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

The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#11-#25)

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 is part 2, my Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#11 – #25):

#25

Ravage – The End Of Tomorrow (2009): Living in the New England area, there really isn’t much of a local scene like there used to be, especially in Rhode Island, but there are a few bands worth checking out. Ravage has been a fixture on the Massachusetts scene for over a decade but this is only their second full-length album! With most bands on the local, and national, scene playing mostly Metalcore and/or Hardcore it’s refreshing to hear a band play old school Traditional Metal. You could call this Power Metal too, maybe even Thrash in some spots. The bottom line here is that Ravage released a solid record that reminds me of my early ’80s roots…..great to have another local band in this year’s countdown.

#24

Artillery – When Death Comes (2009): WHEN DEATH COMES was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, as well as, one of the albums I was really looking forward to. Thrash is on a major comeback and it was good to hear a new Artillery album, this one with new lead singer Søren Nico Adamsen. I feel that Artillery has expanded their overall sound and added enough melodic touches to their Thrash base to make this album even better than expected. I didn’t take WHEN DEATH COMES out of my regular weekly rotation until mid-November so I really spent a lot of time with it and it hasn’t disappointed.

#23

Slayer – World Painted Blood (2009): Any year with a new Slayer album is a good year and anytime you get a new Slayer album then you know it’s going to be good. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest Slayer fan but I have been following the band since the early ’80s. 2009 was a year for me to fill all the holes in my Slayer collection and give the entire catalog a serious listen. Then the new album was released and I’ve given that all my attention. The more I listen to WORLD PAINTED BLOOD, the more I like it. It’s brutal, heavy, and dangerous…..just like a Slayer album should be!

#22

Bloodbound – Tabula Rasa (2009): The only reason I picked this album up because Urban Breed (ex-Tad Morose, current Pyramaze) was the lead singer. Besides Urban, I knew nothing about Bloodbound but TABULA RASA turned out to be a great buy! I’d call this heavy Power Metal incorporating great guitarwork, a solid rhythm section and, of course, awesome vocals. This is more or less a concept album with most of the songs having the tabula rasa (Latin for “blank slate”) idea but each song stands out on there own. Another big surprise for 2009 and an album I have kept in my weekly rotation for most of the year.

#21

Mastodon – Crack The Skye (2009): I only started listening to Mastadon in 2006 with BLOOD MOUNTAIN so I’m not as familiar with the band’s style as others might be. I’m not going to lie…..I had a hard time getting into this album at first, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the wall of sound that Mastodon is. I bought this when it was released and gave it serious listening time but I didn’t get it. After letting it sit and coming back to it, I get it! Mastodon is going to be like Dream Theater for me where I have to stop listening and then come back later for more, especially with Mastodon as they continue to evolve their sound from album to album. I didn’t rank this as high as other websites’ but this is definitely one of the year’s best.

#20

Candlemass – Death Magic Doom (2009): When Messiah Marcolin left Candlemass again in 2006 I didn’t think that a new record would be anything short of a letdown. That’s why I passed on 2007′s KING OF THE GREY ISLANDS. I picked this album up because the sale price was right and I figured I’d check out what the band sounded like with their current vocalist Robert Lowe (Solitude Aeturnus). One listen to ‘Hammer Of Doom’ and I was hooked into the pure Doom influenced by Ozzy-era Black Sabbath…..after that, I was hooked. Robert Lowe puts in a great performance and the band hasn’t lost a step…..another great surprise for me in 2009 and definitely in the Top 20.

#19

Stryper – Murder By Pride (2009): I only bought MURDER BY PRIDE because I have been a Stryper fan since the early ’80s and I still support the bands I grew up with. I had a lot of doubts about this album because the band’s last album, REBORN (2005), was awful. Then there is the Boston connection, lead vocalist/guitarist Michael Sweet now fronting the Classic Rock band…..I wasn’t sure about a cover of the Boston classic ‘Peace Of Mind’ being added to a new Stryper record. Talk about a comeback, Stryper does a complete about-face and shelves the grungy sound they used on REBORN for a return to their classic melodic ’80s sound. The difference between 2009 and 1983-1990 is that the overall religious message isn’t constantly crammed into the listener, the message is still there but it’s more subtle. Stryper had me singing along almost right away and that’s always a good sign…..and the Boston cover? It’s pretty good!

