CD Scavenger Hunt – June update

Another month behind as usual but here’s a large purchase update from June. I’m breaking it up just a little because the beginning of the month was boring but I caught a huge sale at the record store mid-month and Ebay was really good again…..

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Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 CD (2013) – $14
Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose (2013) – $12
Anvil – Hope In Hell (2013) – $9
Black Sabbath – 13 (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $15
Burning Rain – Obsession (2013) – $10
Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 BluRay (2013) – $14
Megadeth – Supercollider (2013) – $12
Aerosmith – Pandora’s Box (1991) – $20 used

The beginning of the month wasn’t really exciting, just catching some new releases on sale. I picked up the new live Dio CD and the new Black Star Riders (aka Thin Lizzy) and I wanted the Dio BluRay but they only had Finding The Sacred Heart on DVD. Opened the Amazon app on my phone and started price comparisons while in the store! Found the Dio BluRay for $14 saving $2 in the process compared to the in store sale price. I started comparing the prices on the new Anvil ($4 difference), Black Sabbath ($2 difference), Burning Rain ($6 difference), Megadeth ($1 difference) so I placed an order right away. I saved $15 by checking my phone while in the record store! I know, buying online kills record shops, and I’m against killing record shops but how can I deny saving $15 online compared to the SALE prices in the store? And I also saved the sales tax! I ended up taking that $15 savings and applying it to a used original pressing of the Aerosmth Pandora’s Box set for $20 so the store still got my business.

W.E.T. – Rise Up (2013) – $18
Snakecharmer – s/t (2013) – $18
Gloryhammer – Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife (Deluxe Edition) – $0
Jorn – Traveller (2013) – $18
Timo Tolkki’s Avalon – The Land Of New Hope (2013) – $17
U.D.O. – Steelhammer (2013) – $0
Children Of Bodom – Halo Of Blood (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $16
Bon Jovi – What About Now (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $15 used
Rhapsody Of Fire – Live From Chaos To Eternity (2013) – $0
Anthrax – Among The Living (1987) – $8 used
Anthrax – I’m The Man (1987) – $8 used
Slayer – Christ Illusion (2006) – $0 used
Anthrax – Spreading The Disease (1985) – $6 used
Warrel Dane – Praises To The War Machine (2008) – $4 used
Mercyful Fate – Into The Unknown (1996) – $0 used

I’ve been debating the Amazon vs. record store thing for a while but you can never pass up a great sale at the record store. Newbury Comics had a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” on all CDs mid-month so I decided to drive the 20 minutes to the Warwick, RI location with my daughter for some bargains. Is it wrong to teach my kid that you have to be first in line at the door before they open and you race for everything? That’s how it was back in the day. Of course, we were first but also the only ones there…..we got first dibs! Within 15 minutes the place was packed but I already grabbed a handbasket and had the major purchases inside. The goal was to get a lot of new releases from this year that I’ve passed on and I did an awesome job.

(Here’s a tip for all you record store rookies…..if you have the opportunity to go to the record store before a big sale like this, go immediately and put all the CDs you really want in one spot. That way you won’t miss out! I like to hide Metal CDs in the Classical section the day before. Who really shops the Classical section? How many times do you think the staff organizes the Classical section?)

Guilty as charged, I went the night before and hid 9 new releases. Did I think I was going to miss out? Maybe…..its happened before. And what if I was late getting there? Good thing I was in the area the day before! So the first 9 CDs were all high priced new releases NOT on sale (the staff usually pulls most sale stickers in advance). Some of these releases are imports (that means anything from Frontiers Records) so the new album from the Jeff Scott Soto led W.E.T. and the new Snakecharmer were $18 each but I saved $18 getting the limited edition Gloryhammer CD for free. Jorn Lande’s new album, Traveller, was expensive (AFM Records) at $18 and so was Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, The Land Of New Hope, at $17 but I scored the new U.D.O. album for free and saved $17. Saved $35 so far! I saved another $14 when I got the latest double disc live album from Rhapsody Of Fire for free when I paired it with the deluxe edition of Halo Of Blood from Children Of Bodom for $16 on sale and a $15 used copy of Bon Jovi’s What About Now (also deluxe). If you look at these CDs, the Rhapsody Of Fire was on sale for $14 but regular was $16 and both Children Of Bodom and Bon Jovi had regular prices of $22!

After I grabbed all the “hidden” CDs, I started on the used bins. I found three Anthrax albums I didn’t have on CD but have on cassette, an original pressing of Slayer’s Christ Illusion (recently reissued), and two cheap copies of Warrel Dane and Mercyful Fate. I saved $7 on the Slayer by pairing it with two Anthrax CDs, and I saved $4 on the Mercyful Fate. Total savings on free CDs this trip = $60.

Richie Sambora – Stranger In This Town (1991) – $5.50 used
Bruce Kulick – Audio Dog (2001) – $12.70
Cutty Sark – Die Tonite (1984) – $10 used vinyl
Cutty Sark – Heroes (1985) – $10 used vinyl
Rainbow – Finyl Vinyl (1983/1999 2CD reissue) – $13 used
KISS – Monster (International Tour Edition) – $16
Coney Hatch – s/t (1982) – $7 used vinyl
Coney Hatch – Outa Hand (1983) – $7 used vinyl
Coney Hatch – Friction (1985) – $7 used vinyl
Cheap Trick – Sex, America, Cheap Trick Box Set (1996) – $17.50 used

Can’t forget Ebay! I always watch Ebay daily because there have always been bargains since I joined in 1999. It’s not the same as it was back then but, if you search properly, the bargains are still there. I found the Richie Sambora solo album while watching a Bruce Kulick solo album from the same seller. I missed Bruce Kulick but got Richie Sambora and then had to go to another seller and pay slightly extra for Audio Dog. I picked up the two Cutty Sark vinyl LPs while searching for Die Tonite on CD at a decent price. After careful communication with the seller about the LPs condition, I pulled the trigger and paid a little extra for fast shipping. Finyl Vinyl fills the last hole in my Rainbow collection and it’s the complete two disc version and the international edition of KISS Monster was necessary for the bonus track ‘Right Here Right Now’ that was only previously available on iTunes. Add the digipak format and poster along with the bonus track to make it even more necessary for this KISS diehard. Technically, my international version is from Canada and this is the 4th version I own of this album (I also have the original release, the Wal-Mart zine pak and the Best Buy version with the 3D cover)…..all I need is a Japanese import or a German version with the alternate KISS logo! I bought more vinyl while researching Coney Hatch CDs and I got copies in really awesome condition but the real gem from Ebay this month was the Cheap Trick box set Sex, America, Cheap Trick. I’ve been immersing myself in all things Cheap Trick and I had to have this rarities box set but it’s out of print and high priced most of the time. I picked this up for $15 plus $2.50 shipping because the seller misspelled Cheap as “Cheep”. Another bargain through someone else’s mistake!

Total = $339.70

Total (year) = $1446.50

Average Price (per item) = $10.88

Total CDs (year) = 116

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =7

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NOTE:
Just to compare, here’s the mid-year totals from 2012…..

Total (year) = $1171

Average Price (per item) = $8.87

Total CDs (year) = 127

Total DVDs & Blu-Rays (year) = 5

CD Scavenger Hunt – April update

April was another big month of finds in the record store and online…..here’s what I got in April…..

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Sevendust – Black Out The Sun (2013) – $10
Kvelertak – Meir (2013) – $10

First trip of the month was a quick one to my usual record store just to pick up the latest Sevendust and Kvelertak CDs. Nothing really exciting or exotic about this purchase but I got two new albums for $10 each and saved $6 on each one compared to the regular price.

