The Best Miscellaneous Releases of 2010

Not every album released is a new studio album…..but it sure seems like they are! Every year there are a ton of live albums, greatest hits packages, reissues, remasters, box sets, special edition and limited edition releases that flood the marketplace. Sometimes there are multiple versions of these releases depending on which part of the world they are released in!

The one important criteria I have each year for the best and worst albums lists is that the albums have to be new studio albums…..or at least promoted as new studio albums. The problem is that some of these live records and greatest hits packages are quality releases and there’s nothing like getting a really good reissue of some long out of print album you’ve been searching years for. That’s why this year I’m creating this new list to recognize some of the quality non-studio, non-original releases that have found their way into my collection. There were a lot of different releases that I picked up that weren’t studio albums so I’m only going to list my ten favorites. So here are my Best Miscellaneous Releases of 2010…..

Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol Deluxe Edition (1987/2010): Black Sabbath is one of my favorite bands and the Tony Martin era of the band is one of the most underrated eras of any band. It’s no secret that I prefer the Dio era and the Martin era to the Ozzy era (I like the Ozzy era too!) so I’ve been collecting these Sabbath deluxe editions all along. The original release of THE ETERNAL IDOL was in 1987 and was the last album under Sabbath’s Warner Bros. contract but did you know that Tony Martin wasn’t the original vocalist that recorded the album? Sabbath fans know that Ray Gillen, who replaced Glenn Hughes on THE SEVENTH STAR tour and would go on to front Badlands, did the original sessions. When Gillen left Black Sabbath, Tony Martin was brought in to re-cut the vocals and properly join the band. The original album is remastered and it sounds great but the gems here are the two B-Side singles ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Some Kind Of Woman’. Disc Two is the collectible for fans who don’t trade bootlegs: the Ray Gillen sessions! These sessions have been widely available in traders’ circles but I could never acquire a copy…..now I don’t have to!

Dio – At Donington, UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (2010): As a huge Dio fan, Ronnie’s death in May really affected me, the thought of my heavy metal heroes passing away was unbelievable because the music and the bands have meant so much to me for the last 28 years. With no new music coming from the Dio camp, unless there’s some unreleased material, it’s good to see that Ronnie’s wife and manager, Wendy Dio, is releasing archival material like this live set. Both shows have been cleaned up and sound great, you can hear the awesome power in Ronnie’s voice and both lineups are extremely tight. Both the 1983 and the 1987 sets are awesome but I keep reaching for the second disc for the DREAM EVIL setlist with tracks like ‘Dream Evil’, ‘Naked In The Rain’ and ‘All The Fools Sailed Away’ among the other Dio anthems and the Black Sabbath and Rainbow classics. Disc 1, the HOLY DIVER set, is no slouch either and might be most fans’ favorite of the two but I like the deeper tracks on Disc 2. A great live CD set that truly honors one of the greatest singers in Metal history.

Judas Priest – British Steel (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2010): Judas Priest have been my second favorite band since 1982 and BRITISH STEEL (1980) has been a big reason why. This 30th anniversary set was hard to come by because I wanted the three disc version rather than the two disc and it was definitely worth the search. The remastered album is already in my collection because it’s the same as the 2001 remaster but the reason to buy this is the live CD and DVD recorded in Florida on the 30th Anniversary tour. I saw the show in Mansfield 10 days before this show so the performance is like a tour souvenir for me. There are a lot of deluxe edition and limited edition reissues of older albums flooding the marketplace now and it’s good to see that some of them have the quality bonus material that this package does. My only complaint is that the label put out two versions: this one and a 2 disc without the live CD, it makes things confusing for the fans and harder to find what you want.

Keel – The Right To Rock (25th Anniversary Edition) (2010): Has it really been 25 years since THE RIGHT TO ROCK came out? 1985 doesn’t seem that far away! The Keel reunion and new album was one of the reasons why THE RIGHT TO ROCK got a proper reissue on Frontiers Records. I’m putting this album in this list because I’ve had this album on both vinyl and cassette but a CD version is very hard to find. There may have been a Japanese CD edition back in 1985 but I have no information and the Metal Mayhem reissue from 2000 seemed a little basic, a little “bare bones”, even though it was officially endorsed by Ron Keel himself. The remastering sounds great and it’s cool to get a couple of bonus tracks but I would have like a little more in the way of extras. The selling point for me was getting a definitive official CD reissue to add to my collection.

