Posts Tagged ‘Alice Cooper’

The first month of the new year is off and running with some great shopping trips to the record stores and some great Ebay finds…..I grabbed a lot of 2012 releases I missed and I grabbed a few used bargains and hard to find albums along the way. I crossed a lot of my want list!

Newbury Comics & FYE

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $2
Black Country Communion – Afterglow (2012) – $2
Graveyard – Lights Out (2012) – $8
Sepultura – A-Lex (2009) – $5 used
Lamb Of God – New American Gospel (2000) $6
Alice Cooper – Old School box set (2012) – $50
Iced Earth – Dark Genesis box set (2001) – $25 used
Kix – Live In Baltimore CD/DVD (2012) – $0
UFO – Live Throughout The Years box set (2011) – $20 used
Doro – Raise Your Fist (2012) – $14
AC/DC – Live At River Plate CD (2012) – $0

Well the month started out with one last gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I went to my local Newbury Comics store in North Attleboro, MA and immeadiately put that $25 card to the test. Easy pickings on this trip as I grabbed the new Devin Townsend Project and Black Country Communion albums. The DTP album, Epicloud, was a limited edition that came with a bonus CD and there was still a sale sticker on one copy for $15! Regular price for the other three copies of the limited edtion was $22 so I saved $7 straight away and another $13 when I split the gift card up. Same thing with Black Country Communion’s Afterglow, there were a few copies available but only one still had a sale sticker on it for $14. Regular price was $19 so I saved $5 right away then another $12 with the other half of the gift card.

My second trip to the same Newbury Comics was prefaced by a quick trip across the mall to the FYE store to burn a $3 off coupon. When I walked in, I noticed there was a Revolver Magazine display with a bunch of 2012 Metal releases on sale for really low prices, something about the magazine’s year end awards issue. I owned most of the CDs already, or I had a promo download from the label, but one release caught my eye…..Graveyard – Lights Out. I’ve had that Graveyard record on my list since it came out but I never got around to buying it and, when I did, it wasn’t at a sale price. Regular price at FYE was $12 but it was on sale for $7.99 so I saved $4. Unfortunately my coupon required a CD priced at $12.99 or above to get the $3 off so I found a copy of the latest Grave Digger album, Clash Of The Gods, on sale for $15. Regular price was $18, then add the $3 coupon, and I scored it for $12. I went up to the Newbury Comics to do a quick check around and there was nothing new that I wanted but I did find a used copy of Sepultura’s 2009 album A-Lex for $5, which officially replaces my simple promo copy from the label, and Lamb of God’s first album from 2000, New American Gospel, for $6 brand new and sealed. I’ve been trying to pick up all the Lamb of God records I’m missing and this was a steal because there was another copy at a regular price of $15, I saved $9 on a brand new CD!

Last trip to the record store took me to the Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI for a “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale on all CDs new and used, I wanted a little variety so I was hoping that the Warwick store had a decent selection. My daughter and I were outside the store at 9:50 on a Saturday morning waiting for the doors to open so we could be first inside to snag any bargains. By 10:10, my daughter had her CDs ready but my list is longer and more specific and I was armed with $100 in spendable cash! By 10:20, I had gone through the Rock, Metal and boxed set sections and I came away with some great stuff. Box sets were included in the sale so I grabbed the CD version of the Alice Cooper box set Old School for $50, a $25 used copy of Iced Earth’s Dark Genesis box set and a used copy of the UFO – Live Throughout The Years box set. Old School was on my list of 2012 releases so I grabbed it immeadiately because of the sale tag (regular price was $75) and I have been searching for a used copy of Dark Genesis for years. I could have bought it on Ebay a number of times but they go upwards of $30 + shipping. I’d never seen the UFO box set before but it’s UFO and it was $20 used but still factory sealed. I already had the Doro and AC/DC albums in my hands (both on sale for $14 and both regular priced $18) so I decided to spluge and pick up the Kix – Live In Baltimore CD/DVD package for $22. I saved an extra $2 by pairing the Kix set with Alice and Iced Earth and I got AC/DC for free paired with UFO and Doro. I went a little over budget but the cash was basically money that could be spent wildly so the extra $9 was all that come out of my bank account.

Ebay

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cutty Sark – Heroes (1985/1997 reissue) – $26
Bullet – Execution (1981/1997 reissue) – $6.25 used
MP – Bursting Out (Beast Becomes Human)/Get It Now (1986 & 1987/2006 reissue) – $6.25 used
Herazz – Yet To Come (1985/2006 reissue) – $6.25 used
Intrinsic – s/t (1987 & 1988/2008 reissue) – $6.25 used
Odin – Fight For Your Life (1988/2001 reissue) – $6.25 used
Steel Assassin – From The Vaults (1997/2003 reissue) – $6.25 used
Lizzy Borden – The Murderous Metal Road Show (1985) – $6 used
Lizzy Borden – Menace To Society (1986/2001 reissue) – $5 used
Lizzy Borden – Visual Lies (1987/2002 reissue) – $5 used

Nothing beats a good Ebay win and I scored more than a few this month. One of my goals is to complete my collection of High Vaultage reissues from the late 1990s/ early 2000s but it’s getting harder with the label out of business and the years going by. I found out about High Vaultage in 1997 from the Metal Dreams fanzine and I started collecting the releases I could find in the record shops but I missed out on most of them. I can get any of the releases on Ebay but it’s the prices that have kept me from buying all of them. There’s one seller in particular that I buy from all the time and they have pretty much the entire catalog for sale but at $23 each + shipping. That’s where I bought the Cutty Sark reissue from, I just couldn’t let it go by at that price when other copies were going for double.

In my quest for High Vaultage reissues, I found a seller basically dumping his/her collection. The saved search for Bullet’s Execution came up in a 6 CD lot from this seller including the MP, Herazz, Intrinsic, Odin and Steel Assassin reissues. I checked my usual seller of High Vaultage releases and he had this particular Bullet CD at the same $26 total so I figured if I could snag this CD lot for under $50 it would be worth it. The main concern was the Bullet album but the rest of the CDs were all ones I didn’t currently own and they were all names I didn’t know (except for Odin and Steel Assassin) so I could discover some new music along the way. The MP disc was interesting because it was a 2 on 1 CD and, although I would prefer to have each on a separate CD, it was another bonus to this really good lot. I topped out at a $50 bid and won at $37.50 (includes shipping) so I only paid $6.25 per CD. Moving to the three Lizzy Borden albums, I found that lot with the same seller so I put in a bid of $20 and won for $16 (includes shipping). Surprisingly, I really only have the later Lizzy albums so I really needed to get the early stuff in my collection.

Total = $211.50

Total (year) = $211.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.61

Total CDs (year) = 19

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

Late again! It’s the beginning of July and I’m just posting March’s update and I have April, May and June still to go! Keep an eye out because I’m going to catch up on the CD Scavenger Hunts before I post other things. March was a good month for shopping, lots of new releases and great sale prices so here’s what I bought…..

Newbury Comics

Epica – Requiem For The Indifferent (2012) – $10
Beggars & Thieves – We Are The Brokenhearted (2012) – $14
Fastway – Trick Or Treat (1987) – $7 used
Freedom Call – Land Of The Crimson Dawn (2CD Ltd Ed) (2012) - $12
Adrenaline Mob – Omerta – $13
Alice Cooper – Brutally Live DVD/CD (2003 reissue) – $6
Jack Blades – Rock ‘n’ Roll Ride (2012) – $14
Overkill – Electric Age (2012) – $12
3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal (2012) – $10
Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival 1983 (2012) – $10
Iron Maiden – En Vivo! DVD (2012) - $14
Iron Maiden – En Vivo! CD (2012) - $18
KISS – Instant Live (Mansfield, MA - 7/16/2004) – $15 used
Falconer – Sceptre Of Deception (2003) – $3 used
Vivian Campbell – Two Sides Of If… (2005) – $3 used
War & Peace – Light At The End Of The Tunnel (2001) – $3 used
Geezer – Plastic Planet (1995) – $3 used

I made a few trips to Newbury Comics in both North Attleboro, MA (my usual stop) and Warwick, RI in March to grab some new releases and scour the used bins for bargains. The Warwick location used to be my main stop for many years because they were the only location closest to me and they had great selection but the North Attleboro store is closest to my house now so that’s where I stop for new releases on Tuesdays. As you can tell by the list above, I picked up a ton of new releases including the new Iron Maiden CD & DVD, the new Epica, Freedom Call, Overkill, 3 Inches Of Blood, Jack Blades and more. I was able to preview a few of these thanks to the labels sending me a promotional download but I still like the physical product and I picked uome solid records at great prices.

What made the trips to Newbury Comics worth it were the used bargains…..nothing is better than cheap CDs! The Fastway – TRICK OR TREAT CD I thought I owned already but I actually didn’t, I still have a dubbed cassette from back in the day and I own the movie of course! That was a good purchase as was the Alice Cooper – BRUTALLY LIVE DVD/CD reissue for $6. There’s a cut mark on the UPC but that doesn’t bother me…..I passed on this twice (2000 & 2003) but I couldn’t pass up buying it for $6. The KISS Instant Live disc is one I used to own and sold on Ebay years ago when I needed the money. I was at this show back in 2004 and bought the CD there but I ended up trading for every show as the tour went on so I sold this original and a few others I grabbed for a lot of cash. Even though I had a CDR of this show, I wanted the Instant Live disc again and I found it technically as a used disc but it’s brand new to my eyes. The rest of the used CDs basically padded the collection with names I already own but were missing these records.

Best Buy

Rush – Fly By Night (1975) – $5
Rush – 2112 (1976) – $5
Rush – A Farewell To Kings (1977) – $5
Rush – Hemispheres (1978) – $5
Rush – Permanent Waves (1980) – $5

I went to my local Best Buy to look for a CD rack and to check out some Playstation 3 and Wii games and I took my quick walk through the ever-shrinking CD section and I noticed that the section was actually smaller compared to the last time I was there! No big surprise there but what was a surprise was the round plexiglass bins filled with $5 CDs! Most of the CDs are compilations but I did some digging and found almost the entire Rush catalog. I couldn’t remember which ones I owned already so I took a guess and bought just a few. All of these discs were brand new and sealed and all are a part of the Rush remaster series from 1997/1998. Can’t beat $5 a CD for a great band…..I’ll be filling the Ruch collection at Best Buy in the coming months.

Ebay

Crazy Lixx – New Religion (2010) – $11
Autograph – That’s The Stuff (1985) (original blue cover) – $21 used
Laurence Archer – LA (1986) – $23 used

Just a few Ebay buys this month…..the Crazy Lixx disc replaces the promo download I received from the label and was nice & cheap for a brand new CD. I already own THAT’S THE STUFF with the red cover but I always wanted the blue cover, after years of searching I grabbed this one cheap at auction. I also already own LA by Laurence Archer on vinyl (Japanese pressing) but I never play it because it’s rare so I found a couple of copies being sold by a seller I’ve done business with over the years so I grabbed this just under a regular import price. The LA CD is the original European pressing on Music For Nations so it’s not the ultra-rare and highly sought after Japanese pressing but it’s cool to have it finally on CD and in mint condition.

Total = $247

Total (year) = $658

Average Price (per item) = $8.77

Total CDs (year) = 70

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

I went to go see Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper last night at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield…..it’s been a long time since I caught a live show (almost 4 months!) so it was great to catch these two Heavy Metal icons at one show. Iron Maiden was the headliner and they always draw a good crowd at this outdoor arena and the seats were all packed under the roof and on the lawn for an announced 14,000 fans! Not a bad way to start the summer: Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper and 14,000 Metal friends!