Michael Schenker Group – Temple Of Rock Live In Europe (2CD) (2013) – $13
Michael Schenker Group – Temple Of Rock Live In Europe (DVD) (2013) – $13
Queen – Hungarian Rhapsody (2CD/BluRay) (2013) – $26
Royal Hunt – 20th Anniversary Special Edition (3CD/DVD) (2013) – $14.30

The second trip of the month was for the Newbury Comics 35th Anniversary sale where everything was 35% off. This was where I was going to make some long overdue expensive purchases! I didn’t have a lot of time though so I went to my usual location close to the house and I picked up the latest Michael Schenker live album and DVD ($13 each, saved $7 each) the Queen – Hungarian Rhapsody (2CD/BluRay) ($26, saved $14) and the Royal Hunt 20th Anniversary (3CD/DVD) ($14.30, saved $7.70). I’ve had my eye on these for a while and I knew the sale was coming so I put all of them together on one shelf in the Music DVD/BluRay section and walked in, grabbed them, paid quick and went home.

Dio – Magica (picture disc) (2013) – $22
Skid Row – United World Rebellion Chapter 1 (2013) – $6
Kobra & The Lotus – s/t (2013) – $13
Ghost B.C. – Infestissumam (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $12
Warbeast – Destroy (2013) – $12

Into Eternity – The Scattering Of Ashes (2006) – $4 used
Rainbow – Down To Earth (1979/1997 reissue) – $8 used
Iced Earth – Live In Ancient Kourion (2CD/DVD) – $17

RECORD STORE DAY!

I never miss Record Store Day and there was a line again this year at the Newbury Comics North Attleboro store. I’m not a big vinyl collector, just select Heavy Metal vinyl, so I only had my eye on one thing…..the Dio Magica picture disc. So, while everyone was going for these limited edition vinyl releases for RSD, I went over to the CDs and got what I needed. Saved $17 on all the new releases by getting them on sale plus I scored an Into Eternity CD I needed for $4 used and the 1999 remaster of Rainbow’s Down To Earth from 1979 (Graham Bonnet on vocals) for $8 used. I browsed around for a bit while the fury of the vinyl frenzy died down, then I walked over and plucked my Dio pic disc from the bin for $22. A little expensive but a limited edition numered copy.

Whitesnake – Made In Japan (2CD/DVD) (2013) – $15
Cauldron – Tomorrow’s Lost (2013) – $14
Tom Keifer – The Way Life Goes (2013) – $10
George Lynch – Legacy E.P. (2012) – $6

Last trip of the month to the record store to grab the new Whitesnake (2CD/DVD), Tom Keifer and Cauldron albums on sale, saving $13 total off the regular sticker price and adding in a George Lynch E.P. for $6 new. Quick, easy and home with new treasures.

Blue Murder – s/t (1989) – $5 used
Faster Pussycat – s/t (1987) – $5 used
Faster Pussycat – Whipped! (1992) – $5 used
HARD – Time Is Waiting For No One (2010) – $10 used

Signal – Loud & Clear (1989) – $10 used
Tygers Of Pan Tang – Ambush (2012) – $9 used

Ebay was a good place in April because I picked up some harder than usual to find CDs. I got the Blue Murder and both Faster Pussycats from the same seller so I saved on shipping as well as price! Everything mint and cheap…..goodbye to those old cassettes! The HARD album replaces a digital promo the label sent me back in 2010, a little pricey but there was $3 shipping added to the $7 winning bid. The same seller sold me the Signal album as well so the shipping was free on that because I bought the HARD disc. I’ve been trying to track down an original copy of Loud & Clear for years but there’s always a bidding war upping the price. There have been a few reissues along the way as well but this copy was original and mint condition so I didn’t mind paying the extra money for it. Last Ebay find was the last Tygers of Pan Tang album, Ambush, from 2012. $9 used instead of $20 import price? A great deal!

Cheap Trick – The Complete Epic Albums Collection Box Set (2012), Live At Budokan (30th Anniversary Box Set) (2008) – $100

I registered at Pop Market.com years ago and there are good deals from time to time. I’ve been eyeing the Cheap Trick box sets for a long time and I was actually watching both on separate auctions on Ebay but this offer of both together for $100 plus free shipping was a great deal. I pulled the trigger immeadiately.

Y&T – Earthshaker (1981), Mean Streak (1983), In Rock We Trust (1984), Down For The Count (1985) (all Japanese imports) – $75

My last deal was for four Japanese imports of Y&T albums that I didn’t have. I was watching these for $25 each (that’s $22 + $3 shipping each disc) on Ebay but I waited because there were no bidders and the listings were flooded with the same CDs. Once the auctions for all four ended, I privately contacted the seller and politely requested a non-Ebay private sale at a lower price. $75 plus free shipping was my offer and the seller took it. I saved $25 off the initial Ebay listings and I can live with that, especially for mint Japanese imports with all the inserts inside!

Total = $444.30

Total (year) = $822.80

Average Price (per item) = $11.75

Total CDs (year) = 61

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 3

Total LPs (year) = 1

Total Box Sets (year) =5

CD Scavenger Hunt – February update

February turned out to be a bit of a slow month but I was able to catch a good sale mid-month and I grabbed a couple CDs of Ebay…..no matter how slow it is, there are always bargains to be found!

Newbury Comics, Best Buy & Ebay

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Hammerfall – Gates Of Dalhalla (2CD/DVD) (2013) – $25
Holy Grail – Ride The Void (2013) – $12
Pink Cream 69 – Ceremonial (2013) – $18
Helloween – Straight Out Of Hell (2013 Deluxe Edition) – $17
CrashDiet – Savage Playground (2013) – $0

Dio – Stand Up & Shout (The Anthology) (2003) – $16 used
Christian Mistress – Possession (2012) – $14
Rival Sons – Pressure And Time (Deluxe Edition) (2011) – $0
Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall (2013) – $12
T&N – Slave To The Empire (2012) – $10
Rammstein – Sehnsucht (1997) – $0
Lordi – The Monster Show (2005) – $6 used
Lordi – Get Heavy (2002/2008 reissue) – $5 used
Lordi – Deadache (2008) – $0
Buckcherry – Confessions (2013) – $7
Michael Schenker Group – Michael Schenker Group (1980/2009 reissue) – $12
W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children (1989) – $6.50 used
Y&T – Contagious (1987) – $6.50 used

There wasn’t really much action in February, the holiday releases are over and bands are looking to mid-year for new albums so they can promote on tour in the Spring and Summer months. There were a few good new releases that came out and I hit the Newbury Comics in North Attleboro on 2/7 for the new Hammerfall live package and the latest album from Holy Grail. I’ve been a Hammerfall fan since they started in 1997 so I’ll buy every new release they have right away and Gates Of Dalhalla was no exception especially when it’s on sale! This is a cool live double CD with the show also on DVD in one package on sale for $25 (regular $30). I like getting these type of releases where its a package with both the audio and video, nothing is worse than a band releasing each format separately and charging MORE for the CD version (are you reading Iron Maiden?). I also picked up the new Holy Grail album on sale for $3 off the regular $15.

The second trip a week later found me banging on the door of the Newbury Comics Warwick location at 10am. Why? Buy 2, Get 1 Free on all new and used CDs! I will always take advantage of a sale like that so I was first in the door and immeadiately started snapping up some new releases I passed by so far this year. Unfortunately, the store is smart and they take any sale stickers off older new releases (does that sound right?) to make us pay the regular price but I’m slick and scouted the store out the day before. I immeadiately grabbed the new Pink Cream 69, Helloween and CrashDiet albums because they were all high priced. $18 and $17 are high prices for CDs but they are imports and I got the CrashDiet for free when it was also $17 regular price…..that ends up working out to just under $12 per CD. I picked up the Dio anthology used to complete the collection even though I have all the songs already on the proper albums and I was able to pair it with the latest Christian Mistress album and the freebie being the latest Rival Sons album, Pressure And Time, a deluxe edition that was priced for $12. After I bought the new Circle II Circle and the latest from the ex-Dokken members in T&N (Tooth & Nail), I added the only album I know from Rammstein for free instead of dropping the $10 on the used sticker. I also decided to pick up the rest of the Lordi albums to fill out my collection and I got Deadache for free ($4 used).