Jorn – Dio (2010): This album wasn’t without some controversy with it’s release coming quickly after Ronnie James Dio’s passing but this album was already made and ready for release when Dio passed so it was just a matter of bad timing. I’m not a fan of cover songs but I can do a tribute or covers album…..odd, isn’t it? The selling point here was the original song and video ‘Song For Ronnie James’ that was to be Jorn’s special tribute to the man who influenced him as a singer. Then the balance of the album would be Jorn and band covering different Dio songs. What made this one of the better non-studio releases was the tracklisting, Jorn went through the Dio catalogue and picked out a lot of songs that don’t normally make it into Dio’s “greatest hits”. Songs like ‘Invisible’, ‘Sunset Superman’, ‘Push’, and ‘Shame On The Night’ were all good to hear as part of the tribute instead of the usual fare like ‘The Last In Line’ and ‘Holy Diver’.

MainEEaxe – Shout It Out (1984/2010 reissue) & Going for Gold (1985/2010 reissue): One of the things I like to collect is bands and albums from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and these two MainEEaxe albums have been on my radar for a long time. These two reissues are great because they have all the criteria needed: bonus tracks, extensive liner notes and credits and pictures. A lot of care on the part of Cherry Red Records/Lemon Recordings went into these packages because everything is here including album and single artworks. What makes these reissues worth it is that all the bonus tracks are songs from MainEEaxe’s hard to find singles and E.P.s…..if you do the research, every song the band recorded is on these two reissues in proper order and the singles and E.P.s are noted in the credits. When you’re talking hard to find records from the mid-80s, it’s good to get everything together on CD, I wish every reissue could be done so well.

Savage Grace – The Dominatress/Master Of Disguise reissue (2010) & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into the Night reissue (2010): As if the two MainEEaxe reissues weren’t enough, Limb Music takes reissuing to another level with these two sets from Savage Grace. I have had the album cover for MASTER OF DISGUISE in my mind for years from when I was a record store junkie as a kid, and I just recently got around to buying it on vinyl, but I wanted proper CD versions of all the band’s albums to preserve my pristine LPs. You can tell Limb went above and beyond with these reissues by adding in all the songs from Savage Grace’s hard to find demos and the RIDE INTO THE NIGHT E.P. (1987). That alone is the selling point aside from a proper CD pressing but then there are lyrics to all the songs, pictures, extensive liner notes and band history. One of the things I was looking for on these reissues was to see if the original album artwork would be retained because it’s a bit X-rated for our time 25 years later and it is. Image this album artwork on store shelves today!

Triumph – Greatest Hits Remixed (2010): Normally a greatest hits collection wouldn’t get my juices flowing but Triumph always puts out great releases when they have full control. Back in 1989, a greatest hits package titled CLASSICS was released by MCA Records but, by then, Triumph was basically over as far as the classic lineup went and CLASSICS was a quick cash in as the band’s contract ended. There hasn’t been a Triumph compilation since but, now that the band has the rights to their music catalogue, they have created their own. This is a two disc set including a DVD of 14 music videos and the Canadian Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, that’s the selling point because it’s a great package for the price. The music CD sounds great and you can tell that the band took good care in remixing the songs for the best sound. The only problem I have is that some of the songs, when compared to the originals, sound different. I’m not one for redoing the original to the point where you can pick out obvious differences and I picked up on this when I sat down and compared these remixes to the originals…..yes, I did compare the two! Aside from that small complaint, it’s great to get so much music for so little money. I paid $12 for two discs (14 songs & 14 videos), similar packages released this year were much more expensive and didn’t have that much content.

CD Scavenger Hunt (September 2010 update)

It’s been a while since I posted my latest purchases and I have about two months worth right now! I will try and catch up as quick as I can, my purchases always slow down as the year ends so I should have October’s wrap up in early November. So here it is…..September 2010’s update…..

Online

Accept – Blood Of The Nations (2010) – $24: Buying the new Accept album is a complete no-brainer but I couldn’t find a pre-order price I liked at the usual online stores so I went straight to the Nuclear Blast USA webstore. $22 is a high price for a new CD but that pre-order also got me a new camoulage Accept Blood Of The Nations t-shirt (in XXL), even the shipping was cheap! I placed my order and within a week I was wearing my Udo-styled shirt and rocking out to the new Accept CD…..before the U.S. release date! The other reason why I pre-ordered straight from the label is because I had read online that the initial U.S. pressing would be a special digipak including a bonus track.

