CD Scavenger Hunt (February update)

I’m late again posting the CD Scavenger Hunt updates! If you’re reading this, I’m actually writing this in mid-April but I’m back dating it for the end of February. It’s not that I don’t want to share my hunting, but I just can’t seem to get motivatd to write. Just a quick note: I’m taking out the savings totals because they are irrelevant considering I buy everything either on sale or used…..when I feel the need to express my keen bargain hunting savings strategies, I will mention it in the summary. I did a lot of shopping again so here’s the treasures for February 2012…..

Newbury Comics

Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012)- $14
Metallica – Beyond Magnetic E.P. (2012) – $6
Lillian Axe – XI: The Days Before Tomorrow (2012) – $10
Treat – Coup De Grace (2010) – $6 used
Sunstorm – Emotional Fire (2012) – $16
UFO – Seven Deadly (2012) – $10
Scorpions – Live In 3D: Get Your Sting & Blackout Blu-Ray (2012) – $20
Queen – Days Of Our Lives DVD (2012) – $12

I made three separate shopping trips to my local Newbury Comics in February for all the new releases at sale prices. Tops on my want list this month were the new Van Halen album (which I sprung for the special edition with the bonus DVD) and the new UFO album, SEVEN DEADLY, that came in a digipak with two bonus tracks. I also bought the new Lillian Axe album, the Queen documentary DVD and my first ever Blu-Ray Disc with the Scorpions – Live In 3D…..all on sale. I grabbed the Metallica E.P. because it was a cheap six bucks and I’m hoping it helps me recover from LULU and I found a used copy of Treat’s COUP DE GRACE album from 2010 for another six bucks. Unfortunately I had to bite the bullet and pay the full import price for the new Sunstorm record but being able to hear the smoothest voice in Hard Rock, Joe Lynn Turner, is worth the price paid.

Wal-Mart

Jon Bon Jovi – Blaze Of Glory: Young Guns II Soundtrack (1990) – $5
Ozzy Osbourne – Live At Budokan (2002) - $5

I hate shopping at Wal-Mart! Nothing is worse than being in a Wal-Mart on a rainy day at 2pm when it’s crowded! Wal-Mart is one of the true evils of U.S. retail but I’m not going to get into all that right now. I was with the family and we had to go into Wal-Mart for some reason (I can’t remember why!) but I found the silver lining to the worst shopping experience — the CD bins! Now Wal-Mart has no selection as far as CDs & DVDs go, they basically cater to the new releases and greatest hits in order to get “Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public” to make an impulse buy. In front of the “music dept”, were two large round plastic bins and they were filled with CDs so I went bin diving and came up with two CDs I didn’t own: the Jon Bon Jovi solo album for the Young Guns II movie and Ozzy’s live album from the Budokan in Japan. Both were brand new, both were $5!

Think Tank Media

Lana Lane – El Dorado Hotel (2012) – $15
Lana Lane – Curious Goods Special Edition (2002) – $5

Think Tank Media is the record label and distributor of all the Lana Lane albums…..it’s run by her husband Erik Norlander who plays on her albums and is in the band Rocket Scientists. I read about the new Lana Lane album, EL DORADO HOTEL, so I surfed over to the website and found a sale! A ton of back catalog titles from Lana Lane, Erik Norlander solo amd Rocket Scientists were all priced around $5! Unfortunately, I have almost all the Lana Lane albums but I was able to grab the new album for a reasonable $15 and the double CD special edition of Lana’s 1996 album CURIOUS GOODS. The special edition includes the original CURIOUS GOODS album from 1996 (that’s way out of print!) with the cover of Steely Dan’s ‘Do It Again’ on the first disc and the 2002 reissue of CURIOUS GOODS (also out of print!) that replaces the Steely Dan cover with a cover of the classic James Bond theme ‘You Only Live Twice’.

Ebay

Zebra – s/t (1983) – $11 used
Mass – Sea Of Black (2010) – $4
Sister – Hated (2011) – $6
Vollmer – When Pigs Fly (1999) – $5 used
Helix – White Lace & Black Leather (1981) – $5 used

Ebay had some great bargains this month! I finally found the first Zebra album and finished off my Zebra collection…..’Tell Me What You Want’ is a great old tune! I got both the Mass and Sister albums from the same seller but different auctions. Both CDs were sealed and brand new and I got them for peanuts, the seller was kind enough to combine shipping and send them together so both discs and shipping totalled $10! I finally get to hear what Sister sounds like because I couldn’t bring myself to pay the $15 at the record store and I was able to replace the CDR of SEA OF BLACK that I made from the promotional download I was sent before Mass released the album. I also got closer to completing my Helix collection by winning an auction that included mainman Brian Vollmer’s solo album from 1999 and Helix’s second album WHITE LACE & BLACK LEATHER (rare to find on CD!). Both CDs were used but in mint condition and the total price of $10 for both CDs included shipping costs.

Total = $155

Total (year) = $411

Average Price (per item) = $8.75

Total CDs (year) = 47

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Albums I Missed in 2010

It never fails…..every year goes by and there are always a ton of albums I end up missing. There are so many new albums released every year that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Usually I spend the first two months of the new year acquiring all the albums I didn’t buy the previous year before all the new releases start to flood the market. 2010 was no exception as I missed more than a few notable Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums. The following is a list of albums I missed in 2010 that I picked up in 2011…..some of the albums I just didn’t buy until 2011, some I bought but never got around to listening to and some I just forgot about! As many of you collectors know, if you acquire a lot of albums, they tend to pile up, and my pile kept growing! The more the pile grows, the more albums get pushed to the bottom of the pile. With all the submissions coming in and all the albums out there to buy, things can get lost in the shuffle quick. The following list of albums are CDs that were either in a pile on my desk waiting to be listened to but I never had the opportunity to listen to or albums I picked up at some point in 2011.

Airbourne – No Guts, No Glory (Special Edition) (2010): I was a huge supporter of Airbourne when Runnin’ Wild came out in 2007 and I thought they were a breath of fresh air playing simple barroom boogie Hard Rock like their countrymen AC/DC. Airbourne impressed and I looked forward to a follow-up. When NO GUTS, NO GLORY was released I had every intention of buying it but then I found out there were multiple versions: the regular 13 song CD, the Japanese pressing with 4 bonus tracks, this special edition with 5 bonus tracks and another pressing that included the 18 song special edition and a bonus live DVD. Overwhelmed with the choices, and the various prices, I waited until I found the special edition with all the bonus tracks (no DVD) at a decent price. By the time I ordered it on Ebay and it was delivered it was already July, close to 5 months after it’s release, and my pile of 2010 albums was already large.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony (2010) and Angel Of Babylon (2010): Just like the Airbourne album, I had to shop around to get these two albums. Both of these new Avantasia records were released in Europe before the U.S. so I had the choice of buying each CD separately as an import, buy the special edition that had both albums in digipaks with an expanded booklet for a lower price or wait for the inevitable U.S. release. I opted for the special edition on Ebay and spent about the same money I would have if I’d waited for the U.S. releases. WICKED and ANGEL are parts 2 and 3 of The Wicked Trilogy (part 1 is 2007′s THE SCARECROW, my favorite album of 2008) and I wanted to hear these so bad but by the time I bought these in May 2010 and they got into the pile, they ended up getting lost in the shuffle. These two albums are so good I have no reservations that they would have made my 2010 Year End Awards had I gotten around to listen to them.