My last trip on the hunt for the month was to my local Best Buy to use up a $5 off coupon that was about to expire. There’s not much music in Best Buy anymore so it came down to buying the new Buckcherry album and saving the $5 off the $12 regular price. The good thing is that I love Buckcherry so this wasn’t a desperation purchase, I’ve been a fan of the band BEFORE the first album got released and BEFORE everyone got on the ‘Crazy Bitch’ single years later.

Of course, no month would be complete without a couple of Ebay purchases. I ended up scoring the 2009 reissue of the first Michael Schenker Group record with a ton of bonus material for a “better than Amazon” price of $12 (includes shipping). I also picked up original pressings of W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children and Y&T - Contagious for $6.50 each (that’s with shipping included!). The Y&T album was one of those CDs I just kept putting off for a great price but the W.A.S.P. album was a search that had to be fulfilled because I sold all my original pressings of the first six W.A.S.P. albums years ago when the remasters came out. The remasters sound horrible when you compare them to the original (something I didn’t really do back 10 years ago) so I’m on the search for all of them, the problem is that the original pressings are hard to find now.

Total = $167

Total (year) = $378.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.46

Total CDs (year) = 37

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

The 2012 Heavy Metal Addiction Awards

2012 is over so that means it’s time for my year end awards! It’s been another awesome year for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with so many releases on CD, DVD, Vinyl and Digital formats, not just new studio albums but also live records, reissues and special edition releases. I have had more albums submitted for review this year from bands, labels and PR agents as digital promos have taken over as the easiest way to get the word out as quickly as possible and I have done my part as a consumer and purchased plenty of new and old albums & DVDs from record stores, Ebay, online vendors and direct from bands and labels. The only problem has been finding the time to do through everything!

With all this music it’s been every hard to keep up so this has been the worst year for posting but I have made a serious push in November and December to listen to as many CDs, and watch as many DVDs, as possible to prepare for my year end lists. I said the same thing at the end of 2010 & 2011 but 2012 was in fact the worst year for posting at Heavy Metal Addiction…..I only managed to post 19 times! I couldn’t even break 20 posts on a blog I started 7 years ago as an extension of my hobby! Pathetic! Obviously sitting in front of a computer writing wasn’t something that interested me again this year.

I did listen to a lot of albums this year but I stayed mainly with albums in my collection even though I have piles on my desk, and in boxes right next it, chock full of CDs and DVDs released in 2011 and 2012. I bought a ton of new releases as they came out and I’ve spent some time listening to them, I just didn’t get around to writing about them. I haven’t completely abandoned this website as I plan to continue it because there’s a lot to write about and I will try and catch up on as many reviews as I can but the reality is that there’s no way to “catch up”. I think it’s best to try and concentrate on 2013 and add in what I can from previous years.

I have been re-listening to as many 2012 albums that I can since November so I can post my year end awards. Usually I break this up into a week’s worth of posts but I decided to take advantage of a couple new WordPress features and do it all as one big article. I’m pairing down my lists a bit to give you the absolute cream of the crop in each category and I’ve also decided to re-define a couple categories. This year the Best DVD category will include DVDs that came with CD releases, because that seems to be the current trend,  and the Worst Album category will get a name change to Most Disappointing Album so I can try and maintain some positive spin…..but if an album makes it into this category, then I thought it sucked! Last is the Miscellaneous Release category, that stays the same but there could be some crossover between this and the Best DVD category with all the multiple CD and DVD or Blu-Ray combo releases coming out. I tried to limit the crossovers but the best package is going to get on both lists.

That’s all I’ve got for changes so I hope you enjoy the 2012 awards, please leave comments and give me your thoughts on what was the best & worst of the past year. I’ve got my sights set on 2013 and I expect and even bigger year in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal as I keep checking out new releases and catching up on things I missed from the last couple of years.

The Top 15 Albums of 2012

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  1. Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
  2. UFO – Seven Deadly
  3. 3 Inches Of Blood – Long Live Heavy Metal
  4. KISS – Monster
  5. Accept – Stalingrad
  6. Nightwish – Imaginaerum
  7. The Darkness – Hot Cakes
  8. Kamelot – Silverthorn
  9. Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
  10. Testament – Dark Roots Of Earth
  11. Rush – Clockwork Angels
  12. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last Of A Dyin’ Breed
  13. Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway
  14. L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever
  15. Lamb Of God – Resolution

There were a ton a great albums in 2012 but only one album can earn the top honor of being the best of the year and that is reserved for A Different Kind Of Truth from the “reunited” Van Halen. By reuniting with David Lee Roth a few years ago, the only thing the Van Halen brothers had to do was release a new album with Diamond Dave on lead vocals. Let’s call it like it truly is: this isn’t a TRUE Van Halen reunion because Michael Anthony is out of the band and replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang. The good news is that A Different Kind Of Truth is a great album! Forget the fact that Eddie and Alex went through the Van Halen tape vault for ideas because EVERY band does it…..hasn’t the father of Heavy Metal, Tony Iommi, stated often that he has tapes of riffs for miles? Every band looks for ideas and revisits demos and music they created years before, it’s the updating that counts. This album has that unmistakable classic Diamond Dave/Van Halen sound circa the late ’70s and early ’80s and, even though he’s a bit older, Dave does a great job on the mic. The first single, ‘Tattoo’, wasn’t the best song on the album and might have been better suited to a follow-up single but everything after is classic Van Halen. ‘She’s The Woman’ is a re-worked demo from the ’70s that is clearly the best song on the album for me and it definitely fits that 1984 album era well. ‘China Town’, ‘Blood And Fire’, ‘Stay Frosty’, ‘Big River’…..all new Van Halen classics that sit right up against anything in their back catalog. A Different Kind Of Truth is the true follow-up to 1984, unfortunately 28 years after the fact, and it’s my top album of 2012.

Taking a look at the rest of the Top 5…..UFO released Seven Deadly and earned the 2nd spot with another excellent album of bluesy Hard Rock. UFO has done much wrong since they came back in 1995 and I can’t find a weak track on the album. Phil Mogg’s lyrics are modern poetry and there is no slack in the guitar department because Vinnie Moore has more than a few albums under his belt with the band. Hard to pick a favorite track here but ‘The Last Stone Rider’ is my favorite this week! Had Van Halen not released their new record, UFO would easily be #1. The third best goes to 3 Inches of Blood with Long Live Heavy Metal, probably the best pure and traditional Heavy Metal record of the year. Take one listen to the opener ‘Metal Woman’ or the Judas Priest influenced ‘Leather Lord’ and that’s a great example of not only this record but the band’s career. Of all the Metal albums I heard this year, 3 Inches of Blood got the most rotation on my stereo and iPod. My favorite band KISS comes up a bit short of the top spot but still maintains the #4 album with Monster. When it comes to KISS, I’m extremely critical because they are my favorite band and they have barely released anything since new in 15 years. We got Sonic Boom in 2009 and it took the top spot that year and Monster is just as good but I had a harder time getting into it like I did with Sonic Boom. Maybe it was the anticipation of the previous album, or the travelling circus atmosphere that KISS creates with everything they do, but after repeated listens the album is just as good if not better. Anyone worrying about Dave, Eddie and Alex recycling should give Gene Simmons grief too because it’s obvious he does it but his songs are the better ones on the album. Paul Stanley has great moments too but I worried about his vocal issues going in and Gene hasn’t lost a step vocally. a lot of good songs here: ‘Wall Of Sound’, ‘Back To The Stone Age’, ‘Shout Mercy’ and ‘Eat Your Heart Out’…..here’s hoping they give us another one! Rounding out the Top 5 is Accept’s Stalingrad, the second record to feature new vocalist Mark Tornillo (formerly of TT Quick). The last Accept album with Mark debuting on vocals, Blood Of The Nations, was a superb record and Stalingrad is a great follow-up and it might be more powerful. I think Accept shares the same fate as KISS here, the anticipation for the first new album was so high on my part that a second release suffers just a little. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered’, the title track, and ‘Shadow Soldiers’ are awesome tunes but can anyone explain the meaning behind ‘Flash To Bang Time’?

