Posts Tagged ‘Hammerfall’

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

It’s been a slow year so far for buying CDs and collecting but I made up for the last few months with a quality buying spree in June. There were a bunch of new releases on sale, a few hidden bargains in the used CD racks, trips to a few different record stores and the discovery of my childhood record store re-opening in the local flea market! June was definitely a good month for the Hunt…..

Luke’s Record Exchange (@ The Big Flea Market in Cumberland, RI)

Luke’s Record Exchange was my childhood record store that got me started as a record store regular and a CD scavenger hunt expert. Unfortunately, the long time Pawtucket, RI location closed a few months ago for good but a chance trip to The Big Flea Market in a neighboring town provided a link to my record store past…..Luke’s re-opened as a large booth. Prices were pretty good: 50% off the stickered price on all CDs! My oldest daughter loves music and has the record store addiction like her dad and she absolutely loved searching the racks and dark corners that the original Luke’s store had. I’ve tried to teach my oldest daughter as much about Metal and collecting as possible, now it’s up to her to decide what direction to go in.

Hair Of The Dog – Rise (2000) – $7: I started scouring the racks of CDs Luke’s had and I found plenty that used to be at their store and plenty that I already owned but with 50% off you have to buy something. I saw this Hair Of The Dog CD and remembered the name from the late ’90s editions of Metal Edge magazine so I snatched this up to try the band out. When I got home I realized I mixed up Hair Of The Dog with another band, American Dog, but a quick check of my back issues and this purchase was worth making. I’ve read some positive reviews online on Hair Of The Dog, and the band was signed to Spitfire Records back in 2000 (a label with plenty of Hard Rock bands and reissues) so I will definitely check them out when I get around ripping the cellophane off the case! Regular stickered price was $14 so it was really $7 for a brand new sealed copy of RISE. Saved $7.

Vince Neil – Live At The Whiskey: One Night Only (2003) – $6: I always meant to buy this live album when it came out but I had read some bad reviews and I decided against it back then. I did keep it on the want list just in case I came across a used copy somewhere. Over the years I’ve seen this album still at regular price anywhere from $12 to $15 and I’ve passed each time. I’ve seen Vince Neil in concert twice with his solo band and he’s been just OK performance wise and the set is always dominated by the big Motley Crue hits so it’s no surprise to only get one Vince solo song (‘Look In Her Eyes’) on this live record. maybe if there was more from EXPOSED (1993) or CARVED IN STONE (1995) then this would have been a more essential buy. Like I said, you can’t beat 50% off so I finally filled a hole in the Vince Neil solo collection. Another brand new sealed copy stickered at $12, the 50% off making it $6. Saved $6.

Wal-Mart

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball (Live & More) (2011) – $10: I hate going to Wal-Mart! In my life there is no reason to ever set foot in one but some of my favorite bands like KISS, AC/DC, Journey and now Def Leppard have forced me to enter the worst shopping place on earth to buy their exclusive releases! Sure, I could have someone else go in and buy it for me, or maybe buy it online, but sometimes we must sacrifice for the thrill of the Hunt! Definitely an old school move by the Leps with the old bulky multi-disc packaging for their double disc live record with the bonus DVD included. I’ve seen Def Lep on every tour since the 1999 EUPHORIA Tour and I saw them back in the day on the HYSTERIA Tour in 1988 so I know how good these guys are live. It’s a little surprising that it’s taken 31 years to finally get an official live album from Def Leppard but it looks like the band’s last few successful tours have finally given it to us. This was more about the new songs for me and their are three of them on Disc 2. The only positive thing I can say about the Wal-Mart experience is that the price can’t be beat…..$10 is a small price to pay for 21 live tracks, 3 new studio songs and a DVD.

Newbury Comics

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (Special Edition) (2011) – $12: I already own UNDER THE BLADE on CD and on vinyl but I had to pick this up because of all the bonuses included. First, this is the original mix of UNDER THE BLADE as heard on the original Secret Records pressing (the 1985 reissue is remixed) so that saves the vinyl. Second, the RUFF CUTTS E.P. (1982) is the bonus on the CD. The RUFF CUTTS vinyl is easy to find but high in price for a mint copy, it’s nice getting the music on CD. Finally, the bonus DVD is the band’s performance at th 1982 Reading Festival. This is how you do a reissue! Unfortunately, some of the other Twisted Sister reissues on Armoury Records leave a lot to be desired as far as bonus material but this reissue was worth getting even at the regular price of $16. I bought this the day it was released so I got the $12 sale price saving $4.