Dream Evil – In The Night (2010): I’ve been a fan of Dream Evil since DRAGONSLAYER (2002) so this new record was on my radar when it was announced in early 2010. Here’s another case of my collector’s disease running wild because I wouldn’t settle for the regular CD version in the record store, I needed the limited edition digibook with the two bonus tracks and patch. That meant searching online, ordering on ebay, waiting for it to arrive and slotting it in my “neatly” ordered pile on my desk. I did get to listen to the album here and there but I didn’t give it enough proper spins to actually come to any conclusion about it’s merits. Of course, I took the time to give it a fair listen this year but too late to qualify for any of 2010′s awards.

Helloween – 7 Sinners (2010): Talk about missing a major album! I’ve listened to 7 SINNERS this past year and I’m kicking myself for not giving it proper time in 2010 because this would have easily made my 2010 Year End Awards! The problem here was that I was lucky enough to receive a promotional copy from the record label/PR people but that’s a completely separate pile. With all the CDs coming in from bands, labels and PR firms, not to mention the daily emails with promotional downloads…..I got overwhelmed by the sheer volume of music at my fingertips. Helloween has always been one of my favorite bands, and I have really enjoyed their last few albums, but they got lost in the shuffle of promos and it was definitely my loss last year.

Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia (2010): I picked this up at the beginning of the year when I was burning all of my Xmas gift cards but this ended up getting lost in the shuffle with all the 2011 releases coming out early and often. I did spin this for awhile this past year and it’s a really good Power Metal record from another solid new band…..the lineage here is that Holy Grail is an off-shoot of White Wizzard (one of my favorite new bands) s0 this was going to get more interest albeit late interest. I’m not sure if this would have made any of my year end lists but it was definitely a solid album and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Holy Grail in the future.

Issa – Sign Of Angels (2010): I ended up accidently deleting the digital promo I received from Frontiers Records after one spin but that was enough to put Issa on the want list. I ended up waiting to buy SIGN OF ANGELS because of the high import price at the local record shop, buying online would have cost more with shipping. Plus I had the digital promo but once it deleted, I had to have it. Really solid Hard Rock with a Pop sensibility, the songs are melodic and catchy and Issa has a great voice with looks to match! Compared to other bands on this list, this album is almost a little out of place but it was a really good break from the harder side of Metal. Actually, if this album was released 20 years ago, it would have easily charted and sold…..definitely an album I should have explored more when it first came out.

Lillian Axe – Deep Red Shadows (2010): I have no idea what my problem is with new albums from Lillian Axe but I buy them and I never get around to them! The same thing happened with the last two Lillian Axe releases…..I buy them immeadiately, give them an initial play and they get put in the pile only to be lost for months. DEEP RED SHADOWS was another casualty of the ever growing pile of CDs on my desk and I actually feel kind of bad about it because I’ve listened to more classic Lillian Axe than I have the new stuff and the new stuff is really great! There’s another new album coming in 2012 and I swear that this time I’m not going to make this band a pile casualty.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Relentless (2010): RELENTLESS is the second Yngwie album in a row that was released late in the year and ended up getting no airplay until the new year. Is there a reason why Yngwie has to do this to me? The same thing happened when PERPETUAL FLAME came out late in 2008 and I totally missed it! RELENTLESS is the second album in a row where Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens offers his talented pipes to Yngwie’s guitar arsenal and it’s another great match, one I hope Yngwie keeps for more new records. I was able to listen to this over the course of this year and it’s one of the better Malmsteen albums of recent years, definitely a record that would have made some noise on my 2010 lists.

Y&T – Facemelter (2010): Another pile casualty! I picked up FACEMELTER a few weeks after it came out because the prices online were too steep for this Frontiers release and my local record store didn’t have it stoced. I found it in stock at another store about an hour from my home and I decided I couldn’t pass it up when i found it. I gave the album one listen and piled it. I have to get a lot more spins in because Y&T is scheduled to play a show in Rhode Island in early March 2012 and I want to know some of the new tunes to go along with all those Y&T classics!

CD Scavenger Hunt (October update)

I always have a handwritten list of new releases on my desk that gets added to on a daily basis so I can get my shopping list ready for the record stores. Unfortunately, I didn’t see many new releases coming in the beginning of October so I didn’t plan on making many trips to CD hunt. October is another usually slow month for me for buying CDs because of the impending and dreaded filling of the oil tank and my two daughters’ birthday celebrations taking up a good chunk of disposable income! Like I said though, I didn’t have much on my list and I make sure I check every bit of news for release dates of albums I will need. I’m always up for a bargain or two and I found a few decent used CDs mixed in with some new releases…..

Newbury Comics

Sabu – Between The Light (1998) – $4 used: First trip of the month wasn’t for me, it was for my oldest daughter who needed some new Skullcandy earbuds for her iPod Touch. While she looked around, I hit the markdown bin and this CD by Paul Sabu is the first one I found. You may remember Paul Sabu because he’s a huge producer/composer/songwriter in the AOR/Melodic Rock arena and has worked with bands like Alice Cooper, Heart, David Bowie, Shania Twan, Little Caesar, Malice and a ton more but he also managed to carve out a nine album solo career since 1984. BETWEEN THE LIGHT happens to be album #6 in Sabu’s solo career and I’ve never seen a copy in a record store before. On Ebay I’ve seen this album go anywhere between $5 and $15 at auction but it’s nothing I would go out of my way to bid on. For $4 used I grabbed it! Nice and cheap and in perfect condition…..assuming the regular price to be what a normal CD would go for ($15), I saved $11.

Saigon Kick – Devil In The Details (1995) – $3 used: If you were alive and kicking in 1992 then you who Saigon Kick is because Rock stations couldn’t get enough of their hit ballad ‘Love Is On The Way’ from THE LIZARD (1992). Never heard another song though, right? Exactly! Another casualty of the hair band and power ballad craze. The thing is that Saigon Kick had a debut record in 1991, a bunch of good Rock songs and four more studio releases to round out the ’90s…..but all they’re remembered for is the one hit ballad. I seem to always stumble upon a Saigon Kick album in a used bin but it’s usually either THE LIZARD or WATER (1993), when I saw this CD for $3 used I grabbed it right away because I knew I didn’t own it and it was a great bargain. Assuming a regular price of $15, I saved $12, but the interesting thing is that it seems I have the import version and not the U.S. release on CMC International. The label here is Seagull Int’l/Pony Canyon and the band cover shot is different artwork than the U.S. pressing. I know Pony Canyon is a Japanese label but this isn’t a Japanese import…..a great bargain and an alternate version that includes two bonus tracks.

