Posts Tagged ‘Lamb Of God’

The first month of the new year is off and running with some great shopping trips to the record stores and some great Ebay finds…..I grabbed a lot of 2012 releases I missed and I grabbed a few used bargains and hard to find albums along the way. I crossed a lot of my want list!

Newbury Comics & FYE

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $2
Black Country Communion – Afterglow (2012) – $2
Graveyard – Lights Out (2012) – $8
Sepultura – A-Lex (2009) – $5 used
Lamb Of God – New American Gospel (2000) $6
Alice Cooper – Old School box set (2012) – $50
Iced Earth – Dark Genesis box set (2001) – $25 used
Kix – Live In Baltimore CD/DVD (2012) – $0
UFO – Live Throughout The Years box set (2011) – $20 used
Doro – Raise Your Fist (2012) – $14
AC/DC – Live At River Plate CD (2012) – $0

Well the month started out with one last gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I went to my local Newbury Comics store in North Attleboro, MA and immeadiately put that $25 card to the test. Easy pickings on this trip as I grabbed the new Devin Townsend Project and Black Country Communion albums. The DTP album, Epicloud, was a limited edition that came with a bonus CD and there was still a sale sticker on one copy for $15! Regular price for the other three copies of the limited edtion was $22 so I saved $7 straight away and another $13 when I split the gift card up. Same thing with Black Country Communion’s Afterglow, there were a few copies available but only one still had a sale sticker on it for $14. Regular price was $19 so I saved $5 right away then another $12 with the other half of the gift card.

My second trip to the same Newbury Comics was prefaced by a quick trip across the mall to the FYE store to burn a $3 off coupon. When I walked in, I noticed there was a Revolver Magazine display with a bunch of 2012 Metal releases on sale for really low prices, something about the magazine’s year end awards issue. I owned most of the CDs already, or I had a promo download from the label, but one release caught my eye…..Graveyard – Lights Out. I’ve had that Graveyard record on my list since it came out but I never got around to buying it and, when I did, it wasn’t at a sale price. Regular price at FYE was $12 but it was on sale for $7.99 so I saved $4. Unfortunately my coupon required a CD priced at $12.99 or above to get the $3 off so I found a copy of the latest Grave Digger album, Clash Of The Gods, on sale for $15. Regular price was $18, then add the $3 coupon, and I scored it for $12. I went up to the Newbury Comics to do a quick check around and there was nothing new that I wanted but I did find a used copy of Sepultura’s 2009 album A-Lex for $5, which officially replaces my simple promo copy from the label, and Lamb of God’s first album from 2000, New American Gospel, for $6 brand new and sealed. I’ve been trying to pick up all the Lamb of God records I’m missing and this was a steal because there was another copy at a regular price of $15, I saved $9 on a brand new CD!

Last trip to the record store took me to the Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI for a “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale on all CDs new and used, I wanted a little variety so I was hoping that the Warwick store had a decent selection. My daughter and I were outside the store at 9:50 on a Saturday morning waiting for the doors to open so we could be first inside to snag any bargains. By 10:10, my daughter had her CDs ready but my list is longer and more specific and I was armed with $100 in spendable cash! By 10:20, I had gone through the Rock, Metal and boxed set sections and I came away with some great stuff. Box sets were included in the sale so I grabbed the CD version of the Alice Cooper box set Old School for $50, a $25 used copy of Iced Earth’s Dark Genesis box set and a used copy of the UFO – Live Throughout The Years box set. Old School was on my list of 2012 releases so I grabbed it immeadiately because of the sale tag (regular price was $75) and I have been searching for a used copy of Dark Genesis for years. I could have bought it on Ebay a number of times but they go upwards of $30 + shipping. I’d never seen the UFO box set before but it’s UFO and it was $20 used but still factory sealed. I already had the Doro and AC/DC albums in my hands (both on sale for $14 and both regular priced $18) so I decided to spluge and pick up the Kix – Live In Baltimore CD/DVD package for $22. I saved an extra $2 by pairing the Kix set with Alice and Iced Earth and I got AC/DC for free paired with UFO and Doro. I went a little over budget but the cash was basically money that could be spent wildly so the extra $9 was all that come out of my bank account.