Alice Cooper setlist:

Vincent Price intro
The Black Widow
Brutal Planet
I’m Eighteen
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Hey Stoopid
Billion Dollar Babies
Feed My Frankenstein
Poison
Wicked Young Man
I Love The Dead (outro)
School’s Out (Pink Floyd – ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Pt.2)’ medley included)

I’ve caught Alice Cooper live many times in the last 10 years and he never disappoints. Alice and the band always puts on a top notch show both musically and theatrically so it’s no doubt that Alice could have done a full set with full production and had the crowd eating out of his evil hand. Unfortunately, Alice was an opening act and he had to play an abbreviated set…..but what a show! After the intro tape of Vincent Price introducing ‘The Black Widow’, Alice and the band played an 11 song set with a scaled down, but still high quality, production. An Alice Cooper concert is always about the theatrics then the music but a shorter set puts the focus on the songs.  The bulk of the setlist are Alice Cooper staples but it was very cool to hear a couple of songs make it back into the set. The entire set was awesome but the highlights for me were the return of ‘Brutal Planet’, ‘Wicked Young Man’ and ‘Hey Stoopid’ back to the setlist. The last time I caught Alice live with Rob Zombie, he played a full set as a co-headliner but these three songs weren’t played. Actually, ‘Wicked Young Man’ was done but in a medley. Both albums (2000′s BRUTAL PLANET and 1991′s HEY STOOPID) are really great and totally underrated albums because Alice has so many classic records and songs. For an older performer, Alice didn’t disappoint, he had tons of energy for the performance and he sounds as good as he did when I saw him on the BRUTAL PLANET tour 12 years ago. The band was tight and sounded great, you could tell that half a set was just a warm up and they could have kept it up for another hour easily. Alice Cooper is a true Rock legend and he proved it live once again!

Iron Maiden setlist:

Intro song (‘Doctor, Doctor’ by UFO)

Moonchild
Can I Play With Madness
The Prisoner
2 Minutes To Midnight
Afraid To Shoot Strangers
The Trooper
The Number Of The Beast
The Phantom Of The Opera
Run To The Hills
Wasted Years
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
The Clairvoyant
Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden

Encore
Churchill’s Speech into
Aces High
The Evil That Men Do
Running Free

It’s been 4 years since I’ve seen Iron Maiden in concert, the last time I saw them was at the Tweeter Center in the summer of 2008 and they were playing a greatest hits set billed as “Somewhere On Tour 2008″. That was one of the best times I’ve seen Iron Maiden live but do they ever put on a bad show? This time around, the band was focusing on songs from the SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON (1988) album and they played a solid 5 songs from it including ‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Madness’, ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’, ‘The Clairvoyant’ and ‘The Evil That Men Do’. The show production was centered around the SEVENTH SON album as well with plenty of different Eddie’s popping up and a solid stage show but, as always, the concert comes down to one thing…..the band.

Iron Maiden doesn’t disappoint…..ever! This concert was another superb performance by the band, who I consider the #1 Metal band in the world, with solid musicianship and excellent vocals. Maiden just came out and played…..not a lot of talking in between songs, not a lot of rehearsed intros like some bands I love, just flat out Metal songs one after the other. The setlist was solid, not a bad song in the bunch and, as I mentioned, the SEVENTH SON songs were the focus. When I saw Maiden in 2008, they played ‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Madness’ and ‘The Clairvoyant’ but they aren’t always in the set so it was good to hear them again but hearing ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’ and ‘The Evil That Men Do’ was simply awesome. Good to also hear ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ make the set instead of more popular songs from PIECE OF MIND (1983) and the debut record and it’s always cool to hear another song from FEAR OF THE DARK (1993) with ‘Afriad To Shoot Strangers’. As always, my favorite song of the night was ‘Fear Of The Dark’, it just sends chills up my spine everytime I hear it! Just a couple of words on the band themselves…..as I mentioned, the band played and sounded great which is no surprise but, aside from Bruce Dickinson, they weren’t as animated as they have been in the past. Maybe it’s because this was like the 2nd or 3rd show of the U.S. tour or maybe it was because they were focusing on the playing but it seemed like they didn’t move around a ton as they have in the past. Not complaining at all…..I’d prefer a flawless performance to an action packed show anytime! Solid performance, great show, I wish the band was coming back again soon.

 

I think I say the same things every year when I write the introduction to my Best of the Year list…..this year was one of the greatest years for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal! More and more new albums come out from a wide variety of bands and 2011 was no exception, this was the biggest year for Heavy Metal Addiction as far as promotional review copies go. Usually, I physically buy all my new albums but this year I partnered with more labels, more promotional people and more bands and I received more albums for review than any other year. Honestly, I couldn’t keep up and I came nowhere close to listening to all of them properly. Looking at the piles on my desk, the boxes next to it and the separate iTunes folder I reserve for promo downloads, it’s easy to estimate that I have more new 2011 albums submitted to Heavy Metal Addiction than in 2010! Add in all the new releases I bought on my weekly trips to the record stores, and my daily online searches, and it’s fair to estimate that the total number of new releases is on par with what I had for 2010. Unfortunately, I’ve let the website go a little in the last couple of years so, while I’ve been listening to almost everything, I just haven’t posted about it.

The only criteria I followed for my Top 25 was the same criteria I’ve used for the last few years: the album had to be a studio album (not a live record, best of, or covers collection) AND the album had to be released in 2011. Just like previous years, an album that was released in 2010 internationally, but was released in the U.S. in 2011, qualified as a 2011 album…..basically I went by the date on the back of the CD! There are plenty of albums that got late U.S. releases and there may be a few in this countdown. 

The ranking of the Top 25 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom Line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I could have continued with a Top 40 list but I got so far behind listening and writing so there are definitely albums I haven’t heard yet or didn’t give proper time to. We’re talking a couple hundred albums though so anything that got missed might end up in an expanded “Albums I Missed in 2011″ post during next year’s awards week. Just like last year, I will be splitting the Top 25 into three posts so it’s easier to read. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 25 Albums of 2011:

25. Nelson – Lightning Strikes Twice (2011)
24. Michael Monroe – Sensory Overdrive (2011)
23. U.D.O. – Rev-Raptor (2011)
22. Riot – Immortal Soul (2011)
21. Tokyo Blade – Thousand Men Strong (2011)

Starting at the bottom of the countdown is the new Nelson album that surprised me with it’s huge melodic hooks and vocals, former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe’s latest solo album that I bought late in the year but ended up enjoying a lot and the steadiness of U.D.O.’s Traditional Metal REV-RAPTOR. I still can’t figure out what a “rev-raptor” is aside from the machine on the cover but there you go. Two huge surprises were from Riot and Tokyo Blade! Riot scored #22 with a solid record from the THUNDERSTEEL-era lineup (a record I was looking forward to big time!) but the band had to endure the loss of Riot founder/guitarist Mark Reale…..at least he left a lasting legacy with this last album. The big surprise was NWOBHM legends Tokyo Blade, who came out of nowhere with THOUSAND MEN STRONG, one of the biggest comebacks of 2011! I’ve been a Tokyo Blade fan for a long time but I really didn’t expect much when I heard the band was releasing a new album but I was completely surprised and excited, sounds like old school NWOBHM with a modern touch.

20. Stratovarius – Elysium (2011)
19. Journey – Eclipse (2011)
18. Iced Earth – Dystopia (2011)
17. Royal Hunt – Show Me How To Live (2011)
16. Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (2011)

I came late to the Stratovarius party even though I’ve acquired a few albums over the years, ELYSIUM was another epic Power Metal record. Journey’s ECLIPSE was a leader for the Top 5 this year but, as other bands released new records, and I kept comparing this album to 2008′s REVELATION, ECLIPSE fell a little. It’s still a solid AOR album Arnel Pineda still shines as the new Steve Perry but it wasn’t as good as REVELATION. Iced Earth made another vocalist change adding Stu Block from Into Eternity but they released one hell of an album with DYSTOPIA…..another late year purchase that might have gone higher with more time. Same for Royal Hunt but their reunion with D.C. Cooper is just what I needed to add their new Progressive/Power Metal album into the Top 25. I know a lot of fans of the more extreme side of Metal look at Arch Enemy as somewhat of a commercial band, especially with Angela Gossow front and center, but they are still kind of new to me. As I open myself up to more extreme bands, a band like Arch Enemy is a good starting point. I’m more of a Traditional/Power Metal fan and a AOR/Hard Rock fan but KHAOS LEGIONS sounded great to my ears and I had to rate it higher than some of my favorite bands (Iced Earth, Royal Hunt, Riot).

15. Anvil – Juggernaut Of Justice (2011)
14. Scheepers – Scheepers (2011)
13. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011)
12. Chickenfoot – III (2011)
11. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (2011)

Gotta give some love to Anvil because THIS IS THIRTEEN (2007) was a great comeback album (even though they never left!) even without the movie and they had four busy years to release a follow-up. JUGGERNAUT OF JUSTICE continued where THIS IS THIRTEEN left off and exceeded all my expectations…..great to see the band still getting success even with the movie hoopla dying out, hard work pays off! Ralf Scheepers didn’t stray too far from the more commercial side of Primal Fear’s last few albums but his first solo album was just as good as those. What can you say about Dream Theater? They always release one great record after another and, yes, Mike Portnoy is a huge loss on drums but Mike Mangini does a great job! Another big surprise in 2011 was the new Chickenfoot album, III, because I didn’t really feel the debut album. Not to say I didn’t like the first Chickenfoot record but the songs weren’t as catchy, as memorable. On III, the songs instantly stuck too me and the harmonies were awesome between Mike Anthony and Sammy, they can take the “supergroup” label off and just be a band now. Talk about a comeback! Sebastian Bach came back and kicked his former band in the teeth with this new solo album, KICKING & SCREAMING.  Baz sounds as great as he ever did and his band is blazing! I always get disappointed with Baz because I always think he should be doing more music than interviews, or reality shows, or VH-1 related things but he really came back strong with this record.

10. Warrant – Rockaholic (2011)
9. Saxon – Call To Arms (2011)
8. Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011)
7. Motorhead – The World Is Yours (2011)
6. Black Country Communion – 2 (2011)

Despite original singer Jani Lane passing away, Warrant recruited former Lynch Mob singer Robert Mason (who replaced Black ‘N Blue singer Jamie St. James) and released a wicked Hard Rock record with ROCKAHOLIC. The first two songs, ‘Sex Ain’t Love’ and ‘Innocence Gone’, are two of the best Hard Rock songs of the year! Saxon is one of my Top 5 favorite bands of all time and they released another great album with CALL TO ARMS. I was a little worried when I read they were stripping back their current sound for something more like the early ’80s because they have released a string of great Traditional/Power Metal albums since 1997′s UNLEASH THE BEAST…..the good news is that the old NWOBHM guard still maintained their excellent track record of the last 15 years! I’ve been a Night Ranger fan since the early ’80s and I thought they easily made the best Melodic Rock record of 2011 after one spin of the new album, once I heard this album, the  Journey and Nelson records started to pale in comparison. Like Saxon, Motorhead is a favorite band and a staple when it comes to my year end countdowns. You know what you’re going to get from Motorhead before they album is released but you know it’s going to rip your face off and punch you in the gut! Lemmy, Mikkey and Phil just keep making great album after great album every other year…..see you in 2013 Motorhead! Coming is at #6, and just missing the Top 5 by a hair, is the sophomore album by Black Country Communion (the other supergroup in the countdown). Just hearing Glenn Hughes sing ’70s styled Hard Rock is enough to catapult any band or album into year end lists but the songs are so good and the performances so perfect that I knew this was going to be a top album of 2011 after the first spin. Hard working band too, this album came out a year after the debut, they released a live record and DVD and have toured constantly…..that’s old school work ethic and it pays off.