Rounding out the Top 15…..Nightwish’s Imaginaerum was very close to the Top 5 but came up short because they first 5 albums were so good. I expected nothing from The Darkness but I bought Hot Cakes when it came out and I loved it immeadiately, same thing with Silverthorn from Kamelot despite the change at singer. Gojira was a surprise of the year because I’d never bought an album from them before and L’Enfant Sauvage kicked major ass, so did the new Testament album at #10 and the new Lamb of God at #15, giving the more extreme side of Metal a presence. Rush picked up #11 with Clockwork Angels but I expected a great album so their was no surprise there but Lynyrd Skynyrd surprised with their latest album proving that good music always prevails despite the genre, time or legacy. Lita Ford had a great comeback with Living Like A Runaway, a very introspective Hard Rock record, especially after the debacle of Wicked Wonderland and L.A. Guns proved that they still write great songs and that usually the lead singer’s version of the band will always out do the founding guitarist’s version because the singing voice is the most identifiable thing to most fans.

The 5 Most Disappointing Albums of 2012

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  1. Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension
  2. Steve Harris – British Lion
  3. Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves
  4. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
  5. Great White – Elation

Usually I call this “the worst albums” of whatever year it is but I wanted to keep a positive spin on this category because who am I to say an album sucks? I have no musical talent, I don’t write songs or play an instrument. I could change it back next year if a bunch of albums do indeed suck but, for 2012, these are the most disappointing records of the year. I heard the first two singles from the new Aerosmith album and I was hooked right away, especially with ‘Lover A Lot’, but the bulk of Music From Another Dimension sounded formulaic and forced. Too many outside writers, too many ballads, too many predictable songs. Do we need another Diane Warren ballad? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and the ballad is what gave the band ultra-success from the Pump record straight through Nine Lives. I was really looking forward to a reunited Aerosmith and a bunch of rocking songs but there’s too much filler. Take a page from KISS…..lock the band in the studio and do it mostly yourself.

There was a lot of surprise when it was announced Iron Maiden’s founding bass player, Steve harris, was releasing a solo album that he had been working on for a long time. With Maiden’s hectic schedule, who knew? Apparently Steve did and he enlisted musicians from a band he had been producing called British Lions, to create the British Lion record. It’s supposed to be a throwback album to the days of classic Thin Lizzy and UFO that had a big impact on a young Harris but, aside from the hard Rock style, I didn’t hear much of the influences. Let’s call it like it is: anything Steve Harris does outside of Iron Maiden will always be compared to Iron Maiden. There’s a different style to the music on this album compared to Maiden but I expected the same excellent quality from Steve. The songwriting seems too pedestrian, too simplistic……then again, we are used to epic lyrics on Maiden albums. The band can play well but Steve seems pushed back purposely in the mix (probably due to the Hard Rock style) and the singer has no range…..then again, we are spoiled with Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden. There’s no helping the comparisons to Iron Maiden but the quality of the material just lacks on this solo album from Steve Harris.

Rounding out the Top 5 here…..Geoff Tate’s new solo album comes on the heels of his split with the Queensryche camp, who are no strangers to this category! In the back of my mind, I knew this wouldn’t be good but I had hope but Kings And Thieves was just plain boring. Same thing with Apocalyptic Love from Slash. Slash is an iconic guitarist and hopes were high for this album with lead singer Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) but it was just boring. remember that Izzy Stradlin and Axl Rose were the creative forces in Guns ‘N Roses, not to say Slash didn’t contribute, but anything he does will always come back to Guns…..and even then, Guns only had two albums of classic material with Appetite For Destruction and if you cherry pick off the Use Your Illusion albums. Last album in this category is Elation from Great White, featuring former XYZ singer Terry Ilous on vocals replacing the fired Jack Russell. I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on this album but, for me personally, it comes down to the voice and Jack Russell’s fits the bluesy Hard Rock of Great White’s music better than Terry Ilous. It’s by no means a bad album and, considering the vocalist change, it a solid effort. I just couldn’t get into it and I expected a bit more after the last two records, Back To The Rhythm and Rising.

The Top 5 DVDs of 2012

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  1. Scorpions – Live In 3D: Get Your Sting & Blackout
  2. Iron Maiden – En Vivo!
  3. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  4. Queen – Days Of Our Lives
  5. Ozzy Osbourne – Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82

This year I decided to included DVDs and/or Blu-rays that came with CD releases or box sets because this seems to be the way bands and labels are adding something extra for fans. My favorite DVD of the year is also the first Blu-ray release I ever bought…..Scorpions – Live In 3D: get Your Sting & Blackout. An excellently produced concert film with plenty of extras, this got the top spot because I saw this tour live over the summer and that put Live In 3D over the top. The Scorpions needed that emotional attachment because iron Maiden delivered another excellent DVD in a long line of excellent DVDs with En Vivo! Does Iron Maiden ever do anything wrong went it comes to video releases? Plenty of awesome concert footage from Santiago, Chile and plenty of documentary film as well the only thing I could complain about is to package the DVD or Blu-ray with the double CD live album for a special package (that’s the next category). The new Saxon DVD is solid and part of the Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 release, the DVD incorporates the band’s best performances from the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany for 2004, 2007 and 2009…..that’s 31 songs! and some behind the scenes footage and you’ve got a Saxon fan’s dream DVD, only bettered by the super limited edition box set of this release that included separate DVDs of the full concerts. Had I been able to get one of those, Saxon would own the top spot easily. Rounding out the Top 5 is the Queen documentary, Days of Our Lives, finally getting a proper DVD release and the famous often duplicted, VHS only Ozzy Osbourne concert Speak Of The Devil: Live At Irvine Meadows ’82.

The Top 10 Miscellaneous Releases of 2012

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  1. Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009
  2. UFO – The Chrysalis Years (1980 – 1986)
  3. Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else
  4. Motorhead – The world Is Ours Vol.1: Everywhere Further Than Everywhere Else
  5. U.D.O. – Celebrator
  6. Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance (30th Anniversary Edition)
  7. KISS – Destroyer Resurrected
  8. U.D.O. – Live In Sofia
  9. Dio – The Very Beast Of Dio Vol.2
  10. Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival ’83

I never like to put these kind of releases into my top albums category because I like to reserve that for albums of new material but there are always other great new releases aside from new studio albums and 2012 was no exception.

The #1 spot goes to the 2CD/DVD release from Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken 2009 because that was my favorite release with the DVD of the best of the band’s last 3 appearances at Wacken Open Air and the double audio CD from Glascow on the Call To Arms Tour in 2011. My only regret is not knowing about the preorder for the limited edition that came with extra DVDs and CDs but it was also a couple hundred bucks. The second slot goes to the second volume of the UFO back catalog on Chrysalis Records from 1980 thru 1986. You get 5 CDs that include the 5 post Michael Schenker albums (No Place To Run, The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent, Mechanix, Making Contact, & Misdemeanor) all with bonus tracks, plus a full BBC In Concert from February 1980 and the live tracks from the Headstone compilation from Hammersmith 1983. I was lucky to have the label send me a copy but to get all this at retail for around $50 is a steal! I already have all the UFO albums on Japanese import with bonus tracks but this is another great compilation for a great band.

The #3 and #4 spots belong to Motorhead with The World is Ours Vols 1 & 2. I couldn’t decide which was better so I put the second volume first because it was fresher in the memory. Both sets have 2CD live sets and a live DVD in great packaging just like the Saxon set. Their label UDR is really putting out great stuff! U.D.O. also gets 2 slots in this Top 10 with the Celebrator two disc compilation of rare tracks and the Live In Sofia 2CD/DVD set. I put Live In Sofia at #8 but it’s a solid live package, AFM Records doing what UDR is doing and, for $14 on sale, it was a no brainer. The Celebrator album is really great because it collects all those hard to find Japanese bonus tracks remixed, some previously unreleased songs and a few songs from various tribute albums. I could have done with out the remix treatment and had the originals but I’m sure that was done to get thru legal label red tape. Its a great compilation of 25 songs on two discs with a great full color booklet. I put the Judas Priest Screaming For Vengeance 30th Anniversary Edition in at #6 more for the DVD from the US Festival ’83 than anything else, same with Quiet Riot at #10…..now that makes three bands that have released live DVDs of their US Festival performances (Triumph did it a few years ago). KISS released Destroyer Resurrected and it made #7, basically it was a 36 year celebration release restoring all the original artwork and having producer Bob Ezrin remix the album. It’s a nice novelty to have especially for the original guitar solo on ‘Sweet Pain’ as a bonus track but I will admit that my KISS fanaticism pushed this higher. Last to mention is The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 covering the best of the Dio band’s work from the ’90s up until Ronnie’s death, the track here to have is ‘Electra’ the first completed song from what would have been from the Magica II album that the band was working on when Ronnie James Dio passed away.

