the $20 for this CD back in 2005, especially with two different L.A. Guns out there but I’m happy to grab this used for a fraction of the price. I estimate I saved $13 buying used but I saved the full $6.

Fast Eddie Clarke – It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over (1994) – $4 used: I never pass up a $4 Metal CD if I don’t own it especially with the Motorhead connection (Eddie was the guitarist in Motorhead) and the sticker on the front stating that Lemmy sings on one song. I checked my phone for a little research on the album and it seems that this was released twice, each time with different album artwork so i’m not even sure if I have the original artwotk (I think I do) or the re-release. This is what I call a “filler” CD for the collection…..a CD you don’t own, don’t know anything about but there’s name recognition and the price is cheap enough to justify buying it. Normally, I’m going to pass up the CD but the price dictates the sale and it pads the collection. The funny thing is that I bought this CD having never seen it in a store before and I find another copy the next visit to the store! How many of these are in circulation? I estimate a $15 regular price when this came out so I saved $11 buying used but I saved the overall price of $4.

My last bits of birthday gift money were reserved for an Ebay purchase…..

Warrior – Fighting For The Earth (1985) – $25: I have been watching and searching for this CD for at least ten years but it’s not that easy to find. I remember seeing a copy of it in an independent record store back in the late ’90s and it was $25 then for the original Metal Blade pressing so I passed…..I should have pulled the trigger because it would have saved a decade of waiting! Normally I find this CD going for upwards of $30+ but I got a search email for a newly listed copy from a seller I use often so I checked it out and pulled the trigger quickly. Price was $22 + $3 shipping for the $25 total. I thought I was buying the original Metal Blade issue from 1990 but I actually bought the 2008 remaster from Germany on EMI/10 Records. Either way I don’t care because my research shows the remaster going for the same amounts. At least I own it now and I can pick up the original pressing if I come across it in my travels. Saved the full $25.

Total = $225

Total (year) = $669

Average Price (per item) = $8.26

Total Savings (month) = $225

Total Savings (year) = $670

Total CDs (year) = 75

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1