5. Whitesnake – Forevermore (2011)
4. Mr. Big – What If… (2011)
3. Anthrax – Worship Music (2011)
2. Michael Schenker – Temple Of Rock (2011)

Making the Top 5 is no easy task when hundreds, if not thousands, of new albums get released each year but these four albums had the #1 spot on my countdown and really put me to task to pick the best album of 2011. Whitesnake started the year off with the album to beat, FOREVERMORE being a continuation of GOOD TO BE BAD but just a shade behind that awesome 2008 album. Maybe it’s because FOREVERMORE didn’t have 11 years of waiting and then hit you between the eyes but the new album did keep David Coverdale and the band at the top again. This year’s countdown has a lot of Hard Rock comebacks with Baz and Warrant turning in solid albums but Mr. Big really made the superior Hard Rock album of 2011 and then toured the album hard with more than just a few making the live set. I expected nothing from a new Mr. Big album but WHAT IF…. was a great album from a band reuniting and not just going out for the quick nostalgia buck. I’ll tell you what, they were definitely one of the best concerts I saw this past year too! Mr. Bog would have had the top album of 2011, and the best comeback of 2011, if Anthrax decided not to release WORSHIP MUSIC! Are you kidding me? WORSHIP MUSIC is an album that should be my top record of 2011 because it’s so good, so thrashy, so hard and so melodic all rolled into one. The band is tight as usual, no problems there, but the wild card in all of this was whether the band reuniting with Joey Belladonna would make a difference. No offense to the John Bush-era of Anthrax but Belladonna is just a better fit! Joey sounds as good as he ever has, the band sounds as brutal as ever and there isn’t a throwaway song on the album. A lot of year end countdown’s have Anthrax at the top of the list and, in a year of comebacks, they have the best one but the band got trumped by one of my favorite guitarists of all-time…..Michael Schenker! The #2 album of 2011, and a serious contender for the #1 spot right to the end, was Schenker’s new TEMPLE OF ROCK solo album. Is it the Michael Schenker Group? Is it him by himself, hence a solo album? TEMPLE OF ROCK follows the lead of 2006′s TALES OF ROCK ‘N ROLL where Michael and his regular backing band teamed up with another new vocalist for the half of the new album and then did a few songs each with a different singer from Michael’s career. This time around it’s new singer Michael Voss for 10 of the 12 new songs with Robin McAuley and Doogie White each singing one…..I kind of expected Gary Barden to fit in here somewhere considering he’s done Michael’s last two albums but he’s not here. Voss sounds great, the guitar is pure Schenker mastery and the songs are all well written with big memorable hooks and solos. Best song on the album is the McAuley led ‘Lover’s Sinfony’, which I got to see live when the band came through town, with a close second being ‘Miss Claustraphobia’ performed by Michael Voss. Michael Schenker had some rough years since the mid-’90s but the guy is such a talented musician, so prolific on guitar, that the music is a reflection of the man’s genius. Definitely a tough task to beat out anyone in the Top 5, especially Anthrax, but Schenker and company came out of nowhere and blew me away.

Up until the last minute, up until I had written this post this far, I finally made the decision to place the next album as the best album of 2011…..the top album of 2011 is…..

(drum roll please…..)

#1

Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011)

This was a hard one to call with the Top 5 albums being so good and Anthrax and Michael Schenker being in a virtual three-way tie with Alice Cooper right up until the end. Actually, I didn’t make up my mind until I gave each album a spin one last time before I wrote this up. In the end…..Alice is the winner!

WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE is not a sequel to the iconic WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE (1975) but a continuation of Alice’s nightmares…..that’s exactly how this album won. Alice and producer Bob Ezrin weren’t trying to best one of the greatest Rock albums of all-time, they were trying to continue the tale and putting a current spin on what Alice would be dreaming about 37 years later! Turns out Alice’s nightmares just get worse! Every song on the album is well written with the usual Alice Cooper trademark humor and horror mix, the production is perfect and the performances are flawless. There are more than a few guest stars, including the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper band and notable names like Vince Gill and Ke$ha, and they all move into the dreamworld effortlessly. I was especially impressed with the reunion of the original Alice Cooper band members because it just shows how much impact the original band had and how much creativity they still have because they are all great musicians. Now Alice Cooper is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and now Alice has a #1 album at Heavy Metal Addiction…..what could be better?

2011 is almost over and it’s been a good year for buying music. There have been so many new albums, so many reissues and so many discovered treasures that it’s been hard to keep up! Actually, I didn’t keep up…..I have literally hundreds of albums on my desk and in boxes next to it that I either bought or were sent in by bands, add in all the digital promos that were emailed in and it was another HUGE year! There is just no possible way that I can listen to every album that crosses my desk but I do make a point to give every CD I buy a listen. I’ve bought a lot this year but not nearly s much as I have in previous years. I still made purchases through online stores, band websites, Ebay, private sales and…..my favorite…..the record stores but the amount of digital and physical promos that have been submitted made up the difference and made my want list even longer. Even though I’m lucky to receive these promos, I still like to have the physical product, especially of the bands I love so I had a lot to add to my want list. Remember, record stores are a dying breed and more and more are closing every year, especially the mom & pop stores that care about the music and the customer…..go out and support them!

December is always my slowest month of the year because the holidays are right around the corner and the hard earned cash has to be spent on more important things…..like presents and holiday dinners and, well, more presents! This is also the time of year when not much comes out because most of the new albums have already been released and it’s time for labels and stores to focus on greatest hits packages. The problem is that there are ALWAYS great sales this time of year and I was able to catch a really great one this time.

So here it is, the final update of 2011…..make sure you check out my final totals and analysis at the bottom…..

Newbury Comics

I’m a regular at Newbury Comics but I’m a rabid regular when there’s a can’t miss sale! The weekend of December 9 thru December 11 was a massive sale — Buy 1 Used CD, Get 1 For $1 (Limit 5). Now I’m not passing up the chance to pad my collection with a lot of catalog releases and older titles with that kind of sale so I made the trip to my two regular Newbury Comics locations (North Attleboro, MA and Warwick, RI) over the weekend to grab as many used CDs as I could. North Attleboro was first on my list for Friday because it’s less than 10 minutes from my house, Warwick was a special trip 20 minutes away with the family so I could use them to help make purchases…..remember, limit 5 per customer! When a sale like this happens, the usual protocol is you get the lower priced CDs as the $1 ones, not this time! This time around the store gave you the CD closest to the price of the used CD you bought for $1 (example: $7.99 used CD & a $7.99 used CD for $1). That saves even more money! There were also a few new releases I grabbed as well but I will list those at the end, first is the used treasures…..

Bang Camaro – s/t (2007) – $6 used: The whole Bang Camaro concept fascinates me, any band with a dozen or so singers will do that! Add that Bang Camaro is a New England band (based out of Boston) and I want to add it to the collection because they’re a local band. I’ve been watching this CD for a while, just like I did with the band’s second album, because the price was way too high. A sale like this is clearance time for the record store so there were two copies in the racks but one was $1 higher than this one. Taking a look online, this debut CD usually sells for around $10 at most retail/auction sites so I saved $4.

Bon Jovi – Lost Highway (2007) – $1 used: I’m not the biggest Bon Jovi fan anymore but I was back in the day from the debut album through NEW JERSEY but I do like some of their singles. Never bothered to buy this when it came out because I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money to be ultimately disappointed (see THE CIRCLE) but I will buy it for $1! I like the title track and ‘One Step Closer’ but this was more of a bargain deal for the completist in me. This CD was marked as used but it’s really new and sealed, the reason why it was in the used bin was because the case is broken in multiple spots and there were plenty of new copies for $15 each. The used price on this CD was $4 so I saved $3 with the sale…..ultimately saving $14 compared to the regular price.

Lou Reed & Metallica – LuLu (2011) – $10 used: I know, I know…..I should have known this album would suck but DEATH MAGNETIC gave me hope for Metallica and just how bad could the album be? I’m not going to go into a review here but I was still intrigued. Again, chalk this up to being a completist and wanting to keep the Metallica collection complete. There was no way I was going to buy this brand new especially at the $18 regular price or the $15 sale price…..$10 I can live with if I’m getting a comparably priced CD for $1. I took the chance and bought this for the $10 and saved $8 off the regular price.

Rainbow – On Stage (1977) – $1 used: Here’s a great deal because the regular price for ON STAGE is $10 and the used price was $9…..paying $1 to fill a hole in the Rainbow collection works for me! This version of ON STAGE is actually the 1997 remaster and not the original pressing but that doesn’t matter because it’s Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio live…..on stage! Buying this paired with Loutallica makes up for the wasted money on LULU because I saved a total of $9 off the regular price and I’m a huge Dio and Rainbow fan.

The Elves – And Before Elf…..There Were Elves (2011) – $8 used: I was pretty psyched to find this in the used section because this was just released by Niji Entertainment (Wendy Dio’s company) in November. I have the debut Elf record but this is Ronnie James Dio’s work before that album so it’s definitely an interesting release for me because I’m such a big Dio fan. I was going to buy this brand new anyway because the sale price of $10 was still in effect on the new copies that were in stock but I’ll take the used bargain any day! Regular price for this CD is $15, sale price was $10, so I saved $7 buying it used.

The Doors – s/t (40th Anniversary Edition) (1967/2007) – $1 used: It’s almost sacreligious to say that I never picked up The Doors’ debut album. One of the reasons why I never bought it is because the majority of the album’s tracks are on the box set and the greatest hits double disc I own already. The album has been on the want list but I’ve just never got around to it. This 40th Anniversary edition is your basic remaster with three bonus tracks: two versions of ‘Moonlight Drive’ (which eventually appeared on the second album STRANGE DAYS in 1967) and the original vocal recording of ‘Indian Summer’ (eventually released on MORRISON HOTEL in 1970). Regular price is $15, used price was $8 so I saved $7 pairing this with The Elves.

Glenn Hughes – Feel (1995) – $8 used: I love Glenn Hughes, he’s one of the best singers ever (dubbed “The Voice of Rock”) and his work with Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Black Country Communion and his solo career is excellent. I’ve been watching FEEL for two years at the North Attleboro location and I’ve always passed it up because there were always two used copies at the same price and they have never been moved or bought. There have been lots of used CD sales in that two year span but the two copies of FEEL were always filed in the Rock section under Misc. ‘H’. That was until this sale! When I was trolling the used racks, I saw this CD…..it’s been moved! I went to the usual ‘H’ section and the other used copy wan’t there! That means I had to buy for fear that I’d never get another chance at it. I’ve never seen another copy of FEEL in any record store ever so this $8 purchase was mandatory. Turns out this copy is a Japanese import on the Zero label and the Japanese lyric sheet is included, just not the OBI strip. I checked online and the average for a Japanese import of FEEL goes for an average of $20 so I saved $8 buying it used.

