CD Scavenger Hunt – June update

Another month behind as usual but here’s a large purchase update from June. I’m breaking it up just a little because the beginning of the month was boring but I caught a huge sale at the record store mid-month and Ebay was really good again…..

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Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 CD (2013) – $14
Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose (2013) – $12
Anvil – Hope In Hell (2013) – $9
Black Sabbath – 13 (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $15
Burning Rain – Obsession (2013) – $10
Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 BluRay (2013) – $14
Megadeth – Supercollider (2013) – $12
Aerosmith – Pandora’s Box (1991) – $20 used

The beginning of the month wasn’t really exciting, just catching some new releases on sale. I picked up the new live Dio CD and the new Black Star Riders (aka Thin Lizzy) and I wanted the Dio BluRay but they only had Finding The Sacred Heart on DVD. Opened the Amazon app on my phone and started price comparisons while in the store! Found the Dio BluRay for $14 saving $2 in the process compared to the in store sale price. I started comparing the prices on the new Anvil ($4 difference), Black Sabbath ($2 difference), Burning Rain ($6 difference), Megadeth ($1 difference) so I placed an order right away. I saved $15 by checking my phone while in the record store! I know, buying online kills record shops, and I’m against killing record shops but how can I deny saving $15 online compared to the SALE prices in the store? And I also saved the sales tax! I ended up taking that $15 savings and applying it to a used original pressing of the Aerosmth Pandora’s Box set for $20 so the store still got my business.

W.E.T. – Rise Up (2013) – $18
Snakecharmer – s/t (2013) – $18
Gloryhammer – Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife (Deluxe Edition) – $0
Jorn – Traveller (2013) – $18
Timo Tolkki’s Avalon – The Land Of New Hope (2013) – $17
U.D.O. – Steelhammer (2013) – $0
Children Of Bodom – Halo Of Blood (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $16
Bon Jovi – What About Now (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $15 used
Rhapsody Of Fire – Live From Chaos To Eternity (2013) – $0
Anthrax – Among The Living (1987) – $8 used
Anthrax – I’m The Man (1987) – $8 used
Slayer – Christ Illusion (2006) – $0 used
Anthrax – Spreading The Disease (1985) – $6 used
Warrel Dane – Praises To The War Machine (2008) – $4 used
Mercyful Fate – Into The Unknown (1996) – $0 used

I’ve been debating the Amazon vs. record store thing for a while but you can never pass up a great sale at the record store. Newbury Comics had a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” on all CDs mid-month so I decided to drive the 20 minutes to the Warwick, RI location with my daughter for some bargains. Is it wrong to teach my kid that you have to be first in line at the door before they open and you race for everything? That’s how it was back in the day. Of course, we were first but also the only ones there…..we got first dibs! Within 15 minutes the place was packed but I already grabbed a handbasket and had the major purchases inside. The goal was to get a lot of new releases from this year that I’ve passed on and I did an awesome job.

(Here’s a tip for all you record store rookies…..if you have the opportunity to go to the record store before a big sale like this, go immediately and put all the CDs you really want in one spot. That way you won’t miss out! I like to hide Metal CDs in the Classical section the day before. Who really shops the Classical section? How many times do you think the staff organizes the Classical section?)

Guilty as charged, I went the night before and hid 9 new releases. Did I think I was going to miss out? Maybe…..its happened before. And what if I was late getting there? Good thing I was in the area the day before! So the first 9 CDs were all high priced new releases NOT on sale (the staff usually pulls most sale stickers in advance). Some of these releases are imports (that means anything from Frontiers Records) so the new album from the Jeff Scott Soto led W.E.T. and the new Snakecharmer were $18 each but I saved $18 getting the limited edition Gloryhammer CD for free. Jorn Lande’s new album, Traveller, was expensive (AFM Records) at $18 and so was Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, The Land Of New Hope, at $17 but I scored the new U.D.O. album for free and saved $17. Saved $35 so far! I saved another $14 when I got the latest double disc live album from Rhapsody Of Fire for free when I paired it with the deluxe edition of Halo Of Blood from Children Of Bodom for $16 on sale and a $15 used copy of Bon Jovi’s What About Now (also deluxe). If you look at these CDs, the Rhapsody Of Fire was on sale for $14 but regular was $16 and both Children Of Bodom and Bon Jovi had regular prices of $22!

After I grabbed all the “hidden” CDs, I started on the used bins. I found three Anthrax albums I didn’t have on CD but have on cassette, an original pressing of Slayer’s Christ Illusion (recently reissued), and two cheap copies of Warrel Dane and Mercyful Fate. I saved $7 on the Slayer by pairing it with two Anthrax CDs, and I saved $4 on the Mercyful Fate. Total savings on free CDs this trip = $60.