Valient Thorr – Legend Of The World (2006) – $4 used: A band I’ve read about in various Rock magazines (specifically Classic Rock) over the last few years so I instantly recognized that at least this was a Metal CD. Outside of that, I know nothing about Valient Thorr. Buying a CD from a band you don’t know anything about can be very tricky and it’s an art that most record stores rats like myself perfected in the ’80s by using cool album artwork as a guide…..that doesn’t apply here either! You can’t beat the bargain so spending only $4 on a used CD by a band you don’t know anything about is low risk. Assuming regular price would be the normal $15, I saved $11 with another bargain bin find. After I got home with this disc, I checked some of my sampler bonus CDs I’ve gotten in issues of Classic Rock and there are two or three Valient Thorr tracks on them to also check out!

Mercyful Fate – Melissa (1983) – $9 used: Hard to believe that MELISSA is one of those albums that is missing from my collection but the debut from Mercyful Fate has eluded me for a few years now. You can get it on Ebay at anytime but I haven’t bothered because the price always seems too much, I’ve been keeping an eye on the used bins, and the regular priced sections, to see if this one shows up at a decent price. I have most of the Fate catalog with the exception of maybe a couple releases but I never could get MELISSA. This version is the 1997 reissue on Roadrunner which you would think you could find everywhere because it used to be everywhere, the only versions I see are these 2 on 1 CD collection from Roadrunner and I don’t like those, I prefer each individual disc. I found this CD in the regular Rock section rather than the Metal section and, if you compare it to the $16 regular price for one of those 2 on 1 discs, I saved $7 with this find.

Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi & Friends – Who Cares (2011) – $8: It’s very rare that I buy a CD single, and paying $8 for one is even rarer, but I needed this one because it marks the first recorded collaboration between Black Sabbath founder/guitarist Tony Iommi and former Sabbath/current Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan. If you’ve read this blog a while then you know I’m a huge Sabbath fan, especially post-Ozzy, so when I heard that Iommi and Gillan were working together on a project that was for charity, I had to hear what the old BORN AGAIN lineup was up to. The “friends” on this album are Jason Newsted (bass), Nicko McBrain (drums), Linde Lindstrom (guitars), and Jon Lord (keyboards) and the only play on ‘Who Cares’, the second song, ‘Holy Water’, has other musicians. This is a two song single but it’s an enhanced CD that includes the video for the title track and a 27 minute documentary on the making of Who Cares.

Charred Walls Of The Damned – Cold Winds On Timeless Days – $10: I never really gave the debut by Charred Walls Of The Damned enough time when it came out but it was a great record and I’m hoping for the same on COLD WINDS ON TIMELESS DAYS. Richard Christy’s project has Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens back again on vocals and Steve DiGiorgio on bass so it’s kind of like an Iced Earth alum band in a way…..say what you want about Ripper Owens singing on everyone’s albums (Yngwie Malmsteen, Iced Earth, and a bunch of guest spots), the guy is a great singer and not the Rob Halford clone everyone thinks he is. Charred Walls Of The Damned got instant credibilty with Owens and DiGiorgio on board but the quality of songs on the debut made this more than a bunch of names. Buying this new record means I will revisit the debut first and give both records extra playing time. Regular price is $14 but I got this on sale the day of release for $10 so I saved $4.

Halford – Live At Saitama Super Arena DVD (2011) – $7: I had no idea this was even coming out but when I saw a new Halford DVD on the Newbury Comics mailing list I immeadiately went to the Halford website to see what this release was about. A 15 song live set in Japan on the last tour in October 2010 promoting MADE OF METAL (2010) that adds two bonus videos…..there isn’t really anything else to this release which is why the price was so low. Checking out the Halford website, it seems the live CD will be released November 21 & 22 worldwide. I’m glad that Rob Halford is releasing this on DVD and CD (Blu-ray is out now too!) but I’m a little disappointed that this wasn’t released as a CD/DVD package. Granted, $7 for a concert DVD is awesome, even the $12 regular price was great, but having the audio CD and the DVD together in a nice package for a $15 sale price/$20 regular would be more my thing. Not complaining at saving $5 off the regular price for this DVD, I just wish I didn’t have to wait on the CD.

Iced Earth – Dystopia (2011) – $10: When I heard that Iced Earth had a new record coming out I was psyched because the last two albums have been really good. I’ve been a long time Iced Earth fan, since the mid-90s, and I recently went back and listened to all the older albums with Matt Barlow on vocals…..excellent stuff! The problem with Iced Earth over the last 9 years has been the constant changes in the lead vocal slot. New vocalist, and Into Eternity frontman, Stu Block is the band’s fifth lead singer in the band’s 20 year career but the real upheaval is that critically acclaimed, and fan favorite, singer Matt Barlow has left the band for a second time! For me, a new Iced Earth record is a must have no matter who’s on the mic and I made it to the store the day of release to get the limited edition digipak that includes 3 bonus tracks, a fold-out poster and a sticker. There was no regular version available that I could find but the sale price was only $10, saving me $7 off the $17 regular price.

Running Wild – The Final Jolly Roger (Live At W.O.A. 2009) (2011) – $12: Rock ‘n’ Ralf announced the end of Running Wild a couple of years ago and the band’s last performance at Wacken Open Air 2009 was recorded for the live CD and DVD. Of course, Ralf has decided to bring Running Wild back for a new album in 2012…..the originators of Pirate Metal are back again! THE FINAL JOLLY ROGER comes in 3 formats: the double live disc (this is the one I have!), the DVD, and the limited edition 2 CD/DVD set with both together. Of course, there was only one copy of the live album in the store and I had the staff look up the availability of the DVD and the 3 disc edition…..nothing. I figured that I was going to miss out on the live album if I didn’t grab it right away so I snagged it for the $12 sale price, saving $8 off the $20 regular price. Now the search is on for the DVD…..I wish that these collections were only released in the one all encompassing format. I would have easily paid $20-$25 for the 3 disc set.

Jag Panzer – The Scourge Of Light (2011) – $12: Here’s an album that I didn’t buy over the spring when it came out and the sale price came and went pretty quickly. Taking a look at my collection, I’ve picked up most Jag Panzer releases since the band came back in the late ’90s but I haven’t picked up the last two studio albums MECHANIZED WARFARE (2001) and CASTING THE STONES (2004). I think that’s one of the reasons why I passed on this CD initially…..I just haven’t bothered to keep up with the band and their presence over the last decade has been spotty. I was picking through the Metal section and I noticed that the store had 4 copies of THE SCOURGE OF LIGHT but there was only one with a sale tag on it! Regular price on the other 3 copies was $16 so I immeadiately grabbed this disc to save the $4 but the most important aspect is that this new album as ignited a new spark for Jag Panzer and I’ve been revisiting the other albums I own and I’m on the search for the missing ones.