Black Stone Cherry – Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea (2011) – $10: Black Stone Cherry is one of those newer bands that I’ve followed from their first album to present but I haven’t really gotten totally into them. I have the band’s first two albums, and I enjoy them, but the band hasn’t had the staying power for me to keep coming back. I’m hoping that BETWEEN THE DEVIL & THE DEEP BLUE SEA breaks that cycle and also forces me to revisit the band’s first two records for a fresh listen. Good band and good music but I’m just not completely hooked. This was another day of release purchase to get the sale price of $10 and save $4 but even the $14 regular price seems reasonable. Of course, the day I purchased the album, I get home from the record store and check my email and find a link from Roadrunner Records PR dept for a download of the album so i could review it! I would have bought the album anyway.

Warrant – Rockaholic (2011) – $13: Frontiers Records was kind enough to send me a download of the album for review so I have been enjoying ROCKAHOLIC for a few months prior to it’s U.S. release. In most cases when I receive a promo download for review, I buy the album for my collection if I enjoy it so I caved on buying the new Warrant. For me Warrant has a stigma…..the Jani Lane stigma. Back in the ’80s, I liked Warrant like most Hard Rock fans tuned in to FM radio and MTV but I started to really dislike the band after I got the internet in 1998 and started reading about all the dumb ass things Jani Lane used to do (cancel concert, quit and rejoin, go onstage drunk, etc). Anyway, after seeing the band reunite on the Poison summer tour a few years ago, I had hope but Jani screwed it up again and again. I thought the band’s move to replace Jani with Jaime St. James from Black ‘N Blue for BORN AGAIN (2006) was a great move resulting in a solid record. This time around it’s Robert Mason (formerly of Lynch Mob) replacing Jani (again!) and Jaime (who has a reformed Black ‘N Blue) at the mic and it’s a solid album that actually charted on Billboard’s Top Hard rock Albums Chart at #22! It’s such a good record that I would have easily paid the $17 import price but I saved $4 by waiting for the U.S. release.

Whitesnake – Live At Donington 1990 (Special Edition Box Set 2CD/DVD) (2011) – $16: Again, thanks to Frontiers Records, I was able to preview the CD portion of LIVE AT DONINGTON 1990 for a few weeks before it was released but this special edition wasn’t one I was going to miss adding to my collection. Recorded on 8/18/1990 at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park, this is Whitesnake at it’s chart-topping best: a live album with mostly all the big hits from 1984 to 1990 and a DVD of the exact performance all packaged it a double gatefold CD digipak with full color graphics and booklet. Remember how big Whitesnake was back then? Well their bands before them were The Quireboys, Thunder, Poison and Aerosmith! Import prices online were around $25 plus shipping at most shops but the U.S. release was a regular $20…..I bought it day of release so I saved $4.

Hammerfall – Infected (2011) – $10: I had no idea that Hammerfall was releasing a new album until about a week before the release date…..and I have been following the band since 1998! It’s no secret that I’m a big Power Metal guy and Hammerfall has been one of my favorites since the Power Metal resurgence of the late ’90s so this was a no-brainer purchase for me. “No-brainer”…..that’s a funny way of putting it because the concept here seems to be zombies and being infected as one. It’s a different direction for Hammerfall but one I’m hoping to enjoy as much as their last few records. I’m a little puzzled by the lack of vibrant graphics and no sign of Hector, the band’s knight mascot that has been on every album cover, but if it’s something different then why not try it? Regular price was $16 so I saved $6 buying the album the day of release but I was lucky to get a copy because there were only two copies available when I hit the new release rack at the shop.

U.D.O. – Rev-Raptor (2011) – $12: Here’s another album that I received a promtional download for so I could review it but I added it to my want list. I’ve been an U.D.O. fan since he formed the band after his time in Accept so I’m going to buy every album that comes out but I really wanted to get the European limited edition with the bonus tracks but the online shops sold out quick and I didn’t really want to drop around $25 for a couple extra songs and a couple videos. I’ll give Udo Dirkschneider credit, he knows how to do it Gene Simmons style because there were four pressings of REV-RAPTOR: the regular jewel case, the limited edition European with 2 bonus tracks & videos, the Japanese with different bonus tracks and the special box set with a t-shirt and other souvenirs. I wish there was an easier way to get all the bonus material instead of having to buy to high price imports but I’m happy with my U.S. version. Regular price was $16, sale price was $12, saved $4.

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (2 CD Limited Edition) (2011) – $14: It’s only been recently that I’ve really gotten into Arch Enemy so this new album is kind of a new start for me. There’s been a lot of press on KHAOS LEGIONS so I’m hoping that it’s as good as the older material I’ve been listening to. What makes this release interesting is that there are 2 versions: the regular jewel case or the limited edition with a 4 track bonus disc and a code for a free t-shirt. I was grabbing the double disc version but what astounded me was the regular prices: $16 for the single, $25 for the double! Good thing I buy the new releases the day they come out because I save a lot of money…..in this case, the single disce was on sale for $11 and the limited edition for $14. How could I not buy the limited edition and save $11? Add in the free t-shirt and it’s a great buy even if I have to pay the shipping for the shirt and then give it to my daughter because I can’t fit in an XL!

