Tyr - Valkyaja

CD Scavenger Hunt – January 2014 update

Here we go…..another late post…..another late update on my continuing quest for new additions to my collection…..

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PlanetHelix.com

Metal On Ice
Helix – A Heavy Mental Xmas (2008)
Helix – All I Want For Christmas…is the Leafs to Win The Cup! (7″ vinyl) - $35 bundle

Ebay

W.A.S.P. – Inside The Electric Circus (1986) – $8 used
W.A.S.P. – Live…In The Raw (1987) – $11 used
W.A.S.P. – The Crimson Idol (1989) – $8 used
Rhett Forrester – Gone With The Wind (1984/2001 reissue) – $9 used

Sammy Hagar & Friends (2013) – $7.25
King Kobra – II (2013) – $7.25
Coney Hatch – Four (2013) – $7.25
Little River Band – Cuts Like A Diamond (2013) – $7.25
Nightwish – Oceanborn (1998) – $10 used
MSG – Nightmare: The Acoustic MSG (1992) – $10 used
Great White – s/t (1984) – $5.50 used vinyl
Great White – Out Of The Night E.P. (1983) – $5.50 used vinyl

Amazon

Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise (2013) – $12
Tyr – Valkyrja (2013) – $10
Benedictum – Obey (2013) – $15
KISS – Best of Vol. 3 (The Millenium Collection) (2006) – $7

Newbury Comics

MSG – Bridge The Gap (Ltd. Ed.) (2014) – $24
Scorpions – MTV Unplugged: Live In Athens (CD/DVD) (2014) – $12
Iced Earth – Plagues Of Babylon (Dlx. Ed.) (2014) – $16
Nashville Pussy – Up The Dosage (Ltd. Ed.) (2014) – $16
Michael Monroe – Horns & Halos (2013) – $14
Lita Ford – The Bitch Is Back…Live (2013) – $0
Dream Theater – s/t (2013) – $14
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only (2013) – $10 used
Trouble – Distortion Field (2013) – $0 used
Circle II Circle – All That Remains E.P. (2005) – $4 used
Andersen/Laine/Readman – Three (2006) – $4 used
Sinner – There Will Be Execution (2003) – $0 used
Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For (2013) – $18
Helker – Somewhere In The Circle (2013) – $10 used
Firewind – Few Against Many (2012) – $0 used

I started off the year with a major bang by scoring a lot of older releases and many 2013 releases that I received digital promos for from the labels. One of my resolutions for 2014 was to acquire more older catalog releases…..albums that have been missing from my collection for a long time.

My first purchase was from PlanetHelix.com, the official website of Brian Vollmer and Helix. The had a holiday bundle that included the Metal On Ice album, the Helix holiday CD and a bonus 7 inch vinyl single of the new Helix holiday song for a cool $35. I bought the deluxe package with the Helix t-shirt and baseball cap for $75.

Ebay was awesome for great buys early this year! I scored original Capitol Records pressing of the three W.A.S.P. albums that are missing from my collection. I’ve always had the entire W.A.S.P. discography be it on cassette back in the ’80s, the original pressing CDs and then the reissues with bonus tracks in the late ’90s. I sold my original pressings of all the W.A.S.P. albums about ten years ago when my wife and I were strapped for cash when our second daughter was born, and I sold them for decent bucks, but I’ve regretted it ever since. It’s been an on again/off again search for these original pressings but I finally decided to acquire them all once I found a seller that had them all up at once. Same thing happened with the Sammy Hagar, King Kobra, Coney Hatch and Little River Band CDs, these were all one lot at a great price from a reputable seller. I had all the digital promos but I wanted the first three albums in my collection, would have passed on the Little River Band if it was alone but it was a great price for the 4 CD lot. The other CDs I grabbed of Ebay were ones I stumbled on when I was searching some of my favorite sellers but my favorites were the two Great White vinyls I won for $5.50 each…..both original pressing in near mint condition.

I had to kill an Amazon gift card that I received for a Xmas present so I picked up some 2013 releases: Kill Devil Hill, Tyr and Benedictum. All were cheaper than actually buying them from the record store and, to round out my gift card, I added the KISS – Millenium Collection 3 compilation for completist purposes.

I did actually go to the record store three times to start the year! I stopped by the North Attleboro, MA Newbury Comics to pick up the new Michael Schenker Group album and I dropped $24 on the limited edition digibook with the bonus track featuring Don Dokken on vocals. I know that’s a lot of money but Michael Schenker is one of those artists that I will spend the extra money on. Luckily, I caught the sale because regular price on that bad boy was $30! While I was in store I added the new Scorpions MTV Unplugged CD/DVD and the new Iced Earth to the MSG album, both were on sale and I saved $5 and $8 respectively. The Scorpions release was cheaper on sale than on Amazon and it’s the CD/DVD version, same with the new Iced Earth which was also a CD/DVD combo.

My second trip out to the stores was to catch a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale on all CDs. I made it up to the the big Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA (nice vinyl section there!) and scored mostly 2013 releases that I never bothered to pick up. I’ve been a Nashville Pussy fan since their first record so I needed Up The Dosage and I saved $3 buying the deluxe edition (2 bonus tracks) for $16 on sale. I paired it with Michael Monroe’s latest (also on sale for $14, saving $3) to get the Lita Ford live album free (also on sale for $14, regular $17). I paired the latest Dream Theater (also on sale for $14 from $17) with a used copy of the Phil Anselmo CD ($10 used instead of $16 regular) to get the latest Trouble album free $10 used instead of $16 regular). My last bundle was a few older releases that were all $4 used: Circle II Circle + Andersen/Laine/Readman = Sinner for free.

On the way home from Norwood, I hit the North Attleboro store to buy the latest Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For for a high priced $18 regular price, paired with a used $10 copy of the latest Helker album to get Firewind’s Few Against Many free. I already bought the Firewind album once and I uploaded it into my iTunes but I realized that the used copy I bought mid-year in a record store was NOT the jewel case version I thought it was. Upon further review, it was a ripped in half digipak version stuffed into a jewel case and priced as used. Needless to say, that won’t do for my collection, no damaged CDs allowed! When I found this copy used for $8, it was a an easy buy with Royal Hunt and Helker.

Totals

Total (Jan) = $344

Total (year) = $344

Average Price (per item) = $10.12

Total CDs (year) = 31

Total LPs (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 (June update)

Finally! Once I post this update for June then I’m all caught up! June was a good month with a ton of new releases so I spent some extra dollars…..

Newbury Comics

Rush – Clockwork Angels (2012) – $13
Meshuggah – Koloss (CD/DVD) (2012) – $12
Kreator – Phantom Antichrist (CD/DVD) (2012) – $14

My first trip of the month to Newbury Comics was pretty uneventful. I went in to pick up the new albums by Rush, Kreator and L.A. Guns but the store never got in the new L.A. Guns. Why? Because they were moving locations and their shipments were minimal. I got the Rush and Kreator albums no problem, and I was willing to wait until the next shipment for the new L.A. Guns rather than go to another store, so I started to browse. With the staff boxing up inventory, some of the selection was a little thin but I did manage to find the deluxe version of the new Meshuggah album, KOLOSS, for a sale price of $12. The other couple of copies were regular price around $18 so I decided to grab this while I could still get it a little cheaper.