Lillian Axe – Psychoschizophrenia (1993) – $6 used: I’ve had a lot of luck lately in the bargain bins so I went over and gave them another thorough check. I’ve pretty much grabbed all the quality Hard Rock & Metal over the last couple of months but there’s always that person that sells back CDs for store credit and enhances my collection at the same time! As soon as I saw PSYCHSCHIZOPHRENIA, I grabbed it because I knew that I needed two Lillian Axe records in the middle of their discography to complete my collection but I couldn’t remember which ones. I decided to tke the $6 risk and buy it knowing I had a 1 in 3 chance of filling another hole in my collection. When I got home, it turned out that the two records I needed were 1992′s POETIC JUSTICE and this one. My research shows that this CD goes for around $15 on Ebay so I saved $9 by bargain bin diving!

Total = $85

Total (year) = $887

Average Price (per item) = $8.61

Total Savings (month) = $78

Total Savings (year) = $813

Total CDs (year) = 96

Total DVDs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt – August 2010 update

The buying never stops! Here’s a list of albums I picked up throughout August…..

Online

Cain’s Alibi – s/t (1996) – $25: I featured this CD in my Wanted column back in July 2009 and one of the band members, Paul Miller, was nice enough to leave a comment on the post. I ended up contacting Paul and he was kind enough to offer me a sealed original copy of the CD for $25 with shipping. That was a great deal! I’ve seen this CD go for over $100 many times since it became out of print years ago and Paul was cool enough to sell me one of his very few extra copies for what is basically an import price. Special thanks to Paul Miller for helping me add this to my collection.

Skullfist – Heavier Than Metal (2010) – $15: I have read a few reviews on HEAVIER THAN METAL and Skullfist sent me a press release email so I figured I would check the band out on their MySpace. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t give the music a ton of listens at the Skullfist MySpace page, I had it on in the background while I was doing something else and I just decided to buy the CD because they were a band I hadn’t heard of before. I paid $15 for a 5 song E.P. and it took about three weeks to get here from Canada.

Ebay
(price includes shipping)

Uncle Sam – Heaven Or Hollywood (1987) – $16: This album from Rochester, NY’s Uncle Sam is usually best known for it’s album cover. If you think the cover to the left is good, then you will like the original where the panties are gone and you see it all! I bought the CD, hence the censored cover art…..the vinyl has the original picture. Both formats of this album are rare and hard to find and I have been on the lookout for both for a number of years. I got this CD on the cheap because the auction ended during work hours for most people and I was able to snipe it in the last 30 seconds. I won this on my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me! The quest for the original vinyl continues.

Bangalore Choir – On Target (1992) -$10: I am one of those collector’s that always picks up those obscure, one-off albums by those obscure, one-off bands from the ’80s/early ’90s on major labels. For some reason Bangalore Choir has eluded capture for years. I used to see this album all the time at some of the old mom & pop record stores I used to hit in the late ’90s/early 2000′s but those places closed and with them went the used copies of ON TARGET. I have been watching Ebay for months since the announcement of this album getting a reissue but I never thought I would find it this cheap! Normally this is a $25+ CD!

Tokyo Blade – s/t (1983/1997 reissue) – $20: I have been collecting German reissue label High Vaultage’s releases since they debuted in 1997 but they are becoming harder and harder to find as the years go by. I also collect NWOBHM bands and Tokyo Blade is one of those bands that I like and am trying to complete their discography. This reissue came out in 1997 and includes the original album plus five bonus tracks that were originally on the MIDNIGHT RENDEZVOUS E.P. (1984). I found this album and won it at a decent price because the seller misspelled Tokyo as “Toyko”.

Eclipse – The Truth And A Little More (2001) – $8: I’ve known about Sweden’s Eclipse since this album debuted in 2001 and I saw it in the import section of my favorite record store. I never got around to buying the CD until I saw this album go for over $100 on another Ebay auction a few months ago. Turns out this CD is out of print and hard to find now so I started searching. Don’t the bidding war and skyrocket prices fool you, this album can be found on Ebay dirt cheap, I got mine for $5 plus $3 shipping and I was the only bidder!

Black Sabbath – Live Evil (1982/2010 Deluxe Edition reissue) – $20: Deluxe Editions from Universal Music are things we have to come to expect in the age of reissues, remasters and cheating the consumer. If you already own the original releases, you are buying these for the expanded packaging and bonus tracks, it’s the fans that don’t own the original record that make out better. I’m a huge fan of Dio-era Sabbath so these Deluxe editions were interesting to me for the sole fact that one of the editions included a bonus disc of the LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH CD that was released in very limited quantities from Rhino Records in 2007. I didn’t order a LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH in 2007 and it’s sold out and hard to find at an affordable price. So why did I buy this LIVE EVIL deluxe edition when LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH isn’t included? Well, I thought it was! The seller listed that a copy of LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH would be included so I jumped on it. Maybe there was a 3rd disc? Maybe this guy is crazy and giving away the rare Rhino CD with LIVE EVIL? I got a CDR copy and it turns out that it’s actually on the MOB RULES Deluxe edition…..at least this is the original LIVE EVIL and not the chopped one I have from Castle Records in 1996.

Predator – Easy Prey (1985) – $10: This is the lone vinyl album that I bought this month, not that I have been buying up a ton of vinyl but I do like picking some up when the album never had a CD release. I have had this Predator album on cassette for years and it’s finally dead, I use it now as an “auto reverse changer” for my car tape deck so I can put my iPod cassette adaptor in. And just look at the album artwork…..classic! Sealed, mint, no cut holes…..worth the $10 and that’s with shipping included.

Stores

Buckcherry – All Night Long (2010) – $10: I’ve been a Buckcherry fan since I first read about them in 1997 in a Rock mag…..now it’s 14 years, 5 studio records and a live album later and I still love this band. Unfortunately, I didn’t get into BLACK BUTTERFLY (2008) until late 2009 so I’m hoping I latch onto ALL NIGHT LONG right away. I was going to pop the extra couple of bucks for the limited edition that includes a second disc of acoustic tracks titled RECKLESS SONS but it was priced the same as the regular edition. Saved $5 at Best Buy.

Black Label Society – Order Of The Black (2010) – $9: There was no doubt that the new Black Label Society record was going to be one of the most anticipated of the year. Just the controversy over his dismissal from Ozzy’s band is enough fuel to fire up the fans to buy this record. I would have bought it anyway, BLS albums are always high quality, high powered Heavy Metal. I also had to have the new BLS because Ozzfest was a week away in Mansfield (review coming soon) and I wanted to hear some new songs live…..unfortunately, the rain caused a full cancellation of the second stage and Black Label’s performance! Sale price couldn’t be beat and I saved $7 off the $16 regular price!

Jorn – Dio (2010) – $18: Whatever I saved buying the new Black Label Society got spent on the Dio tribute album from Jorn Lande! I had a digital promo from the label but I wanted my own REAL copy so I saw it and bought it. There’s no getting around the regular price on some Frontiers Records releases because they are technically European imports and it was a comparable price compared to buying online and paying the extra money on shipping. Click the link for the review.