Richie Sambora – Stranger In This Town (1991) – $5.50 used
Bruce Kulick – Audio Dog (2001) – $12.70
Cutty Sark – Die Tonite (1984) – $10 used vinyl
Cutty Sark – Heroes (1985) – $10 used vinyl
Rainbow – Finyl Vinyl (1983/1999 2CD reissue) – $13 used
KISS – Monster (International Tour Edition) – $16
Coney Hatch – s/t (1982) – $7 used vinyl
Coney Hatch – Outa Hand (1983) – $7 used vinyl
Coney Hatch – Friction (1985) – $7 used vinyl
Cheap Trick – Sex, America, Cheap Trick Box Set (1996) – $17.50 used

Can’t forget Ebay! I always watch Ebay daily because there have always been bargains since I joined in 1999. It’s not the same as it was back then but, if you search properly, the bargains are still there. I found the Richie Sambora solo album while watching a Bruce Kulick solo album from the same seller. I missed Bruce Kulick but got Richie Sambora and then had to go to another seller and pay slightly extra for Audio Dog. I picked up the two Cutty Sark vinyl LPs while searching for Die Tonite on CD at a decent price. After careful communication with the seller about the LPs condition, I pulled the trigger and paid a little extra for fast shipping. Finyl Vinyl fills the last hole in my Rainbow collection and it’s the complete two disc version and the international edition of KISS Monster was necessary for the bonus track ‘Right Here Right Now’ that was only previously available on iTunes. Add the digipak format and poster along with the bonus track to make it even more necessary for this KISS diehard. Technically, my international version is from Canada and this is the 4th version I own of this album (I also have the original release, the Wal-Mart zine pak and the Best Buy version with the 3D cover)…..all I need is a Japanese import or a German version with the alternate KISS logo! I bought more vinyl while researching Coney Hatch CDs and I got copies in really awesome condition but the real gem from Ebay this month was the Cheap Trick box set Sex, America, Cheap Trick. I’ve been immersing myself in all things Cheap Trick and I had to have this rarities box set but it’s out of print and high priced most of the time. I picked this up for $15 plus $2.50 shipping because the seller misspelled Cheap as “Cheep”. Another bargain through someone else’s mistake!

Total = $339.70

Total (year) = $1446.50

Average Price (per item) = $10.88

Total CDs (year) = 116

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =7

———————————————————————————————

NOTE:
Just to compare, here’s the mid-year totals from 2012…..

Total (year) = $1171

Average Price (per item) = $8.87

Total CDs (year) = 127

Total DVDs & Blu-Rays (year) = 5

Metal Mixtape – 5/6/12

Tale of the Tape
Ipod 120
9983 songs (858 albums)

  1. Gwar – ‘Parting Shot’ – Lust In Space (2009)
  2. Thunder – ‘An Englishman On Holiday’ – Backstreet Symphony (1990)
  3. AC/DC – ‘Walk All Over You’ – Highway To Hell (1979)
  4. Night Ranger – ‘Penny’ – Dawn Patrol (1982)
  5. Saxon – ‘Rockin’ Again’  – Innocence Is No Excuse (1985)
  6. AC/DC – ‘Live Wire’ – High Voltage (1975)
  7. Accept – ‘Sick, Dirty And Mean’ – Objection Overruled (1993)
  8. Black Country Communion – ‘Stand (At The Burning Tree)’ – Black Country (2010)
  9. Extreme – ‘Play With Me’ – Extreme (1989)
  10. Airbourne – ‘No Way But The Hard Way’ – No Guts, No Glory (2010)
  11. Megadeth – ‘Guns, Drugs & Money’ – Th1rt3en (2011)
  12. Riot – ‘Heart Of Fire’ – Rock City (1977)
  13. The Doors – ‘Back Door Man’ – The Doors (1967)
  14. KISS – ‘Lick It Up’ – Jikogu Retsuden (2008)
  15. Buckcherry – ‘Cream’ – Black Butterfly (2008)
  16. UFO – ‘Borderline’ – High Stakes And Dangerous Men (1992)
  17. Symfonia – ‘Rhapsody In Black’ – In Paradisum (2011)
  18. Blue Tears – ‘Innocent Kiss’ – Blue Tears (1990)
  19. Primal Fear – ‘Conviction’ – Unbreakable (2012)
  20. Tesla – ‘I Wanna Live’ – Forever More (2008)
  21. Accept – ‘Bound To Fail’ – Metal Heart (1985)
  22. Autograph – ‘Everytime I Dream’ – Loud & Clear (1987)
  23. Yngwie J. Malmsteen – ‘Now Is The Time’ – Odyssey (1988)
  24. Anvil – ‘Shadow Zone’ – Forged In Fire (1983)
  25. Chickenfoot – ‘Down The Drain’ – Chickenfoot (2009)

Bonus Track — Def Leppard – Switch 625 – High ‘N” Dry (1981)

CD Scavenger Hunt (November update)

Another very slow month for CD shopping! Maybe it’s because we are nearing the holidays? Maybe it’s because I’m so far behind on new releases? Maybe it’s because I’m saving a little money? I made it out to the record store early in the month so here’s the shopping trip, the only one I made in November!