Ebay

MainEEaxe – Shout It Out (1984/2010 reissue) & Going For Gold (1985/2010 reissue)- $30: I have had both of these MainEEaxe albums on my radar since I remembered the band when I read their bio in my NWOBHM Encyclopedia. I actually posted a WANTED column for these two albums back in July 2008 and both the original German and Japanese CD pressings still top out at close to $100 on Ebay if you ever come across them. The cheaper idea has always been vinyl but even a good vinyl copy has been running upwards of $15 to $20 lately. I got a tip from former MainEEaxe drummer Nigel Harrison through an email (after he read the WANTED column) that Lemon Records (a division of Cherry Red Records) in the U.K. was re-releasing both albums on CD and including bonus tracks from the various E.P.s and singles the band released. Taking Nigel’s tip, I found a seller on Ebay that had both in stock for pre-order for $15 each and free shipping…..can’t beat that deal!

Newbury Comics

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (3-CD 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2010) – $20: I’m a sucker for these Anniversary Editions of classic Metal records but I’m very picky on which ones I buy. There has to be value, especially if I already own the original release. I look for bonus tracks, unreleased tracks, DVDs and any other extra that will make me pick up another copy of an album I already own. In the case of COWBOYS FROM HELL, I was replacing a cassette. I’ve been slow to replace the last few cassettes I have left but I decided to pony up the extra money for this set: the original album, a live disc and a 3rd CD of demos with deluxe packaging. Pantera is one of those bands that has a couple of holes to fill in the collection so my renewed interest in the band is sparking the hunt! Regular price was $28 so buying it the day it came out saved $8.

Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power (1992) – $12 used: I know what you all are thinking, “You paid $12 for a used CD?”. Newbury Comics was having a used CD sale for one day and it was “Buy 1 Get 1 Free”…..I was looking at Pantera discs and knew that I had this album on cassette so I figured I would spend the extra money on this disc and get a free one making the cost for both $6 each. Logical thinking in my book. I haven’t listened to this album in a long time but it’s still a classic…..even the cover is a classic! And to think that a fan actually subjected himself to that harsh a punch to be on the album cover (or so the story goes). I was pretty psyched to find this used CD because the store had at least six regular priced copies at $17 each, I saved $5 despite the high used price.

Pantera – Cowboys From Hell (1990) – $0: I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t you just buy the 3 CD deluxe edition on the same trip?”. Yes I did and I snagged the original pressing CD too! I was looking through all the used CDs and I just couldn’t find one that I really wanted. There were a few that I didn’t have but holes in the Pantera collection were bothering me. In my collection, the CDs are organized alphabetically by artist and chronologically within the artist so, technically, the deluxe edition would be a 2010 release. That would leave a hole even though it’s the same record so I figured that the CD was free and I wouldn’t be taking a big loss on the money. Here’s the kicker: the CD wasn’t used, it was brand new. Somehow a sealed copy was priced for $8 used while the other new sealed copies were priced at $17, I saw the bargain and snatched it. Saved $17.

Heart – Red Velvet Car (2010) – $9: Now I could have gone to Best Buy and bought this album for $8 but I like to support my local independent record stores so i gave the extra buck to Newbury Comics. I’m a big fan of ’70s Rock and Classic Rock, that’s the stuff that was on FM radio when I was a kid, so I have more than a few Heart albums in my collection. I didn’t really know Heart was releasing a new album, I knew they were working on material but the news of this album’s release date passed me by. There’s been a Heart revival on VH-1 Classic and on some of the Classic Rock stations in my area so I figured I’d pick this one up and keep supporting the band. Assuming that regular price for a CD is $15 then I saved $6 even with spending the extra dollar at the smaller store.

Blind Guardian – At The Edge Of Time (2010) – $13: I love Power Metal so its a no-brainer that I’m a Blind Guardian fan. I have been following the band since 1998, the musical renaissance for me when I got a computer and Internet access, I discovered a lot of Metal bands this way and I have been a fan since. Just like Heart, I knew the band was working on new material but the album’s release date got by me. I would buy a new Blind Guardian CD anyway but what made the purchase was that this was the limited edition with the bonus CD of 8 songs, different versions/demos/edits of the songs on the proper album. The other thing was that the regular single CD version was also available and it was also priced at $13…..which one to buy? Regular price for the 2 CD version was $18 so I saved $5…..I can’t see why anyone would buy the single disc version.