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstacy (2011) – $12: I got into Pagan’s Mind with 2007′s GOD EQUATION but I really haven’t gone back and tried to acquire the band’s previous releases. I like the band and I’m a fan of Progressive Metal but Pagan’s Mind just hasn’t taken hold in my listening rotation, hopefully that will change with this new album. This is another band that I didn’t know was releasing a new album but I was pleasantly surprised to find out in the Newbury Comics weekly newsletter. There are two versions of this album too: the single disc or the limited edition with 2 bonus tracks. When I went to the record store the day of release they only had the limited edition (the version I was buying anyway!) and they had plenty of copies. Regular price was a high $17 for the two extra songs but the sale price was only $12 for a savings of $5. I have been to the record store since I purchased this in the middle of June and I still haven’t seen the standard version but I assume that it’s without the bonus tracks and priced around $15 regular price.

Black Country Communion – 2 (2011) – $13: Black Country Communion is Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham…..now that’s a supergroup! The debut BCC album was awesome and made my list of the Top 30 Albums of 2010 at #5 so I was surprised when I read that the band had a new record ready to go. I waited on buying the first BCC album and ended up paying full price, the sting of that purchase was easier to take because the album was so good, but I wasn’t waiting around this time. Day of release and on sale for $13, I pulled the trigger. I like the old school stadium rock sound BCC has and Glenn Hughes keeps sounding better as he gets older while I am totally into Bonamassa’s guitar sound and now checking out his solo material…..good to see this album get on the U.S. Hot 100 chart with it’s debut. Regular price was an expensive $17 so I was glad to get the sale price and save $4.

Alestorm – Back Through Time (2011) – $13: Alestorm is another band I’ve followed from the beginning and I’ve grown to enjoy their Pirate Metal that’s a continuation of what Running Wild was doing a decade plus before. The thing is that the pirate themes and concepts are going to wear thin on the ultra serious metal fans but it’s all done well and in good fun so I don’t mind dropping a few bucks for good pirate party. I ended up buying the special edition of this album too with the hardbound book packaging and the two bonus tracks that are included. I didn’t see a regular jewel case edition at the record store but I read only that it exists. I actually almost pre-ordered this online through Napalm Records with the free t-shirt but they didn’t have the 2XL I need, the price on that package was $25 with shipping. Regular price for the special edition was $17 at the shop but I bought this on sale for $13 saving myself $4.

AC/DC – Live At River Plate DVD (2011) – $12: I’ve had my eye on this concert DVD for a few weeks but I never picked it up because the local shop had a ton of copies for weeks and the sale price kept going. Usually they take off the sale price after a couple week but they had so many copies of this DVD that the sale price was still there about a month after release. I had a little extra money to burn so I went to go pick up a copy but there was only two left this time! I’m not sure if the shop had a run on them all of a sudden or maybe transferred some to other locations but where there were many stood only two and one copy was regular price $15. Lucky for me the other copy still had the sale sticker on it so I knew that I’d be getting the price I wanted. Sure enough, when I got to the register, the DVD rang regular price but they price adjusted to the $12 sale price and I saved $3. I saw the Black Ice Tour in Foxboro, MA so LIVE AT THE RIVER PLATE will be a nice tour souvenir.

Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011) – $14: This is another album that I’ve had the promotional download for through Frontiers Records but I decided to pick the album up for the collection. I remember when DAWN PATROL came out back in 1982 and I was a fan of the band straight through to the break-up and reformation in the late ’90s…..this is another no-brainer purchase for me. I didn’t really get into the band’s last album, HOLE IN THE SUN (2008), right away because of the more modern sound the band used but it was still Night Ranger and it grew on me. From what I’ve read and my initial spin, SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA sounds like classic ’80s Night Ranger. I caught the band’s tour last year in Connecticut and it was a high energy show and the band sounded great, maybe taking that energy into the studio proved successful? Regular price here was $17 because it’s technically an import but I got it on sale for $14 and saved $3.

Symphony X – Iconoclast (2 CD Special Edition) (2011) – $13: I haven’t really listened to Symphony X since 2002′s THE ODYSSEY and I had no idea that they were releasing a new album (I’ve got to keep up on my Metal news!) so I was a little hesitant when i saw this album in the new release rack at the record store. Do I take a chance on a band that has released only two records since 2002? I noticed that there were two versions of this CD also (a trend for June I think!): the single disc and the special edition digipak that’s two CDs and has extra songs. I’m a sucker for bonus tracks and the sale price for this version was only $2 more than the regular so I snatched it up! I also noticed that there were a lot of copies of both versions of the album, a lot of which are still unsold and still onsale in mid-July. Regular price for the special edition was $19 so I saved $6 on the day of release. I’m hoping ICONOCLAST is a surprise record for me this year.