Newbury Comics

Megadeth – Th1rt3en (2011) – $12: Another new Megadeth record! That alone is enough to get my lazy butt in the car and drive 10 minutes to the record store! The last few Megadeth records have been really great, on par with the classic albums from the band’s beginning. Aside from RISK (1999), have there really been any bad Megadeth albums? TH1RT3EN marks the band’s 13th studio album and the first album since 2001′s THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO that founding bassist Dave Ellefson plays on. I’ve been catching a lot of Megadeth lately either on TV or radio so all the signs have been pointing to this new record, hopefully I will be able to catch them on tour. The new single ‘Public Enemy #1′ is a solid song and cool to hear on the radio…..at least it’s been played here in the New England area. Of course, the sale price had a lot to do with my picking up the CD right away, regular price would have been $17 so saving $5 is a good thing.

Steel Panther – Balls Out (2011) – $10: Based on the old school record cover…..a must purchase! I have to give Steel Panther credit, they don’t stray from their over the top concept and they’ve made a decent career after it whether it’s been as Danger Kitty (Discover Card commercial), Metal Shop or Metal Skool. Similar to Fozzy at the beginning I guess. I didn’t really get into their first CD, FEEL THE STEEL (2009), but I intend to give that album and BALLS OUT a fresh listen. Back to the cover…..I love the torn price tag in the top left corner: “used records….$1.69″ and the ring wear as if this was an actual used vinyl jacket. Oh yeah, there’s a chick on the cover too! If I saw this cover back when I was 13 I would have had to hide the record from my mom! Regular price was $15 and this album had come out a couple weeks before Megadeth so I was fortunate to find a copy with the sale price, saved $5.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot (20th Anniversary DVD) (2005) – $10 used: A must have for any Metal fan who spent time in an arena parking lot before a concert back in the ’80s! I remember seeing Heavy Metal Parking Lot back in the day on cable access and featured on MTV News but I re-discovered it online back in 1998 and I’ve been trying to get my own copy ever since. I’ve had this on the list a while and it’s available at Amazon, the film’s website and various independent retailers but I never got around to buying it because it’s so readily available at online video sites. This DVD wasn’t in the racks the previous couple of times I’d been to the store so seeing it there this time around was a complete surprise! Online prices with shipping are around $20 so buying this pristine used copy for half price saved a cool $10.

Trillium – Alloy (2011) – $14: Trillium is Amanda Somerville’s (Somerville/Kiske, solo, Avantasia, etc) new Metal project but she’s really been a fixture on the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal scene for years because of her extensive vocal work (lead and background) on many albums from Epica, After Forever, Kamelot, Aina, Edguy and Mob Rules. When I read she was releasing the Trillium album on Frontiers Records I knew I was buying it because the Kiske/Somerville album (with former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske) was one of the best albums of 2010. The only problem was that the Trillium record going to be hard to find at the local shop and it would be at an import price. Sure enough, there was only one copy in the racks and the sale price was an expensive $14 (regular was $17!) but I didn’t want to order it online and pay the extra money for shipping. Finding this CD in the racks on sale saved $3 but it probably saved a few more dollars compared to ordering online.

Total = $46

Total (year) = $933

Average Price (per item) = $8.72

Total Savings (month) = $23

Total Savings (year) = $836

Total CDs (year) = 99

Total DVDs (year) = 7

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

The Top 5 DVDs of 2010

2010 wasn’t a bad year for music DVDs but I think it was very similar to 2009. In 2009, there weren’t that many notable DVDs released from the big name bands and a lot of bands used DVDs as special bonuses in first pressing of new releases. I also missed a few DVD releases in 2009 and that carried over to 2010 as well. The difference between the last few years, aside from Iron Maiden not releasing an awesome DVD this year, is that I made sure I picked up a few more DVDs. Actually, this turned out to be one of my better years for DVDs, I think I acquired about ten and all of them were very well done. Bands and labels are continuing to raise the bar by putting a lot of content into these DVDs so that the fans get a lot of value for their hard earned dollar. So here is my list of  The Top 5 Music DVDs of 2010:

#1

The Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) - Live From Sofia, Bulgaria (2010): Technically this is a box set but the reason you’re buying the box set is to see the concert. It was obvious from the second I opened the package that this was going to be the DVD of the Year because the expectation of seeing all four Thrash heavyweights on one bill, and then on one stage together, was the whole point. As far as content goes, this was definitely the best DVD. You got full sets from each band, along with the ‘Am I Evil?’ jam during the Metallica set, and they were all great performances. There was also enough bonus footage of the backstage are and the ‘Am I Evil?’ rehearsals to make that a special add-on. Maybe the fact that I got the DVD in the box set has something to do with it because the box set did include the audio CDs, booklet and photo cards but the DVD can be purchased separately and, if I got that version, it would still be at the top spot.