#18

U.D.O. – Dominator (2009): If you’re an old school Metal fan, then you should be an Accept fan. If you’re an Accept fan, then being an U.D.O. fan is basically the same thing. Udo Dirkscheider continues to fly the Accept flag through his namesake by playing uncompromising Traditional Heavy Metal that is always high quality. Every year U.D.O. releases a new record you know exactly what you’re going to get and DOMINATOR is definitely follows the same path as other U.D.O. albums. It’s great to have a veteran band that’s consistent year in and year out releasing solid Metal albums, now if they could just find a better album cover for this one!

#17

Outloud - We’ll Rock You To Hell And Back Again! (2009): First let’s settle the confusion on the album title. The band’s label, Frontiers Records, lists this as “Self-titled” or “Outloud” but there is the title of “We’ll Rock You to Hell And Back Again!” above the band logo on the album cover. Which is it? The Metal websites & blogs are split down the middle and so are the online retailers. All year I went with “s/t” but I will use what’s on the album cover for this list. Back to the music…..remember the late ’80s? Outloud does! This album is a heavy melodic Hard Rock record that is full of hooks and bombastic arena tailored riffs…..fans of Dokken, Europe, early Bon Jovi and definitely Riot will all like this. I had this ranked higher but it fell as other albums moved up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on a lot of year end lists.

#16

Jorn Lande – Spirit Black (2009): I swear that everything Jorn Lande does is near perfect! Doesn’t matter if it’s with Masterplan, Ark, solo or part of projects, Jorn always puts in a masterful performance. It’s hard to believe that SPIRIT BLACK is Jorn’s seventh studio album in ten years but he just keeps releasing album after album of great Metal. SPIRIT BLACK is a record that still has a ton of melody and hooks but a lot heavier, more Heavy Metal. When I was putting this list together, Jorn Lande was an obvious choice…..just listen to that voice, he’s becoming one of my favorite singers alongside Halford, Dio, Turner, Hughes, Bonnet, Soto and D.C. Cooper.

#15

Helix – Vagabond Bones (2009): This is one of the biggest surprises of 2009! I only picked up VAGABOND BONES a few weeks ago but it has been the most played album on a daily basis ever since. Helix always puts out consistently good albums and I have to give Brian Vollmer credit for following his musical formula and keeping everything sounding fresh. Sure, the Helix sound is rooted in AC/DC and the big ’80s but isn’t that what’s so good about them? VAGABOND BONES is an absolutly fun record with a ton of hooks that had me singing right along almost immeadiately. Some of the great songs here are ‘Go Hard Or Go Home’, ‘Jack It Up’ and ‘Vagabond Bones’. Go to the excellent PlanetHelix to give this album a listen and then go buy it!

#14

Primal Fear – 16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) (2009): The best thing Primal Fear did in the last few years was to expand their Power Metal sound by adding in a lot of different melodic styles. They did it with NEW RELIGION in 2007 and they have continued with 16.6. You’ve got serious heavy metal with ‘Riding The Eagle’ and then  melodic balladry with ‘Black Rain’ moving into more traditional Metal on ‘Killbound’. Basically, Primal Fear keeps you guessing as to what’s next and the expansion of their overall sound makes them more diverse and exciting then a lot of other Power Metal bands crowding the scene. This album took a few listens to take hold but it became one of my favorite albums of the year and stayed in the weekly rotation for most of 2009.

#13

Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos (2009): The best Thrash album of 2009 without a doubt! I’ve had HORDES OF CHAOS since mid-December 2008 when the kind  people at SPV sent me a promo and I have been playing it regularly for the entire year. I know that Megadeth, Slayer and Artillery all released great Thrash albums this year but kreator set the bar high early on and no one has matched it. The intensity is there, the blistering guitar is there, the brutality is there too but what sets HORDES OF CHAOS apart is that Kreator wasn’t afraid to expand their Thrash formula and add in some melodic flourishes to the overall sound. I hope we don’t have to wait another four years again between new Kreator albums.

#12

Praying Mantis – Sanctuary (2009): SANCTUARY is one of the big reasons why 2009 was such a great year for music, it was one of those albums that came out of nowhere and was just excellent. I grew up with bands from the NWOBHM so I know all about Praying Mantis but I really didn’t expect much from the band 20+ years after I discovered them. SANCTUARY is one of the best AOR/Melodic Rock albums of the year…..there are enough fast songs, mid-tempo songs and ballads that blend together to create a diverse wall of sound filled with melody and hooks a plenty. Current singer Mike Freeland puts in as smooth and effortless performance as  Joe Lynn Turner would and the music is striking in it’s power and beauty. Tino and Chris Troy have kept the Praying Mantis flag flying and SANCTUARY is one of their crown jewels…..I certainly enjoyed this album all year long and it just barely missed out on the Top 10.