3 Releases I Missed In 2011

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  1. Royal Hunt – Future Coming From The Past DVD
  2. Benedictum – Dominion
  3. Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination

Just a quick note on a couple releases I missed out on in 2011…..the Royal Hunt DVD is a formal worldwide release of the Japan only video release of Live 1996 and, even though it’s all over Youtube, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. Benedictum keeps churning out great albums and their third, Dominion, is awesome as is Forever Abomination from Skeltonwitch, a band I finally got around to checking out in 2012.

CD Scavenger Hunt (April update)

Still catching up on posting my purchases…..here’s what I bought in April…..

Newbury Comics

Accept – Stalingrad (2012) – $10
Municipal Waste – Fatal Feast (Waste In Space) (2012) – $10
Jeff Scott Soto – Damage Control (Deluxe CD/DVD) (2012) – $20
Fastway – Eat Dog Eat (2012) – $15
Roulette – Lifeline (2011) – $4 used
Primal Rock Rebellion – Awaken Broken (2012) – $10
Into Eternity – Incurable Tragedy (2008) – $4 used

I made a few trips around the Rhode Island area to various Newbury Comics locations because I wasn’t banging on the door of the closest store on consecutive Tuesdays for new releases! My first trip to the North Attleboro, MA store netted me the new Accept, Municipal Waste and Jeff Scott Soto albums all at sale prices. The Jeff Scott Soto album is the limited edition with bonus tracks and bonus DVD so it’s still a pricey $20 but, when it’s an artist I enjoy, I will always pay the extra money. The second trip on the second Tuesday of April was where the problems started this month! I went to my usual Attleboro location for two new releases, Fastway and Adrian Smith’s new side project Primal Rock Rebellion, but I got there about an hour late and the two copies of Primal Rock Rebellion were sold! Not to be shut out, I had the store call the Warwick location to hold a copy for me. After I bought the new Fastway on sale, and added a dirt cheap used copy of Roulette’s LIFELINE (2001), I went the 25 minutes to Warwick, RI for the Primal Rock Rebellion album and added a cheap used copy of Into Eternity’s INCURABLE TRAGEDY (2008) to make the drive worth it.

Ronnie James Dio – The Elf Albums (1994) – $12 used
Shark Island – Gathering Of The Faithful (2006) – $1 used (was $10)
Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination (2011) – $10 used
Rush – Caress Of Steel (1975) – $1 used (was $9)
Skeletonwitch – Breathing The Fire (2009) – $8 used
Rush – Power Windows (1985) – $1 used (was $8)
Rush – s/t (1974) – $8 used
Elegy – Forbidden Fruit (2000) – $1 used (was $7)
Rush – Grace Under Pressure (1984) – $7 used
Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes – Loaded For Bear (The Best of) (1999) – $1 used (was $5)
From The Inside – Visions (2008) – $6 used
DeAllen – Twisted Inside (2000) – $1 used (was $6)
Arabia – 1001 Nights (2001) – $6 used
Black Robot – s/t (2009) – $1 used (was $4)
24K – Bulletproof (2001) – $4 used
Faith Circus – s/t (2006) – $1 used

The third trip of the month came just a few days later because there was a used CD sale, “Buy 1 get 1 for $1″, so I made sure I was outside the door of the Attleboro location early so I could grab some of those used albums I’ve been watching for a while. I use these sales to fill up some band collections quick and I had two bands in mind: Rush and Skeletonwitch. The problem on this sale was that the used CDs were a little thin compared to how many they usually have so there wasn’t a ton of Metal to chose from but I did get the Skeletonwitch records I was looking for and I was able to add four more Rush albums to fill those holes up but I also grabbed a couple of gems that I had been eye-balling with the Elf collection and the Shark Island reunion record. If you look at the prices, I listed the actual used prices for the $1 CDs and, after Rush – s/t & Rush – Grace Under Pressure, all the used CDs came from a special bargain bin the store’s had for years. What I like most about this type of sale is that the store takes the highest price CDs and pairs them all together for maximum savings instead of pairing the highest price with the lowest price, etc.

Dario Mollo & Tony Martin – The Third Cage (2012) – $18
The Sign – The Second Coming (2004) – $6 used

April was kind of a thin month for new releases so I started to search for for the new Mollo/Martin album because I never saw it in Attleboro or Warwick. I found it at the Providence Newbury Comics at the mall which is a dead zone for Metal and Hard Rock because it caters more to the Pop and Rap demographic of the area. I was a little surprised to actually find the CD at this location on a rare trip into the Providence Place Mall so I also bought The Sign’s second album at a nice used price while I was there.

Ebay (includes shipping)

King Kobra – s/t (2011) – $13
Black ‘N Blue – Hell Yeah! (2011) – $9

Just a little Ebay action this time around…..I found both the latest King Kobra and Black ‘N Blue albums for decent prices. I already had both as downloads from the label but I need the CDs for the collection. Both CDs were mint condition but the Black ‘N Blue CD was a pressing from Argentina. Nothing against pressings from other territories but I prefer the U.S., European or Japanese pressings because I’m worried about bootlegs. HELL YEAH! is from Argentina but the booklet shows that it was licensed from Frontiers Records for release so I felt a bit better about it. I wish the seller had noted the pressing in the auction but what can you do?

Amazon

Scorpions – Lovedrive (1979) – $7

My wife was buying a book so we needed something to else to get the free shipping on Amazon so I threw in a copy of LOVEDRIVE with the original cover. I already have LOVE DRIVE with the “scorpion” cover so it’s not like I was missing anything., it was a quick impulse buy.

Sentinel Steel

Sergeant – s/t (1984) – $15

Last but not least, I ordered this Sergeant reissue from Sentinel Steel mailorder because I noticed the price start to rise on Ebay. This limited edition reissue was released through Stormspell Records a few years ago but it’s sold out. The CD arrived and I found the booklet inside was damaged…..not good at all. I’m not going to return the CD because it’s too much hassle but I will keep my eys open for a copy on Ebay and sell the damaged one cheap at some point.

Total = $210

Total (year) = $868

Average Price (per item) = $8.35

Total CDs (year) = 99

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt (December update) — The Final Hunt of 2011

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.