#2

Michael Schenker Group – The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live In Tokyo (2010): I’m putting Michael Schenker in the second spot because this was a tour souvenir for me after I caught the show in Foxboro, MA a few months later in July. Michael Schenker has been one of my favorite guitarists for a long time and the early MSG albums are still classics. When I caught the show in July, it was one of the best concerts I’d seen this year, if not all-time, Michael and the band put on a great show. This concert in Tokyo is basically the same show I saw in Foxboro with a little different running order, a couple extra songs and a different touring lineup. The concert is superb and it’s obvious that the magic between Schenker and original MSG singer Gary Barden is still there. Not a lot of extras here (some backstage footage and interviews) but the performance more than makes up for it with classic songs and great musicianship.

#3

Jeff Scott Soto – One Night In Madrid 2009 (2010): ONE NIGHT IN MADRID 2009 was released in Europe in late 2009 but got a proper U.S. release in early 2010 along with the two disc live album. Not only is Jeff Scott Soto one of the best Rock singers in the business, he is also extremely fan friendly when releasing CDs and DVDs. This DVD set includes the 21 song setlist from Sala Heineken in Madrid and and extensive bonus section that is longer than the main show! The Madrid show includes songs from all over Soto’s career and is a superb performance. The bonus section features eight music videos from Soto’s solo albums and second bonus section that includes behind the scenes tour footage and a tribute to Marcel Jacob, Soto’s bandmate in Talisman who passed away unexpectedly in 2009. The total running time for the single DVD is 4 hours & 5 mins but the concert itself is only 1 hour & 42 mins long…..that means there’s over 2 hours of bonus material. Now that’s really giving the fans something extra! This DVD would have easily made the #2 spot but the MSG performance was just a bit more special because I had seen it live. ONE NIGHT IN MADRID is a very close 3rd…..maybe if the live album was included in the package instead of a separate release it would have put it in 2nd.

#4

Halford – Live In Anaheim (2010): LIVE IN ANAHEIM is another one of those releases that got a separate DVD and a separate live CD release, it would have been nice to have the whole package together but that’s another issue. This DVD is two parts: Part 1 is a band documentary including four songs performed in Tokyo, Japan in February 2003 and Part 2 is the full 19 song concert in Anaheim from June 2003. This Halford footage is prior to Rob Halford reuniting with his Judas Priest bandmates so the Halford band was his only focus and, at the time, they were promoting and touring the band’s then latest record CRUCIBLE (2002). The band’s performances are tight, Rob is in fine form vocally and the Anaheim setlist is varied enough where there are twelve Judas Priest songs but seven songs coming from CRUCIBLE, RESURRECTION (2001) and some songs from Rob’s days in Fight. Personally, I would prefer more solo/Fight/Halford tunes than the Priest stuff because, well, it’s Halford but at least Rob and the band pull out some lost Priest nuggets like ‘Rapid Fire’, ‘Never Satisfied’ and ‘Riding On The Wind’.

#5

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe (2010): This Heaven & Hell live DVD captures the band live headlining the Thursday night opening day of the 2009 Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. Obviously, with the death of Ronnie James Dio, NEON NIGHTS: LIVE IN EUROPE is the final recorded document of the Dio-era Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell…..ten months later, Ronnie would pass away. This DVD is the basic Heaven & Hell concert in support of the band’s latest studio album THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009) and it’s basically the same set that I saw a month later in Boston. As far as extras go, just a couple of interview segments with each band member including Ronnie. I’m adding this DVD in ahead of a few others I have because the performance is superb and the impact of the music is great. If this is the way we remember Ronnie James Dio and his time in Sabbath, then this is the way to do it.

CD Scavenger Hunt (November update)

In an attempt to not only keep track of my purchases, and to also keep this post from being two months late, I am actually going to add to this post throughout the month! A genius of an idea…..not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before. The added bonus is that I can clear up some desk space. I should really take an updated picture of my desk because I have a pile of purchases, a pile of promos, the pile of press releases and then my own notes…..and that’s just on the left side! Then there’s the pile of CDs that I want to upload into iTunes on the right…..don’t get me started on that. So here’s November’s buying update……