Kamelot – Poetry For The Poisoned (2010) – $15: Just like Blind Guardian, I discovered Kamelot in the late 90s when I got Internet access and I have been a fan ever since. The last couple of Kamelot albums haven’t really taken hold of me like I have wanted them to but that didn’t stop me from really looking forward to this album when I received the first press release. This is another album that has a two disc limited edition, this time it’s a bonus DVD, and the price compared to the regular edition was only two dollars more. What made this album even more exciting was that Kamelot was making a tour stop in Worcester, MA at The Palladium and I bought a ticket. After waiting the better part of three months with ticket in hand, Kamelot cancelled the entire U.S. tour because vocalist Roy Khan got ill. At least they didn’t cancel the CD! Regular price would have been $18 so I saved $3.

Lordi – Babez For Breakfast (2010) – $10: I got into Lordi a few years back with their 2006 record THE AROCKALYPSE but I totally missed 2008’s DEADACHE so I figured it would be good to check out the band’s latest album. First thing, the cover is just so cheesy, it reminds me of an old ’80s album cover. I have always been into visual bands like KISS, Alice Cooper, GWAR so I like the whole monster persona the band has and concept that put to the recording. When I was in the record store trolling the racks, I had totally forgotten that Lordi had released a new album and I was about to check out when one of the guys behind the counter decided to start playing the album over the store’s stereo system. Of course, I went right back to the racks and picked this up…..I also stuck around the store a little longer so I could listen to the album. Regular price was $15 so I saved $5 on sale.

Megadeth – Rust In Peace Live CD & DVD – $20: RUST IN PEACE (1990) is the best Megadeth album hands down so when I heard the band was releasing a live album that included a full performance of the album, I was definitely buying! The CD and the DVD were sold separately but on sale for $10 each, there was no way I was buying the CD and not the DVD. I always like it when bands perform a classic album in it’s entirety in concert and it’s even better when you can see the show and then get an official release for your collection. I wish I could have seen this show live but I’ll take the CD for the iPod & car and the DVD for the 52″ HDTV in the living room! The regular price on the CD was $14 and the DVD was a buck more at $15 so i saved a grand total of $9.

Tarja – What Lies Beneath (2010) – $12: I’m a loyal fan so I give artists/bands a second chance when I don’t care for a first or second album…..that was the case with former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen. I always liked Nightwish so when Tarja left the band for a solo career I figured that it would be pretty similar to the Nightwish sound. I picked up Tarja’s second solo album (her first out of Nightwish), MY WINTER STORM (2007), and I never got into it. It was a bad record, it just didn’t grab hold of me and I wanted it to because I paid a decent amount for the limited edition import from Europe. Fast forward to this year and Tarja has a new album but I wasn’t sure if I should buy it. I decided to give tarja another shot and I was able to score the limited edition of WHAT LIES BENEATH with three bonus tracks at a decent sale price. Regular price was $16 so I saved $4.

Alabama Thunder Pussy – River City Revival (1999) – $3 used: Deal of the day! I was browsing one of the delete bins at the record store the same day I picked up the Tarja CD and I couldn’t find anything worth buying, usually those bins are full of Pop and Rap. I checked every letter and then I found this CD in the “P” section…..someone filed this using Pussy as the last name! Good for me because my digging got me a $3 treasure! I know nothing about Alabama Thunder Pussy aside from the cool name and I always mean to pick up one of their albums so I can hear what they are like. Well why not pick up their second album for a cool $3? That’s a good deal to check out a band! Added bonus is that this is the now rare original pressing on Man’s Ruin Records and not the Relapse Records reissue from 2005. I estimate regular price to be $13 so I probably saved $9.

Halford – IV: Made Of Metal (2010) – $10: Buying the Metal God’s new album is a complete no-brainer! How can you NOT buy an album from one of the most prolific voices in all of Metal? I have been looking forward to this new album for a long time…..Judas Priest is my second favorite band so Rob Halford’s solo career is an imprtant off-shoot and/or continuation of Priest for me. I followed Rob from Priest to Fight to Two and on to Halford and all his albums kick ass (except for the Two record), especially his work in Halford. I was going to pre-order this album directly from Halford’s webstore but I knew ahead of time that the record store was going to have a good sale price, I’d rather go to the store and pick up the album than order it online and have to pay shipping. Regular price in-store was $15, same at the Halford website, so I saved $5 but I probably saved more if you factor in shipping costs.