Queensryche – Dedicated To Chaos (Deluxe Edition) (2011) – $16: Another deluxe/special/limited edition for June’s hunt! Things with Queensryche have been hit or miss since 1994′s PROMISED LAND but I really enjoyed AMERICAN SOLDIER (2009) and I’m hoping that DEDICATED TO CHAOS is a continuation of the quality material I know the band is capable of. The wild card here is Geoff Tate and the direction his writing and leadership takes the band, one look at the back cover and seeing a bald Tate could either be a bad sign of he’s channelling his friend Rob Halford. Either way, I’ve been a fan of the band since the QUEENSRYCHE E.P. (1982) and THE WARNING (1984) so I’m always going to support the band. I bought the deluxe version for the three extra songs for only $3 more than the standard version. If you’re going to spend $13, why not just spend the $16 and get the whole package? Regular price for the deluxe version was a scary $22 so there was no way I was going to let a sale price pass me by with an opportunity to save $6 on an album I would easily buy.

Zebra – No Tellin’ Lies (1984) – $6 used: This was easily my bargain of the month and well worth the time spent digging through the used sections. I had gone to a different Newbury Comics location that had better selection than my usual store with my daughter and niece so I gave them each some money to shop so I could dive into the used bins. Unfortunately, I own most of the discs I found but NO TELLIN’ LIES, Zebra’s second album, was sitting there at a perfect price at $6 used! I’m not passing that up especially since all the Zebra records are on my want list so I can replace my cassettes. I was particularly psyched about finding a Zebra album because they had just played a local club in Massachusetts back in May (that I missed!) and the band’s hit from the first album, ‘Tell Me What You Want’, has been all over the local rock stations. My online research tells me that an original Atlantic Records pressing of this CD retails at about $15 if you can find it and the double disc reissue with the band’s third album, 3.V (1986), goes for around the same price and is easier to find. My digging saved me about $9.

Zebra – 3.V (1986) – $10 used: When out on a CD hunt always be mindful that where there’s one Zebra CD, there could be another! Zebras travels in herds don’t they? Seeing that I had good luck finding NO TELLIN’ LIES in the used bins, I decided to take the hunt over to the “Misc. Z” section of the Rock/Pop bins and there it was…..bargain #2 of June…..Zebra’s thierd album, 3.V from 1986! Here’s another pristine original pressing that goes for the same $15 alone or in the latest reissue with NO TELLIN’ LIES so I wasn’t about to pass it up! I haven’t seen original pressings of these Zebra albums in local record stores in at least ten years so I’m hoping that the recent concert at Showcase Live made some people clean out their collections. I’m not saying Zebra is a bad band, quite the contrary, but you would be surprised how many people dump their collections after a concert comes through town or the extra used stock the stores have in back makes it to the sales floor. Either way, it pads my collection and gets the want list a little shorter. Spending $10 for a used CD is a little high but I was sure I wouldn’t see it again and I still saved $5 off what would be a $15 regular price.

Helix – Walkin’ The Razor’s Edge (1984/2009 reissue) – $20: Now this was a big purchase but a necessary one. Ever since I rediscovered Helix back in 2005 when I bought lead singer Brian Vollmer’s autobiography Gimme An R!, I have been snapping up a lot of their back catalogue. Rock Candy Records in the U.K. are a great reissue label that takes great care in releasing high quality reissues of classic albums by working alongside the artist in getting the album back in the stores. In the case of WALKIN’ THE RAZOR’S EDGE, I do have a cassette that is well worn and I have the single ‘Rock You’ on an ’80s Metal compilation CD so I’ve been content to wait out the last couple years and get this reissue at a good price. Depending where you look online, you can get this reissue anywhere between $15 and $25 plus shipping charges, that’s too high. When I saw the record store actually stocked the album, I jumped on it despite the price. I figured I’d pay at least $20 on the low end of the online price so I decided to buy it now instead of having to wait a week or two because of the mail services.

Total = $239

Total (year) = $559

Average Price (per item) = $10.75

Total Savings (month) = $97

Total Savings (year) = $336

Total CDs (year) = 49

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

 

On Saturday night I made the 45 minute drive up to The Palladium in Worcester, MA to catch one of my favorite bands from the last 15 years…..Hammerfall!

I got into Hammerfall in late 1997 when I saw the GLORY TO THE BRAVE CD in the Import Section of my favorite record store and I took a chance. 13 years later…..I have bought every Hammerfall album (except 2008′s MASTERPIECES) and have hoped I would get the chance to see them in concert. Back in 2005, Hammerfall toured the U.S. including a stop at The Palladium but I missed it. At the time I was working at a new job and I hadn’t been there long so I probably didn’t go because I didn’t want to make waves asking for a night off to see a Metal show. This time around I took the day off way in advance! I hadn’t been to a show at The Palladium in years so I forgot what it was like…..it’s a great old theater with a general admission floor and it definitely gets all the good Metal shows regularly including the annual New England Metal & Hardcore Festival. I was flying solo so my plan was to get in, get a drink, grab my Hammerfall tour shirt and find a stool in the bar area to watch the opening acts from.