Ebay

Johnny Crash – Neighborhood Threat (1990) – $18 used: I have been on the search for this CD for about 8 years…..for a decent price. I used to go to this record store from around 1997 to 2002 when it finally closed and I used to get a ton of great used CDs every weekend. This was back in the day when the Internet, Ebay, Napster, and trading in used CDs for cash were all really a new thing (at least here in Rhode Island!). Anyway, I used to scrounge the used racks and I could come away with about 20 used CDs for $100 and they were all Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. You don’t know how many times I debated buying this CD and how many times I put off grabbing it because I found something else “more important”. Once that specific store closed it’s doors, I never saw another Johnny Crash CD. You can get one online through various outlets but Ebay has always seemed the easiest but I never bothered to pick one up because I thought that $20+ for it was too much, especially when I had seen it for $5 used in person. As the years have gone by, the amount of copies on Ebay have dwindled and the price has gone up. I have had this album on my Saved Searches for at least a couple of years and, one day last week, a notification came via email of a new listing with a BUY IT NOW price of $15 + $3 shipping. I jumped on it immeadiately!

Newbury Comics

The Big Four (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) – Live From Sofia, Bulgaria (2010) box set – $55: Nothing would be better than to see the Big 4 of Thrash on tour in the U.S. but, for now, this live set from the 2010 European Tour will have to be enough. I grew up listening to all four bands so this was a no-brainer purchase for me, the only thing that bothered me was the price because $55 is expensive. I could have settled for the 2 DVD set for $20 but I wanted the audio as well so the 4 CD/2 DVD box set was the only option. Also included in the box set besides the CDs, DVDs and the box is a set of four photo cards (one for each band), a full color booklet and a guitar pick. The price really had me debating the purchase because I can get three or four different new releases for that amount but I reasoned that I was get more bang for the buck with one set. Plus, the regular price was $75 and waiting to use gift cards I will eventually get for the holidays would technically make it free…..but also $20 more expensive. I ended up saving $20.

Kiske/Somerville – s/t (2010) – $18: I have been wanting to pick this album up since it was announced first, because of Michael Kiske’s involvement (I’m a Helloween fan from way back in the ’80s) and second because Amanda Somerville jumped on my radar with her beautiful voice. I thought the concept was interesting in pairing the two singers and then I read a ton of positive reviews…..every once in a while I get an album stuck in my head that I just need to have, this was THAT album. The album came out a few weeks ago and I had been eyeballing it through the usual online stores but the price always floated up around $20 with shipping…..then the CD got a proper U.S. release and was on sale the first week. Unfortunatelt, the record store only stocked one copy the day it came out and someone managed to get to the store before me that Tuesday! This turned out to be one of the more pricey CDs I bought recently because I missed out on the initial sale price but I ended up with a comparable price compared to online and I didn’t have to wait for the mail.

Dio – Dio At Donnington, UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (2010) – $12: It’s been a rough time for me being a big fan of Ronnie James Dio and all the bands he fronted over the years, his death earlier this year affected me greatly because he was a big musical presence in my Metal journey of the last three decades. Besides groing up with the Dio band, I became a HUGE fan of his era in Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell and he led my favorite Rainbow lineup. One of the things I did after news of his passing was to listen to Ronnie’s collective work even more so there was a comfort in the music. This was a must have live set for me, not just because Ronnie is gone, but because I wanted to get my hands on an official release of both these legendary Dio shows at the Monsters Of Rock at Donnington. I hope that Ronnie’s wife Wendy continues to release classic archival material of Ronnie because his music is so great. Regular price was $18 for the 2 CD set so I saved $6 grabbing it on release day.

Helloween – 7 Sinners (2010) – $10: Like I mentioned up above, I started as a Helloween fan back in the ’80s with both KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS albums but somewhere in the early to mid-’90s I lost touch with the band. Some of the best Helloween albums have been released since 1998 when I rediscovered a lot of my old favorite bands when I got my Internet connection: 1998′s BETTER THAN RAW, 2000′s THE DARK RIDE and 2007′s GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL. It just seems like Helloween just keeps pumping out record after record every couple of years, 7 SINNERS is their sixth studio album since 1998. I received a digital promotional copy of the album a couple of weeks prior to the release but there was a problem downloading the album so I never got to hear it! I would have spent the money on the proper CD for my personal collection anyway (this happens a lot!) and getting the CD on the day of release for $9.99 helped out a lot. Regular price was $16 so I saved $6.

GWAR – Bloody Pit Of Horror (2010) – $10: Didn’t GWAR just release an album last year? They did, LUST IN SPACE (2009). Nice to see the band trying to take over the world again as quickly as possible with two new albums and two world tours in two years. GWAR are the originators and bands like Mushroomhead, Lordi and Slipknot are capitalizing on an image that GWAR started all the way back in 1988! This was on my list of new releases to buy but it came out the same day as the new Dio and Helloween albums, then I found the Kiske/Somerville album, and I decided that I was going to spend too much money. Money is never an issue for me as long as the bills are paid and the family is fed but it’s getting close to the holidays and I didn’t want to overdue it…..I bought it anyway! The way I looked at it was that I would come back in a couple of weeks and have to pay the full price ($15) so I would be saving $5 by picking it up now. Plus, spending $10 now or in two weeks still means you’ve spent $10!