Ebay

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cutty Sark – Heroes (1985/1997 reissue) – $26
Bullet – Execution (1981/1997 reissue) – $6.25 used
MP – Bursting Out (Beast Becomes Human)/Get It Now (1986 & 1987/2006 reissue) – $6.25 used
Herazz – Yet To Come (1985/2006 reissue) – $6.25 used
Intrinsic – s/t (1987 & 1988/2008 reissue) – $6.25 used
Odin – Fight For Your Life (1988/2001 reissue) – $6.25 used
Steel Assassin – From The Vaults (1997/2003 reissue) – $6.25 used
Lizzy Borden – The Murderous Metal Road Show (1985) – $6 used
Lizzy Borden – Menace To Society (1986/2001 reissue) – $5 used
Lizzy Borden – Visual Lies (1987/2002 reissue) – $5 used

Nothing beats a good Ebay win and I scored more than a few this month. One of my goals is to complete my collection of High Vaultage reissues from the late 1990s/ early 2000s but it’s getting harder with the label out of business and the years going by. I found out about High Vaultage in 1997 from the Metal Dreams fanzine and I started collecting the releases I could find in the record shops but I missed out on most of them. I can get any of the releases on Ebay but it’s the prices that have kept me from buying all of them. There’s one seller in particular that I buy from all the time and they have pretty much the entire catalog for sale but at $23 each + shipping. That’s where I bought the Cutty Sark reissue from, I just couldn’t let it go by at that price when other copies were going for double.

In my quest for High Vaultage reissues, I found a seller basically dumping his/her collection. The saved search for Bullet’s Execution came up in a 6 CD lot from this seller including the MP, Herazz, Intrinsic, Odin and Steel Assassin reissues. I checked my usual seller of High Vaultage releases and he had this particular Bullet CD at the same $26 total so I figured if I could snag this CD lot for under $50 it would be worth it. The main concern was the Bullet album but the rest of the CDs were all ones I didn’t currently own and they were all names I didn’t know (except for Odin and Steel Assassin) so I could discover some new music along the way. The MP disc was interesting because it was a 2 on 1 CD and, although I would prefer to have each on a separate CD, it was another bonus to this really good lot. I topped out at a $50 bid and won at $37.50 (includes shipping) so I only paid $6.25 per CD. Moving to the three Lizzy Borden albums, I found that lot with the same seller so I put in a bid of $20 and won for $16 (includes shipping). Surprisingly, I really only have the later Lizzy albums so I really needed to get the early stuff in my collection.

Total = $211.50

Total (year) = $211.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.61

Total CDs (year) = 19

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

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.

It’s been a long month but I am on the verge of vacation so I’m hoping to post a little more but I have been listening to music…..and buying! A lot of cool new releases came out and I found a lot of cool bargains over the last month so this is going to be a long update that’s going to be posted in two parts…..

Ebay
(free shipping this time around)

Airbourne – No Guts, No Glory (Special Edition) (2010) – $9: When Airbourne came out in 2007, I became a big fan. Yeah, I know they sound like AC/DC, or Rose Tattoo, or The Angels/Angel City or…..well, you get the idea. I liked the music, your basic barroom boogie Rock ‘n’ Roll with a ton of energy. I ended up getting an email straight from Roadrunner Records offering a fan-pack that included a limited edition double disc set that included a live DVD in addition to the regular album, the album also included 5 new songs as bonus tracks and a limited edition t-shirt…..all for $40! I don’t like Airbourne that much! Could care less about the shirt or the DVD but the bonus tracks were the key. The regular U.S. pressing was $9.99 without the extra songs the first week of release but I passed. I found this seller on Ebay and I picked up this CD at a great price along with the next couple…..

Danger Angel – s/t (2010) – $7: I don’t know much about Danger Angel except that they are on Perris Records, so that means the music must be in the Hard Rock style, and Jeff Scott Soto added lead vocals to one of the songs. I actually received a digital promo of the album months ago and I have never listened to it…..not sure why because even the cover looks cool like an old school ’80s record. The band is from Greece, they’ve supported Winger and Jeff Scott Soto on tour and they’re a new band. Hopefully this is a promising debut…..