System Of A Down – s/t (1998) – $1 used: I saw System Of A Down on Ozzfest 1998 on the 2nd stage and I instantly liked the band because their sound and look was so different….I went out the next day and bought this album. This was before the band broke big here in the U.S. and no one really new them. Fast forward a few years and SOAD is one of the top Metal bands (getting lumped into the Nu-Metal category) and my wife was pregnant and I was laid off for almost 4 months…..I started to sell off some CDs that I could live without to make some extra cash and I sold this CD for around $10 to a friend. I always wanted to pick this CD back up but I never got around to it because there was never a used copy available. This is the original pressing and there were a few copies for $10 each brand new but this used copy was only $6…..paired with Glenn Hughes, I saved $5.

Spinal Tap – This Is Spinal Tap soundtrack (1984) – $6 used: I love the cover of this album because it’s “none more black”. This is the original pressing of the soundtrack to the Spinal Tap movie, not the remaster, and the black album cover is the edited album cover for SMELL THE GLOVE, the album Spinal Tap was releasing and touring in the movie. Anyway, all the big hits are here and I always wanted to get the original pressing with the original mix. Can’t beat $6 used especially when my research shows a new copy of either the original or reissue pressing goes for $10…..saved $4.

Deep Purple – The Battle Rages On… (1993) – $1 used: Chalk this purchase up to me getting a solid portion of my collection on my Collectorz.com Music Collector software and having it on my cell phone. For years I’ve passed up multiple used copies of the Deep Purple CD because I thought I owned it, when I was inputting the ‘D’ section of my collection, I thought I misplaced it! Turns out I never owned it! Saw this disc in the used bin, checked the collection on my phone, and snatched it up right away. I haven’t seen a regular priced copy of THE BATTLE RAGES ON in at least 15 years so I checked online and the usual price is around $10. The used price was $6 and pairing it with Spinal Tap saved me $9 off the possible regular price.

Tattoo Rodeo – Rode Hard, Put Away Wet (1991) – $4 used: When you are a bargain hunter like myself, you pick up CDs by bands that you only know by name recognition. I remember the name Tattoo Rodeo but I’ve never heard the music or really followed up on what the band was about. I grabbed this album at it’s cheap $4 price and was happy to have it. Upon further research after the purchase, it turns out that this is a band made up of former White Sister members playing a Southern Hard Rock style. $4 isn’t a bad price to pay for a 1991 album that’s more than likely an ’80s Hard Rock album (let’s face it, that ’80s sound went as far as 1994 in some cases!). Some Ebay research shows that you can get this on average of $10 so I think I saved $6.

The Darkness – One Way Ticket To Hell…And Back (2005) – $1 used: I was a big fan of The Darkness when the debuted in 2003 with PERMISSION TO LAND but I never got around to buying this album…..until now. I’ve been watching this $4 used copy of ONE WAY TICKET TO HELL…AND BACK for months, maybe even years, and the excuse has always been that “it’s always there”. When the CD isn’t there, another pops up within a couple of weeks…..maybe it’s the same CD? Either way, I figured it was time to drop the money down, especially with this sale and the reuniting of The Darkness for a new album and tour. Regular price for this CD is around $10 but pairing this with Tattoo Rodeo made the price go from $4used to $1 used. Can’t beat saving around $9.

Alice Cooper – The Alice Cooper Show (1977) – $5 used: There are too many holes in the Alice Cooper collection so I’m on a mission to buy all the missing albums as soon as possible. Good news on this sale, there were a couple Alice CDs in the used bins that I didn’t own, this live album being one of them. Thank god for the Collectorz.com Music Collector software because I was able to check my collection on my phone and see what was in the Alice collection at home (I’m still in the middle of the ‘D’ section). This was an easy purchase and at $5 used t was a great bargain. There was a copy of this CD in the regular Alice Cooper section for $10 so I easily saved $5 buying used.

Lullacry – Crucify My Heart (2003) – $1 used: Here’s another band that I remembered the name of but never got around to buying. Actually, the difference this time is that I’ve heard a few songs. I compare Lullacry’s female-fronted Gothic Metal to The Gathering, Epica and After Forever so it’s a style that I like so it’s a good purchase rather than a risk. CRUCIFY MY HEART the third Lullacry album but the first to feature Tanja Lainio on lead vocals. This CD goes for around $10 in most place so the $4 used price was good to begin with but pairing this CD with Alice Cooper made the final price $1. I easily saved $9 on a band I’ve been wanting to try out for a few years and I can get an idea of  what they are about before I drop a sale price on the new album that’s coming in early 2012.

Giant – III (2001) – $10 used: This CD equals the Metallica – LuLu CD as the highest I paid this month for a used CD. Why so much for Giant’s third studio album (fourth overall if you count the live record)? Not sure. This album is 11 years old and Giant wasn’t that popular back in the day. Sure, they had a hit with the ballad ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ but that was back in 1989…..there hasn’t been much on the Giant front in the 20+ years since (4 studio albums & 2 live for a career) but Giant still remain a favorite in Melodic Rock circles. I’ve never seen III in a record store since 2001, I checked online and it still gets $15 in most places so I considered buying it. Other factors: recognized the band name, own other Giant albums, it’s on Frontiers Records (one of the best labels out there!) and it was shiny and practically brand new. One note after getting this disc home, turns ou it’s a promo copy that says “promotional, not for re-sale”. I pulled the trigger and saved around $5 but that allowed me to pair another high priced used CD to it…..

Angel – s/t (1975) – $1 used: Treasure of the month! This is an original pressing of Angel’s debut album and it is hard to find. I’ve only seen one other copy that was an original pressing and that was at least 15 years ago and it was a lot of money then. Angel is one of those ’70s Hard Rock bands that everyone forgets (like Starz) because they shared a label and management with a bigger ’70s Hard rock band…..KISS! But the Angel sound, the albums, the stage show…..it’s all good stuff! There have been a couple of Japanese reissues but not any in the U.S., even those Japanese reissues and the original Japanese pressings of ALL Angel albums go for big dollars on Ebay. This was the first album I found in the used bin and it was getting bought no matter what at $9 used but pairing it with the Giant album made it a $1 used CD. I did some research online and previous data on the original pressings (both U.S. and Japanese) from the last decade show that this CD can go as high as $100+ but, with the subsequent Japanese reissues, the price drops to normal import retail of around $25 (without shipping). The problem is that there aren’t that many copies out there on the market for sale. I’m going to put a $15 regular price on this and count it as a $14 savings.

Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper Goes To Hell (1976) – $4 used: This is the second Alice Cooper album I found in the used bins and the second hole filled in the Alice collection. This was slotted right with THE ALICE COOPER SHOW so when I checked my collection on my phone, I knew that I definitely didn’t already own it. The only concern here is that I noticed that some Alice albums have been re-released as part of a “budget series” and they have a slightly altered front cover. I took this used CD over to the regular Alice Cooper section and compared it to the re-release, I checked the catalog # online also, and this turned out to be an original CD pressing. Original pressings of this record run about $9 online (the re-release in the store was $8) so I figure  saved $5 overall and filled a much needed hole on the Alice Cooper want list.

D.A.D. – Riskin’ It All (1992) – $1 used: I remember D.A.D. (Disneyland After Dark) from back in the day because of the single ‘Sleeping My Day Away’ from their fourth album, NO FUEL LEFT FOR PILGRIMS (1989). I don’t have any other D.A.D. albums (again, checking the collection on my phone!) so it was a nice pickup to go along with Alice, especially for only $1. I would have even paid the original used price of $4. This was also a name recognition thing because I remember the big controversy when the band got some success from ‘Sleeping My Day Away’ and the Disney corporation came calling on the band to change their name. If you ever find a CD, cassette or vinyl copy of D.A.D.’s first four albums with the original Disneyland After Dark band name, buy it immeadiately because it’s a collector’s item. This CD averages $8 online so I saved $7. one last cool note about this CD purchase, there’s a price tag on the actual jewel case from some mom & pop record store (can’t make out the name) from February 1999 and the price was $7.95.

Bon Jovi – Have A Nice Day (2005) – $4 used: I must be getting sympathetic in my old age because I have not had the patience for any Bon Jovi album since CRUSH (2000). That album was solid and the concert was good…..until the encore of covers and I soured on Bon Jovi quick. The last Bon Jovi album I bought before the latest album, THE CIRCLE (2009), was released was 2002′s BOUNCE…..I’ve bought nothing in between. There are some catchy tunes that I’ve heard on the radio, on the music that’s played at work and at the concert I saw on The Circle Tour and that made me pick this up……that and the low $4 used price! I like the title track and ‘Who Says You Can’t Go Home’ so maybe I’ll give this a spin and there will be other songs I’ll like. Regular price still hovers around $14 in store so I saved $10 and filled a hole in the Bon Jovi collection.

Ted Nugent – Spirit Of The Wild (1995) – $1 used: I’ve been a fan of Terrible Ted since I saw him open for Aerosmith on the Done With Mirrors tour in 1986 and realized the same guy singing ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ was the same guy from the ‘Little Miss Dangerous’ video and the Miami Vice episode! Something about the way Ted started his set by jumping over the drums, rolling on the floor and screaming into the mic (blowing out my eardrums!) will always be my first live concert memory and it was awesome! The weird thing is that save for a couple recent studio albums and a generic greatest hits collection, I don’t own much Ted…..oops, forgot LITTLE MISS DANGEROUS (1986), I own that too. There are some massive holes that need to be filled in the Ted collection so this is the first, and not the last Nuge disc, I bought this month with this sale. SPIRIT OF THE WILD usually runs around $10 if you find it new so I saved $9 pairing it with Bon Jovi.

Queen – Hot Space (1981) – $10 used: It’s about damn time! I’ve been searching and searching for HOT SPACE for years and I finally found a copy of the 1991 reissue series with the bonus track that completes the Quuen collection. When Queen announced they were re-releasing all the Queen albums again starting in late 2010, I knew someone somewhere would part with this CD to get the fresher version. I could have easily bought the new reissue of HOT SPACE but I decided that I wasn’t going to buy the entire new set of reissues and I didn’t want to “break the set”. It was a matter of time, a waiting game that’s lasted a while since I first posted a WANTED feature on HOT SPACE. Now the Queen studio collection is complete and I need to grab a couple live albums to make the entire Queen collection complete! The new HOT SPACE runs around $18 and there were a few copies to be had, this 1991 pressing goes for around $10 on Ebay if it becomes available. Going with the Ebay price, I broke even but I was able to get another much needed album by pairing it up…..

Motorhead – Motorizer (2008) - $1 used: Finally, another album I’ve been wanting to buy and fill a hole in a band’s collection. Technically, I already own MOTORIZER, the record label (SPV) sent me a promo copy back in 2008 so i could review the album. I like getting promos to review and I got this album a couple months before it was released so I never picked up when it came out because I new the music already and it was uploaded to my iPod. It’s always bothered me that I never had the actual release with the booklet and artwork, all I owned was a cardboard sleeve and the promo disc. This sale changed that! For $1, I was able to pick up a practically new copy for my collection at a great used price. Now that promo copy becomes a conversation piece and/or a collector’s item. Regular price for this CD is $15 everywhere, used price was $10, so I saved $14 pairing it with Queen.

Ted Nugent – Free-For-All (1976) – $8 used: This is technically a used CD because it’s labelled that way but it’s technically a brand new CD because it was still in the original shrinkwrap, the problem was a really broken jewel case and a few copies of this album at the regular $12 price. This is the remastered version from 1999 that contains three bonus tracks. I’m not a fanatic about original pressings but I do like to acquire them and make note of them in this column, buying a remastered Ted record at a good price is fine with me, especially since the original pressing CDs are hard to come by. Another hole filled in the classic Nuge collection (and there’s a couple more coming!) at a great price…..saved $4.