W.A.S.P. – s/t (1984) – $10 used: ever since Newbury Comics opened a store about 3 miles from my house, i never go to the Warwick, RI store anymore. True Rhode Islanders hate going anywhere if it takes longer than 15-20 minutes and the ride to Warwick, with traffic, can be 25 minutes. Needless to say, unless there’s other things that need to be done in the area, I don’t go down that way. After pulling a double shift at work, I came home to find that my wife was heading to Warwick to check out some holiday dishes for Thanksgiving…..the bribe for me to join her and the kids was Dunkin Donuts and a stop at the Warwick Newbury. This was a good trip because I found a lot of used bargains and this W.A.S.P. debut started it off. A little backstory here….. Back in 2003 when my wife was pregnant with our second daughter, she was out of work and we were cutting as many corners as possible. One thing I started to do was sell CDs I found on Ebay…..once my inventory was gone, I took a long look at my collection. I had all the original pressings of all the W.A.S.P. albums from the debut through CRIMSON IDOL but I also had the 1999 reissues with bonus tracks (the same reissues they keep re-releasing in different packaging every year!). Needing cash, I put the lot on Ebay and I think I scored $100! Over the years, I have regretted selling my original pressings because I think the reissues sound inferior so I’ve been on the hunt. When I saw this CD in the used bin, it was a definite purchase.

Tipton, Entwistle & Powell – Edge Of The World (2006) – $5 used: Here’s a disc that I passed up on four years ago and I have never seen cheap since the original sale price. Back in 2006, Glenn Tipton re-released his 1997 solo album BAPTIZM OF FIRE with two bonus tracks that were actually the Japanese bonus tracks from the 1997 release. I already had the original album so I didn’t bother but what did get my interest was this album that was released at the same time. So you have Glenn Tipton, The Who’s legendary bassist John Entwistle, legendary drummer Cozy Powell and keyboardist Don Airey working on a bunch of songs that weren’t done for BAPTIZM OF FIRE. Originally, this was supposed to be the band on BAPTIZM but the label got involved and these songs, and the lineup, got shelved. So the tracks finally see the light of day after close to ten years and 8 years after Cozy’s passing and 2 years after John’s. I never picked this up back then because I figured it would always be available, and it was, at $18 regular price. After a couple of years, the album disappeared off store shelves and I forgot about it…..$5 now is a great deal!

707 (featuring Kevin Russell) – Trip To Heaven (2000) – $4 used: I have this rule that if you’re going to rummage through the bargain bins, go through all of them thoroughly…..you never know what you might find. I’m an old school record store guy so I recognize a lot of obscure bands from my days as a kid flipping through racks of vinyl and cassettes, I recognized 707 right away. You may remember 707 from the early ’80s with their single ‘Mega Force’ but I remember them as being on Casablanca Records (KISS’ label). The band also got some publicity when Tod Howarth joined Frehley’s Comet and you may remember  singer Kevin Chalfant being a part of the band too. I wasn’t sure what kind of release this was but at $4 used, I figured that I could take a chance. Turns out Kevin Russell and 707 have been putting out some new material and re-releasing the old stuff.

Kotipelto – Waiting For The Dawn (2002) – $3 used: Bargain of the day! How can you pass up any Metal CD for $3? I recognized the band name as Timo Kotipelto from Stratovarius so I new that this was going to be some sort of Power Metal album. The album was released in 2002 on Century Media Records so I knew it had a regular release a few years ago but I didn’t remember Timo being solo. I grabbed this anyway, taking a chance again, but there was a second copy at the same price. Now the wheels are turning in my head…..could I sell this on Ebay? Good thing for cell phones! Turns out that this album sells for around$5 at auction so there wasn’t much upside to buying both copies but at least I got a great bargain! Perfect CD, as if it had never been played. No cut-outs, no wrinkles on the booklet, even the jewel case was in mint condition.

Sharon – Edge Of Time (1999) – $5 used: Another bargain! I’ve seen this album before back when it first came out in 1999 and I was a twice a week regular at 2 Guys Music in Warwick. That was a great place to get an education about what was coming out on European labels like Frontiers, SPV, Limb, Escape, Z Records etc. This CD came out in 1999 on Limb Music and distributed by SPV so I knew that I had at least found a Metal CD. What sold me right away, aside from the low price, was the gold sticker on the front of the jewel case that described the album as “sharp and timeless Melodic Rock & Metal”. That’s enough for me! From what I can tell, this was Sharon’s only release and the sound is a little dated from what the reviews say. I took the chance figuring that Melodic Metal from Germany, on a good label, can’t be all that bad. Plus, I checked Ebay on my phone and there weren’t any copies available for less than $9!