Alice Cooper – Theatre Of Death: Live At Hammersmith 2009 CD/DVD (2010) – $12: Just like the Halford CD, this was a no-brainer to buy because Alice Cooper is one of my favorites and I never miss an album or tour. This was another album I was thinking of pre-ordering direct from the band’s website but I didn’t really want to pay the shipping costs and have a possible delay to to the post office, I want the instant gratification of buying it and having it in my hands! Unlike the Megadeth release above, this live album from Alice is packaged together with the DVD so it makes for a great value to get both a CD and a DVD for 12 bucks! Regular price in the store was $18 so I saved $6 but, if you compare it to Megadeth – RUST IN PEACE LIVE at $10 each for CD & DVD, I got a huge bargain!

Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010) – $10 used: I’ve had my eye on this album since it came out in February but I never picked it up. First, I never bought it the week it came out so I missed the sale price and, once it came off sale, regular price was $17! I like Rob Zombie but not for $17 so I passed and decided I would pick it up if I found it used. Then I saw that the album was getting a re-release with a few bonus tracks and a DVD of videos and my interest renewed. Add to that the ticket I had to the upcoming concert so i figured I’d pick it up and get to know the new music. The day I bought this used was 9/28, the same day the re-release came out. I had my eye on the new release with the bonuses but it was sale priced at $20 and I figured that was too much too spend, what if I didn’t like the album? Turns out I like it a lot but I’ll save that for an upcoming review. Saved $7.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Attack!! (2002) – $6: Deal of the day! I picked up ATTACK!! on the 9/28 shopping spree with the Halford, Alice & Zombie CDs and this was a good bargain because there were two copies of the CD: one regular priced at $15.99 and this one regular priced at $5.99. Someone’s mistake is my gain because I snatched the $5.99 CD as quick as Yngwie can shred! Right off the bat I saved $10. The problem was that I was sure I had this album in my collection already because I have this tendency to blow off new Yngwie records and then I find them cheap. I was sure I had this so I did called home to send either my wife or my daughter upstairs to check my racks…..another problem because my wife was at work and my daughter at school, it was around 11 in the morning! I think I spent about 15 mins re-browsing the shelves trying to think back to see if I had bought this already, I took the chance and I ended up being right.

Total = $206

Total (year) = $1412

Average Price (per item) = $10.46

Total CDs (year) = 123

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Box Sets (year) = 6

Total LPs (year) = 2

WANTED: MainEEaxe – Shout It Out (1984) & Going For Gold (1985)

WANTED

 

MainEEaxe – Shout It Out (1984)

Another band that came out just as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement was losing momentum, MainEEaxe has been one of those bands that has captivated my attention for a long time. The music is basically in the same direction early Saxon or Tygers Of Pan Tang only just a couple of years too late to breakout. I remember SHOUT IT OUT from my early days scrolling through vinyl racks at the record stores and I actually knew someone who had this on vinyl but I never heard it. My obsession with this album is probably due to the cover…..just look at it, it’s the epitome of Metal cheese. Definitely a rip-off of Sammy Hagar’s THREE LOCK BOX (1983) and I always like to compare the covers. Of course I always had a KISS konnection to go with also, I always thought the mouth reminded me of Paul or Gene’s facepaint. This record is fairly easy to find online between $7 and $20 depending on the condition of the vinyl. It was released on CD in 1990 on the Steamhammer label in Germany and as a Japanese import. The German issue is extremely rare and goes easily over $75 if it ever pops up on Ebay, the Japanese import goes for over $100 and is extremely rare.

MainEEaxe – Going For Gold (1985)

When I started searching for SHOUT IT OUT, I decided I might as well get their second full-length on CD as well. GOING FOR GOLD is another rare item on CD and it “goes for gold” with the German Steamhammer CD selling for over $75 and the Japanese import for over $100. I had a lead on both of the Japanese imports on CD from a respected private collector who lived in Canada and did a lot of business in Japan. This collector knew where to get a copy of each but the price for the set with shipping was going to be around $200…..this is going back about six years ago. It’s so much easier, and cheaper, to grab both albums on vinyl…..