The 2012 Heavy Metal Addiction Awards

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

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

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

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

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

The Top 15 Albums of 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

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

The 5 Most Disappointing Albums of 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

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

The Top 5 DVDs of 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

The Top 10 Miscellaneous Releases of 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

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

3 Releases I Missed In 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

CD Scavenger Hunt (June update)

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

Newbury Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Box (Newport, RI)

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

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

Amazon.com

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

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

Total = $151.80 ($159 rounded off)

Total (year) = $1171

Average Price (per item) = $8.87

Total CDs (year) = 127

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt (August update) – The Birthday Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total = $225

Total (year) = $669

Average Price (per item) = $8.26

Total Savings (month) = $225

Total Savings (year) = $670

Total CDs (year) = 75

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

 

Supergroup Metal Mixtape – 4/23/08

Saints Of The Underground (featuring Jani Lane, Bobby Blotzer, Keri Kelli, & Robbie Crane) released their debut album, LOVE THE SIN, HATE THE SINNER, this week and they are being hailed as a “supergroup”.

Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer was involved in a similar “supergroup” back in 1991 when he teamed with Michael Schenker, Share Pedersen (Vixen), Richard Black (Shark Island), and Tracii Guns (L.A. Guns) for the Contraband project. This installment of Metal Mixtape will celebrate these two projects and all their members by playing one song involving each member…..Bobby Blotzer gets two because he was involved in both! Saints members 1st, Contraband members 2nd…..and, yes, I own all of these albums!

Warrant – ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ (1988): Probably the best Warrant song I’ve ever heard. I hate the band now but back in the mid-’80s they were everywhere and I liked the tunes. ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ is a great tune, better than ‘Cherry Pie’.

Ratt – ‘Slip Of The Lip’ (1986): I liked DANCING UNDERCOVER but it gets a bad rep for the first single ‘Dance’. This song has a sleazy groove to it and it should have been the first single.

Big Bang Babies – ‘Everybody Needs A Hero’ (1992): Glam, glam, glam! Keri Kelli played guitar in the Big Bang Babies way back when and this is the opening song of their self-titled album. I don’t think I’ve played this whole record in a long time…..maybe it will make the weekend’s playlist.

Vince Neil – ‘Sister Of Pain’ (1993): Robbie Crane played bass on Vince’s two solo albums when he left/was fired from Motley Crue. I liked this single better than ‘You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)’ and the album was the Motley Crue record we all missed out on.

Ratt – ‘Wanted Man’ (1984): Like I said, Blotzer gets two songs and this is the best song from OUT OF THE CELLAR.

MSG – ‘Samurai’ (1982): Michael Schenker is a guitar god despite his demons. His career has been noted more for his odd behaviors and addictions rather then his music. ‘Samurai’ is one smoking track off of ASSAULT ATTACK with Graham Bonnet on vocals.

Vixen – ‘Cryin’ (1988): Single #2 for Vixen off their first album, I like this one better than ‘Edge Of A Broken Heart’.

Shark Island – ‘Paris Calling’ (1989): I thought Shark Island was going to be huge back in the day and LAW OF THE ORDER has been one of those forgotten gems that I pull out once in awhile. ‘Paris Calling’ was the first single off this record.

L.A. Guns – ‘Sex Action’ (1988): Back in the day we used to play the first L.A. Guns album to death! ‘Sex Action’ was a favorite at the parking lot parties we used to have.