All the opening bands were local Massachusetts Metal bands and this was my first time seeing any of them so I was hoping to hear some cool music and maybe check out a CD or two. First band on was Infinite Descent and they played close to 30 minutes of some really good Progressive/Thrash/Death Metal that all I could immeadiately compare them to was Arch Enemy. A lot of that has to do with lead vocalist Olivia Berka being similar to Angela Gossow with her aggressive vocals but it was her mixing of the clean vocals that hooked me right away. The other cool thing was the band gave away inflatable swords that the kids on the floor used during their moshing battle. I was going to hit the band’s merchandise stand for a copy of their demo but guitarist Rob Gil was handing them out to the crowd after the band’s set…..a good way to meet some of the fans.

Next up was Frozen, another Progressive/Thrash/Death Metal band from Massachusetts that was very aggressive but also very eclectic. There were a ton of different styles the band threw out including modern heavy Rock and musical themes from ’80s Nintendo games so it was an interesting set. I was going to pick up a CD (the band has two releases) but I never made it over to their merch stand because I didn’t want to lose my prime viewing spot.

Last opener was Powerglove and they got the biggest ovation from the crowd. Powerglove is from the Boston area and they play “video game Metal”: the band takes video game music and creates a metallic version. (You may recognize their band name, taken from the old Nintendo glove controller, the Power Glove.) Songs based on Mario, Dr. Robotnik (from Sonic the Hedgehog), Power Rangers, Mortal Kombat, Tetris and Final Fantasy were featured through their set that also included stage props, full costumes and foam swords that they sold and threw into the pit so the fans could “do battle”. You would think that the previous two aggressive bands would get the crowd whipped to a frenzy but these guys were obvious favorites and they had a full floor area moshing, battling and banging their heads. I was completely taken off guard by how good the band was so I went over to their booth on the way out and paid only $17 to get both the band’s CDs. Definitely the most interesting and entertaining of all the openers but I’d say this was one of the better local lineups I’ve seen in a long time.

Hammerfall setlist:

Punish & Enslave
Crimson Thunder
Renegade
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Last Man Standing
Blood Bound
Life Is Now
Heeding The Call
Rebel Inside
The Dragon Lies Bleeding
Between Two Worlds
Any Means Necessary
Stronger Than All

Encore:
Riders Of The Storm
Secrets
Let The Hammer Fall
Hearts On Fire

Like I said before, Hammerfall played The Palladium back in 2005 and I didn’t get to the show, there was no way I was missing the band this time around! Who knows if it will take another 5 years for them to return? My favorite Hammerfall album is their second, LEGACY OF KINGS (1998), so I was hoping to hear a few songs from that, as well as, some new songs. Old school Hammerfall (the first 3 records) is what I like best and I haven’t really focused heavily on a new Hammerfall record since their third with RENEGADE in 200, the subsequent releases were bought and listened to but I put them down quickly. On the ride up to Worcester, I listened to the new album, NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY (2009) and CRIMSON THUNDER (2004)…..the new album gets better everytime I hear it and I had forgotten just how good CRIMSON THUNDER was!

The venue was packed and the band came out to the heavy as hell ‘Punish & Enslave’ from the latest album…..from there it was full speed ahead! Every Hammerfall album was represented by at least one song in the 17 song set with the NO SACRIFICE album getting five played live. All the new songs fit into the set well around all the classic material and the highlights for me were all of them but the standout songs were ‘Between Two Worlds’ and ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’. The band played some classic songs from their earlier era, especially from the LEGACY album, and that had me completely psyched. I finally got to hear ‘The Dragon Lies Bleeding’, ‘Renegade’ and ‘Let The Hammer Fall’ live! Another 5 songs came from the 2004-2005 era, when the band last played the U.S., off CRIMSON THUNDER and CHAPTER V: UNBENT, UNBOWED, UNBROKEN (2005). I never really got into CHAPTER V but I had given it a re-listen a few days before the show and I was surprised at how good it sounded now so it was cool to get the first two songs off that album (‘Secrets’ & ‘Blood Bound’) live. The crowd went nuts the entire time, especially for the classics off the first three albums, but the intensity was at it’s highest for the CRIMSON THUNDER songs ‘Crimson Thunder’, ‘Riders Of The Storm and the set ending ‘Hearts On Fire’.