CD Scavenger Hunt (August update) – The Birthday Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total = $225

Total (year) = $669

Average Price (per item) = $8.26

Total Savings (month) = $225

Total Savings (year) = $670

Total CDs (year) = 75

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

 

Metal Mixtape – 3/13/11

Tale of the Tape
Ipod 120
8370 songs (725 albums)

I usually work a double shift Saturday night into Sunday morning so good Metal music is a must on the overnight. I usually listen to a lot of new albums but I have to start the overnight (the 2nd part of my long shift) with some familiar tracks to get the blood pumping. Here’s the first 20 songs (band-song-album-year):

  1. Dio – ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Children’ – Sacred Heart (1985)
  2. Dio – ‘I Could Have Been A Dreamer’ – Dream Evil (1987)
  3. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘I Just Want You’ – Ozzmosis (1995)
  4. Great White – ‘Rock Me’ – Once Bitten (1987)
  5. Guns ‘N Roses – ‘Anything Goes’ – Appetite For Destruction (1987)
  6. Van Halen – ‘I’ll Wait’ – 1984 (1984)
  7. Def Leppard – ‘Armageddon It’ – Hysteria (1987)
  8. Whitesnake – ‘Fool For Your Loving’ – Ready An’ Willing (1980)
  9. Scheepers – ‘Cyberfreak’ – Scheepers (2011)
  10. Quiet Riot – The Wild And The Young’ – QR III (1986)
  11. Scorpions – ‘The Zoo’ – Animal Magnetism (1980)
  12. Firewind – ‘The Ark Of Lies’ – Days Of Defiance (2010)
  13. Helix – ‘Best Mistake I Never Made’ – Vagabond Bones (2009)
  14. Accept – ‘Flash Rockin’ Man’ – Restless & Wild (1982)
  15. Metallica – ‘Holier Than Thou’ – The Black Album (1991)
  16. Cinderella – ‘Winds Of Change’ – Heartbreak Station (1990)
  17. Crazy Lixx – ‘Road To Babylon’ – New Religion (2010)
  18. Yngwie Malmsteen – ‘Death Dealer’ – Perpetual Flame (2008)
  19. Diamond Head – ‘It’s Electric’ – Lightning To The Nations (1980)
  20. Primal Fear – ‘Black Sun’ – Black Sun (2002)

Bonus Track: AC/DC – ‘War Machine’ – Black Ice (2008)

The Top 5 DVDs of 2010

2010 wasn’t a bad year for music DVDs but I think it was very similar to 2009. In 2009, there weren’t that many notable DVDs released from the big name bands and a lot of bands used DVDs as special bonuses in first pressing of new releases. I also missed a few DVD releases in 2009 and that carried over to 2010 as well. The difference between the last few years, aside from Iron Maiden not releasing an awesome DVD this year, is that I made sure I picked up a few more DVDs. Actually, this turned out to be one of my better years for DVDs, I think I acquired about ten and all of them were very well done. Bands and labels are continuing to raise the bar by putting a lot of content into these DVDs so that the fans get a lot of value for their hard earned dollar. So here is my list of  The Top 5 Music DVDs of 2010:

#1

The Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) – Live From Sofia, Bulgaria (2010): Technically this is a box set but the reason you’re buying the box set is to see the concert. It was obvious from the second I opened the package that this was going to be the DVD of the Year because the expectation of seeing all four Thrash heavyweights on one bill, and then on one stage together, was the whole point. As far as content goes, this was definitely the best DVD. You got full sets from each band, along with the ‘Am I Evil?’ jam during the Metallica set, and they were all great performances. There was also enough bonus footage of the backstage are and the ‘Am I Evil?’ rehearsals to make that a special add-on. Maybe the fact that I got the DVD in the box set has something to do with it because the box set did include the audio CDs, booklet and photo cards but the DVD can be purchased separately and, if I got that version, it would still be at the top spot.

#2

Michael Schenker Group – The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live In Tokyo (2010): I’m putting Michael Schenker in the second spot because this was a tour souvenir for me after I caught the show in Foxboro, MA a few months later in July. Michael Schenker has been one of my favorite guitarists for a long time and the early MSG albums are still classics. When I caught the show in July, it was one of the best concerts I’d seen this year, if not all-time, Michael and the band put on a great show. This concert in Tokyo is basically the same show I saw in Foxboro with a little different running order, a couple extra songs and a different touring lineup. The concert is superb and it’s obvious that the magic between Schenker and original MSG singer Gary Barden is still there. Not a lot of extras here (some backstage footage and interviews) but the performance more than makes up for it with classic songs and great musicianship.

#3

Jeff Scott Soto – One Night In Madrid 2009 (2010): ONE NIGHT IN MADRID 2009 was released in Europe in late 2009 but got a proper U.S. release in early 2010 along with the two disc live album. Not only is Jeff Scott Soto one of the best Rock singers in the business, he is also extremely fan friendly when releasing CDs and DVDs. This DVD set includes the 21 song setlist from Sala Heineken in Madrid and and extensive bonus section that is longer than the main show! The Madrid show includes songs from all over Soto’s career and is a superb performance. The bonus section features eight music videos from Soto’s solo albums and second bonus section that includes behind the scenes tour footage and a tribute to Marcel Jacob, Soto’s bandmate in Talisman who passed away unexpectedly in 2009. The total running time for the single DVD is 4 hours & 5 mins but the concert itself is only 1 hour & 42 mins long…..that means there’s over 2 hours of bonus material. Now that’s really giving the fans something extra! This DVD would have easily made the #2 spot but the MSG performance was just a bit more special because I had seen it live. ONE NIGHT IN MADRID is a very close 3rd…..maybe if the live album was included in the package instead of a separate release it would have put it in 2nd.

#4

Halford – Live In Anaheim (2010): LIVE IN ANAHEIM is another one of those releases that got a separate DVD and a separate live CD release, it would have been nice to have the whole package together but that’s another issue. This DVD is two parts: Part 1 is a band documentary including four songs performed in Tokyo, Japan in February 2003 and Part 2 is the full 19 song concert in Anaheim from June 2003. This Halford footage is prior to Rob Halford reuniting with his Judas Priest bandmates so the Halford band was his only focus and, at the time, they were promoting and touring the band’s then latest record CRUCIBLE (2002). The band’s performances are tight, Rob is in fine form vocally and the Anaheim setlist is varied enough where there are twelve Judas Priest songs but seven songs coming from CRUCIBLE, RESURRECTION (2001) and some songs from Rob’s days in Fight. Personally, I would prefer more solo/Fight/Halford tunes than the Priest stuff because, well, it’s Halford but at least Rob and the band pull out some lost Priest nuggets like ‘Rapid Fire’, ‘Never Satisfied’ and ‘Riding On The Wind’.

#5

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe (2010): This Heaven & Hell live DVD captures the band live headlining the Thursday night opening day of the 2009 Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. Obviously, with the death of Ronnie James Dio, NEON NIGHTS: LIVE IN EUROPE is the final recorded document of the Dio-era Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell…..ten months later, Ronnie would pass away. This DVD is the basic Heaven & Hell concert in support of the band’s latest studio album THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009) and it’s basically the same set that I saw a month later in Boston. As far as extras go, just a couple of interview segments with each band member including Ronnie. I’m adding this DVD in ahead of a few others I have because the performance is superb and the impact of the music is great. If this is the way we remember Ronnie James Dio and his time in Sabbath, then this is the way to do it.

The Best Miscellaneous Releases of 2010

Not every album released is a new studio album…..but it sure seems like they are! Every year there are a ton of live albums, greatest hits packages, reissues, remasters, box sets, special edition and limited edition releases that flood the marketplace. Sometimes there are multiple versions of these releases depending on which part of the world they are released in!

The one important criteria I have each year for the best and worst albums lists is that the albums have to be new studio albums…..or at least promoted as new studio albums. The problem is that some of these live records and greatest hits packages are quality releases and there’s nothing like getting a really good reissue of some long out of print album you’ve been searching years for. That’s why this year I’m creating this new list to recognize some of the quality non-studio, non-original releases that have found their way into my collection. There were a lot of different releases that I picked up that weren’t studio albums so I’m only going to list my ten favorites. So here are my Best Miscellaneous Releases of 2010…..

Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol Deluxe Edition (1987/2010): Black Sabbath is one of my favorite bands and the Tony Martin era of the band is one of the most underrated eras of any band. It’s no secret that I prefer the Dio era and the Martin era to the Ozzy era (I like the Ozzy era too!) so I’ve been collecting these Sabbath deluxe editions all along. The original release of THE ETERNAL IDOL was in 1987 and was the last album under Sabbath’s Warner Bros. contract but did you know that Tony Martin wasn’t the original vocalist that recorded the album? Sabbath fans know that Ray Gillen, who replaced Glenn Hughes on THE SEVENTH STAR tour and would go on to front Badlands, did the original sessions. When Gillen left Black Sabbath, Tony Martin was brought in to re-cut the vocals and properly join the band. The original album is remastered and it sounds great but the gems here are the two B-Side singles ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Some Kind Of Woman’. Disc Two is the collectible for fans who don’t trade bootlegs: the Ray Gillen sessions! These sessions have been widely available in traders’ circles but I could never acquire a copy…..now I don’t have to!