L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (2012) – $9.50
Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway (2012) – $10.30
Malice – New Breed Of Godz (CD/DVD) (2012) – $15.20
U.D.O. – Celebrator (2012) – $9.50
Mantas – Death By Metal (2012) – $8

My second trip into the North Attleboro Newbury Comics came as the store started their moving sale — “Everything 20% off”. I immeadiately hit the new release rack for the new L.A. Guns (finally in stock!), the new Lita Ford (I hope it’s better than her last album!) and the new U.D.O. double disc package with all the unreleased/bonus/special material. I had great sale prices of $12, $13 and $12 respectively but knowing an additional 20% off was coming at checkout I knew I could buy more! I read about the new Malice album but never wrote down the release date so I was surprised to see it in the rack, unfortunately it was $19 regular price. A new album on Frontiers Records with a bonus DVD is always going to cost a little more but the 20% discount made it a little more manageable price wise. I calculated that I was going to save about $10 with the extra discount so that meant I could buy another new CD! I decided to buy the Mantas album because it is Chuck Schuldiner’s pre-Death band and I wanted to hear these demo recordings. I’m starting to get into more extreme forms of Metal and I like Death so I figured the extra savings made this CD free in theory.

Venom – Metal Black (2006) – $4.80
Brand New Sin – Recipe For Disaster (2005) – $1.60 used
Eidolon – The Parallel Otherworld (2006) – $3.20 used

Last trip into the old store before they closed the door and the inventory was all but gone. Everything was still an additional 20% off so it was still worth the trip especially since I had been watching the Venom CD and a Superjoint Ritual CD for a while. Unfortunately the Superjoint Ritual album was gone (it was only $4) but I was able to pick up the Venom CD new and two used discs from Brand New Sin and Eidolon. The prices were a cheap $6, $2 and $4 respectively so I was spending under the regular price of a normal CD as it was but getting another 20% off on top was icing on the cake.

Sleep – Dopesmoker (2003/2012 reissue) – $10

Well, the new Newbury Comics store opened in the Emerald Square Mall about a half mile down the road from the original location and they opened a day early. I checked the North Attleboro store’s Facebook page and saw they were open so I went down with the family to check it out. It’s a little smaller than the old store but it’s in a great location in the mall and there seemed to be a ton of foot traffic so maybe this store won’t go the way of other independent chains! I had to make an inaugural purchase so I decided on the DOPESMOKER reissue because it was cheap. I’ve heard the edited version of ‘Dopesmoker’ (titled ‘Jerusalem’) only once but the original 63 minute song continues to be a benchmark of Stoner/Doom Metal. The full album is one song, recorded in 1996, and released four different times without band authorization…..the 1999 release was re-titled JERUSALEM with an alternate cover and an edited song losing about 10 minutes. This new reissue is fully authorized by the band and I’ll bet that the other versions price and collectibility goes down.

Music Box (Newport, RI)

Pop Evil – Lipstick On The Mirror (2009) – $2.50 used

I caught Pop Evil a few years ago opening for Judas Priest so I’ve always had the band name in my head but I never got around to buying any of their albums. My family and I went to Newport for the day and we took a walk through the Brick Marketplace and I had to make my way to the long time Newport record store Music Box. There’s never anything exciting in there because I either own it already or it’s your basic run of the mill inventory but, one thing I’ve learned over the years, there’s always a treasure somewhere and sometime! This time I checked the cut-out/used bin at the very back of the store and found this Pop Evil CD for less than $3. It’s a promotional CD but it’s intact. I compared it to a regularly priced copy that was $15 and it looks exactly the same.

Amazon.com

Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken (2 CD/DVD) (2012) – $18.20
Great White – Elation (2012) – $10
Kill Devil Hill – s/t (2012) – $10

I went into my usual record store looking for the new Saxon limited edition set with the DVD and double CD but they didn’t have it in stock with no idea when they would have it. They did have the regular double CD but I wanted the DVD. As soon as I got home, I went to Amazon and started filling my cart: Saxon for just over $18 and I added the new Great White and Kill Devil Hill albums for $10 each. Both great White and Kill Devil Hill were priced at $17 regular price at the record store so I saved $7 each buying them with Saxon…..unfortunately, the record store stocked the Saxon limited edition a few days later at a $15 sale price but I spent an extra $3 to save an extra $14!

Total = $151.80 ($159 rounded off)

Total (year) = $1171

Average Price (per item) = $8.87

Total CDs (year) = 127

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt (January update) — The first hunt of 2012!

Just like last year, I’m late posting the first CD Scavenger Hunt of the new year! If you’re reading this, I’m actually writing this in mid-March but I’m back dating it for the end of January.

One thing I like about the beginning of the year is that I start things off right with gift cards I received at the holidays…..my family knows that I get a thrill everytime I walk in a record store so gift cards are always a perfect gift. I also like that I can catch up on some of the previous year’s releases and there always seems to be some great used CDs that people turn in for extra holiday cash! Armed with $90 in gift cards, I began the hunt early the day after New Year’s…..

Newbury Comics

Benedictum – Dominion (2011) – $10: Benedictum is one of my favorite newer bands of the last ten years or so but I never got around to buying their latest album until now. I had a good reason…..I was lucky to get a promo download of DOMINION from Frontiers Records early in 2011 and I just kept passing up the actual CD. I’m a collector at heart and I like having the physical CD in my possession so I was going to buy the DOMINION CD eventually but I didn’t NEED to buy it right away. The other problem was that my waiting meant that I missed out on the sale price from the new release making the regular price $17. Two days into the new year and the first thing I find is a new sale price on two of the three copies of DOMINION so i scooped one up right away! Sale price was $10 so I saved $7 off the regular price.

Tesla – Twisted Wires & The Acoustic Sessions (2011) – $16: I really had no intention of ever buying this album because I was never a fan of unplugged Tesla (I can’t stand ‘Signs’ and the rest of FIVE MAN ACOUSTICAL JAM) but I wanted to hear the new songs. I was also intrigued by the fact that the band decided to go acoustic on some lesser known songs rather than their usual string of big hits. Now I’m a big Tesla fan, I buy all the albums and I catch them on tour, but acoustic? Not sure I could take it again. The only saving grace here was that I knew that I was armed with gift cards from the holidays so I was able to splurge and pick up this CD when I normally wouldn’t spend the hard-earned cash unless it was used. The other deciding factor that I’ve only seen two copies in my recent travels to different record stores, I figured I’d buy it while I saw it because I would never order it online unless, of course, it was used on Ebay. No savings here as I had to eat the $16 regular price.