Motorhead – 1916 (1991) – $1 used: Another hole filled in the Motorhead collection! I haven’t seen a copy of 1916 in a long time and this album didn’t get the deluxe reissue treatment like the previous studio albums did. I had this on the radar not only because it was a glaring omission in the collection but because the young metalhead son of my best friend came to the house specifically to get the song ‘R.A.M.O.N.E.S.’ and I didn’t have the studio version! I felt like an incomplete collector and bad Metal mentor! The quest was on, took a month, found it nice and used during a great sale. The regular price on this varies but it’s usually $10 on Ebay, the used price was $7 but it was really $1 by pairing it with the Motor City Madman…..saved $9 off regular price.

Ted Nugent – Great Gonzos! The Best Of Ted Nugent (1981) – $6 used: This gonzo greatest hits package was orginally released in 1981 but the copy I found in the used bin was the 1999 remaster three bonus tracks, one being a brand new studio recording, ‘Give Me Just A Little’. What’s exciting about this studio bonus track is that it’s co-written by Ted’s Damn Yankees bandmates Jack Blades (Night Ranger) & Tommy Shaw (Styx) along with Neal Schon (Journey). In 1999, there was talk of a Damn Yankees reunion and album but it never got off the ground, maybe this is one of those songs? I knew that there was a new copy of GREAT GONZOS in the regular Ted Nugent section so I took this over and the same 1999 remaster at regular price was $13. Buying used saved me $7 and filled another hole in the Ted collection.

Ted Nugent – Cat Scratch Fever (1977) – $1 used: Add another CD into the Ted Nugent collection! This time it’s the classic CAT SCRATCH FEVER record and it’s another from the 1999 remaster series. This is the classic Nugent album, the one everyone knows because of the classic title track but I’ve heard the album before and it’s solid all around. There are two bonus tracks on this pressing: live versions of the title track and one of my favorites, ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’. Again, I checked this used copy alongside it’s regular priced counterpart and there was a significant savings. Regular price was $13 and the used price was $6, I’m already saving more than half buying used…..pairing this with GREAT GONZOS! made it $1 used for a $12 savings.

Ted Nugent – Weekend Warriors (1978) – $4 used: I told you I didn’t have many Ted albums in my collection! WEEKEND WARRIORS is another much needed album in the Ted Nugent collection that I bought on a great sale. This time around, this is the original pressing and NOT a 1999 remaster. I’m actually kind of disappointed that it wasn’t a remaster because all the other Ted CDs I bought were, I’m a sucker for bonus tracks and now I wonder if there are good ones on this album’s remaster. Anyway, WEEKEND WARRIORS usually sells for around $9 on Ebay whether it’s the original or reissue so buying it used saved me $5 off the regular price.

 

Now there really should be a $1 used CD attached to WEEKEND WARRIORS but I had a problem with three other CDs I picked up during this sale. I bought Ted Nugent - Craveman (2002), The Quireboys – This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll (2001) and Giant – Last Of The Runaways (1989) all for cheap dollars…..problem was that I owned them already. This is why I need to continue adding CDs to my Collectorz software, so this doesn’t happen again. I returned all three to the store almost immeadiately and I received my $6 back. The Ted Nugent and Quireboys CDs were linked together and the Giant CD would have gone with WEEKEND WARRIORS.

Now on to the new CDs…..

Mass – New Birth (Anniversary Edition) (1985/2011) – $13: I’ve been big into Mass since they released their last album, SEA OF BLACK (2010), and since I saw them open for Mr. Big last summer. Mass is a great local band (from Massachusetts) and they’ve been around since the early ’80s. NEW BIRTH originally came out in 1985 and it was re-released by Retrospect Records a few years ago. This time around NEW BIRTH gets the re-release treatment for it’s 25th anniversary on Retroactive Records, a label specializing in Chrisitan Metal with two other Mass re-releases to their credit. I’m riding high on Mass right now and I’m looking to fill up that part of my collection so I figured I’d start with this album, especially when I saw it was listed on the Newbury Comics weekly e-newsletter. I also knew I had to get there on time the Tuesday of release because there would only be a couple of copies in stock. To my surprise there were at least 10 copies available (remember, Mass is a local act) so I was able to secure this CD at a decent regular price.

Rock Goddess – Hell Hath No Fury (1984/2008 reissue) – $6: This is a score! Back in 1984, I used to cut pctures out of Hit Parader and Circus magazines and plaster them all over my bedroom walls and I used to have this picture of Rock Goddess (along with a picture of Girlschool) hanging next to a poster of Vince Neil. I never did pickup this album back in the day but I did manage to acquire it on cassette in the late ’90s when I bought a huge box of cassettes at a local mom & pop record shop for a bulk price. I’ve never seen a HELL HATH NO FURY CD in person but I do know there have been various reissues on Ebay, some of which I’m sure were bootlegs. I decided that $6 regular price wasn’t bad for a recent reissue on a label I knew….Rennaissance Records.

Scorpions – Comeblack (2011) – $15: I’ve been dying to know what this album sounds like for the last couple of months. Reviews have been hit or miss and the concept also seems hit or miss: 7 re-recorded songs and 6 covers. I’m not big on cover songs but I wouldn’t mind hearing what the Scorpions’ interpretation of their big ’80s hits would sound like in 2011. The Scorpions have been a big band in my Metal life and they are currently coming to the end of their career, at this point I’m soaking up as much Scorpions as I can! COMEBLACK (bad title!) was released everywhere except the U.S. in the Fall of 2011 so I’ve been debating this purchase for a while. I finally decided to snag it when I noticed one copy left out of the five that I’d seen for weeks. Of course, about a month after I buy it at $15, COMEBLACK gets a proper U.S. release and a nifty sale price of $10!

Autograph – The Anthology (2011) – $16: This was an expensive purchase for a band that never really made it back in the ’80s save for a couple of songs — ‘Turn Up The Radio’ and ‘Blondes In Black Cars’. I love Autograph though and I have all their albums and I enjoy them. When I saw the title of this CD, I figured that this was going to be a greatest hits style package from all four of the band’s studio albums and I didn’t need another compilation of tracks I already had! I did some research and it seems that this is a double disc release of demos, b-sides and unreleased songs…..the problem is that Autograph already had that with 1997′s MISSING PIECES and 2003′s MORE MISSING PIECES, which was the original MISSING PIECES with 7 more demo/unreleased tracks. I already own MISSING PIECES, and MORE MISSING PIECES is rare and hard to find, so I figured I’d pick this up if there was “missing pieces” to the Autograph catalog. My research shows that Disc 1 is the MORE MISSING PIECES release but with two different songs replacing two from the original 2003 release. The second disc is 12 tracks that were unreleased from the sessions for the band’s 4th album BUZZ (2003) and beyond. THE ANTHOLOGY is a pretty good archival release so I figured that I’d snag it while I could because there was only one copy up for grabs and Deadline Music is a label that doesn’t always print a bunch of copies of their releases and they go out of print quickly.

Halford – Live At Saitama Super Arena (2011) – $10: I already picked up the live DVD a few weeks prior but the actual live CD was delayed. Not sure why but it was definitely an inconvenience. Maybe it’s more of a business thing to get extra money? All I know is that there have been a lot of live CD & DVD packages coming out the last few years for around $20 and it’s just easier to get it all in one set rather than have to buy it separately. A small complaint I guess because this is the same setlist as the DVD just in audio form. I’m a huge Rob Halford fan whether it’s with Judas Priest or solo so i was buying this anyway but I just prefer to have it as a set with both formats together. For some reason, this is bothering me way more than it should! At least I got  a decent sale price and saved $4 off the $14 regular price.

Riot – Immortal Soul (2011) – $12: I’ve been looking forward to hearing IMMORTAL SOUL ever since Mark Reale announced that the classic THUNDERSTEEL era lineup would be touring and recording. I’ve been a huge Riot fan since the late ’90s when i re-discovered the band through the re-releases of FIRE DOWN UNDER (1981) and RESTLESS BREED (1982) on the High Vaultage label from GERMANY. Since then I’ve collected all the Riot albums I can with only a couple ommission and I’ve blasted the music as loud as I can! The last few Riot studio albums since the late ’90s have been solid Metal records so I expect nothing less from IMMORTAL SOUL. Good to see about a half dozen copies in the new release rack for sale AND good to see another metalhead buying a copy at the same time I was! Regular price is a whopping $17 but the sale price was $12 on the day of release so I saved $5.

Royal Hunt – Show Me How To Live (2011) – $13: Another band I discovered in the late ’90s, Royal Hunt has become one of my favorite bands of the last 15 years. Unfortunately, by the time I discovered them in late 1997/early 1998, their singer D.C. Cooper had left the band to pursue a solo career. D.C. Cooper’s vocals are awesome, he was in the running for the vacant Judas Priest gig back in the mid-’90s, and I always thought that there ws something missing from subsequent Royal Hunt albums. Don’t get me wrong, John West and Mark Boals were great replacements but I just dig D.C. Cooper. Well now he’s back in the band and this is the first studio album back and it has proper distribution through Frontiers Records. I still haven’t picked up the band’s last record, X (2010), and there are a few holes in the Royal Hunt collection so I’m hoping that SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE is really good and gets me on a serious Royal Hunt kick. Regular price is another big $17 but most Frontiers releases are that price because they are imports…..the $13 sale price helped save me $4.

White Wizzard – Flying Tigers (2011) – $10: An easy purchase here because White Wizzard have become one of my favorite new Traditional Heavy Metal bands of the last few years due to their old school, NWOBHM style. I didn’t even know that White Wizzard had a new record coming out until I noticed it in the e-newsletter sale section, that just goes to show that I haven’t been paying much attention to all things Metal for the last year or so! Regular price for this CD is $16, a little high for an Earache Records release because they have normal U.S. distribution, but the sale price was $10 the day of release so I ended up saving $6.

 

Final Stats for 2011

Total (December) = $212

Total (year) = $1145

Average Price (per item) = $8.06

Total Savings (December) = $214

Total Savings (year) = $1050

Total CDs (year) = 134

Total DVDs (year) = 7

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

Just a quick analysis…..

I bought 36 fewer items compared with 2010 (142 to 168) and I also spent a lot less compared to 2010 ($1145 to $1820). This year was the first year I decided to track an estimation of how much I saved buying used and on sale and I was able to save almost as much money as I spent with a difference between the two of $95.

Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011, Universal Music)

  1. I Am Made Of You
  2. Caffeine
  3. The Nightmare Returns
  4. A Runaway Train
  5. Last Man On Earth
  6. The Congregation
  7. I’ll Bite Your Face Off
  8. Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever
  9. Ghouls Gone Wild
  10. Something To Remember Me By
  11. When Hell Comes Home
  12. What Baby Wants
  13. I Gotta Get Outta Here
  14. The Underture
  15. Under The Bed*
  16. Poison (Live At Download Festival 2011)*

(* bonus tracks for Classic Rock Magazine limited edition fan pack)

Starring:
Alice Cooper – Lead Vocals & Harmonica

Musicians:
Tommy Henriksen – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals, Programming
Michael Bruce – Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals on “A Runaway Train”, “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” & “When Hell Comes Home”
Dennis Dunaway – Bass, backing vocals on “A Runaway Train”, “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” & “When Hell Comes Home”
Neal Smith – Drums, percussion, backing vocals on “A Runaway Train”, “I’ll Bite Your Face Off” & “When Hell Comes Home”
Steve Hunter – guitars on “Something To Remember Me By”, “When Hell Comes Home” & “What Baby Wants”
Keith Nelson – Guitars & backing vocals on “Caffeine”
Dick Wagner – Lead guitar on “The Underture”
Tommy Denander – Guitars on “I Am Made of You”
Vince Gill – Lead guitar on “A Runaway Train” & “Gotta Get Outta Here”
Ke$ha – Guest vocals on “What Baby Wants”
Rob Zombie – Backing vocals on “The Congregation”
John 5 – Guitar on “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever”
Chuck Garric – Bass
Piggy D – Bass on “Last Man On Earth”
David Spreng – Drums on “Last Man On Earth”
Kip Winger – Backing vocals on “Ghouls Gone Wild” & “The Congregation”
Patterson Hood – Guitar on “Gotta Get Outta Here”
Jimmy DeGrasso – Drums on “I Gotta Get Outta Here”
Pat Buchanan – Guitars
Vicki Hampton – Backing vocals
Wendy Moten – Backing vocals
Scott Williamson – Drums
Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass

Producer: Bob Ezrin

Country: USA

Total Time (including bonus tracks) = 1:02:21

Alice Cooper
Nights With Alice Cooper Radio Show
Sick Things UK

It’s been 36 years since Alice Cooper went solo and released what is possibly his most successful album, the classic and iconic WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE (1975). In that time, Alice has released 17 other studio albums and each one incorporates the horror themes, tongue-in-cheek humor and all out craziness that has become the trademark of his music and image…..but they all owe their conception to the Nightmare. Alice has been on a roll for the last decade releasing albums that have that old school, classic ’70s Alice Cooper Band sound with THE EYES OF ALICE COOPER (2003) and DIRTY DIAMONDS (2005), and the horror film/serial killer epic ALONG CAME A SPIDER (2008), so what does he do? He enlists famed producer (and unofficial sixth member of the Alice Cooper Band) Bob Ezrin, his former bandmates (Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith, Michael Bruce, Dick Wagner & Steve Hunter), and a varied list of guest musicians (Rob Zombie, Ke$ha, Vince Gill & more) to create an album that many people are calling a sequel but, in Alice’s world, it’s a continuation…..WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE (2011). 

After close to four decades after Alice’s original nightmare, his new nightmare is a bit updated but it also gives a nod to the first one. The opening song ‘I Am Made Of You’ starts with a chilling piano that recalls Alice’s classic track ‘Steven’ (the main character and inspiration for the original Nightmare). It’s a very basic song and builds as it moves forward to a bigger sound but with that piano under it all keeping it creepy. Alice puts in a solid vocal and uses some studio effects on parts of his vocal (some may confuse it with Auto-Tune) to add to that creepiness. The guitars and orchestration are added fora grand effect and the song takes on this preview quality of what’s to come. The opening guitar to ‘Caffeine’ sets the manic tone that reflects Alice’s fear of falling asleep…..he’ll do whatever it takes to stay awake so the Nightmare doesn’t begin. “Caffeine, caffeine, amphetamine, a little speed is all I need….“, I think that says it all, he has to stay awake at any cost and you can feel the panic. Alice can’t hold out forever and ‘The Nightmare Returns’ is just that…..Alice starts to fall asleep and it’s almost like he’s singing a creepy lullaby over that chilling piano. For a quick 1:15, the song sets the tone…..Alice is asleep and the Nightmare begins…..

‘A Runaway Train’ is Alice’s reunion with his old Alice Cooper Band bandmates Bruce, Dunaway & Smith along with guitar work from Steve Hunter and a mean guitar solo from country superstar Vince Gill. Alice finds himself stuck on this runaway train heading toward his nightmare at full speed and he’s waiting for the eventual crash. If you listen to the lyrics, Alice is talking to the other passengers on this train to nightmares and he realizes that his fame and fortune will get him nowhere because everyone is equal on this train…..the Nightmare is coming and nothing can stop it and he can’t wake. The song itself sounds like a classic country barnyard hoedown mixed with straight ’70s Hard Rock that eventually ends with the crash. ‘The Last Man On Earth’ has that vaudeville sound mixed with jazz, almost like a marching band…..I could see Alice walking down some deserted street with a ghostly band behind him singing this song at the top of his lungs! Basically, this is Alice immersed in the dream but he’s alone and he realizes he can do whatever he wants…..but is that a good thing? He can’t tell because he knows he’s in his own nightmare. Continuing to ‘The Congregation’, this is classic Beatles if I ever heard it and Rob Zombie is Alice’s guide through the dream. Back on the 1975 record, Vincent Price did the spoken word narrations and now Alice’s good friend Mr. Zombie takes over and he fits in perfectly. I heard someone on a radio show recently say that this song sounded like Cheap Trick but they were Beatles influenced also so it all comes down to the originators and Alice showing off what influenced his musical direction. Alice shows another influence, this time The Rolling Stones (who I prefer to The Beatles), with another reunion song with his old bandmates titled ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’. The guitar is pure Keith Richards, the tempo is classic Wyman/Watts and you could almost hear Mick singing the song but the lyrics are so not the Stones. Even the piano break in the middle of the song sounds Stonsey, a bit of Ian Stewart (the sixth member of the Stones) from Bob Ezrin (the sixth member of Alice Cooper). Obviously, Alice has met a girl in his dream and she may look nice but she has a dark side.

From The Beatles and The Stones we move into disco…..disco? ‘Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever’ is one of my favorite songs on the album, it has a touch of Rap mixed with a disco dance beat but it moves to straight out Metal towards the end. John 5 guests on guitar on this track and he’s one of the best modern guitarists on the scene. The concept here is that Disco is the antithesis of everything Alice stands for and he can’t make the music, or the people, stop. No matter how many he kills, more show up and keep going, so it turns into a bloodbath…..”Bodies here, bodies there, piles of bodies everywhere…..“. Another favorite of mine is the surf rock sound of ‘Ghouls Gone Wild’…..I love that word play on the title “ghouls” replacing “girls” from that highly successful babefest video series Girls Gone Wild. In Alice’s nightmare, the chicks are there dancing on the beach but they’re all dead and he falls for one of course! It sounds like a B-movie horror film concept and I can only describe it as a “zombie beach a go-go” with that Beach Boys sound from the early ’60s. Great guitar work here from Tommy Henriksen and Steve Hunter, they capture that ’60s surf vibe perfectly, and the background vocals ( especially the oooh-aaahs) from Mark Volman (The Turtles), Ezrin and Kip Winger add that extra detail. Comparing both the original NIGHTMARE and NIGHTMARE 2, you need the seminal ballad. On the first album, it was the classic ‘Only Women Bleed’, a song that became one of Alice’s biggest hits…..on the new record, it’s ‘Something To Remember Me By’. It’s got that same sound, that same style vocal from Alice that was so unexpected 36 years ago, it sounds sweet but you realize Alice is singing to this ghoul from the beach party! Classic Alice! One of the things I like to do with these kind of concept albums is follow along with the lyric sheet and, as I write this review, I’m referring to it to follow the storyline because this nightmare is really a story.

Alice’s nightmare continues to themes of domestic violence in ‘When Hell Comes Home’…..kind of like ‘Only Women Bleed’ from the first NIGHTMARE. ‘When Hell Comes Home’ is creepier, more sinister and definitely one of the heavier songs on the album. This part of the dream/story is from a child’s perspective (a young Alice maybe?) about how his Daddy comes home drunk and likes to take his aggressions on the family…..of course Alice turns the tables on Daddy in the end! The are a ton of guest stars on this album and one of the most talked about is pop diva Ke$ha and her performance on ‘What Baby Wants’. I’ll be honest, upon hearing the news of her involvement I was not a happy metalhead because I felt Alice was pandering to get extra fans from the musically uneducated masses. I know all about Ke$ha because I have two daughters and a wife that love Pop and Dance music and I have no tolerance for it. Does anyone expect anything great from an Alice/Ke$ha pairing? I didn’t but I was proven wrong because ‘What Baby Wants’ is a pretty good catchy tune and Ke$ha sounds more Rock than she does Pop. I thought the concept that she is the Devil in Alice’s dream was kind of funny because I such preconceptions of the duet but it works disguising the Devil as a young good-looking woman, she wants his soul and….”what baby wants, baby gets!”. Another classic track is “I Gotta Get Outta Here’ where Alice basically realizes he has to wake up because this nightmare is out of control but he doesn’t realize that he’s already dead! The choir section and Alice’s lines to them at the end is classic. Now that the Nightmare is over for Alice, we receive ‘The Underture’, the grand instrumental finale that uses instrumentation from songs on both NIGHTMARE records to end it all and forever link the two albums.

Now if you’re a big Alice fan like myself then you like to collect everything Alice records and the Classic Rock Magazine special issue for WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE is a really cool deal. I have the original release CD but I also dropped the import price for the special magazine that includes the album with two bonus tracks, poster, Alice make-up, an Alice mask, a School’s Out pin and an issue of Classic rock specially devoted to Alice Cooper. I seem to be buying these up lately, I have this one, the Whitesnake one and I just ordered the Motorhead issue…..they are great collector’s pieces! The bonus tracks include a studio song titled ‘Under The Bed’ and a live version of Alice’s huge hit ‘Poison’ from the 2011 Download Festival. ‘Under The Bed’ is a solid song that is another slow creepy sounding song with that Ezrin piano that gives that scary feel…..it’s all about Alice not wanting to fall asleep because he knows that he’ll have a nightmare and that there are things under the bed that will torment him. It’s a good song and it would probably fit either before or after ‘Caffeine’ in the album sequence. The live ‘Poison’ from Download is a solid performance and, being a veteran of many an Alice concert, the song is a highlight every show. If you were a teen like me in 1989 when TRASH came out, then you know all about the song, the comeback, and the success so the man has to play it and it always fits the theatrical part of his show. It’s a solid recording and performance and I’m hoping that it gets properly released as a live album and DVD and the fact that two more live songs appear on the Canadian deluxe pressing of the album (‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ & ‘The Black Widow’) means that it’s a possibility. Just another quick collector’s note outside the proper album, there are a bunch of different album versions with bonus tracks: the Classic Rock  Magazine fan pack and the Canadian deluxe pressing I mentioned, there’s a deluxe digipak and Japanese pressing that include the other two live tracks but replaces ‘Under The Bed’ with the studio song ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’, the vinyl that has the studio track ‘Flatline’ instead of ‘Under The Bed’ and the iTunes bonus song ‘A Bad Situation’. I haven’t heard any of these other bonus tracks so I can’t review them…..but I will be seeking them out.

Bottom Line:
It’s hard to top one of the most iconic albums in Hard Rock & Heavy Metal but Alice Cooper and his cast of musicians and collaborators have come extremely close. I grew up listening to classic Alice albums and WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE (1975) is so good, so famous, so groundbreaking that topping it is next to impossible and I think Alice knows that so why not just continue the Nightmare? That’s exactly what this record does: it continues to dive into the demented world that is Alice’s dreams only that this time around there is no escape! The entire concept of the album serves as the perfect bridge between to eras of Alice’s career but the latest NIGHTMARE can easily stand alone as it’s own entity, if there never was an original NIGHTMARE album, then this new record would stand alone just as strong. I like the fact that Alice is able to keep his current music fresh and exciting but always giving that nod towards his classic ’70s sound. The music, lyrics and production on the album are top shelf but that’s to be expected when you pair up Alice Cooper with Bob Ezrin and the host of guests that either write or perform on the album. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best Alice record of the new millenium era (2000 to present) and there is some stiff competition for that title with the last three albums (mentioned above) and BRUTAL PLANET (2000) and DRAGONTOWN (2001). WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE is definitely one of the top releases of 2011 for me and I can easily say that it’s currently battling at the top of my list for the #1 album of 2011.