Dio – At Donington, UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (2010): As a huge Dio fan, Ronnie’s death in May really affected me, the thought of my heavy metal heroes passing away was unbelievable because the music and the bands have meant so much to me for the last 28 years. With no new music coming from the Dio camp, unless there’s some unreleased material, it’s good to see that Ronnie’s wife and manager, Wendy Dio, is releasing archival material like this live set. Both shows have been cleaned up and sound great, you can hear the awesome power in Ronnie’s voice and both lineups are extremely tight. Both the 1983 and the 1987 sets are awesome but I keep reaching for the second disc for the DREAM EVIL setlist with tracks like ‘Dream Evil’, ‘Naked In The Rain’ and ‘All The Fools Sailed Away’ among the other Dio anthems and the Black Sabbath and Rainbow classics. Disc 1, the HOLY DIVER set, is no slouch either and might be most fans’ favorite of the two but I like the deeper tracks on Disc 2. A great live CD set that truly honors one of the greatest singers in Metal history.

Judas Priest – British Steel (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2010): Judas Priest have been my second favorite band since 1982 and BRITISH STEEL (1980) has been a big reason why. This 30th anniversary set was hard to come by because I wanted the three disc version rather than the two disc and it was definitely worth the search. The remastered album is already in my collection because it’s the same as the 2001 remaster but the reason to buy this is the live CD and DVD recorded in Florida on the 30th Anniversary tour. I saw the show in Mansfield 10 days before this show so the performance is like a tour souvenir for me. There are a lot of deluxe edition and limited edition reissues of older albums flooding the marketplace now and it’s good to see that some of them have the quality bonus material that this package does. My only complaint is that the label put out two versions: this one and a 2 disc without the live CD, it makes things confusing for the fans and harder to find what you want.

Keel – The Right To Rock (25th Anniversary Edition) (2010): Has it really been 25 years since THE RIGHT TO ROCK came out? 1985 doesn’t seem that far away! The Keel reunion and new album was one of the reasons why THE RIGHT TO ROCK got a proper reissue on Frontiers Records. I’m putting this album in this list because I’ve had this album on both vinyl and cassette but a CD version is very hard to find. There may have been a Japanese CD edition back in 1985 but I have no information and the Metal Mayhem reissue from 2000 seemed a little basic, a little “bare bones”, even though it was officially endorsed by Ron Keel himself. The remastering sounds great and it’s cool to get a couple of bonus tracks but I would have like a little more in the way of extras. The selling point for me was getting a definitive official CD reissue to add to my collection.

Jorn – Dio (2010): This album wasn’t without some controversy with it’s release coming quickly after Ronnie James Dio’s passing but this album was already made and ready for release when Dio passed so it was just a matter of bad timing. I’m not a fan of cover songs but I can do a tribute or covers album…..odd, isn’t it? The selling point here was the original song and video ‘Song For Ronnie James’ that was to be Jorn’s special tribute to the man who influenced him as a singer. Then the balance of the album would be Jorn and band covering different Dio songs. What made this one of the better non-studio releases was the tracklisting, Jorn went through the Dio catalogue and picked out a lot of songs that don’t normally make it into Dio’s “greatest hits”. Songs like ‘Invisible’, ‘Sunset Superman’, ‘Push’, and ‘Shame On The Night’ were all good to hear as part of the tribute instead of the usual fare like ‘The Last In Line’ and ‘Holy Diver’.

MainEEaxe – Shout It Out (1984/2010 reissue) & Going for Gold (1985/2010 reissue): One of the things I like to collect is bands and albums from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and these two MainEEaxe albums have been on my radar for a long time. These two reissues are great because they have all the criteria needed: bonus tracks, extensive liner notes and credits and pictures. A lot of care on the part of Cherry Red Records/Lemon Recordings went into these packages because everything is here including album and single artworks. What makes these reissues worth it is that all the bonus tracks are songs from MainEEaxe’s hard to find singles and E.P.s…..if you do the research, every song the band recorded is on these two reissues in proper order and the singles and E.P.s are noted in the credits. When you’re talking hard to find records from the mid-80s, it’s good to get everything together on CD, I wish every reissue could be done so well.

Savage Grace – The Dominatress/Master Of Disguise reissue (2010) & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into the Night reissue (2010): As if the two MainEEaxe reissues weren’t enough, Limb Music takes reissuing to another level with these two sets from Savage Grace. I have had the album cover for MASTER OF DISGUISE in my mind for years from when I was a record store junkie as a kid, and I just recently got around to buying it on vinyl, but I wanted proper CD versions of all the band’s albums to preserve my pristine LPs. You can tell Limb went above and beyond with these reissues by adding in all the songs from Savage Grace’s hard to find demos and the RIDE INTO THE NIGHT E.P. (1987). That alone is the selling point aside from a proper CD pressing but then there are lyrics to all the songs, pictures, extensive liner notes and band history. One of the things I was looking for on these reissues was to see if the original album artwork would be retained because it’s a bit X-rated for our time 25 years later and it is. Image this album artwork on store shelves today!

Triumph – Greatest Hits Remixed (2010): Normally a greatest hits collection wouldn’t get my juices flowing but Triumph always puts out great releases when they have full control. Back in 1989, a greatest hits package titled CLASSICS was released by MCA Records but, by then, Triumph was basically over as far as the classic lineup went and CLASSICS was a quick cash in as the band’s contract ended. There hasn’t been a Triumph compilation since but, now that the band has the rights to their music catalogue, they have created their own. This is a two disc set including a DVD of 14 music videos and the Canadian Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, that’s the selling point because it’s a great package for the price. The music CD sounds great and you can tell that the band took good care in remixing the songs for the best sound. The only problem I have is that some of the songs, when compared to the originals, sound different. I’m not one for redoing the original to the point where you can pick out obvious differences and I picked up on this when I sat down and compared these remixes to the originals…..yes, I did compare the two! Aside from that small complaint, it’s great to get so much music for so little money. I paid $12 for two discs (14 songs & 14 videos), similar packages released this year were much more expensive and didn’t have that much content.

David Rock Feinstein – Bitten By The Beast (2010)

David Rock Feinstein – Bitten By The Beast (2010, Niji Entertainment)

  1. Smoke On The Horizon
  2. Evil In Me
  3. Break Down The Walls
  4. Metal Will Never Die (featuring Ronnie James Dio)
  5. Kill The Demon
  6. Rocks Boogie
  7. Give Me Mercy
  8. Run For Your Life
  9. Gambler Gambler

Musicians:
David Rock Feinstein – Guitar, Bass & Vocals
Nate Horton – Drums
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals on ‘Metal Will Never Die’
Carl Canedy – Drums on ‘Metal Will Never Die’
Garry Bordonaro – Bass on ‘Metal Will Never Die’

Producer: David Rock Feinstein

Country: USA

Total Time = 44:30

David Rock Feinstein
Bitten By The Beast.com
David Rock Feinstein MySpace page
The Rods
Ronnie James Dio/Niji Entertainment

You may know David Rock Feinstein as the current guitarist/vocalist for the New York Heavy Metal legends The Rods but he was also a member of Elf with his cousin Ronnie James Dio. Feinstein has been on the music scene for close to forty years, playing on Elf’s debut album, releasing seven albums in the ’80s with The Rods and one record under the band name Feinstein but it’s his family affiliation with Dio that most fans knwo about. BITTEN BY THE BEAST is Feinstein’s second solo record (the first was 2004’s THIRD WISH by the band Feinstein) and the main draw is the final studio recording of Ronnie James Dio on vocals. This record has been a two year labor of love for Feinstein who plays all the instruments except the drums, cut all the vocals except for the Dio led ‘Metal Will Never Die’ and was the producer. The album has been released on Niji Entertainment (Wendy Dio’s company) and not only features Ronnie James Dio on ‘Metal Will Never Die’ but a full Rods reunion with Carl Canedy (bass) and Garry Bordonaro (drums) also playing on the track.