Sinbreed – When Worlds Collide (2010) – $4: Here’s another great deal that I got from the same seller on an album that I received a digital promo of but never really listened to. I’m a big Power Metal fan and Sinbreed is a pure Power Metal group from Germany so I’m hoping that it’s a solid record. The band has a U.S. distribution deal with Nightmare Records and I received a digital promo but with all the new releases out now, I pushed it aside. I’ve read a lot of good reviews on this record so I’m looking forward to it.

Online

Judas Priest – British Steel (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2010) – $30: Back in mid-May, I went to the record store to pick up this album and, of course, I bought the 2 disc version not the 3 disc pressing…..I wrote about it in the “Buyer Be Aware” edition of CD Scavenger Hunt. I wanted the 3 disc set with the remastered album, the live DVD and the live CD of the live DVD. The version I ended up snagging for $14 on sale was just the remastered record and the live DVD and I returned it the next day for a refund. Turns out the 3 CD Deluxe set was released in Europe at the same time as the 2 disc set but the the U.S. release for the 3 disc was slated for early June. I ordered directly through JudasPriest.com so I wouldn’t have a hassle, it was $30 but I received the album within 48 hours from Sony Direct in a perfect package. Sometimes buying straight from the band is the way to go.

Best Buy

Lamb Of God – Hourglass (3 CD box set) (2010) – $7: Best price on this 3 disc set was at Best Buy, they had it advertised for $16.99 in their new ad for the Tuesday release so I definitely made the trip. The reason I got the set for $7 instead of $17 was because I had a $10 off coupon from the Best Buy Rewards program that I was going to use to reserve my copy of Madden 2011. I went for the instant $10 savings on the box set and, even though I’m new to Lamb Of God, it’s some very brutal music that I’m really getting into. I’ve actually seen Lamb Of God live but I never really got into their albums but I’ve made it a point lately to listen to more extreme Metal and the band fit the bill. Saved $10.

Newbury Comics

Visions Of Atlantis – Cast Away (2004) – $6 used: For the last couple of months I have been watching a few used CDs that have regular priced counterparts right with them. I’ve been meaning to buy them all up because they are solid bargains but I always find something else to pick up. This Visions Of Atlantis CD has been on my radar for at least two months, maybe longer. It’s regular priced comrade is $16 so I figured maybe someone would snag this album if they saw the $10 savings. These two discs were filed in the “V” section in the regular stock CDs so I took the used CD and placed it in the Heavy Metal section under the “V” there. Not every Newbury Comics has a specific Metal section but there are some Metal dudes that work there and they are cool enough to make a dedicated place for Metal, this is one of the reasons why I keep going to the same store! I figured that since Visions Of Atlantis were a Symphonic Metal band then they should have a presence in the Metal section…..and keeping the two differently priced CDs seperate so i could wait and decide when to buy the used one. Saved $10.

Bang Camaro – II (2008) – $4: Here’s another bargain CD that I’ve been watching for a while! Bang Camaro is a Boston band so I naturally have an interest because I live in Rhode Island about an hour away. Bang Camaro got a lot of press when they debuted in 2007 because they feature 8 to 12 singers on each album and sometimes on each song! The band lineup is a revolving door but the spirit of the project remains strong. I had the opportunity to buy the debut at a cheap price but I passed and now I can’t find it locally. Bang Camaro came to my attention when I heard their song ‘Revolution’ while playing Madden 2010 on my Playstation 3…..it’s a good tune so I figured I would finally give them a chance. There were three brand new copies of this CD: one for $8, another for $6 and the copy I bought for $4. Saved $4.

Stephen Pearcy – Social Intercourse (2002) – $5 used: I never really got around to buying any of Stephen Pearcy’s solo work until just over a month ago. I have all the records from Arcade and Vertex, and I’m a huge Ratt fan, so I finally decided to pick this stuff up. I didn’t expect to find anything new under Ratt but old habits are diehard and I checked their section…..there’s this CD! It’s been a while but I’ve seen this album go for around $15 in the record stores at regular price, while the online prices change rapidly, so I estimate I saved $10.

Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy (2010) – $12: I bought this album the day of release on sale for $12 because i thought the cover was really cool. I have been into Nevermore since 1999′s DREAMING NEON BLACK and that was only because I found out through the power of the Internet that the members of Nevermore were also members of Sanctuary…..I had a cassette copy of REFUGE DENIED when it came out in 1987! I’ve missed out on the last couple Nevermore albums since 2000′s DEAD HEART IN A DEAD WORLD so I figured that this new album would be a good way to reconnect. Regular price was $17 so I saved $5.

Kingdom Of Sorrow – s/t (2008) – $10: I work with a guy that is huge into Kingdom Of Sorrow and he constantly asks me if I have heard any of the music or if I have picked up a CD. Up until a couple of weeks ago I really didn’t pay attention to the recommendation but then the band’s new album came out and I decided to buy that one on sale (I’ll get to that next!). When I was going to grab the new CD, I noticed that the debut had a $9.99 sale sticker too. Maybe it was a mistake? The other two copies of the debut didn’t have sale stickers so I snagged this one quick. I like to start at the beginning if I can with new bands so this was a good purchase. Saved $5.

Kingdom Of Sorrow – Behind The Blackest Tears (2010) – $10: Like I mentioned above, when this album was released there was a great sale price. Add the sale price to the constant recommendation from a co-worker with my going to Ozzfest this summer and you have the recipe for a CD purchase. Truthfully, I’ve been meaning to check out KOS because I’ve read good things but my co-worker’s insistence made me not purchase the debut until this new record came out. Now I won’t be staring into space when I see the band on Ozzfest…..saved $5.

Savage Grace – The Dominatress/Master Of Disguise reissue (2010) & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into the Night reissue (2010) - $24 ($12 each): Now this was a complete surprise! Every week I get the Newbury Comics e-newsletter telling me what the new releases are and how much they are going to be but somehow I missed the reissues for the Savage Grace albums. Before I went out to the store, I jumped online quick and I found a quick announcement regarding the reissues. I double checked my newsletters (I save them for a while) and there they were on sale for $12

each! When I got to the store they had 2 copies of each reissue so I was able to get both and let someone else enjoy some classic Heavy Metal. Each reissue is a single disc housed in a nice slipcase with 4 bonus tracks and 3 bonus tracks respectively. There are full color booklets with extensive liner notes and pictures along with the preserved and uncensored  original album artwork. You can tell that Limb Music took special time and care to get these reissues just right. Most of these albums are available on Ebay in cassette or LP form but the CDs are usually bootlegs. I believe AFTER THE FALL FROM GRACE has an official CD release but THE DOMINATRESS and MASTER OF DISGUISE are usually a 2-on-1 CD from Greece that is a definite bootleg. It’s nice to have an official re-release finally…..and a superb job as well. Regular price was $16 each so I saved $8 ($4 each).

Total = $128

Total (year) = $813

Average price (per item) = $10.04

Total CDs (year) = 74

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 1

Gigantour 2 DVD (2008, Image Entertainment)

Concert footage - (66 mins):

  1. The Smash-Up – ‘Effigy’
  2. Sanctity – ‘Beneath The Machine’
  3. Into Eternity – ‘Severe Emotional Distress’
  4. Overkill – ‘Necroshine’
  5. Overkill – ‘Rotten To The Core’
  6. Arch Enemy – ‘We Will Rise’
  7. Arch Enemy – ‘Nemesis’
  8. Opeth – ‘The Leper Affinity’
  9. Lamb Of God – ‘Vigil’
  10. Lamb Of God – ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’
  11. Megadeth – ‘Take No Prisoners’
  12. Megadeth – ‘The Scorpion’
  13. Megadeth – ‘Washington Is Next’

Bonus Material – (60 mins):

  1. Behind The Scenes documentary
  2. Megadeth – ‘Peace Sells’ (bonus track)

(Region 1, NTSC, Total Running Time = approx. 126 mins)