KISS – Ikons (2008) – $20 used: KISS is my favorite band but I’ve been finished for many years buying every compilation that Polygram sees fit to release…..and Polygram decides to release multiple every year with no need for Paul & Gene’s involvement because the label owns the back catalogue. When IKONS came out in 2008, I thought it was a different take on the usual compilation: 4 CDs with one CD for each original KISS member featuring their prominent songs. I remember seeing the $40 price tag back then thinking to myself: “I can make that compilation at home from the studio albums!”. I never bothered to buy it and never bothered to look for it. I hadn’t seen it for 3 years and someone decided to trade it in for store credit while I was there! For some reason, I had to have it! Mint condition, slipcase included (not pictured), I saved $20 off the regular price waiting 3 years and buying used.

Alice In Chains – Facelift (1990) – $6 used: I never got around to buying FACELIFT way back in the day and people tend to forget that Alice In Chains was more Heavy Metal on this debut than part of the Grunge movement. I’ve been on an Alice In Chains kick lately on Spotify and I realised I only owned one Alice In Chains CD, MTV UNPLUGGED (1996). I’ve always enjoyed the band’s music and I remember having a dubbed cassette of FACELIFT from a friend back in ’90 so I figured it was time to pick up this band’s catalog. I always start at the first album when I can and there were tons of copies to be found all at different prices for both new and used. I found the lowest used price (by a dollar!) but $6 is better than paying the $15 regular price.I saved $9 and added an esential debut album by a solid band.

Royal Hunt – Future Coming From The Past (Live In Japan 1996/1998) DVD (2011) – $18: Released on Frontiers Records for international consumption, this DVD was originally released only in Japan and only included the 1996 Japanese concert that is featured on the LIVE 1996 live record. With the return of D.C. Cooper to the band, and the new album SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE (2011), the band has finally released this show on DVD for the rest of us not in the land of the rising sun. Added to the 1996 performance is a 1998 Japanese performance of the PARADOX (1997) album in it’s entirety, a show which may have been another separate DVD for Japan only but was featured as a bonus CD titled CLOSING THE CHAPTER on the PARADOX limited edition box set. This DVD was released in December 2011 at the same time as the new studio album but I missed out on the single copy my favorite store decided to stock…..when I saw this after the holidays and still on sale, I jumped on it. Regular price was $22 so I saved $4.

Nightwish – Imaginaerum (2012) – $13: I was never a big Nightwish fan until 2007 when the band released DARK PASSION PLAY with new singer Anette Olzen (formerly of Alyson Avenue). I had a few Nightwish CDs with original singer Tarja Turunen but I just never got into them even though I like similar female-fronted bands. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 years since DARK PASSION PLAY so I rushed out the day of release to grab IMAGINAERUM. There were two versions of the album: regular CD and the double disc deluxe digipak that included an instrumental version of the entire album. Sale price for the regular was $13 and $20 for the deluxe…..I went with the single disc version because when am I really going to listen to the album without the vocals? The whole reason I became a bigger Nightwish fan was because of Anette’s vocals! Usually I buy the limited editions right away but this one seemed unnecessary. Regular price for the single disc version was $17 so I saved $4.

Nothing is better when someone decides to take a chunk of their collection and sell it to the record store for credit. It reminds me of the old days (1997 – 2002) when I used to hit this one mom & pop record store about 20 minutes from home twice a week. Back then, before used CDs really hit big, people would bring CDs in for cash on a Friday afternoon so they could go clubbing at night, same thing would happen on Saturdays. I would head up Saturday mornings and scoop up all the recently acquired used CDs from Friday at cheap prices and then I would show up on Tuesdays for the new releases and to plunder the Saturday used CD stash. This particular store used to have a “Buy 3, get 1 free” policy for used CDs, and they were anywhere from $5 to $8 depending on the title, so I used to go in and get anywhere from 4 to 20 CDs at a shot and really pad the collection with bands and albums that I wanted to try or had never seen before or hadn’t seen in a long time. My third trip to my usual Newbury Comics store was like a trip through time! Someone had gone in and sold a box of CDs for store credit…..an absolute ton of CDs! Looking at the album covers below you may or may not recognize some names but I sure did! I also noticed the record labels: MTM, SPV, Locomotive Records, Frontiers Records, Z Records, Escape Music, Majestic Rock, Chavis Records, AOR Heaven and a few self-released titles. There were way more CDs than I could buy so I had to leave a good amount behind (in case anyone in my area reads this, I’m not saying if the ones I left behind are still there!) but I bought 16 CDs that I knew I wouldn’t have an opportunity to buy again.

Action – s/t (2007) – $4 used
Affair – No Substitute (2002) – $2 used
Artension – New Discovery (2003) – $4 used
Bad Habit – Above And Beyond (2009) – $4 used
Cry Havoc – Fuel That Feeds The Fire (2002) – $4 used
Fisc – Break Out (1985/1999 reissue) – $6 used
Fisc – Too Hot For Love (1987) – $4 used
Ivory Tower – Heart Of The City (1987/2003 reissue) – $6 used
Kick – New Horizon (2004) – $4 used
Tony Martin – Scream (2005) – $8 used
Andre Matos – Time To Be Free (2008) – $6 used
N.O.W. – Forces Of Nature (2010) – $4 used
Sonic X – s/t (2004) – $6 used
Subway – Don’t Look Back (2000) – $2 used
Token – Tomorrowland (2002) – $2 used
Token – Punch (2004) – $2 used

This used CD score was only $68! Assuming each CD sold for a regular price of $10 (could be more or less depending on the release year, label and popularity), I saved approximately $92! A lot of AOR, Melodic Rock and Hard Rock in this bunch but some Metal with Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath), Andre Matos (ex-Angra) and Artension. The two Fisc CDs go for big bucks on Ebay, even for reissues. It was nice to also score the N.O.W. album because I recieved a digital promo from Escape Music for review back in 2010 and I had been watching for a good price for the last two years to avoid the high import prices online. On to the final trip of the month to the record stores…..

Primal Fear – Unbreakable (2012) – $12: I haven’t missed a Primal Fear album yet and I wasn’t going to start now! I haven’t really kept up on the Metal news the last few months so I was surprised to hear that Primal Fear had a new record coming out…..usually I know when one of my favorite bands is releasing a new record! I’m a Power Metal guy and I consider Primal Fear and Hammerfall to be the leaders of the genre since it’s resurgence in 1997. I couldn’t pass up getting this the day of release because the band’s last two albums, NEW RELIGION (2007) and 16:6 (BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD) (2009), were awesome and the sal price was only $12 for the limited edition digipak with the bonus track ‘Night Of The Jumps’ and the video for ‘Bad Guys Wear Black’. Regular price was $17 so I saved $5.

Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline (2012) – $12: When Lacuna Coil started in 1998, I became a fan. The whole Gothic Metal movement was really starting up with female-fronted bands and I jumped into the genre with bands like The Gathering, Lana Lane, Epica and Lacuna Coil to name a few. I really got into Lacuna Coil in 2002 (like everyone else!) with COMALIES and then I thought KARMACODE (2006) was a good record as well. I didn’t get into SHALLOW LIFE (2009) though, I just thought it was more of the same, nothing groundbreaking, and I was kind of sick of seeing the bandwagon get attached to the band just because Cristina Scabbia is hot! There’s a lot more to Scabbia than being hot (she’s a great singer!) and I just couldn’t take all the mallrats getting on board at Hot Topic or reading her “love advice” column in Revolver Magazine. I’m a loyal fan though and, if a band has a good track record, I keep coming back for more despite any subpar albums. I had to give DARK ADRENALINE a shot and I figured buying it the day of release on sale wouldn’t hurt as much if the album sucked. I did buy the deluxe version with the bonus DVD but it was only $2 more than the regular CD version. Regular rpice for the deluxe digipak was $17 so I saved $5…..and I’m crossing my fingers that I’m not disappointed!