Domain – Stardawn (2006) – $9 used: Another awesome bargain! I would probably have to put this ahead of the Kotipelto CD as “bargain of the day” because this is a 3 disc set! STARDAWN was released in 2006 on Limb Music/SPV and it’s a 3 disc set including the STARDAWN album, a 16 song best of CD from 1988-2005 and a 9 song DVD titled SEVEN DAYS IN KOREA (LIVE 2005). I never let a nice set like this go: a 5 panel digipak, full color booklets, full color packaging, 2 CDs, a DVD and it’s a limited edition for Domain’s 20th Anniversary limited to 4000 copies worldwide. I didn’t see a serial number to designate which number out of 4000 I own but this STARDAWN collection isn’t something I’ve seen in local stores before.  Taking a quick look at my collection, it looks like I’ve picked up two or three Domain albums over the years but I don’t think I really have given the band much listening time.

Black Country Communion – s/t (2010) – $18: I ended up paying full price for this one because I passed on it the first couple of weeks after the album’s official release and, when I went to buy it on this trip, the sale price was gone. The sale price when this CD came out was $12.88 so I ended up paying $5 extra but I still felt OK about the higher price because I’ve heard such good things about this record. You’ve got Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian…..that’s as solid a lineup for a band as I’ve ever seen. Supergroup? Yeah, I’d say so…..it’s safe to say each musician is at the top of the list among their peers. I had this on my list just for Glenn Hughes, one of the greatest Rock singers of all time! The added bonus here is that the CD came with a bonus DVD that includes a video, interviews, behind the scenes in the studio and a photo gallery. If the album is as good as I’ve read, I’ll forget all about the high price.

Halford – Crucible (Remixed & Remastered) (2010) – $11: I picked this up to complete the Halford collection of remasters and because there were two copies, this one on sale and the other at regular price of $15. The sticker on the CD promotes the CRUCIBLE album remixed and remastered including four new tracks but, if you look closely, the four new tracks are really the two bonus tracks for the limited edition of the original pressing and the two bonus tracks for the Japanese import of the original pressing. This was one of those purchases that could have waited because I already have all the bonus tracks but, I was looking for something to buy and the sale sticker was calling my name. All the Halford remasters/reissues are top quality so I assume this one is more of the same. I haven’t opened it yet but when ido I will sit there and compare this to the original. Saved $4.

Halford – Live in Anaheim DVD (2010) – $15: For some reason, this DVD wasn’t released at the same time as the CD. I picked up the live album when it came out but this DVD came out a few weeks later and really flew under the radar. I could have pre-ordered this through the Halford website but I figured there would be a sale price and I could save a few bucks. The release date came and went and there was no mention in my weekly e-newsletter from the record store and there were no copies stocked in the store. About a month ago, I noticed that three brand new copies were in stock but regular priced. I decided to wait because there were three copies and there was no need to rush for it. A week later there were two copies…..two weeks after that I notice that there is only one Halford DVD left. I wasn’t going to risk another week, who knows who would buy it? This DVD includes the Anaheim concert obviously but also a documentary that includes four songs performed in Japan.

Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol (Deluxe Edition) (2010) – $35: OK, the price on this may stagger you but this is the standard price for this UK import. I’m not usually sucked into buying these “deluxe editions” that seem to be coming out for every single band now but I do have a few but there were some serious bonuses and the new editions were released in the U.S. I already own THE ETERNAL IDOL (1987), and I’m a big Sabbath fan, especially post-Ozzy, but there was one reason why this deluxe edition way high on my want list…..the sessions with Ray Gillen on vocals. Back in ’87, Ray Gillen (ex-Badlands) was the singer for Black Sabbath having taken over for Glenn Hughes during the tour for THE SEVENTH STAR (1986). The band hit the studio after the tour but for some reason it wasn’t working out with Ray Gillen on vocals…..Tony Martin eventually came in to replace Ray (who went to Badlands with Jake E. Lee) and just re-cut the vocals. The Ray Gillen sessions have been widely circulated in bootleg form but this is the first time Tony Iommi has allowed these recordings to be officially released. Another cool bonus is the two B-sides from the proper album: ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Some Kind Of Woman’. I was so worried about having to order this online that I bit the bullet and bought this right away…..and this was the only CD I bought on this specific shopping trip.

Issa – Sign Of Angels (2010) – $16: This is one of those albums where I heard a track and had to have it. Issa is a new artist on Frontiers Records and, obviously, it’s female-fronted melodic Hard Rock. I had a digital promo of the album, downloaded it to iTunes, listened to it once and accidently deleted it! So I checked out the video for the second track on the album, ‘I’m Alive’, and I just had this idea in my head that I had to have this album! The problem was I saw only one copy in the record store when the album was released and I hadn’t seen it since. I didn’t want to pay the high import price online for a new artist that I only really new by a video but I ended up paying the same price when I found a fresh copy about a month later. I’m a sucker for female-fronted bands but this is an impressive album, push this back 20 years and it’s a major hit.