The next four acquisitions were bought using a $40 gift card that I received for my birthday…..basically they were free so I will give you the prices I would have paid. I had a free $40 and I spent the exact amount including the sales tax!

Axel Rudi Pell – The Crest (2010) – $12: Axel Rudi Pell is one of those artists that always puts out great music but flies under the radar of many fans. It’s hard to believe that this is Pell’s 14th studio album as a solo artist. Add that to live albums and ballad collections, etc. and your talking 21 albums in 21 years! That’s a solid career and I’m not even getting into his time with Steeler…..the man is just consistent and one hell of a guitar player. Add Johnny Gioeli (ex-Hardline)back on the mic and Mike Terrana on drums and you’ve got a solid band. Saved $4.

Lillian Axe – Deep Red Shadows (2010) – $10: I’ve been listening to Lillian Axe since the first album in 1988 but I just haven’t gotten into the last two studio albums – WATERS RISING (2007) and SAD DAY ON PLANET EARTH (2009). For some reason I bought them the day they were released and they just sat in the pile waiting to be spun. I’ve listened to them but definitely not enough. This time around I’m planning on giving this album some regular play. I totally forgot that Lillian Axe had released a new album, I only noticed it when I made it a point to go through the New Release rack a second time…..I always hit the New Release rack first and grab all the new releases for that week  right away. This album came out at the beginning of August and it was still there! Saved $4 off the regular price.

Tarot – Gravity Of Light (2010) – $10: I didn’t plan on buying the new album from Finland’s Tarot until I caught a random song on a podcast a couple of weeks ago. I ended up writing the band name down and forgetting all about them. When I was flipping through the CD racks I happened to remember it and I couldn’t find it. I ended up finding it still in the New Release rack, where it had been since it’s July release! Further research shows this is their 8th studio album so if I like it I’m going to have to go back and check out the rest of the discography. For a new band (to me) I figured that I would take a chance while the CD was onsale rather than pay the full price later, I ending up saving $6.

Gene Simmons Family Jewels (The Complete Season 2) (2007) – $6: Aside from the first few episodes, I have never been a big Family Jewels fan. Maybe it’s because I don’t get the chance to watch primetime TV…..maybe it’s because I know that the show is staged…..maybe it’s because I don’t want to see one of my Rock heroes make a fool out of himself! It wasn’t until this past season that I watched the show religiously on the DVR and it really wasn’t that bad. I decided to start grabbing the previous seasons on DVD so when I saw this sealed for a meager $6 I snagged it. The steal of the month! Saved $14 assuming the regular price is $20.

Total = $161

Total (year) = $1206

Average price (per item) = $10.31

Total CDs (year) = 106

Total DVDs (year) = 3

Total Box Sets (year) = 6

Total LPs (year) = 2

Start of vacation Mixtape

So I got to listen to a few CDs today but I got lazy and didn’t really want to change discs in the stereo so I plugged in the iPod and hit Shuffle. Here’s the first 20 songs…..

  1. Twisted Sister – ‘Leader Of The Pack’ (1985)
  2. Black ‘N Blue – ‘Action’ (1984)
  3. Saxon – ‘Denim And Leather’ (1981)
  4. D.C. Cooper – ‘Chained’ (1999)
  5. Mogg-Way – ‘Fortune Town’ (1997)
  6. Anvil – ‘Bondage’ (1981)
  7. UFO – ‘A Self-Made Man’ (1995)
  8. Dio – ‘Otherworld’ (2000)
  9. FarCry – ‘Heaven’ (2009)
  10. KISS – ‘Get All You Can Take’ (1984)
  11. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Euthanasia’ (1980)
  12. Balance Of Power – ‘Miracles And Dreams’ (1999)
  13. Lillian Axe – ‘The 2nd Of May’ (2007)
  14. AC/DC – ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ (1977)
  15. Phil Vincent – ‘How Long’ (2008)
  16. Iron Maiden – The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner’ (1986)
  17. KISS – ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ (1987)
  18. Bullet – ‘No Mercy’ (1983)
  19. Black Sabbath – ‘No Stranger To Love’ (1986)
  20. Loudness – ‘Gravity’ (2008)

Bonus Track: Whitesnake – ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’ (1984)

CD Scavenger Hunt – 7/21/09

Just a quick update to let you all know what I’ve picked up the last couple of weeks online and in store…..

halestorm - selftitled (2009)Halestorm – s/t (2009) – $9.99: I know absolutely nothing about Halestorm but they seem to be everywhere! I’m not above trying out something new so I’m hoping that the medieval looking cover art is a prediction of some good Hard Rock or Heavy Metal inside. I would feel better if the band was on an independent label, they are signed to Atlantic Records and a lot of new bands on major labels are copycats designed to make quick money. I hope this CD is good, if not, the sale price wasn’t too bad.

Lillian Axe - Sad Day On Planet Earth (2009)Lillian Axe – Sad Day On Planet Earth (2009) – $15: A couple of weeks ago when this album was released, I went to the record store with it at the top of my list. Unfortubately, the store only stocked ONE copy of the album and I have been waiting ever since. I saw this lone copy mixed in with the Lizzy Borden CDs so I grabbed it right away. Maybe someone “hid” it and they were coming back? I do that all the time! Today I made sure that a couple of Tankard albums were under “T” instead or “Tankard”!

Music Review Cheap TrickCheap Trick – The Latest (2009) – $14: Cheap Trick is one of those classic bands that I always forget about and then, when I hear some songs on the radio, I remember to pick up some of their CDs. On the way to the record store today I heard ‘Dream Police’ and I quickly added THE LATEST to my mental list of CDs to buy. I probably should have picked up a copy a month ago when the band opened for Def Leppard & Poison but it was $20 at the merchandise booth. Cheap Trick is definitely an underrated band.

Stryper - Murder By Pride (2009)Stryper – Murder By Pride (2009) – $9.99: Stryper’s new record came out today and I wasn’t missing the special sale price. The band’s last record, REBORN (2005), wasn’t the best Stryper album but I always support the bands I liked in the ’80s so I’m willing to give this one a fair listen. The sale price was a good deal and the guy at the counter told me that this album was better than REBORN…..bigger riffs and more solos and more old school than modern.

global_metal1Global Metal DVD (2009) – $24: I had no idea that GLOBAL METAL was getting a U.S. release today! I have been after this DVD since it was released everywhere else in the world late last year so this is a great surprise and well worth the regular price. If you’ve seen Sam Dunn’s other films (FLIGHT 666 and METAL: A HEADBANGER’S JOURNEY) then you know that this will be a top notch DVD set. Remember those two Tankard albums I said I hid? I hid them because I bought this in their place and I want to pick them up over the weekend.

mrcd5Melodicrock.com – Vol. 5: Writing On The Wall (2009) – $23: I have been reading Melodicrock.com daily since 1998 so I support the website any way I can. I have bought the other four volumes through the pre-order and this one was no exception…..the price included shipping from Australia for the 2 CD set and there is also a CD worth of extra downloads for pre-orders only. Not a bad deal! There are always a lot of exclusive tracks by a lot of different bands and there are always some new bands included…..I always find a new band through these compilations.