Iron Savior – The Landing (2012) – $10: More Power Metal! Back in 1997 when I got my first dial-up AOL account, I discovered a whole new world of Heavy Metal with the click of a mouse. Everything I was reading about in magazines was now (almost) instantly available. That’s when I got back into a lot of bands I grew up with like Helloween…..who brought me to Gamma Ray…..who brought me to Iron Savior. The Kai Hansen connection is obvious but I got into Iron Savior with UNIFICATION in 1999 and I’ve picked up most of their albums despite Hansen leaving in 2001. I think this is one of the really underrated bands in the Power Metal scene, maybe that’s because the do get over looked by Helloween and Gamma Ray. THE LANDING came out everywhere else in late 2011 but the U.S. release was at the beginning of January 2012 so I was able to get a nice sale price saving $6 off the $16 regular price.

Lamb Of God – Resolution (2012) – $10: Feeding the Extreme Metal need! I’ve never paid Lamb Of God much attention because I’m not usually into their brand of Metal but I wanted to buy this new record in the hope that it will catch me and I can go back and check out their back catalog. I’m starting to get into a lot more extreme bands, more Thrash, Death, and Black Metal but I’m always wary of anything with “core” at the end. When asking some younger Metal dudes I know about Lamb Of God, they labelled them Metalcore and I wasn’t sure what that meant but I had visions of Hot Topic lemmings again! Reviews of the band’s albums and live shows are always great and I decided to bite the bullet and check out a newer band (they’ve been around for around 15 years or more!). I think there might have been a deluxe version of RESOLUTION but I grabbed the regular CD and saved $4 off the regular price.

Motorhead – The World Is Ours – Vol.1: Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else (2012) – $14: I knew this was coming out and it was the main reason I went on this last shopping trip of the month. First, it’s Motorhead, one of my favorite bands. Second, it’s a 2 CD & 1 DVD live set. Third, sale price was $14 and I would save $6 off the regular price. Motorhead always gives a nice package and great live albums so this is worth picking up for that alone but what I like is that the audio CDs are exact to the DVD. Too many times you get a live DVD and a live CD set and they are sold separately (Hello Iron Maiden!). I understand it’s a business but give the fans a break! The people that buy this stuff are the diehards, the people who buy the tickets, buy the merchandise and spend their hard earned money on their favorite band. Motorhead gets it, that’s why they are loved by the fans. It’s in your face, straight up Heavy Metal on DVD and 2 CDs…..easy to spend $14 on!

Ebay

One thing I didn’t do as much last year was use Ebay to get a lot of older releases so I decided to step up my research this year and see if there are better bargains on Ebay for new and old CDs. I got off to a great start this year by acquiring some albums I’ve been watching for a long time. Prices here include shipping…..

Salty Dog – Every Dog Has It’s Day (1990) – $20 used: $20 may seem a little pricey for a CD that is 22 years old but you’d be surprised how much this CD goes for. I’ve been watching this debut by Salty Dog for years and I’ve never been able to find it on Ebay for less than $30. I’ve seen this CD go for over $60 many times over the last few years after bidding wars occurred during auctions. I haven’t seen this CD in a record store in at least 10 years so maybe there was only a small pressing back in the day? I read somewhere recently that Salty Dog had a good initial run but the album stalled when MTV decided not to continue to play the band’s video because there was a dispute between MTV and Geffen Records. Who knows if that’s true or not but the album is hard to find here in Rhode Island. This copy is a promotional copy as stamped on the CD itself but the inserts have no punch holes.

Great White – Hooked & Live In New York (1990) – $53 used: Another CD that’s over 20 years old! So why is this over $50? It’s a Japanese import that includes both CDs in this limited edition pressing and includes all inserts, OBI strips and the original cover artwork for HOOKED. I’ve had HOOKED since it came out in 1991 but I never acquired the original artwork on vinyl, CD or cassette so I’ve been watching for a decently priced copy for a while. The LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY disc is sold separately for around $15 usually but it’s a unique Japanese pressing so when I had the opportunity to grab it, I splurged a little. Everything is in perfect mint condition so I was pretty psyched to cross another indulgence off the growing want list.

Danger Danger – Revolve (2009) – $13: I wrote a WANTED column on this Danger Danger album two years ago and I never bothered to pick it up. I had plenty of opportunities to buy it online but I always pushed it aside for newer releases and, as the want list grew, REVOLVE went down the list. I was cleaning up my desk and I found a paper that had a few albums written on it and REVOLVE was one of them so I went over to Ebay and started looking for the best price. I ended up paying only $13 total for a U.S. pressing which is a great price for a brand new sealed CD…..I wish I could get more as reasonable! Nothing is better than crossing off an album from my want list, especially one that I featured here on the website, but I’ve been looking forward to this album because the reviews are all so positive.

Accept – Objection Overruled (1993) – $13 used: After I bought the Danger Danger CD, I started to check all the other WANTED posts I published for CDs that have gone down the priority list…..enter OBJECTION OVERRULED, a huge hole in my Accept collection! I wrote this album’s WANTED column back in March 2008, and it’s one of my Ebay alerts, but it always seems to fetch a higher price than I am willing to pay. The Japanese issue with the bonus track ‘Rich & Famous’ goes for $30+ easy but the U.S. pressing on CMC International I’ve seen draw $25+ on many different occasions. I already own the ‘Rich & Famous’ song on another release so buying a Japanese import wasn’t necessary unless the prices evened out but I found a seller with a great BUY IT NOW price and I bought it the first day it went up.

AC/DC – T.N.T (1975) – $30 used: I was on a roll buying up CDs from the WANTED posts so I figured one more wouldn’t hurt. I’ve been watching the Australian only release T.N.T. from AC/DC for years and I’ve never been able to buy one for under $40 because most of the copies come from Australian sellers and the shipping is always enormous. I wrote this album’s WANTED post back in September 2008 and I’ve had T.N.T. as an Ebay alert for at least 7 years so I really wanted to get this one off the list and it was easy once I found a U.S. seller. I ended up getting into a slight bidding war at the end but my top price of $27 won it for me with seconds to go…..add the $3 shipping and you get the $30 total. Now I just need to acquire the Australian versions of HIGH VOLTAGE and DIRTY DEEDS so I can have the original artwork.