Favorite Songs:
When you have a concept album with such great songs it can be hard to pick out a few songs as favorites because the songs really blend into each other to tell the story. I’ll be honest, I can’t find a bad song on this album and I really do like them all but, if I have to choose four stand-out tracks they would be ‘Caffeine’, ‘Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever, ‘Ghouls Gone Wild’ and ‘When Hell Comes Home’. The songs all either have the Alice humor, the horror or the freakiness that are all his trademarks. I’m also going to give a quick mention here to the Ke$ha collaboration on ‘What Baby Wants’…..way better than I expected.

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

 

Alice Cooper – Theatre Of Death: Live At Hammersmith 2009 (2010, Alive/Bigger Picture)

  1. School’s Out
  2. Department Of Youth
  3. I’m Eighteen
  4. Wicked Young Man
  5. Ballad Of Dwight Fry
  6. Go To Hell
  7. Guilty
  8. Welcome To My Nightmare
  9. Cold Ethyl
  10. Poison
  11. The Awakening
  12. From The Inside
  13. Nurse Rozetta
  14. Is It My Body?
  15. Be My Lover
  16. Only Woman Bleed/I Never Cry
  17. Black Widow
  18. Vengeance Is Mine
  19. Devil’s Food
  20. Dirty Diamonds
  21. Billion Dollar Babies
  22. Killer
  23. I Love The Dead
  24. No More Mr. Nice guy
  25. Under My Wheels
  26. School’s Out (reprise)

Band Lineup:
Alice Cooper – Vocals
Chuck Garric – Bass
Keri Kelli – Guitars
Damon Johnson – Guitars
Jimmy DeGrasso – Drums
Tiffany Lowe – Stage Performer

Producers: Alice Cooper, Shep Gordon & Rob Roth

Country: USA

Total Time (CD & DVD) = approx. 91 minutes each

Alice Cooper

THEATRE OF DEATH: LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH (2009) is a CD and DVD release of Alice Cooper’s headline performance at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London, England. The Theatre Of Death Tour for 2009 was basically a continuation of the same tour Alice has been doing since 2008 in support of his last studio album, ALONG CAME A SPIDER (2008). The only difference between this tour and the previous one is that only one song from ALONG CAME A SPIDER (‘Vengeance Is Mine’) is featured, although the setlist contains most of the classics that Alice normally plays and a few deep tracks and newer songs from albums he’s released over the last 10 years. I saw the current North American tour (with Rob Zombie) back in October and the difference I can tell between the two is that the Hammersmith show has a few extra songs, but it’s primarily the same set, and the stage show/performance is the same.

What you have here is a two disc package in a regular CD jewel case containing the DVD of the full concert and the accompanying audio CD. Basically, both are one in the same except that one is video and one is audio. It’s nice that the two are packaged together so you spend a reasonable amount of money and you get great value. What you’re buying this set for is the DVD, Alice Cooper has such a theatrical and visual show that the only way to appreciate it is to actually see it. How many other artists kill themselves multiple times on stage? There’s the guillotine, noose and an IV needle all set up to kill Alice but, like the tour slogan says: “They keep killing him…..and he keeps coming back!”. The full performance is truly great with the interaction between Alice and stage performer Tiffany Rowe who plays characters like Cold Ethyl and Nurse Rozetta, the different costumes and props and, as mentioned, the different killings of Alice all up against a great backdrop of music.

As far as the setlist goes, you get the classics like ‘School’s Out’, ‘Billion Dollar Babies’, ‘Poison’, ‘I’m Eighteen’ and a whole bunch of others but Alice and the band really lean heavily on the WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE album from 1975 by playing seven out of the album’s eleven songs. I can’t complain about that because I have been an Alice Cooper fan for a long time and I like all the classic records. What adds to the show for me is the newer songs because Alice has really had a rebirth in the album department since 2000′s BRUTAL PLANET on through ALONG CAME  SPIDER, all of them are really solid records. There’s ‘Wicked Young Man’ from BRUTAL PLANET, ‘Vengeance Is Mine’ from ALONG CAME A SPIDER and ‘Dirty Diamonds’ from DIRTY DIAMONDS (2005) and all three come off great in the live set and fit in well to the stage performance.

Bottom Line:
A solid package overall to have the live show captured on DVD and to have the live album for your stereo, car or iPod. There aren’t any extras here, just the same show on both discs, even the booklet is a little sparse but it does fold out to reveal a tour poster. I would call this an excellent live document of where Alice Cooper and his band are in 2010 and if you haven’t seen Alice in concert it’s a great way to experience it. Like I mentioned, I’m a big Alice fan, and I’m still riding a high from seeing him in concert in October, so this CD/DVD package was a must purchase for me and I’ve really enjoyed it. Great music and a great stage performance makes for a great concert and that’s what Alice Cooper always does.

My favorite time of year is here again…..Halloween!

It’s a tradition here at Heavy Metal Addiction to have a Halloween Top 10 and this year is no exception. This all started with the 2007 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10, then I skipped 2008 but the overwhelming emails came to do a new one so last year I did the 2009 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10. I have been through my collection again and I tried not to repeat the same songs again except for a couple that will always be in the Top 10. I always search out a new pumpkin picture to post at the top and, since we lost Ronnie James Dio to stomach cancer earier in the year, I thought this pumpkin I found on Facebook was a fitting tribute.

So here it is, in no particular order (except the #1 spot), the 2010 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10…..

  1. Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’
  2. Alice Cooper – ‘I Love The Dead’
  3. King Diamond – ‘Trick or Treat’
  4. Type O Negative – ‘Black No. 1′
  5. Iron Maiden – ‘The Number Of The Beast’
  6. Judas Priest – ‘A Touch Of Evil’
  7. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Diary Of A Madman’
  8. Dio – ‘Master Of The Moon’
  9. Alice Cooper – ‘Go To Hell’
  10. Black Sabbath – ‘After All (The Dead)’

Bonus Track: Moonspell – ‘At Tragic Heights’

It’s been a while since I posted my latest purchases and I have about two months worth right now! I will try and catch up as quick as I can, my purchases always slow down as the year ends so I should have October’s wrap up in early November. So here it is…..September 2010′s update…..

Online

Accept – Blood Of The Nations (2010) – $24: Buying the new Accept album is a complete no-brainer but I couldn’t find a pre-order price I liked at the usual online stores so I went straight to the Nuclear Blast USA webstore. $22 is a high price for a new CD but that pre-order also got me a new camoulage Accept Blood Of The Nations t-shirt (in XXL), even the shipping was cheap! I placed my order and within a week I was wearing my Udo-styled shirt and rocking out to the new Accept CD…..before the U.S. release date! The other reason why I pre-ordered straight from the label is because I had read online that the initial U.S. pressing would be a special digipak including a bonus track.

Ebay

MainEEaxe – Shout It Out (1984/2010 reissue) & Going For Gold (1985/2010 reissue)- $30: I have had both of these MainEEaxe albums on my radar since I remembered the band when I read their bio in my NWOBHM Encyclopedia. I actually posted a WANTED column for these two albums back in July 2008 and both the original German and Japanese CD pressings still top out at close to $100 on Ebay if you ever come across them. The cheaper idea has always been vinyl but even a good vinyl copy has been running upwards of $15 to $20 lately. I got a tip from former MainEEaxe drummer Nigel Harrison through an email (after he read the WANTED column) that Lemon Records (a division of Cherry Red Records) in the U.K. was re-releasing both albums on CD and including bonus tracks from the various E.P.s and singles the band released. Taking Nigel’s tip, I found a seller on Ebay that had both in stock for pre-order for $15 each and free shipping…..can’t beat that deal!

Newbury Comics

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (3-CD 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2010) – $20: I’m a sucker for these Anniversary Editions of classic Metal records but I’m very picky on which ones I buy. There has to be value, especially if I already own the original release. I look for bonus tracks, unreleased tracks, DVDs and any other extra that will make me pick up another copy of an album I already own. In the case of COWBOYS FROM HELL, I was replacing a cassette. I’ve been slow to replace the last few cassettes I have left but I decided to pony up the extra money for this set: the original album, a live disc and a 3rd CD of demos with deluxe packaging. Pantera is one of those bands that has a couple of holes to fill in the collection so my renewed interest in the band is sparking the hunt! Regular price was $28 so buying it the day it came out saved $8.

Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power (1992) – $12 used: I know what you all are thinking, “You paid $12 for a used CD?”. Newbury Comics was having a used CD sale for one day and it was “Buy 1 Get 1 Free”…..I was looking at Pantera discs and knew that I had this album on cassette so I figured I would spend the extra money on this disc and get a free one making the cost for both $6 each. Logical thinking in my book. I haven’t listened to this album in a long time but it’s still a classic…..even the cover is a classic! And to think that a fan actually subjected himself to that harsh a punch to be on the album cover (or so the story goes). I was pretty psyched to find this used CD because the store had at least six regular priced copies at $17 each, I saved $5 despite the high used price.

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (1990) – $0: I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t you just buy the 3 CD deluxe edition on the same trip?”. Yes I did and I snagged the original pressing CD too! I was looking through all the used CDs and I just couldn’t find one that I really wanted. There were a few that I didn’t have but holes in the Pantera collection were bothering me. In my collection, the CDs are organized alphabetically by artist and chronologically within the artist so, technically, the deluxe edition would be a 2010 release. That would leave a hole even though it’s the same record so I figured that the CD was free and I wouldn’t be taking a big loss on the money. Here’s the kicker: the CD wasn’t used, it was brand new. Somehow a sealed copy was priced for $8 used while the other new sealed copies were priced at $17, I saw the bargain and snatched it. Saved $17.

Heart – Red Velvet Car (2010) – $9: Now I could have gone to Best Buy and bought this album for $8 but I like to support my local independent record stores so i gave the extra buck to Newbury Comics. I’m a big fan of ’70s Rock and Classic Rock, that’s the stuff that was on FM radio when I was a kid, so I have more than a few Heart albums in my collection. I didn’t really know Heart was releasing a new album, I knew they were working on material but the news of this album’s release date passed me by. There’s been a Heart revival on VH-1 Classic and on some of the Classic Rock stations in my area so I figured I’d pick this one up and keep supporting the band. Assuming that regular price for a CD is $15 then I saved $6 even with spending the extra dollar at the smaller store.

Blind Guardian – At The Edge Of Time (2010) – $13: I love Power Metal so its a no-brainer that I’m a Blind Guardian fan. I have been following the band since 1998, the musical renaissance for me when I got a computer and Internet access, I discovered a lot of Metal bands this way and I have been a fan since. Just like Heart, I knew the band was working on new material but the album’s release date got by me. I would buy a new Blind Guardian CD anyway but what made the purchase was that this was the limited edition with the bonus CD of 8 songs, different versions/demos/edits of the songs on the proper album. The other thing was that the regular single CD version was also available and it was also priced at $13…..which one to buy? Regular price for the 2 CD version was $18 so I saved $5…..I can’t see why anyone would buy the single disc version.