7th Stranger - Push Harder7th Stranger – Push Harder (1992) – $6.25: Another band that I haven’t got a clue about! I have been seeing this CD pop up on Ebay a lot lately so I started watching the auctions and doing research on the band. The only thing I really know is that 7th Stranger are from Seattle and that they start the album with a cover of The Sweet’s ‘Love Is Like Oxygen’. I figured I could get the CD cheap on Ebay and I was right…..add me to the dozen or so list of people who bought this on Ebay in the last month.

Railway - Climax (1987)Railway – Climax (1987/1997 reissue) – $18: Back in 1997, High Vaultage Records from Germany started to produce some great reissues full of bonus tracks, pictures and extended liner notes. The releases they put out are now out of print and getting harder to find at decent prices. Railway’s first three records were reissued on High Vaultage and they are high on my want list. I saw this copy on Ebay from a seller I’ve bought from in the past and this was the last copy they had. Other retailers were charging $25 + shipping so I used BUY IT NOW and made sure I got a fair price. Now I need the first two reissues.

CD Scavenger Hunt – Catching up edition

It’s been over a month since I posted an update on what I’ve picked up for music. I’m happy to say that I’ve been picking up some solid used gems and some great new releases between the record shops, Ebay, and band websites. Of course, I’m adding new discs quicker than I can listen and I have more on the way!

Band Websites

Don Dokken - Solitary (2008)Don Dokken – Solitary (2008) – $25: I’m not going to lie, I’m a big time Dokken fan and I also like Don’s solo album UP FROM THE ASHES (1990). I read a quick note online that Don was selling his new solo record exclusively on tour and at his website…..for a limited time. The download was $10 so I figured the actual disc would be around $15. I was wrong! $20 plus $5 shipping all through Don’s website & Paypal.

Ebay

Wasp - Dominator (2007)W.A.S.P. – Dominator (2007) – $11: I finally picked this album up after much debate. I’ve been listening to W.A.S.P. since the debut back in ’84 but the last two albums (Neon God Pts. 1 & 2) didn’t really excite me. Actually, I thought they were horrible. The price was right on the auction and the $11 I spent includes the shipping charge. The problem? It’s a Russian pressing. I’ll make it quick on Russian pressings: they are official releases for sale in that area only, they are usually sold cheaper due to the country’s economics and many Ebay dealers buy up the Russian pressings and sell them for double profit on Ebay. The Russian subsidiary was listed in the auction but I didn’t realize it until the auction ended. Everything looks good and the CD sounds fine but I would prefer to stay away from these pressings as they are bootlegged often and easily.

Akira Kajiyama & Joe Lynn Turner - Fire Without Flame (2006)Akira Kajiyama & Joe Lynn Turner – Fire Without Flame (2006) – $7: Joe Lynn Turner always gets involved in excellent projects and taking over the vocals for a collaboration with Japanese guitarist Akira Kajiyama was a no brainer. They had worked with each other previously on many JLT solo projects. This was rated really high on many Best of 2006 lists and it’s Joe Lynn Turner, one of the best Rock singers ever. The price was a true bargain at $7 from the same seller that I got the W.A.S.P. CD from, problem is it was another Russian pressing. Same situation as the other auction, buyer beware, but the CD seems perfectly fine.

Sunstorm - s/t (2006)Sunstorm (featuring Joe Lynn Turner) – s/t (2006) – $11: One of the top Melodic Rock albums of 2006 featuring “Mr. Smooth” himself on lead vocals, Joe Lynn Turner. I’m in a JLT zone right now because I can’t get enough of his last solo record, SECOND HAND LIFE (2007), and Rainbow. This album has been on my Want List for a couple years and I finally found a copy at a decent price. The problem? Another Russian pressing. Again, my fault because the subsidiary label was listed in the auction…..but it was hard to find.

Lillian Axe - Fields Of Yesterday (1999)Lillian Axe – Fields Of Yesterday (1999) – $8.50: I picked this up because I needed to finish off my Lillian Axe collection. This is the original 1999 pressing, it has been reissued recently by the same label, Z Records, with a couple of bonus tracks. I went for the original release because I read that the reissue is also remastered, I wanted to hear it like I should have in ’99. The price was also half what I could find the reissue for.

Heavy Load - Death Or Glory (1982)Heavy Load – Death Or Glory (1982) – $17.75: This is one of those rarities I had to have. Heavy Load is from Sweden and plays an early ’80s style of Power Metal that is very good. The vinyl usually goes for big money and the CDs are hard to come by. I happened to get this Japanese pressing from a seller in the U.S. and I was the only bidder! The last time I saw a Heavy Load disc was back around ’98 in a record store import section for $30.

Night Sun - Mournin’ (1972)Night Sun – Mournin’ (1972) – $33.75: This is a rare piece of early ’70s forgotten Metal. I’ve been getting into a lot of early to mid ’70s obscure Metal and Night Sun has been on my list for a long time. This is the lost CD and I still haven’t found it. Hopefully it will turn up at some point but I’ve checked the house, garage, cars and trash…..nothing.

Record Convention

Star Star - The Love Drag Years (1992)Star Star – The Love Drag Years (1992) – $6: I went to my firs record/music convention last month and I was hoping to pick up some obscure Metal. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to choose from but I did find this Sleaze/Glam/Punk album by Star Star. Brand new sealed for $9, I offered $5, compromised at $6.

Newbury Comics

Airtime - Liberty Manifesto (2008)Airtime – Liberty Manifesto (2007) – $18: Rik Emmett decided to Rock out once again and has released this new project with Mike Shotton (Von Groove). Unfortunately, the Triumph reunion details have kept this release under the radar but I heard the previews and it’s solid Melodic Hard Rock. Paid a little bit more at the store than online but I wanted it right away.

Nightwish - Dark Passion Play (2007)Nightwish – Dark Passion Play (2007) – $15: Nightwish have always been one of those bands that I always wanted to check out but I never really gave them the time. I dig female fronted bands like Tristania, Lacuna Coil, Lana Lane, The Gathering, Benedictum and Epica so I figured that I should try some Nightwish now that they have a new singer. I re-listened to WISHMASTER (2000) the other day and I remembered why I keep wanting to dive deeper into the band’s discography.

Lou Gramm - Ready Or Not (1987)Lou Gramm – Ready Or Not (1987) – $5 used: I dig me some Foreigner and I like AOR so this Lou Gramm solo album was a nice find for five bucks. The single ‘Midnight Blue’ is worth the fiver alone! I hadn’t seen this album in a long time and, all of a sudden, there were about 6 copies in the used bin. If you can get by the lighter fare from latter day Foreigner, then you can appreciate Lou Gramm solo.