The band looked like they were having a great time on stage and they were full of energy, Worcester was the second show of the tour so they were probably pumped way up to be back in the U.S. Joacim Cans sounded so great live, his vocals were so good that he sounded almost exactly like the albums…..he has definitely moved up on my favorite singers list! Fredrik Larrson (who played bass on the first record) was back and teamed up superbly with drummer Anders Johannson while guitarist Oscar Drojnak had a blistering guitar and seemed to be having more fun than the crowd! Even though each band member was excellent I have to say that the newest member, guitarist Pontus Norgren, stood out the most aside from Joacim Cans. Many of you may have heard of Pontus through his solo work, his work with Jeff Scott Soto on his solo stuff and in Humanimal or through his various studio & production work. Needless to say, Pontus is a seriously talented musician…..he plays great guitar (very melodic) and his vocal harmonies are a perfect fit for the Hammerfall sound. I found myself watching him for most of the set to see how he would handle the older material vs. the new songs, I say he did an excellent job.

The band was so good, so passionate about Metal and the fans, that I left the show on a huge high note. You couldn’t help it after the band tore into ‘Hearts On Fire’ to end the set, they had the crowd so frenzied that they could have easily pulled out another 2 or 3 songs and it would have been even better. We got 17 songs that represented all their albums with perfect playing and respect for the fans…..that’s about all you can ask from a concert. If anyone has the chance to check out the Hammerfall tour, I fully recommend buying a ticket! The band kicked my ass back into gear and now I am ready for the next big concert and I’ve been listening to all sorts of Metal non-stop: no TV, no sports talk radio, no video games…..just Heavy Metal!

A lot of you may be wondering where the heck I’ve been for the last month or so…..well, I’m still here! Sorry for the lack of posts but I got a few new “toys” with my tax refund (new furniture, a 52″ LCD HD TV, and a Playstation 3) and I’ve been spending most of my time away from the computer. I’m still listening to Metal, that never stops, so here’s what I’ve been listening to in the last couple of days…..

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009): This is an obvious must to keep playing because KISS is my favorite band, SONIC BOOM is clearly the best KISS record since REVENGE (1992) and it keeps getting better everytime I listen to it.

Bruce Kulick – BK3 (2010): Another KISS-related release! Bruce Kulick has always been one of the most underrated guitarists but he has always been one of my favorites because he lent stability and versatility to KISS during his tenure. I like the different sounds on this album: a little KISS, some Union, some alternative, some Hard Rock, some Melodic Rock. It’s a pretty good record and I will be reviewing it soon (I should have done this in the beginning of February!).

Brainstorm – Memorial Roots (2010): I’m still listening to January’s album of the month and I will be reviewing it soon. I definitely like this album better than their last, DOWNBURST (2008).

Keel – The Right To Rock (1985/2010 reissue): I was a big Keel fan back in the day based solely on my ability to draw both Keel logos (the band changed logos after their 1984 debut album LAY DOWN THE LAW). I did get into the music and I bought both the first three Keel records when they came out. Re-listening to this record was great because I hadn’t heard it in a long time…..’The Right To Rock’, ‘Easier Said Than Done’ and ‘Electric Love’ are still cool songs 25 years later! One thing I will say, Keel’s cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ is still awful!

Keel – Streets Of Rock ‘n’ Roll (2010): I never thought there would be a new Keel album but I’m psyched the band came back and released new material, it’s been a long time coming. The band sounds great and the songs are strong…..so far it’s one of the best records of the year for me.

Gamma Ray – To The Metal! (2010): Just got the new Gamma Ray disc from the label, it comes out in 2 weeks. I’ve been looking forward to this album since it was announced and I was surprised to find it in my mailbox. I’ve given it only one spin but I heard some pretty good songs right away.

Hammerfall – (all albums): Guess who I’m going to see in concert Saturday night? That’s right! Hammerfall is coming to the Worcester Palladium and I am making the 45 minute drive to finally see them live. I’ve been listening to all their studio albums in preparation for the show, my favorites are still the first two: GLORY TO THE BRAVE (1997) and LEGACY OF KINGS (1998).

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.

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.

hammerfall-no-sacrifice-no-victory-2009

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009, Nuclear Blast)

  1. Any Means Necessary
  2. Life Is Now
  3. Punish And Enslave
  4. Legion
  5. Between Two Worlds
  6. Hallowed Be Thy Name
  7. Something For The Ages
  8. No Sacrifice, No Victory
  9. Bring The Hammer Down
  10. One Of A Kind
  11. My Sharona

Band Lineup:
Joacim Cans – Lead Vocals
Oscar Dronjak – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Anders Johanssen – Drums
Pontus Norgren – Guitars
Fredrik Larsson – Bass & Backing Vocals

Producer: Charlie Bauerfeind

Country: Sweden

Total Time = 49:45

Hammerfall
Hammerfall MySpace page
Nuclear Blast Germany
Nuclear Blast USA

I have been on a Power Metal binge for the last decade because of Hammerfall. The band released two landmark albums in the late ’90s with their debut GLORY TO THE BRAVE (1997) and LEGACY OF KINGS (1998) and I have been plugged in permanent to the Power metal scene ever since. As good as these two albums are, Hammerfall doesn’t stray far from the same formula and I haven’t really gotten into subsequent releases, everything started to sound the same. With the release of NO SACRIFICE, NO VICTORY (the band’s 7th studio album) I’m starting to appreciate Hammerfall a little bit more even though they still do things the same way they did in the beginning.