#11

FarCry – High Gear (2009): Another band, and album, that came out of nowhere to really captivate my attention and turn in one of the best Melodic Rock albums of 2009! FarCry is a new band and HIGH GEAR is an awesome debut filled with some of the best ’80s styled AOR/Melodic Rock I’ve heard in a long time with big harmonies, hooks and guitars. The music reminds me of classic Danger Danger, Tyketto, Firehouse and Warrant with a bit of Survivor and Journey mixed in. Sounds like good music? It is. Bottom line is FarCry isn’t reinventing the wheel here, their sound is easily 20+ years old for a new band, but they do this kind of music extremely well…..they have great songwriting, good performances, and huge production. HIGH GEAR is one of the best purchases I made this year and it just missed my Top 10. Well worth checking out, I’ve listened to it daily for months!

——————————————————————————————-

Please check out The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#1-#10) and The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#26-#40) for the rest of this year’s countdown.

CD Scavenger Hunt – Record Store Day Edition

I’ve been a record store junkie since I was a young kid and I still get a charge out of searching through stacks of CDs and racks of vinyl. I learned about music in the record store and I entered the culture of Heavy Metal and of the collector. Record Store Day is one of my favorite days of the year. The discounts, the comraderie, the crowds! Hit the right store on Record Store Day and you can walk out with a bunch of great music at a great price, some free stuff, and the feeling that the death of physical music shopping is alive and well.

My plan for record store day was to hit four local shops and buy up whatever I could. Of course there are always things at the last minute that impede progress and my physical health (allergies!) and work schedule meant I only had a couple of hours. I decided to hit the two closest stores to home and see what damage I could inflict on my wallet! First I hit my usual haunt: Newbury Comics in North Attleboro, MA. My initial plan was to go to the Warwick, RI location because I planned on a bigger selection but time was the overall problem and the extra 30 minutes drive time roundtrip didn’t compute. Second stop would be Luke’s Record Exchange in Pawtucket, RI: 5 minutes from home and one of the stores I grew up in. I was outside the door of Newbury Comics at 9:45am and I was in first when they opened at 10…..first stop was the Used Metal section and then a proper focused search through the general Used section followed by DVDs. the sale at Newburys was “30% off all used CDs & DVDs” so the plan was to blow $100 and get $30 off for a grand total of $70. Of course, everything is subject to change!

Used DVDs

West Wing (Seasons 4 & 7) – $19.25 each: I cannot tell a lie…..I bought these for my wife. Here’s a tip: if you plan on spending big $$$ at the record stores, make sure you bring something good home for the wife! Never fails! My wife’s birthday was last Thursday and I bought her Seasons 2 & 3 of West Wing (she has the 1st season) and I figured I’d get these for her to fill holes in the collection. At $19.25 each for used copies I saved more than half the regular price on each.

Ratt – Videos From The Cellar: The Atlantic Years (2007) – $6.30: I searched the used Music DVD section for 20 mins trying to find something I really wanted and/or didn’t have. The only one I could find was this Ratt compilation and the price was right at $8.99 used, then take off the 30% off! This DVD is a combination of 2 VHS releases: RATT – The Video (1985) and RATT – Detonator Videoaction (1991) plus two bonus features: a commentary from Stephen Pearcy & Warren DeMartini and unreleased videos from the INVASION OF YOUR PRIVACY and DANCING UNDERCOVER albums……13 videos total.

Used CDs

Battlelore – Third Age Of The Sun (2005) – $4.90: A band I’ve been wanting to check out for a while, this was the only Battlelore disc in the store.

Cheap Trick – Lap Of Luxury (1988) – $2.80: I got nostalgic for ‘The Flame’ and this was a cool 3 bucks!

Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers (1984) – $6.30: A major oversight in my collection! I’m not sure how I accomplished going without PERFECT STRANGERS on CD but I seem to have done it. I had to call home to make sure I was missing the album, give my wife credit for going up to the music room to check.

Dream Evil – United (2006) – $4.20: I got bored with Dream Evil after 2004′s THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL so I never got around to grabbing this. I’ve been keeping an eye on this used copy for a couple months but I kept passing on it. This is a 2 CD set with a second disc of 5 bonus tracks…..great value!

Flotsam & Jetsam – When The Storm Comes Down (1990) – $4.20: Not a big Flotsam fan but I didn’t have this one and it’s from 1990 so I fugure the music has to be decent given the year. Good price too.