Zebra – IV (2003) – $8 used: I’ve been on a massive Zebra kick since I kept hearing ‘Tell Me What You Want’ a few times on the local Rock station’s “classic lunch” show but I realized I only had that one song on a CDR someone made me and I had no way of playing my Zebra tapes because I don’t own a cassette deck anymore. I bought the second and third Zebra studio albums on a previous Hunt but the first album, Zebra’s most successful, eluded me at a good price. While I was searching for the first Zebra record, I found the band’s fourth (ZEBRA IV) and I got an awesome price of $6 + $2 shipping. I’ve never seen ZEBRA IV in stores since 2003 so I knew that this was going to be a rare one at that price, usually it still lists for around $15. The search continues for the debut album…..

Total = $346 – $90 in gift cards = $256

Total (year) = $256

Average Price (per item) = $7.76

Total CDs (year) = 32

Total DVDs (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 40 Albums of 2009 (#26-#40)

2009 was another great year for new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums and I was lucky to have heard a great many of them. There were hundreds of new albums released by hundreds of bands over a wide range of Metal genres, it was very hard to keep up especially when I’m spending my hard-earned cash! Unfortunately, I can’t buy every new album so there are more than a few that I have missed. I am still very lucky to have many labels, PR firms, and bands sending in their CDs for review, to all of them I would like to extend a very grateful THANK YOU! Without these promotions I would have never heard some great releases and discovered some new bands. I have totalled up the CDs and there were 125 albums up for this year’s honors!

The only criteria I followed for my Top 40 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection AND the album had to be released in 2009. In the beginning of the year I decided that an album that was released in 2008, but was released in 2009 for the U.S., qualified as a 2009 album…..basically I went by the date on the back of the CD! There are plenty of albums that got late U.S. releases and there may be a few in this countdown. 

The ranking of the Top 40 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom Line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I more than doubled the list this year so I will be splitting it into three posts. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#26 – #40):

#40

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Night Castle (2009): I have been waiting five years for a new TSO album and they announced the release of NIGHT CASTLE back in December 2008! Nothing like waiting a full year but the wait was worth it. A double album full of TSO expert Rock orchestra with enough guest vocalists (Jeff Scott Soto sings) to make it interesting. I prefer TSO’s holiday albums but NIGHT CASTLE fits in great.

#39

Immortal – All Shall Fall (2009): I’ve always read a ton of great reviews and articles about Immortal but Black Metal has never really been my genre of choice. I picked up ALL SHALL FALL to try the band out and I ended up really getting into it! What impressed me most was that it wasn’t stereotypical Black Metal but there were melodic layers to the overall sound using orchestration and some great guitarwork. I’ve started to backtrack and explore the rest of the Immortal back catalog as a result.

#38

Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman (2009): Old school Power Metal at it’s best, Grave Digger has been doing it longer than most and they always seem to put out a solid album. I got this early in the year and it turned out to be a standout album for most of the year…..being a Grave Digger fan for a long time, I enjoyed it. Unfortunately there were better Power Metal albums that came out this year and I kept moving this one lower, a result of good competition.

#37

Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009): Nashville Pussy is one of those bands I started to follow with their debut album and forgot about, subsequently missing out on a few records. I love this Southern-fried, hard drinking, sex crazed Hard Rock, it’s a cross between Motorhead, Ted Nugent and AC/DC mixed with Black Oak Arkansas & Lynyrd Skynyrd. I didn’t really expect much from this album and it turned out to be a great one, especially for the car! ‘Drunk Driving Man’ is one of my favorite songs of the year.

#36

Great White – Rising (2009): Despite my living in Rhode Island and the whole Station Nightclub Fire, Great White is still one of my favorite bands. In 2007 they released one of the biggest surprises with BACK TO THE RHYTHM so I expected another Hard Rock classic. RISING is acoustic based and slower than it’s predecessor but it’s still a solid record that reminded me of the acoustic SAIL AWAY (1994). This album grew on me over the course of 2009 but I’m still a little disappointed that it didn’t have more of the Blues Hard Rock the band is known for.

#35

Tragik – Outlaw (2009): Good to have a local Rhode Island band in this year’s countdown! Led by local AOR/Melodic Rock artist Phil Vincent, Tragik’s second album was a solid Hard Rock record with plenty of guitar and a great overall tone. Tragik follows the footsteps of ’80s AOR/Melodic Hard Rock bands like Journey, Bon Jovi and Night Ranger but there was a more modern sound. Good solid melodies and plenty of hooks to go along with the great guitar sound made this an album I enjoyed all year.

#34

Alestorm – Black Sails At Midnight (2009): I know a lot of people don’t get into the whole Pirate Metal concept but I’m definitely a sucker for a good gimmick and I really got into Alestorm this year. This album has some good songs but the one thing that pushed this album above a lot of others was that it was fun. I bought into all the whole concept and imagery of and the Pirate Power Metal is definitely different…..I really like all those traditional pirate styled instruments mixed in. Added bonus was the DVD from Wacken 2008 included inthe limited edition.

#33

Behemoth – Evangelion (2009): Kind of like Immortal, I knew nothing about Behemoth except for what I had read online. After I saw the ‘Ov Fire And The Void’ video, I had the obsession with checking out the band. Just like Immortal, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed EVANGELION because Black Metal isn’t usually my thing but what struck me was just how brutal the music sounds. The guitars, bass and drums are just so fast and heavy that you have to take notice. EVANGELION helped me start to open my Black Metal horizons and I went from trying to understand Behemoth to enjoying Behemoth.

#32

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctis (2009): This latest album from Edguy was originally released in late 2008 but it didn’t receive a proper U.S. release until January from Nuclear Blast so I’m going with what the back of the CD says and it’s a 2009 album. I’ve been an Edguy fan since basically the beginning so their Power Metal style is what i like best but the band has gone for more of a Hard Rock style here. I had a hard time getting into this album at first because I kept comparing it to the old Edguy sound, once I got past that I started to enjoy the album a lot more. Turns out I played TINNITUS SANCTUS more as the year progressed and I kept coming back to it.

#31

Saga – The Human Condition (2009): Saga has been churning out melodic Progressive Rock for 38 years and I have been keeping up with the band on and off since 1982. One of the things that helped define the overall Saga sound through the years was the superb vocals from founding member Michael Sadler…..but he left the band in 2007 after a 36 year tenure. Enter ex-Final Frontier vocalist Rob Morrati and he puts on a performance that makes you forget that Sadler just vacated the mic. This was one of the greatest comebacks of the year!

#30

Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009): When Dream Theater releases an album I always know that it’s going to be a good one, then band just releases good albums every single time. Six songs spanning 75+ minutes and that’s just Disc 1! I always have to listen closely to Dream theater records because there are so many layers of sound and this one was no exception, what really stood out was that there was a song that clocked in just under 6 minutes (‘Wither’)! Add the 2 bonus discs and this turned out to be a great package to listen to.

#29

Queensryche – American Soldier (2009): My review is long and it may not reflect the fact that I really enjoyed AMERICAN SOLDIER, the first Queensryche album I’ve enjoyed since 1997. The first thing I needed to do was accept the fact that old ’80s Queensryche is gone and that the band has gone into more Progressive and Epic musical directions. The overall sound is full and layered but it’s the subject matter that really made the album, what is more relevant in today’s society than how soldiers cope with war? Some of the record was repetitive lyrically but the album just flowed every time I listened to it. I bought this when it first came out and I waited until late October to finally unwrap it, I think I would appreciate it more if I had listened to it all along. ‘At 30,00 Ft.’ is one of my favorite songs of the year.