Gigantour official website
Megadeth official website

Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine founded the Gigantour in 2005 to bring different styles of Metal, and some of the lesser known Metal bands, to more fans and bigger arenas annually. Currently the tour is in it’s third North American run, headlined by Mustaine’s Megadeth, and is bringing bands like Job For A Cowboy, High On Fire, and Children Of Bodom out of the underground and straight into the mass markets. That is now, what this DVD celebrates is the second Gigantour, featuring some of the big names in Metal: Arch Enemy, Opeth, Lamb Of God and Overkill, and most of the footage is from one of the tour stops in Florida in October 2006.

The DVD breaks down into two parts: the concert footage and the bonus behind the scenes documentary. The concert footage is pretty good…..both audio and video are flawless, everything is crystal clear and there are plenty of cameras. The only complaint I have, and it’s a minor one, is the editing. The edits are fast and furious…..one second you’re looking at the singer, then it’s a quick hit to the drums, quick to the audience, fast to the drums, to the bass, to the audience again, to the singer…..you get the idea. The editing is as fast and frantic as some of the music. Personally, I prefer some long wide shots of the full stage and some lingering shots on band members for more than a couple seconds. That said though, the picture and camera work is well done. I did notice that some of the swearing in the onstage banter (watch Lamb Of God’s set) is deleted, kind of odd for a Metal DVD.

The performances are top notch of course, each band is at the top of their game. The whole DVD is a sampling so it’s not each band’s full setlist but only a couple of songs. I have never heard the music of The Smashup or Sanctity and each only gets one song, as does Into Eternity who is a superb Metal band. I would have loved to get a couple more songs from Into Eternity but there is only so much room and ‘Severe Emotional Distress’ has to satisfy. Thrash legends Overkill sound just as good now as they did almost 25 years ago pumping out the classic ‘Rotten To the Core’ and the title track from 1999′s NECROSHINE. Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy showed me that she has an intense vocal delivery, I knew that from the albums already but to see her on stage was pretty cool. This great singer delivers some of the most brutal, almost painful looking, growls and screams I have ever heard/seen over some serious guitar work.

I was a little disappointed to only get one song (‘The Leper Affinity’) from Opeth but it was a seriously long one from BLACKWATER PARK (2001). Only so much time on the DVD for every band but you could tell that Opeth had to have put on a great show because it was a flawless performance. Lamb Of God gets the audience up to a moshing frenzy with ‘Vigil’ and ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’. I remember when Lamb Of God debuted as Burn The Priest and now here they are second billing to the legendary Megadeth! The headliners get the most songs on the DVD with three barnburners in ‘Take No Prisoners’ (from 1990′s RUST IN PEACE), ‘The Scorpion’ (from 2004′s underrated THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED) and ‘Washington Is Next’ off the latest record UNITED ABOMINATIONS (2007). If you count the bonus track of ‘Peace Sells’, that’s four big ones from the headliner!

The Bonus Material section breaks down into two parts: the ‘Peace Sells’ bonus track and a 60 minute tour documentary. The documentary is a behind the scenes look at the tour from load in to break down, from backstage drama to on the road hi-jinx. What is cool is the commentary from Dave Mustaine on each band and why he hand-picked them for Gigantour and the interviews with the other bands. It’s a solid supplement to the actual performances and is something more than just a bonus.

Bottom Line:
I missed the tour last year (and now this year too!) but this DVD gives me a sample of what I missed. Audio and visual are professionally well done, the band’s are all in top form, and the performances are brutal, headbanging, and amazing. Some of the bands on the tour I was only a casual fan of (Arch Enemy, Opeth, Lamb Of God) but now I will pay a lot more attention to them. Into Eternity and Overkill were already bands I enjoyed but seeing a bit of live stuff has me looking forward to their next tours. Megadeth never disappoints…..I’ve seen them live many times and they always put in a solid show. If you want to see some different bands, some heavy bands, some bands that are huge in the Metal scene then go pick up Gigantour 2 DVD.

There’s also a CD version with a slightly different tracklisting but I haven’t picked that one up yet.