Raging Slab - s/t (1989)Raging Slab – s/t (1989) – $6 used: I saw this collecting dust in the used bin and I wasn’t sure I had it. I remember having the cassette way back when but I wasn’t sure if I had replaced it on CD. Called the wife from the record store and had her check upstairs in the music room. Nope, not there! I hadn’t heard ‘Don’t Dog Me’ in a long time and I like Southern Hard Rock. Kind of the same situation as Lou Gramm: old disc, good price, good single.

Fair Warning - Live And More (1998)Fair Warning – Live And More (1998) – $7 used: I got into Fair Warning in 2000 when they released FOUR but I haven’t really paid much attention since. FOUR is a good Melodic Rock album but it’s a little lite, maybe that’s why I haven’t explored more Fair Warning albums. This one was cheap for a 2 disc set and I figured it was a good way to check out some of the back catalog.

Scorpions - Animal Magnetism (1980)Scorpions – Animal Magnetism (1980) – $7 used: Finally! After waiting and waiting, I finally found ANIMAL MAGNETISM at a price I was willing to pay. $7 isn’t bad at all for a classic record and an original pressing. This also takes another off my WANTED list. The only problem with this album is that I’ll have to skip ‘The Zoo’ even though it’s a classic tune, it just gets overplayed so much!

Quiet Riot - The Randy Rhoads Years (1993)Quiet Riot – The Randy Rhoads Years (1993) – $6 used: I already have QUIET RIOT I (1977) and QUIET RIOT II (1978) so I’ve got the pre-METAL HEALTH era covered. This album has a few unreleased tracks and some remastered songs from the first two albums so it’s essential to completing the band’s discography. This is the only missing piece to my QR puzzle and I got it for a really great price.

Epica - The Divine Conspiracy (2007)Epica – The Divine Conspiracy (2007) – $7 used: Like I mentioned before, I like female fronted bands like Lacuna Coil, Lana Lane, and Nightwish so picking up Epica’s latest album for a mere seven bucks was an easy purchase. I was actually going to pick this up brand new for $15 but I happened to notice that the used Metal section being re-stocked at the same time…..and there was the used copy! Someone had just traded it in!

U.D.O. - Mastercutor (2007)U.D.O. – Mastercutor (2007) – $7 used: I’ve always been a huge Accept/U.D.O. fan and I have almost every release by both bands, there’s a couple that have eluded me. Anyway, I wanted the European limited edition with the two extra songs but I never found it. The limited edition is on Ebay for $25 but I’ve been putting it off. I couldn’t pass up the U.S. release at such a great price and I finally get to enjoy an album that has been out almost a year.

Fight - K5 The War Of Words DemosFight K5 - The War Of Words Demos – $14: I’ve been putting this CD off for a while, mostly because I had missed the initial sale price of $9.99 when it first came out. I kept my eye on this disc over the last few weeks and it actually came down in price from $16.99! I figured I wouldn’t find it for less and I was sick of waiting. The original Fight release was brilliant, any doubts I had about Rob Halford continuing Metal life after leaving Judas Priest were erased.

Tarja - My Winter Storm (2008)Tarja – My Winter Storm (CD + DVD) (2008) – $15: I’m not sure why I wanted this album so badly but I did. Same thing with the latest Nightwish, I think it was just time to give in and try this music out. I’d read a lot of reviews and they were all very good, I heard some online samples and liked what I heard so the decision to buy was made. A couple of weeks before the U.S. release, I saw this album at the store as an import for $30…..I passed. When it was released officially in the States, I compared the European import to the U.S. version: there was no difference at all. Both were an oversized digipak, both has the CD and DVD, both had the same tracklisting. Not sure what was so special about the Euro version 2 weeks prior but I was glad to get this at a more reasonable price.

Lillian Axe – Love + War reissue (1989/2007)

Lillian Axe - Love + War (1989)

Lillian Axe – Love + War (1989/2007 reissue, Metal Mind)

  1. All’s Fair In Love And War
  2. She Likes It On Top
  3. Diana
  4. Down On You
  5. The World Stopped Turning
  6. Ghost Of Winter
  7. My Number
  8. Show A Little Love
  9. Fool’s Paradise
  10. Letters In The Rain

Band Lineup:
Ron Taylor – Lead Vocals
Stevie Blaze – Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
Jon Ster – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards & Background Vocals
Rob Stratton – Bass, Background Vocals
Danny King – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Michael Berlan – Keyboards

Producer: Tony Platt

Total Time – 47:46

Lillian Axe official website
Lillian Axe MySpace page
Metal Mind Productions

The Music
Building on what was a strong debut, Lillian Axe comes roaring back with LOVE + WAR in 1989, an album that is heavy but seems to be a little more mature in the songwriting department and better as musicians. Things are a bit more streamlined and radio friendly on this album whereas the debut was a little more raw.

‘All’s Fair In Love And War’ is symbolic of the late ’80s as it’s a little silly lyrically today but it worked for the time. It’s a rockin’ tune, definitely one of the heavier songs on the album. Really good harmonies and solid guitar by Blaze, Ron Taylor’s vocals have that gritty grime that makes it sleazy. Things get a little poppy with ‘She Likes It On Top’. What a title! It’s a catchy song but it sounds like a mix of bad Poison and Autograph circa THAT’S THE STUFF (1985). The keyboards distract me a little.

Listening to ‘Diana’ reminds me of my senior year of high school. This was the ballad that got many spins when everyone hung out in the parking lots, usually played when the girls came by. Definitely an underrated ballad and better than some that were big on the radio at the time. The keyboards distract me again when I listen to ‘Down On You’ but it’s still a decent Hard Rock tune. ‘The World Stopped Turning’ is slow and heavy with another strong performance from both Taylor and Blaze and the keyboards being in check. ‘Ghost Of Winter’ keeps things heavy even though it’s a ballad, it’s very similar to the previous song but with a bit more keyboard.

‘My Number’ is sleazy Hard Rock with a cool riff but annoying gang vocals. ‘Show A Little Love’ was the first single and video and it’s my favorite of the album. I always thought this song sounded like Hurricane for some reason. Anyway, I always liked this song, definitely another underrated Hard Rock classic. I’m surprised this single didn’t do more for the band. ‘Fool’s Paradise’ is another great song that would have translated well to Rock radio, lots of guitar and hooky chorus. I like the drum and guitar intro to ‘Letters In The Rain’, the song is an undiscovered Metal gem. This is the direction the band should have stayed on with two guitars and less keyboards, stay heavy and not try to pander to the MTV/Pop audience.

The Package:
Like the other reissues from Metal Mind, each reissue is limited to 2000 copies (mine is #1232). Full-color digipak and color booklet with additional liner notes. The music is remastered using 24-bit technology on a gold disc.