#28

Megadeth – Endgame (2009): Like I said in my review, I haven’t fully recovered from 1999’s RISK debacle. UNITED ABOMINATIONS (2007) started me back on the Megadeth bandwagon and ENDGAME follows closely to cement the band back into my good graces. ENDGAME isn’t a pure Thrash record but it’s heavy, I think it’s more traditional Heavy Metal with some Thrash moments. It’s clear that Dave Mustaine and company have a solid direction and a desire to re-conquer the Metal world.

#27

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): If it wasn’t for me discovering Hammerfall in 1997 then I wouldn’t be the big Power Metal fan I am today. They basically single-handedly revived the Power Metal scene with it’s traditional style and soaring vocals. The problem with the last few albums is that they all just sounded the same and Hammerfall started to become a footnote in the now overly crowded Power Metal world. This album reminds me of the first three Hammerfall albums and it’s the first one since 2000 that I’ve really enjoyed. I had this ranked higher but, as 2009 progressed, there were better albums in the same genre. That said, this is still a solid album full of great powerful songs and Joacim Cans sound better than ever but I’m still not sure what the band was thinking with a cover of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’!

#26

Stratovarius – Polaris (2009): Remember what I said about better Power Metal albums? POLARIS is one of the big reasons why both Grave Digger and Hammerfall fell a little in this year’s best of list. I really didn’t expect much from Startovarius…..I had actually forgotten all about the band because it has been four years since the bands last album. Add a lot of new members, especially replacing guitarist Timo Tolkki, and this was a recipe for disaster. I got this album when it came out and left it in the pile, I just started listening to it a couple months ago and I missed out on some serious music. Had I started listening to this record when I got it, I probably would rank it higher because it hasn’t left my daily playlist. Another great comeback this year!

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Please check out The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#1-#10) and The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#11-#25) for the rest of this year’s countdown.

The first iPod playlist!

Well I finally did it…..I bought an iPod!

My Dell DJ 30 has served me above and beyond the call of duty and it finally died a noble death. I was listening to my DJ at work last week and the headphone jack fell out of the unit. Turns out the solder that held the actual jack in place had come loose and that’s why I kept thinking my headphones were dying. I was getting volume from one ear on the headphones unless I packed the jack with aluminum foil, a temporary fix. Then it happened…..I pulled the headphones out to put in a little more foil and the entire piece came out! R.I.P. Dell DJ……..

So I went to Best Buy last Saturday and dropped the $250 for an iPod 120gb and $40 for the 2 yr. warranty (if anything happens to it, I can bring it back and get a fresh one). I’ve been loading albums into iTunes but I don’t have nearly as many as I had in the Dell. Here’s what I have in the iPod because it’s all I’ve listened to…..

Great White – Rising (2009): I still haven’t given up on this album even though it’s a little too mellow. It’s definitely a grower and I’m beginning to enjoy it more everytime I play it.

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): Here’s another album that I haven’t given up on yet especially since I kind of knew what to expect. Hammerfall plays straight ahead Power Metal and they don’t stray far from their formula…..that can be either refreshing or redundant depending on the quality of the material. This album gets more refreshing everytime I spin it.

Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens – Play My Game (2009): This new record comes out next week and I was lucky to get it in the mail Saturday afternoon. I’ve only given it one full spin so far.

Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): The album of the year for me so far!

UFO – The Visitor (2009): Another album I was lucky to receive in the mail a full month before it’s release…..all UFO has done since 1995’s WALK ON WATER is release high quality albums and THE VISITOR is no exception.

Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (2009): This album was probably one of the most anticpated of 2009 for me next to the new Saxon. I’ve been playing this non-stop but I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet…..probably sometime this week.

Accept – Predator (1996): Accept’s final studio album and probably their most confusing since EAT THE HEAT (1989). I remember I picked this up the week it came out because I had read about it in a fanzine and Accept were one of my formative bands back in the ’80s. I figured that I was going to get a Metal album but PREDATOR is a mix of different styles, the best track being the first: ‘Hard Attack’. The biggest problem I had was that Udo didn’t sing every song on the album, bassist Peter Baltes sang lead on three tunes and had a primary role on the backing vocals. At the time I loved it save for a couple of tunes…..13 years later I can hear a few more filler tracks but there is some good material too.

Great White – Rising (2009)

great_white_-_rising_artwork

Great White – Rising (2009, Frontiers Records)

  1. Situation
  2. All Or Nothin’
  3. I Don’t Mind
  4. Shine
  5. Loveless
  6. Is It Enough
  7. Last Chance
  8. Danger Zone
  9. Down On The Level
  10. Only You Can Do
  11. My Sanctuary
  12. Let’s Spend The Night Together (bonus track)

Band Lineup:
Jack Russell – Lead & Background Vocals
Mark Kendall – Guitars & Background Vocals
Audie Desbrow – Drums
Michael Lardie – Guitars, Keyboards, Mandolin, Sitar, Harmonica, Percussion & Background Vocals
Scott Snyder – Bass & Background Vocals

Producer: Michael Lardie

Total Time = 58:51

Great White
Great White MySpace page
Mistabone.com

Great White is back again with a brand new studio album, RISING, the follow-up to the 25th anniversary record BACK TO THE RHYTHM (2007). When Great White released BACK TO THE RHYTHM back in 2007 it was the first newly recorded material since 1999 and the first album after the tragic Station Nightclub fire. The album was full of passion and bluesy grit and it marked a serious comeback for the band that had hit the lowest of the lows. Now the band delivers RISING and it’s not quite what I expected…..

The first three songs (‘Situation’, ‘All Or Nothin’, ‘I Don’t Mind’) all sound like vintage Great White and/or the previous record’s direction but the balance of RISING falls into a slow to mid-tempo groove. The bluesy Hard Rock sound we expect from the band that brought us ‘Rock Me’ is almost completely missing for subdued acoustic based balladry. Some of the songs (‘Last Chance’ & ‘My Sanctuary’) have almost a Country sound to them and only ‘Danger Zone’ really comes close to a true Hard Rock sound. The bulk of the album sounds more introspective and emotional, the band is obviously in a totally different mindset after The Station Fire and the songs reflect that. Of course there is a bonus track for this European version: a cover of ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ by The Rolling Stones. It’s a good version that stays safely in the same direction of the original but a real bonus track would be another original song…..I hate covers!

On the upside, the band turns in a solid performance. Jack Russell’s voice sounds as good as it ever has with a bit more soul and depth and Mark Kendall still plays in that blues based tone. Drummer Audie Desbrow and new bassist Scott Snyder keep the back end running smooth and guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie is on the board again and the production is absolutely flawless, the band just sounds phenomenal.