Heart – s/t (1985) – $2.80: Big time ’80s AOR from Heart with catchy singles like ‘What About Love’ and ‘These Dreams’. This was a big MTV/radio album back in ’85 and I always dug Heart.

Iron Savior – Condition Red (2002) – $5.60: Iron Savior are in the same boat as Dream Evil, after the first couple of albums I got bored with them. Actually, I stopped buying new Iron Savior after DARK ASSAULT (2001). Another used disc I’ve been passing over for a couple of months.

Hell Bent For Metal 2: A Tribute To Judas Priest (2000) – $2.80: I know, I know…..I am the guy who hates cover songs…..but I’m also the guy who likes tribute albums. It’s a vicious circle. Some good bands here: Cage, Seven Witches, Tyrant. A good tracklisting too: ‘Rapid Fire’, ‘Tyrant’ (by Tyrant!), ‘Grinder’ and more. I bought this and I have no idea if I have it already because my compilations/tributes/soundtracks are still packed away in boxes!

Journey – Generations (2005) – $2.80: Always been a Journey fan but I passed on this record (and the tour) when I read all the bad reviews. The good news for me is that there have been at least ten used copies of this albums floating between my two usual Newbury Comics locations all for $3.99! I figured the 30% off sale was a good time to fill a hole in the Journey collection.

King Diamond – The Eye (1990) – $4.90: Filling the holes in the King Diamond collection and I knew I didn’t have this one. This is the 1997 Roadrunner remaster.

King Diamond – The Puppet Master (2003) – $7: I had to call home and get my wife to go upstairs to the music room again. Turns out I skipped this one too along with DEADLY LULLABYES LIVE (2004). Not sure why but I’ll bet the price in 2003 was too much, especially for the digipak version with the bonus DVD.

Kreator – Renewal (1992) – $3.50: Bought solely on the price and that I know I don’t have it. I’ve been slowly filling the holes in my Kreator collection since they released the excellent HORDES OF CHAOS this year.

Operator – Soulcrusher (2007) – $2.80: I kept meaning to pick this up since it came out but I passed even though I read good reviews online. Plenty of used copies available but getting it for under three bucks is a steal.

Slayer – Show No Mercy (1983) – $9.10: How does a self-professed Metal maniac not have Slayer’s first album in his collection? I couldn’t believe it either so I called the wife a third time and made her go upstairs again! This time she was doing laundry in the basement so she reluctantly went up two floors and reported the album missing!

Spinal Tap – Break Like The Wind (1992) – $3.50: Tap is Tap and Tap is great! I just never got around to picking this up! This is the 2000 reissue.

Destiny’s End – Breathe Deep The Dark (1998) – $1.40: Did you notice that I listed all my CDs in alphabetical order? I’m breaking the order with the debut from Destiny’s End because I already own it! I grabbed it when I saw it because the price was $1.40 but I kept looking at it in my basket and I couldn’t remember if I owned it or not. By the time I was ready to check out I had already called home 3 times…..the wife wasn’t going to be happy if call #4 came so I decided to risk the $1.40 and wait to check when I got home. Looks like Destiny’s End will be returned when I head to the store Tuesday and I’ll get a small credit.

Total = $119

I ended up running into Luke’s really quick because there were a few KISS bootlegs I wanted but I passed because I think I can get them through trades. I didn’t buy anything at Luke’s but I think I will be ordering a few things online this week that just came out…..I wish everything came to the record stores like they used to!

Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos (2009)

kreator-hordes-of-chaos-2009

Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos (2009, SPV)

  1. Hordes Of Chaos
  2. Warcurse
  3. Escalation
  4. Amok Run
  5. Destroy What Destroys You
  6. Radical Resistance
  7. Absolute Misanthropy
  8. To The Afterborn
  9. Corpses Of Liberty
  10. Demon Prince

Band Lineup:
Mille Petrozza – Vocals & Guitars
Jürgen Reil – Drums
Christian Giesler – Bass
Sami Yli-Sirniö – Guitars