I am Metal and I will never die….” A very prophetic and eerie line in ‘Metal Will Never Die’. Like I mentioned, the draw here was the last studio recording of the late Ronnie James Dio on ‘Metal Will Never Die’…..honestly, this is the only reason why I bought the album. ‘Metal Will Never Die’ is a slow, doomy Sabbath style song that fits Ronnie perfectly…..always the consumate professional, Dio puts in a solid vocal performance. Listen closely after the opening guitar intro and as Dio starts singing, the rhythm section gets into a groove that has touches of the underlying rhythm parts of the Black Sabbath classic ‘Heaven & Hell’. As I mentioned, Carl Canedy and Garry Bordonaro of The Rods join Feinstein and Dio on this song and that also leads us into the ineveitable Rods reunion, I heard there’s an album being worked on right now! Obviously, this song is going to get BITTEN BY THE BEAST the most mileage in the press and it should, it’s the best song on the album. I’ve heard a couple of interviews with Feinstein about the production and mixing of this song, and of the album, and Ronnie was also involved in the mixing process.

Now that we have the Dio portion of the album out of the way, how does the rest of the album stack up? The rest of BITTEN BY THE BEAST is a meat & potatoes, old school ’80s Metal feast that features your basic guitar, bass , drums and vocals all primed to Rock. Feinstein vocals are very raspy and gritty and at times I hear a but of Brian Johnson (AC/DC) and Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) in his delivery. There really isn’t a set style to all the songs but more of a wide range of styles that include straight Heavy Metal on tracks like ‘Smoke On The Horizon’, ‘Evil In Me’, ‘Kill The Demon’, ‘Break Down The Walls’ and’Give Me Mercy’, to a southern Blues Rock boogie groove on ‘Rocks Boogie’ that sounds like ZZ Top mixed with AC/DC, to Power Metal on ‘Run For Your Life’, to a ’70s sludge on ‘Gambler Gambler’. This entire record is based on one thing…..the guitar. Every single song has killer riffs and solid solos, they may be basic guitar parts compared to the intricate stylings of current day Metal guitarists but Feinstein does a solid job of putting the riffs out there and in your face. What draws me in is the old school Metal sound, it all sounds dated and you can hear the influences on some songs: ‘Evil In Me’ and ‘Kill The Demon’ have that Dio sound, ‘Break Down The Walls’ has Judas Priest written all over it and the Black Sabbath influence on ‘Metal Will Never Die’ is obvious.

Bottom Line:
I’m an old school metalhead so I enjoyed BITTEN BY THE BEAST. The songs may sound dated but they are well done and definitely in your face. The songs are catchy,powerful and well written and performed, that’s all you can really ask for in a true Heavy Metal record. The obvious reason to buy this album is ‘Metal Will Never Die’ with the late Ronnie James Dio on vocals but I think that song also overshadows what is a pretty solid album. I’m not taking away from the Ronnie song, it’s an integral part of the album, but if people buy this and don’t go beyond to the other songs then it’s a waste. Take that one song off the album and you still have a solid Metal album that’s worth checking out.

Favorite Songs:
‘Smoke On The Horizon’, ‘Break Down The Walls’, ‘Metal Will Never Die’

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe (2010) CD & DVD

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights – Live In Europe (2010, Eagle Rock/Armoury Records)

  1. E5150 (DVD only)
  2. Mob Rules
  3. Children Of The Sea
  4. I
  5. Bible Black
  6. Time Machine
  7. Fear
  8. Falling Off The Edge Of The World
  9. Follow The Tears
  10. Die Young
  11. Heaven & Hell
  12. Country Girl (DVD only)
  13. Neon Knights

Band Lineup:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Scott Warren – Keyboards & Backing Vocals

Executive Producers: Terry Shand & Geoff Kempim (for Eagle Rock Entertainment)

Country: USA & UK

Total Time (CD) = 1:14:30
Total Time (DVD) = approx 2 hrs & 30 mins

Heaven & Hell
Ronnie James Dio
Tony Iommi
Black Sabbath Online

NEON NIGHTS : LIVE IN EUROPE is a CD and DVD release of Heaven & Hell’s headline performance in Germany, at the Wacken Open Air Festival on July 30, 2009. This is the last professionally recorded performance from the band and of the late great Ronnie James Dio. This wasn’t the band’s final performance because the tour, supporting their latest album THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009), continued throughout the world and I was lucky enough to see the show in Boston, MA a month later. That tour stop in Boston was a great concert and will always be one of my favorite shows because I was right up front and dead center, it turns out that it was also the next to last stop on the world tour and the next to last live performance Ronnie would ever have. Sadly, Ronnie James Dio passed away from stomach cancer almost a year later on May 16, 2010. So what we have here with NEON NIGHTS is two separate releases: a CD version and a DVD version. If you’re going to buy one, I’d pick the DVD because they are both around the same price but the DVD has a little extra.

DVD:
The DVD version of NEON NIGHTS captures Heaven & Hell’s headline concert of the first day of the Wacken Open Air Festival in the Summer of 2009. It’s the full setlist shot with mulitple cameras along with two interview segments as bonuses. As far as the setlist goes, this is the exact same set that I ended up seeing in Boston about a month later…..a bunch of classics and three new songs from THE DEVIL YOU KNOW. Even though Black Sabbath with Dio only released three studio albums, there are plenty of classic tracks to choose from including ‘Mob Rules’, ‘Die Young’, ‘Heaven & Hell’ and ‘Neon Knights’ but, the tracks I like the most are ‘I’ and ‘Time Machine’ from the highly underrated DEHUMANIZER (1992) album. The difference on the setlist on the DVD is that the ‘E5150′ intro is shown in it’s entirety at the beginning and an abbreviated version of ‘Country Girl’ is played and segues into ‘Neon Knights’ to close the show. It’s a great performance, a great concert with timeless music and flawless performances. All the members are top notch on their instruments and, for a man around 66 yrs old at the time and battling the early stages of stomach cancer, Ronnie gives another spectacular performance. The bonus features include 30th Anniversary interviews with each band member. VH-1 Classic’s Eddie trunk interviews Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice and Geezer Butler while Classic Rock Magazine’s Malcolm Dome interviews Tony Iommi, all the interviews focusing on the timeline of Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell history over the last 30 years. There really isn’t anything new to these interviews if you’ve followed this version of the band over the years, the band history is pretty much recalled the same by all four member, what is interesting though is the will and desire to continue with the current lineup making new music and touring. These interviews were done before Ronnie’s death so, at the time, the plan was to continue with Heaven & Hell. Another round of interviews with Tony, Geezer and Vinny were added as a tribute to Ronnie after his passing and they are basic quick segments of each member remembering their friend and bandmate.

CD:
The CD version of NEON NIGHTS has an almost identical performance compared to the DVD, the only differences being the omission of the ‘E5150′ intro at the beginning and the abbreviated ‘Country Girl’ that moves into ‘Neon Knights’. There’s not really much to say regarding the CD aside from that, the booklet, pictures and liner notes are exact to the DVD version and there are no bonuses.

Bottom Line:
I really enjoyed NEON NIGHTS: LIVE IN EUROPE because it was a tour souveneir for me and a last look at Ronnie James Dio in action. My favorite Black Sabbath lineup has always been the Dio era and Heaven & Hell is a continuation of that era just with a slightly different name. Taking a good look at the entire package, I can’t help but wonder why Eagle Rock/Armoury Records didn’t just put the audio CD in with the DVD and charge one price for one package, it would be easier that way for fans. I hate to call it a “cash in” or a way to put extra product on the shelves after Ronnie’s passing because this was scheduled to come out anyway, and the concert performance is great, I just wish there were a few more extras remembering Ronnie. Overall, a good concert that was captured on audio and video and it will be the live document that will carry the Sabbath/Dio legacy forward. Well worth picking up on DVD, the CD is for diehards and completists.