Kamelot – Poetry For The Poisoned (2010) – $15: Just like Blind Guardian, I discovered Kamelot in the late 90s when I got Internet access and I have been a fan ever since. The last couple of Kamelot albums haven’t really taken hold of me like I have wanted them to but that didn’t stop me from really looking forward to this album when I received the first press release. This is another album that has a two disc limited edition, this time it’s a bonus DVD, and the price compared to the regular edition was only two dollars more. What made this album even more exciting was that Kamelot was making a tour stop in Worcester, MA at The Palladium and I bought a ticket. After waiting the better part of three months with ticket in hand, Kamelot cancelled the entire U.S. tour because vocalist Roy Khan got ill. At least they didn’t cancel the CD! Regular price would have been $18 so I saved $3.

Lordi – Babez For Breakfast (2010) – $10: I got into Lordi a few years back with their 2006 record THE AROCKALYPSE but I totally missed 2008′s DEADACHE so I figured it would be good to check out the band’s latest album. First thing, the cover is just so cheesy, it reminds me of an old ’80s album cover. I have always been into visual bands like KISS, Alice Cooper, GWAR so I like the whole monster persona the band has and concept that put to the recording. When I was in the record store trolling the racks, I had totally forgotten that Lordi had released a new album and I was about to check out when one of the guys behind the counter decided to start playing the album over the store’s stereo system. Of course, I went right back to the racks and picked this up…..I also stuck around the store a little longer so I could listen to the album. Regular price was $15 so I saved $5 on sale.

Megadeth – Rust In Peace Live CD & DVD – $20: RUST IN PEACE (1990) is the best Megadeth album hands down so when I heard the band was releasing a live album that included a full performance of the album, I was definitely buying! The CD and the DVD were sold separately but on sale for $10 each, there was no way I was buying the CD and not the DVD. I always like it when bands perform a classic album in it’s entirety in concert and it’s even better when you can see the show and then get an official release for your collection. I wish I could have seen this show live but I’ll take the CD for the iPod & car and the DVD for the 52″ HDTV in the living room! The regular price on the CD was $14 and the DVD was a buck more at $15 so i saved a grand total of $9.

Tarja – What Lies Beneath (2010) – $12: I’m a loyal fan so I give artists/bands a second chance when I don’t care for a first or second album…..that was the case with former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen. I always liked Nightwish so when Tarja left the band for a solo career I figured that it would be pretty similar to the Nightwish sound. I picked up Tarja’s second solo album (her first out of Nightwish), MY WINTER STORM (2007), and I never got into it. It was a bad record, it just didn’t grab hold of me and I wanted it to because I paid a decent amount for the limited edition import from Europe. Fast forward to this year and Tarja has a new album but I wasn’t sure if I should buy it. I decided to give tarja another shot and I was able to score the limited edition of WHAT LIES BENEATH with three bonus tracks at a decent sale price. Regular price was $16 so I saved $4.

Alabama Thunder Pussy – River City Revival (1999) – $3 used: Deal of the day! I was browsing one of the delete bins at the record store the same day I picked up the Tarja CD and I couldn’t find anything worth buying, usually those bins are full of Pop and Rap. I checked every letter and then I found this CD in the “P” section…..someone filed this using Pussy as the last name! Good for me because my digging got me a $3 treasure! I know nothing about Alabama Thunder Pussy aside from the cool name and I always mean to pick up one of their albums so I can hear what they are like. Well why not pick up their second album for a cool $3? That’s a good deal to check out a band! Added bonus is that this is the now rare original pressing on Man’s Ruin Records and not the Relapse Records reissue from 2005. I estimate regular price to be $13 so I probably saved $9.

Halford – IV: Made Of Metal (2010) – $10: Buying the Metal God’s new album is a complete no-brainer! How can you NOT buy an album from one of the most prolific voices in all of Metal? I have been looking forward to this new album for a long time…..Judas Priest is my second favorite band so Rob Halford’s solo career is an imprtant off-shoot and/or continuation of Priest for me. I followed Rob from Priest to Fight to Two and on to Halford and all his albums kick ass (except for the Two record), especially his work in Halford. I was going to pre-order this album directly from Halford’s webstore but I knew ahead of time that the record store was going to have a good sale price, I’d rather go to the store and pick up the album than order it online and have to pay shipping. Regular price in-store was $15, same at the Halford website, so I saved $5 but I probably saved more if you factor in shipping costs.

Alice Cooper – Theatre Of Death: Live At Hammersmith 2009 CD/DVD (2010) – $12: Just like the Halford CD, this was a no-brainer to buy because Alice Cooper is one of my favorites and I never miss an album or tour. This was another album I was thinking of pre-ordering direct from the band’s website but I didn’t really want to pay the shipping costs and have a possible delay to to the post office, I want the instant gratification of buying it and having it in my hands! Unlike the Megadeth release above, this live album from Alice is packaged together with the DVD so it makes for a great value to get both a CD and a DVD for 12 bucks! Regular price in the store was $18 so I saved $6 but, if you compare it to Megadeth – RUST IN PEACE LIVE at $10 each for CD & DVD, I got a huge bargain!

Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010) – $10 used: I’ve had my eye on this album since it came out in February but I never picked it up. First, I never bought it the week it came out so I missed the sale price and, once it came off sale, regular price was $17! I like Rob Zombie but not for $17 so I passed and decided I would pick it up if I found it used. Then I saw that the album was getting a re-release with a few bonus tracks and a DVD of videos and my interest renewed. Add to that the ticket I had to the upcoming concert so i figured I’d pick it up and get to know the new music. The day I bought this used was 9/28, the same day the re-release came out. I had my eye on the new release with the bonuses but it was sale priced at $20 and I figured that was too much too spend, what if I didn’t like the album? Turns out I like it a lot but I’ll save that for an upcoming review. Saved $7.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Attack!! (2002) – $6: Deal of the day! I picked up ATTACK!! on the 9/28 shopping spree with the Halford, Alice & Zombie CDs and this was a good bargain because there were two copies of the CD: one regular priced at $15.99 and this one regular priced at $5.99. Someone’s mistake is my gain because I snatched the $5.99 CD as quick as Yngwie can shred! Right off the bat I saved $10. The problem was that I was sure I had this album in my collection already because I have this tendency to blow off new Yngwie records and then I find them cheap. I was sure I had this so I did called home to send either my wife or my daughter upstairs to check my racks…..another problem because my wife was at work and my daughter at school, it was around 11 in the morning! I think I spent about 15 mins re-browsing the shelves trying to think back to see if I had bought this already, I took the chance and I ended up being right.

Total = $206

Total (year) = $1412

Average Price (per item) = $10.46

Total CDs (year) = 123

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Box Sets (year) = 6

Total LPs (year) = 2

Went up to Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut again last night for another awesome concert, this time it was the Halloween Hootenanny featuring Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper with special guests, Murderdolls. I’m a huge fan of Alice Cooper, I’ve seen him live a bunch of times, so the main reason for my going was the Alice show but I’ve also seen Rob Zombie three times and he always put on a big show. Halloween time + Alice Cooper + Rob Zombie = must attend.

Murderdolls setlist

Chapel Of Blood
Slit My Wrist
Die My Bride
My Dark Place Alone
Drug Me To Hell
Nowhere
Hybrid Moments (Misfits cover)
Motherfucker, I Don’t Care

I have never heard any Murderdolls songs so their being the opening band really made no difference to me, the way I looked at it was I was either going to discover a new band to listen to or be bored out of my mind. The only thing I really new about the Murderdolls was that Wednesday 13 and Joey Jordison are in the band and they have a new record that came out a few weeks ago. I almost bought the CD when it came out but I didn’t want to chance it. The band wasn’t that bad, obviously a good fit with their combination of Cooper and Zombie and they appealed to the younger crowd, especially when they swore. I can’t remember but maybe I got just as wild at concerts back in the day when a band member onstage would yell “Fuck!”…..the kiddies ate it up with the Murderdolls. Like I said, decent performance and they made enough of an impression that I will try and check out their two albums soon. As far as the setlist goes, I didn’t know any songs so i had to look it up online.

Alice Cooper setlist

School’s Out (partial)
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Wicked Young Man
Ballad Of Dwight Fry
Go To Hell
Cold Ethyl
Poison
From The Inside
Nurse Rozetta
Be My Lover
Only Women Bleed
I Never Cry
Black Widow Jam
Vengeance Is Mine
Dirty Diamonds
Billion Dollar Babies
Killer
I Love The Dead
Feed My Frankenstein
Under My Wheels

Encore
I’m Eighteen
School’s Out (reprise)

Much to my surprise, Alice Cooper opened for Rob Zombie! I was under the impression that Alice would headline considering the pedigree and bigger setlist compared to Rob Zombie but either they are trading off the headline slot or they are appealling to the younger crowd and having Zombie headline. Didn’t matter because I’ve seen Alice seven other times and even an opening set is just as good as a headline slot. Alice always puts on a solid show, true Shock Rock theater, so his 75-80 mins was jammed with non-stop music and theatrics. Nice to see a lot of my favorite classics like ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’, ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ and ‘Go To Hell’ with a few newer songs like ‘Vengeance Is Mine’, ‘Dirty Diamonds’ and ‘Wicked Young Man’. Actually, ‘Wicked Young Man is kind of old now since it’s release 10 years ago on BRUTAL PLANET! Alice had the full compliment of props, as well as, getting killed four times by guillotine, hanging, hypodermic needle and being put in a box and having spikes pushed through. The show was really good but my only complaint is that some of the songs were shortened and some of the performance seemed rushed. I have seen Alice put on shows that go from 90 mins to 2 hours and the longer he goes the more elaborate, the more exciting the performance is. The setlist and stage show go hand in hand so great music made up for a shortened set and i always like the way Alice incorporates the new songs to fit the plot. A true legend and a great performer.

Rob Zombie setlist

Sawdust In Blood (intro)
Jesus Frankenstein
Superbeast
Scum of The Earth
Living Dead Girl
More Human Than Human (White Zombie cover)
Sick Bubble Gum
Demon Speeding  
(drum solo)
Mars Needs Woman
Pussy Liquor
Never Gonna Stop
Thunder Kiss ’65 (White Zombie cover)
(guitar solo with Munsters Theme and Star Spangled Banner)

Encore
Werewolf Women Of The SS
Dragula
House of 1000 Corpses

Alice Cooper is a hard man to follow but I expected Rob Zombie to put on a very visual show just like the last three times I’ve seen him live. I will admit that I’m not the biggest Rob Zombie fan in the world…..I like White Zombie and his solo stuff but I never seem to get around to buying them, even the new album, HELLBILLY DELUXE 2, I just bought last week and have given only one spin. I knew I would recognize the White Zombie and HELLBILLY DELUXE (1998) songs but I wasn’t sure about the rest of the set. As expected, very visual show with flamepots going the entire time and plenty of props and dry ice fog but what surprised me was just how good the band sounded, it was almost like hearing it straight off the record. Zombie is popular with the younger crowd and they knew all the words to every song but what surprised me most was that I knew a lot of the songs that were post-1998, especially off the new album. Every song just killed live and the newer songs like ‘Jesus Frankenstein’, ‘Sick Bubble Gum’, ‘Mars Needs Women’ and ‘Werewolf Women Of The SS’ were really great…..so much so in fact that I have been playing HELLBILLY DELUXE 2 all day today! Of course, hearing ‘More Human Than Human’ and ‘Thunder Kiss ’65′ was awesome because White Zombie is one of those bands that we all listened to in the early to mid-90s. Overall, Zombie and his band did a solid job of following the legendary Alice Cooper (I still prefer Alice!) and he made a new believer out of me…..now I am going to go out of my way to pick up some of his previous solo albums and I may catch him live again next time around.