Bottom Line:
This album is going to be a grower for most fans that expected classic Great White or a Hard Rock record. RISING is acoustic based mid-tempo Rock with a dash of subtle Blues and Country, there really isn’t any of the uptempo sleazy ’80s Hard Rock the band made their reputation on. The whole album reminds me of 1994’s SAIL AWAY where the band basically had the same musical direction and acoustic base. SAIL AWAY has turned out to be one of my favorite albums and, after a ton of spins, RISING is beginning to follow the same path for me. I am disappointed that the band didn’t build on BACK TO THE RHYTHM’s success and went for a softer sound but they still turned in a decent record. For most fans, this won’t be the Great White they recognize. For me, RISING will sit alongside SAIL AWAY as a change of pace.

Favorite Songs:
‘Situation’, ‘All Or Nothin’, ‘I Don’t Mind’, ‘Danger Zone’, ‘My Sanctuary’

Overnight Playlist – 4/26/09

I had a couple of guys call in for the overnight shift Saturday into Sunday so I had to pull a double shift of 16 hours: 4pm Saturday to 8am Sunday. Normally it sucks but I was able to get most of the work done on my first shift and the overnight 8 hours was a piece of cake! My MP3 player is still dying a slow death, now I’m having issues with a loose headphone jack, but it still worked long enough for me to get through most of the night…..

Great White – Rising (2009): I’ve been giving this a lot of spins because of the great work the band did on their comeback album BACK TO THE RHYTHM (2007) but RISING is a lot more mellow. It’s more of a companion piece to 1994’s SAIL AWAY, one of my favorite records of all-time, but I’m a little disappointed. I was expecting more of a kick ass Rock record then a melodic acoustic based album. It’s a decent album but a grower.

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): Hammerfall’s latest has been in my playlist since I bought it for two reasons: because I’m a Power Metal geek and because I haven’t really gotten into the last few Hammerfall albums. I’m not sure what it is but since RENEGADE (2000) I have bought every new record but I haven’t enjoyed them as much as the first two. So far, I’m liking NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY a lot…..maybe I’ll review it before the month runs out!

Tragik – Outlaw (2009): Tragik are from my home state of Rhode Island and they play a cool Melodic Rock with a lot of guitars. Phil Vincent (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitars) has been a fixture on the RI music scene for years and Steven Albanese (lead guitars) used to sell me a lot of my Hard Rock and Metal CDs at my favorite, and missed, record store: 2 Guys Music.

UFO – The Visitor (2009): I just received a promo copy of this new album Saturday morning so I uploaded it to my MP3 player right away. Good thing because UFO is in my Top 5 favorite bands and I was able to listen closely to the entire album.

Heaven & Hell – Live From Radio City Music Hall (2007): With the new Heaven & Hell album, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009), coming out Tuesday I figured I would re-live the two tours I’ve seen in the last couple of years. I’m so glad that Black Sabbath heaven & Hell has continued to make new music and tour because they are true Metal masters! Can’t wait for the new album Tuesday!

KISS – Paul Stanley (1978): I wanted to listen to something familiar to end my shift so I decided to go with my favorite band (KISS) and my favorite member (right now) and give a listen. The Paul Stanley solo album is the most classic KISS-sounding album in a time where the band was struggling for an identity and sound as the world went Disco/Pop. This album proves my longstanding point that the talent in KISS is Paul Stanley.

Weekend Playlist

The only good thing about inventory week at work is that I get the entire weekend off! Faced with plenty of time on my hands, and a lot of new CDs, I spent a lot of time in front of the stereo…..

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus (2009): I just realized that I made the new Edguy March’s album of the month and I never got around to reviewing it! I’ve been spending a lot of time on this CD all week and I can’t get passed some of the juvenile lyrics but so far I like the album.

Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009): I started on Nashville Pussy with their first record, LET THEM EAT PUSSY (1998), but I never got into them past 2000’s HIGH AS HELL. I got this CD in the mail and I really got into it…..look for a review this week.

Siren’s Gate – Haunt Me (2008): I enjoy all forms of female-fronted Metal but I do like the atmospheric/gothic/orchestrated style the best. Bands like The Gathering, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Lana Lane and After Forever all occupy space in my collection. Siren’s Gate is in the same mold as the bands and this E.P. is a more like a demo but still pretty good. Review coming…..

Great White – Rising (2009): I just got this in the mail the other day and I broke the cellophane and gave it a single spin.

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): Just like the new Great White, I got this CD in Saturday afternoon so it only got the first spin this weekend.

My 10 yr. old daughter is starting to raid Daddy’s CD collection and sample different bands so I had to teach Metal 101 to her a little over the weekend. I pulled out a few greatest hits/live albums to give her an idea of what some bands sounded like but she started looking on her own. Here are some of the albums she picked out and we listened to…..her Twisted Sister obsession is still going strong!

Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid (1991)

Saxon – Denim & Leather (1981)

AC/DC – Back In Black (1980)

Motorhead – Everything Louder Than Everyone Else (1998)

Scorpions – Deadly Sting: The Mercury Years (1997)

Desperado – Bloodied, But Unbowed (1996)

Dee Snider – Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down (2000)

Twisted Sister – Still Hungry (2004)

Anvil – Anthology Of Anvil (2000)

CD Scavenger Hunt – updated purchases

Here we go again! I’ve been buying a lot of CDs & DVDs so here’s what’s new……

Ebay

hammerfall-no-sacrifice-no-victory-2009Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009) – $15: I’ve been a Hammerfall fan since GLORY TO THE BRAVE was released in 1997 so everytime they release a new album I have to have it right away. NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY has been out for a couple of weeks in Europe and Japan and I was holding out for a U.S. release but I couldn’t wait and I used BUY IT NOW to grab the European version. I bought this late last week and the U.S. release ended up being this past Tuesday…..the local shop had it on sale for $9.99…..figures!

NEH Records

great_white_-_rising_artworkGreat White – Rising (2009) – $17: Great White’s last album, BACK TO THE RHYTHM, was one of my Top Albums of 2007 and it was an awesome comeback. This is another album that came out everywhere else a week or two ago except for the U.S. (the U.S. release is sometime in April). RISING was at the top of my want list so I searched all over the Net for a decent price and NEH had the best one. I always like ordering from NEH because they are based in the U.S. and always have a solid selection and great shipping rates.

jeff-scott-soto-beautiful-messJeff Scott Soto – Beautiful Mess (2009) – $17: Had to have the new Jeff Scott Soto album as well and I had to wait a couple months. JSS went with an initial release campaign for a digital download of the complete album. I just can’t bring myself to download anything so I decided to wait until the actual CD was released. It took a couple of months but JSS released the album on CD and then it took me a couple of weeks to get around to ordering it. I’ve always been a JSS fan since his days with Yngwie Malmsteen but his solo works are more melodic and soulful rather than Metal. After seeing him successfully front Journey a couple of summers ago, I will always support anything he releases.

tall-stories-skyscraperTall Stories – Skyscraper (2009) – $17: Continuing the theme of former Journey frontmen releasing new albums, Steve Augeri got the unreleased Tall Stories album, SKYSCRAPER, out and in the hands of fans. SKYSCRAPER was worked on from 1993 to 1995 but the band dissolved and Augeri went on to Tyketto and then Journey. I had the first Tall Stories album when it came out back in 1991 and it’s solid Melodic ock and I expect that this new record is more of the same.