Producer: Moses Schneider

Total Time = 38:32

Country: Germany

Kreator official website
Kreator MySpace page
SPV USA
SPV Germany

It’s been four long years since Kreator’s last record, ENEMY OF GOD, and now the German Thrash legends have given birth to a new album titled HORDES OF CHAOS. I used to be a big fan of Kreator back in the ’80s but somewhere along the line I just stopped following the band. ENEMY OF GOD brought me back onto the path with it’s speed and brutality so I kind of knew what to expect from the band four years later. The speed is there, the power is there, so is the intensity. There is plenty of drilling riffs and searing guitar solos to satisfy the fastest of tastes but there are also some different styles that creep in that separates 2009 Kreator from the pack. What sets HORDES OF CHAOS apart from all the Thrash that seems to be coming out of the woodwork lately is that the band puts in some melodic touches to the overall package. The album is full on Thrash but, if you take a listen to the opening title track, ‘Amok Run’ and ‘To The Afterborn’, you will definitely notice the melodies the band adds in to enhance the overall sound. There are also some Maiden-ish duelling guitar (parts of ‘Hordes Of Chaos’, ‘Amok Run’, ‘Radical Misanthropy’, ‘To The Afterborn’, ‘Demon Prince’) surrounded by some hellacious double bass pounding that make things more interesting. Mille Petrozza’s vocals are still as aggressive as ever but there is more of a higher register this time around. Maybe it’s that extra touch of melody creeping in? Either way, I like the enhancements to the overall sound but it’s still Kreator.

Bottom Line:
I have been giving HORDES OF CHAOS a lot of airplay since it graced my desk late in December and I haven’t tired of it yet. I kind of feel the same way I did about last year’s Testament album THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, it sets the standard for Thrash in 2009. It’s the album Kreator needed to make to stay ahead of the retro-Thrash movement that has taken center stage from the Power Metal resurgence earlier this decade. I know it’s early in the year but I have to say that this record will probably be in my year end best of list easily, I’ve enjoyed it that much. Now I have to go back and check out all the Kreator I missed in the ’90s!

Favorite Songs:
Let me go on record saying that I really liked every song but, if I had to pick a few…..’Hordes Of Chaos’, ‘Warcurse’, ‘Amok Run’, ‘Absolute Misnathropy’.

Current Playlist

Here’s what I’ve been listening to in the last week or so (reviews are coming for most of these)……

Sepultura – A-lex (2009): I’m not the biggest Sepultura fan but I have most of the early albums with Max Cavalera. When Max left and Derrick Greene came in, I started to forget about the band. I’ve had the album for a month now and I’ve been giving it a lot of play.

Kreator – Hordes Of Chaos (2009): Hard to believe that it’s been four years since ENEMY OF GOD (2005) but Kreator is back. I got this around the same time as the new Sepultura so I’ve been giving the good old Thrash on HORDES OF CHAOS a lot of play.

Suidakra – Crógacht (2009): I have never heard anything from Suidakra before and a combination of Black Metal and Death Metal isn’t really my style of choice but I received an advance copy and I will have a review soon.

Axiom – A Means To An End (2008): This debut album from Sacramento’s Axiom came out at the end of November 2008 but the logjam of CDs on my desk pushed this to the new year. So far it’s solid Progressive Metal and I will have a review of this soon. More info at Axiomband.net

Saxon – Into The Labyrinth (2009): My favorite album of the year so far! I know we’re only one month into 2009 but Saxon are one of my Top 5 favorite bands of all-time and they have really had a strong run of albums since 1997. This will easily land in my year end best of list for 2009.

Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman (2009): I’ve been a Grave Digger fan since way back around WITCH HUNTER in ’85 so this new record was a must to pick up last week. It’s also the Album Of the Month for February 2009 so a review will come this week.

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (1982): I haven’t heard this album in a long time and I thought I had it in my collection but I didn’t. Picked this up last week and this has been the main album playing in my house because my 10 yr old daughter is obsessed with all things Twisted Sister. Not sure how that happened. I have to give my daughter credit, she knows her TS and she pointed out to me that this CD (Spitfire reissue from 1999) is the re-mixed version of the album that was released in 1985 and not the original. I have no idea how she knew that but she needs to hear the original!

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008): Even though this album made my Top 30 Albums of 2008 at #30, I really never gave this album as much time as I should have. Metallica is arguably the biggest Heavy Metal band on the planet and I put DEATH MAGNETIC aside quickly. Now that I’ve had a chance to have some fresh listens, I’m starting to enjoy it more.

Ratt – Out Of The Cellar (1984): I am participating in a debut album tournament at the Hair Metal Mansion and OUT OF THE CELLAR has been voted into the final so I’ve been spinning this for comparison to…..

Cinderella – Night Songs (1986): …..who is Ratt’s opponent. I think both albums are truly solid debuts but after some serious listening I have to go with my gut and pick Ratt.

Current Playlist – 11/30/08

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.