The album starts off with the anthemic ‘Any Means Necessary’ that has a very Manowar-ish backing vocal, big choral vocals dominate Hammerfall songs. ‘Any Means Necessary’ is a mid-paced stomp that flirts with a faster pace at times, it’s full of guitars and crystal clear vocals. ‘Life Is Now’ is sounds like something from Royal Hunt around the MOVING TARGET (1997) album, very progressive and melodic but retaining the Power Metal. ‘Punish And Enslave’ has a thick main riff and follows the same pace as ‘Any Means Necessary’ but it has more straight ahead power. The guitar solo is pretty solid, as most are on a Hammerfall record, but the big background vocals detract from the overall song and give off that Manowar vibe again. ‘Legion’ opens with a quick demonic voice intro announcing the coming of the “legion” and then the band kicks into high gear with the fastest song so far. ‘Legion’ is straight from the band’s first two albums with breakneck melodic riffs, pounding double bass drumming and soaring vocals. What I like here most is that the backgrounds don’t overpower the main vocal, Joacim Cans has a huge voice and he can hold his own without the big choral backing.

Things slow right down with the Metal ballad ‘Between Two Worlds’. The song starts off with this church style organ that reminds me of Sunday mass from when I was a kid but moves to an acoustic based arrangement that puts the focus straight on Cans’ voice. I didn’t really expect a ballad from Hammerfall but this is one of the better songs on the album and shows a bit of diversity. I like the fact that the church organ returns for the chorus and the band plays within the song rather than go way over the top. Back to the mid-tempo Power Metal with ‘Hallowed be Thy Name’, which I thought was going to be a cover of the Iron Maiden classic, but it turns out to be a Hammerfall original. Unfortunately it’s not all that original…..it stays around the same pace as the first three songs, has a very simplistic chorus, and it just sounds like it’s been done before. If it wasn’t for the guitar solos being very good the song would be an afterthought. The pace speeds up again with the instrumental ‘Something For The Ages’, a song that sounds like it came from the inspired first two Hammerfall records with duelling guitars and a solid backline. If this track had some decent lyrics it would be the best song on the album, it’s close even as an instrumental and shows what the band is capable of when they get out of their comfort zone. The title track opens with a simple guitar riff and builds into another melodic chugger that follows the medium pace they have been building on, as well as, those over the top background vocals. Solid guitars, solid vocals, solid backline…..more of the same without much surprise to it. That’s the problem with Hammerfall, you know what you’re going to get and the band just keeps following the same formula.

A quick drum intro opens ‘Bring The Hammer Down’ and the main riff has that Accept - ‘Balls To The Wall’ tone to it. The pace and backgrounds are the same and I have been criticising that through the entire review but it works here. I think the inspired guitar work really makes the song a fist-pumping anthem and the vocals are extremely catchy. ‘One Of A Kind’ is a galloping Metal romp that reminds me of Helloween, Iron Maiden, and Gamma Ray. I like the way the song slows down immeadiately in the middle for a quiet guitar solo and vocal that builds slowly back into the meat of the song with a proper uptempo solo. It’s one of those changes you would expect from Maiden and it adds some depth/change to the album as a whole. The last song is a cover of The Knack’s popular hit ‘My Sharona’, and the band does a straight forward cover, but is it necessary? The song isn’t a Metal tune and sounds completely out of place on the album.

Bottom Line:
As I mentioned before, if you’ve listened to Hammerfall before then you know what to expect. The band makes no excuses for following the same tried and true formula that has carried them up to their 7th album. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Maybe tweak it a little. Overall the album is good but some songs sound the same as others especially with the pace and backgrounds. Then there are other songs like ‘Legion’, ‘Something For the Ages’ and ‘One Of A Kind’ that prove that the band can stretch out and enhance the overall formula. The production is flawless, as are the performances, but what else would you expect from a polished band like Hammerfall? I’ve given this a lot of spins since it’s release and I keep finding parts that I like, I would call this the best Hammerfall record since RENEGADE (2000).

Favorite Songs:
‘Legion’, ‘Something For The Ages’, ‘Between Two Worlds’, ‘One Of A Kind’, ‘Bring The Hammer Down’

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.

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)

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!