Bottom Line:
LOVE + WAR is a solid album that got a lot of airplay back in ’89 and it seems to be one of those lost classics now, kind of like the band itself. I hadn’t listened to this CD in a long time (I own the original MCA release) and I was surprised that I remembered all the words and the solos! What bothers me is the keyboards, they are a little annoying on some songs and they make them sound too pop-ish. It’s a small complaint because I’m hearing it with fresh ears and heavier tastes. Favorite songs: ‘Show A Little Love’, ‘Letters In The Rain’, ‘Fool’s Paradise’, ‘Diana’, ‘All’s Fair In Love And War’.

Lillian Axe – s/t (1988/2007) reissue

Lillian Axe - s/t (1988)

Lillian Axe – s/t (1988/2007 reissue, Metal Mind)

  1. Dream Of A Lifetime
  2. Inside Out
  3. Vision In The Night
  4. Picture Perfect
  5. The More That You Get
  6. Misery Loves Company
  7. Nobody Knows
  8. Hard Luck
  9. Waiting In The Dark
  10. Laughing In Your Face

Band Lineup:
Ron Taylor – Lead Vocals
Stevie Blaze – Lead Guitar, Background Vocals
Jon Ster – Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards & Background Vocals
Rob Stratton – Bass, Background Vocals
Danny King – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Michael Dorian – Keyboards
Nate Winger – Background Vocals
Paul Winger – Background Vocals

Producer: Robbin Crosby

Total Time – 48:43

Lillian Axe official website
Lillian Axe MySpace page
Metal Mind Productions

Lillian Axe is one of those Melodic Hard Rock bands from the late ’80s that I thought was going to be huge but somehow success bypassed them. I heard about the band because Robbin Crosby from Ratt was producing their first record. I was a big Ratt fan so I kept an eye out for the debut album. I bought this album on cassette way back when but I never replaced it with a CD. The original release was on MCA Records and the first (and only) pressing of the CD is hard to find and commands big bucks in collector’s circles. There is an official Japanese issue from 1992 but this is widely bootlegged. What is interesting to note is that the Japanese version and the bootleg contain five additional songs/demos from the band’s pre-Lillian Axe days as Stiff. It seems that Metal Mind has produced two versions of this reissue: the regular 10 song album (that I am reviewing) and the version with the five Stiff songs. I haven’t received any additional information from the label as to why there are two versions but I have noticed that there are copies for sale on Amazon and Ebay. The photos clearly show the extra songs.

The Package:
Like the other reissues from Metal Mind, each reissue is limited to 2000 copies (mine is #410). I have noticed from the Ebay photos that the copies with the extra tracks start after #1000, not sure if that helps. Full-color digipak and color booklet with additional liner notes. The music is remastered using 24-bit technology on a gold disc.

The Music:
Lillian Axe’s self-titled debut has been considered a lost classic for a long time, I remember seeing the video for ‘Dream Of A Lifetime’ on MTV and thinking what a great song it was. The music is what you expect from Melodic Hard Rock from the late ’80s: guitars, excellent vocals, solos, melody, catchy hooks, and big background harmonies. You can compare the band’s sound to their peers of the decade: Dokken, Winger, Black ‘N Blue, and Hurricane. The first single, ‘Dream Of A Lifetime’ still rocks like I remembered it and ‘Picture Perfect’ has to be the catchiest song on the album. Take a listen to the opening riff of ‘Misery Loves Company’ and tell me that it’s not a close rendition of the main riff from Dokken’s ‘Breaking The Chains’. A small complaint on “borrowing” the riff but the Dokken influence is obvious, not a bad thing in ’88 as Dokken were pretty successful. ‘Nobody Knows’ is one of the best ballads no one knows and ‘Hard Luck’ is a heavy mid-tempo rocker that is almost a throwback to the early ’80s if it wasn’t for the Europe-esque keyboard intro.

Bottom Line:
Lillian Axe is a great band that is truly under-rated and relatively unknown compared to their peers. The reissue is top notch, as are all Metal Mind reissues, and the music takes me back to a really fun time from my youth. The album rocks a little more than I remember and there are some really great songs here: ‘Dream Of A Lifetime’, ‘Picture Perfect’, ‘Nobody Knows’, and ‘Waiting In The Dark’. It’s an album of really good Melodic Hard Rock with strong vocals, melody, and excellent guitar. I would have liked to review the version with the Stiff songs/demos because I’ve never heard them but it’s been great rediscovering this album.

Reissue Report: Metal Mind to reissue the first two Lillian Axe albums

From Metal Mind Productions: 

Lillian Axe – two albums in a new remastered edition 

Metal Mind Productions proudly presents re-release of two Lillian Axe albums: Lillian Axe and Love And War. Lillian Axe is one of those bands that managed to gather a truly loyal following during their career, but never really got the credit they deserved from the media. But despite the lack of commercial success, the band kept making new albums and continued their musical journey, only to become a cult act nowadays. Their latest offering “Waters Rising” proves that Lillian Axe haven’t lost their touch in delivering brilliant songwriting backed with a handful of catchy melodies.

Lillian Axe – the debut album from 1988 – includes 10 electrifying compositions, showcasing a variety of emotions, gathered in heavy rocking tracks as well as in beautiful ballads. It’s follow up, the album Love And War from 1989, is considered as one of the band’s best offerings to date. With these reissues you can now hear some of the best songs ever written by the group. These tracks cannot be ignored by any melodic metal enthusiast! This classic material taken from MCA archives will be available in a new digipak edition, released on golden discs, digitally remastered using 24-Bit process and limited to numerated 2000 copies. Both titles will be released on 19th November 2007 in Europe and on 22nd January 2008 in USA (via MVD).
Lillian Axe
“Lillian Axe” (remastered)

Label: Metal Mind Records
Cat. No.: MASS CD 1076 DG
Barcode: 5907785030923
Format: CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numerated copies)
Genre:  melodic metal
Release date: 19.11.2007 Europe / 22.01.2008 USA

Tracklist:
1. Dream of a lifetime
2. Inside out
3. Vision in the night
4. Picture Perfect
5. The more that you get
6. Misery loves company
7. Nobody knows
8. Hard luck
9. Waiting in the dark
10. Laughing in your face

Lillian Axe
“Love And War” (remastered)

Label: Metal Mind Records
Cat. No.: MASS CD 1077 DG
Barcode: 5907785030930
Format: CD Digipak (limited edition of 2000 numerated copies)
Genre:  melodic metal
Release date: 19.11.2007 Europe / 22.01.2008 USA

Tracklist:
1. All’s fair in love and war
2. She likes it on top
3. Diana
4. Down on you
5. The world stopped turning
6. Ghost of winter
7. My number
8. Show a little love
9. Fool’s paradise
10. Letters in the rain

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Metal Mind has been reissuing some long lost classics in all genres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in the last year or so. I’ve picked up a couple of releases and they are top notch products. In my research, I found that all the licences for the albums were acquired legally through the proper labels. For fans that can find these out of print records, this is seriously good news.

— Steve