CD Baby

badmouth-debut-albumBadmouth – s/t (2008) – $10: I’ve had this album on my radar since it came out in September but I’ve never been able to find a decent price. I was going to order it from NEH Records with the rest of my order but the price was $18.99! I checked Ebay but there was nothing available so I moved over to Badmouth’s website and I saw that it was $10 buying direct from the band! Clicked the link…..went to CD Baby and it’s all done.

dirty-penny-take-it-sleazyDirty Penny – Take It Sleezy (2007) – $12: Now I just couldn’t order one CD from CD Baby so I went through my account’s wish list and one of the last CDs I put on there was Dirty Penny’s first disc. I never got around to picking this up a couple of years ago and I have read some great reviews online so this one was a no brainer. What made it even sweeter was that the price was the best I’ve seen. I’ve read that Dirty Penny is like a cross between Dokken and early Motley Crue, I love both those bands so I hope that’s true.

ravage-freedom-fighterRavage – Freedom Fighter (2008) – $7: I’ve been checking out a lot of local bands and Ravage is from my backyard (Massachusetts). I’ve been compiling a list of local New England bands and Ravage was on the list but I forgot all about them until I received an email from Metal Blade that they signed Ravage for their new record. A quick check and $7 later and this 6 song E.P. was on the order.

 

Not everything can be an online purchase because I’m a record store guy and I still like to go through all the racks. I went down to my local Newbury Comics to pick up a few new releases from last week and this week but I didn’t get to the store until Noon…..usually I’m there right when the doors open because there is only a limited amount of certain new releases…..

Newbury Comics

wolf-ravenousWolf – Ravenous (2009) – $12: This was first on the list because I knew there would only be 1 or 2 copies in the store. Nothing in the new release rack, nothing under “Wolf” so it was off to the front counter. Good news was that the Metal guy was working and he had the second (and last) copy of the CD behind the counter. Turns out they sold the first one as soon as they opened and they hadn’t had a chance to get the other copy on the front rack. From what the Metal guy told me, it’s an excellent album, he bought his own copy…..so they really had three!

mastodon-crack-the-skye-2009Mastodon – Crack The Skye (2009) – $10: CRACK THE SKYE has got to be one of the most anticipated Metal albums of the year especially after Mastodon’s previous album from 2006 BLOOD MOUNTAIN. That record was a grower for me but I started to come around and check out the rest of Mastodon’s albums and I’m really high on the band. I started receiving press releases on CRACK THE SKYE two months ago so I knew that there was a limited edition package with a bonus DVD but I went with the regular CD. I have to really love a band to spend an extra $5 for a a special edition with a DVD that’s just about making the record.

cruefest-2008Motley Crue – Crue Fest 1 DVD (2009) – $19: I wasn’t going to pick this DVD up because I knew there would be plenty of copies around but because the store didn’t have Saga – Live In Munich (2 CD/2 DVD) limited edition I decided to pick this one up as a consolation prize. I didn’t go to Crue Fest 1 last summer because I thought the lineup sucked aside from Motley Crue and Buckcherry and I really didn’t want a DVD with performances by Trapt, Sixx AM, and especially Papa Roach. the good news is that there is a full Crue perofrmance, a documentary about the tour, 6 Crue videos, and only a few tunes from the other four bands. I can live with that! I also just saw Motley Crue a couple weeks ago so I figured the performance had to be a good one on the DVD.

The quest continues because I was shut out of two items on my hunt: Rob Halford – Resurrection re-release and Saga – Live In Munich (2 CD/2 DVD) limited edition. The Halford reissue has four new tunes on it and was advertised a week ago for $13 but they were sold out. The Saga limited edition set is the last performance of the band with original singer Michael Sadler and was advertised this week for $25 while both the double CD and double DVD versions were both priced at $17 separately. If I’m going to buy the set then I might as well get both formats in one package for the lower price. I’ll be getting that one this weekend…..if they have it in stock!

Current playlist

It’s been a very long weekend and I’m up late trying to recoup after a hellish night at work. I spent the day re-organizing all my CDs but I spent more time spinning the discs than actually getting them uploaded to my database! So here’s a few albums I listened to before work and now after work…..good music relaxes the soul…..

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus (2009): I started out with this new record from Edguy and it is really good. Is it me or is Tobias Sammet everywhere lately? As long as he keeps putting out good material with Edguy and Avantasia, I’ll still be picking the stuff up. I found some holes in my Edguy collection so I’ll be trying to fill them ASAP.

SBS (Spicy Bits Of Scandal) – The Gambler (2009): SBS is a Heavy Metal band from Italy and they were nice enough to send their latest album along for a review. Very nice package with a DVD too, I’ve been enjoying this Traditional/Power Metal album all week. The full band name through me off (it sounds like a Glam band) but SBS is all Metal…..very good so far.

Buckcherry – Black Butterfly (2008): I have had this album since it came out but I just haven’t been able to get into it, one day I like it and the next I think it’s average. I’ve been a fan of the band since they first came out (before ‘Lit Up’ became a hit single) but I think they can be brilliant at times and dumb as stumps the other. The latest single (‘Too Drunk Too Fuck’) is good but it seems like Buckcherry always needs to have that danceable single that is blatantly explicit. It’s like they are trying too hard. Not out of the playlist yet, I need more time.

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008): I’m going to the show Friday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut so I wanted to give this record some spins this week so its fresh. I know the rest of the Crue catalog by heart so SOLA gets the refresher.

Ratt – s/t (1999): I had to dig this out because Metal Mark had a Lesser Of Two Evils column with this album at Heavy Metal Time Machine, I had to give this a fresh listen to see if it was as bad as I remember. At the time, I was psyched to get new Ratt but it wasn’t as good as the Great White album that came out at the same time.

Great White – Can’t Get There From Here (1999): Awesome record! Great White toured with Poison, Ratt and LA Guns in the Summer of 1999 and a buddy and I drove the 8 hours to catch the show in the Pittsburgh area. The cool thing for me was that I knew all the new Great White tunes because I bought the Japanese import a couple weeks earlier. I saw that tour 3 times that summer……

Def Leppard – Euphoria (1999): Another great record from ’99! People slag this album because it sounds too processed (like HYSTERIA) but I thought it was a great return to the classic Def Lep sound (depending on which era you think is classic). I thought ‘Promises’ was a great single the whole record had potential but it got buried by the record company. Even the band doesn’t really recognize it. When Def Lep is live they have visuals on the big screen…..they show all the album artwork and they always skip EUPHORIA.

Snatch – If The Party Is In Your Mouth, We’re Coming (1985): Another album from Metal Mark and the Heavy Metal Time Machine! He had a post about this album and I just had to find it because the title is just so bad! I actually became obsessed with finding it and I found a copy locally for a few dollars. I set up my USB turntable and decided to break the seal with this album…..definitely not a lost gem musically but certainly a timepiece of the bottom of the ’80s barrel.