Thanksgiving is over and so is the rush at work. Nothing is worse than working in a supermarket during the holidays so my hard work earned me a long weekend after my Friday shift. I planned to do three things on my four days off: sleep, go to the Patriots game, and catch up on some Metal. I slept most of the day Saturday, and the game is today, so here’s what I’ve listened to and what I have on deck…..

Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy (2008): I bought it last Sunday and I’ve been giving it some spins. I always said that this album would either be the greatest album of all-time or the biggest flop of all-time…..so far, it’s not the flop. It’s definitely a more modern sounding GnR.

Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): Saxon’s new record isn’t due for release until mid-January 2009 but the record label was kind enough to send over an advance copy last week. 13 songs of pure Heavy Metal, I recommend it.

Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos (2009): SPV was nice enough to send over Kreator’s new album along with the new Saxon last week and I’ve been giving this album some good spins. Another record that’s supposed to be released in mid-January.

Hammerfall – Glory To The Brave (1997): I was talking with a friend of mine about the late ’90s Power Metal revival and we started discussing Hammerfall’s debut. This is one of the best debuts in the Power Metal scene and you can’t deny Hammerfall’s influence on how the Metal scene was shaped in the last decade.

Hammerfall – Legacy Of Kings (1998): This is my favorite Hammerfall record and definitely their best. I remember buying this at my favorite local shop as an import and blasting this daily for weeks. I still enjoy pulling this one out regularly but I wanted to compare this one with the debut.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Enchanted’ (2008): This is the new TSO single from the upcoming album NIGHTCASTLE. There was a free download of this song at Amazon.com and I went for it. I’m not a download type of guy but I’ve been on the TSO bandwagon before there was even a bandwagon. Being a Savatage fan for a long time, I knew about the project when it was still in the planning stages. It’s good to hear new TSO music because it’s been 4 years since THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE.

KISS – Crazy Nights (1987): This is one of my favorite KISS records because this was the tour that I saw KISS for the first time. With the 17th anniversary of Eric Carr’s death this past Monday, I decided to remember him and the non-makeup lineup of KISS by giving this album a couple of spins.

From Bravewords:

On June 27th Swedish metal Gods HAMMERFALL will release their new DVD, Rebels With A Cause – Unruly, Unrestrained, Uninhibited, along with a covers album called Masterpieces. The strictly limited edition features both releases in one package.

A video trailer can be seen below…

Rebels With A Cause – Unruly, Unrestrained, Uninhibited (DVD): “The DVD will be a continuation of the previous two (The First Crusade and The Templar/Renegade Crusades) and contain newly recorded interviews with the band interspersed with footage from their own cameras. The time span is six years, from the beginning of 2002 til the end of 2007, and it’s edited together as a documentary of sorts, i.e. one continuous film, but of course with chapters. Also included will be all six promo videos made during the time in question plus some behind the scenes, four professionally filmed live songs from Filderstadt 2005, five TV clips they have purchased the rights to from SVT (the Swedish national television network) and some more home-made stuff as bonus. The complete running time is estimated to 1h 30-1h 45 plus 1h 15-1h 30.”

Masterpieces (CD):
‘Child Of The Damned’ (Tsamis) – Originally recorded by WARLORD
‘Ravenlord’ (Spengler) – Originally recorded by Stormwitch
‘Eternal Dark’ (Lovell/Jaarsveld/Vreugdenhil/Manen/Bakker) – Originally recorded by PICTURE
‘Back To Back’ (Hammer/Owen/Atkins) – Originally recorded by PRETTY MAIDS
‘I Want Out’ (Hansen) – Originally recorded by HELLOWEEN
‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ (Blackmore/Dio) – Originally recorded by RAINBOW
‘Head Over Heels’ (Accept/Deaffy) – Originally recorded by ACCEPT
‘Run With the Devil’ (Wahlquist) – Originally recorded by HEAVY LOAD
‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ (Snider) – Originally recorded by TWISTED SISTER
‘Breaking The Law (Downing/Tipton/Halford) – Originally recorded by JUDAS PRIEST
‘Angel Of Mercy’ (Chastain) – Originally recorded by CHASTAIN
‘Rising Force’ (Malmsteen/Turner) -Originally recorded by YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN’S RISING FORCE
‘Detroit Rock City’ (Stanley/Ezrin) Originally recorded by KISS
‘Crazy Nights’ (Takasaki/Nihara) – Originally recorded by LOUDNESS
‘När Vindarna Viskar Mitt Namn’ (Holmstrand/Jansson/Dahl) – Originally recorded by ROGER PONTARE
‘Flight Of The Warrior’ (Reale/Van Stavern/Moore) – Originally recorded by RIOT
‘Youth Gone Wild’ (Bolan/Sabo) – Originally recorded by SKID ROW
‘Aphasia’ (Norum) – Originally recorded by EUROPE