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe (2010) – $10: This is the live CD of Heaven & Hell’s performance at the 2009 Wacken Open Air festival on the tour for THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009). My favorite Black Sabbath lineup is the one with Ronnie James Dio so I would have snapped this live album up anyway but, with Ronnie’s passing still fresh, it was even more important to me to buy it. There’s just something about Ronnie James Dio that has really hit home with me over the last ten or twelve years and he has crept up into my Top 10 favorite artists/bands. Doesn’t matter if it’s Sabbath, Rainbow, solo, Elf or gueat appearances, I just have had a need over the last decade or so to collect all things Dio. Now that he’s gone, I want even more Dio music. Anyway, I saw this tour in Boston the same summer so it’s a nice way to re-live a great show. Saved $5 on the CD…..there was also a DVD released the same day.

Firewind – Days Of Defiance (2010) – $12: With Gus G. touring as Ozzy’s new guitarist, I completely forgot that a new Firewind album was coming out! Newbury Comics didn’t forget because there were at least ten copies available all with nice sale tags. I have a couple of Firewind CDs so I put this on my list and ended up going back and picking this up right away instead of waiting another week. You know what your getting with Firewind…..European Power Metal and excellent guitar work from Gus G. Usually I don’t get too excited over a new Firewind album but I must have had a Gus G. hangover after seeing Ozzfest and re-visiting the Dream Evil album that was released earlier in the year. Gus G. is having a pretty good year in 2010! I’ll tell you what sold me on picking this up right away…..there was something else released the same day that wasn’t in stock when I got to the record store so I spent the money I had on Firewind and still saved $4, regular price was $16. And that item was…..

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe DVD (2010) – $10: The DVD version of the new Heaven & Hell live album was released the same day as Firewind but the store only stocked two copies of the DVD and I got to the store an hour after it opened so I missed out. I got the CD no problem, there were plenty of copies of that available but the DVD is what I really wanted. I wanted to see the show one more time because I had seen the Boston tour stop and it was a great show. I had the guy at the counter check the next delivery date, which was the next day, so I had it reserved. Show up the next day and the DVD didn’t come in, only more live CDs so my pal at the counter took my name and number and promised me a copy ASAP. Another 24 hours and I get a phone call from the store that my DVD is in so i made my third trip to the record store in two days for one DVD…..at least I got it and saved $5 in the process, regular price was $15.

David ‘Rock’ Feinstein – Bitten By The Beast (2010) – $10: And the Ronnie James Dio releated releases keep on coming! David ‘Rock’ Feinstein is Dio’s cousin and was in early Dio bands like Ronnie & The Prophets and Elf with RJD but you might remember Feinstein best from his days with The Rods. I remembered reading a year or so ago that Feinstein was working on two new albums: a solo album and a new Rods album both with performances from Ronnie. The album was going to be released by Ronnie and Wendy Dio’s label, Niji Entertainment, and Ronnie not only performed a song, ‘Metal Will never Die’, he helped Feinstein mix and master the album before his death. I probably would have picked this up eventually but because of Ronnie’s death, the Dio radar is up and I have to have more Dio related music. Picked this up on sale for $10, regular price was $14, so I saved $4.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Relentless (2010) – $12: Can anyone tell me why Yngwie has to release new albums so close to the end of the year? He did the same thing with his last record a couple years ago and I totally missed it! Anyway, I’m a Malmsteen fan all the way back to Steeler and Alcatrazz so I usually buy Yngwie’s new records but I wasn’t going to initially because I was sent a digital promo…..or so I thought. I get a lot of promos, mostly digital downloads and, if I like the band or album, I usually go buy it because I’m a collector. I got an email from Yngwie’s promotional people offering a digital copy of the album for review but, when I followed the links, I got a digital stream that wasn’t downloadable. I like to download this stuff into my iPod and listen to these album’s on the go but I was chained to my computer to hear RELENTLESS. Now I get the whole priacy thing and I don’t question an artist from trying to avoid it but it was just an inconvenience…..so I didn’t bother with it. I even forgot the album was released! I happened to see it when I grabbed the Feinstein CD and noticed the good sale price, regular price was $18. I didn’t want to pay such a high price knowing that I would end up grabbing this eventually so i bought it and saved $6. By the way, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is back on the vocals.

Total = $298

Total (year) = $1758

Average Price (per item) = $10.72

Total CDs (year) = 149

Total DVDs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) = 7

Total LPs (year) = 2

The Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) – Live From Sofia, Bulgaria (2010) box set

The Big 4 – Live From Sofia, Bulgaria (2010, Warner Bros.)

DVD 1: Live From Sonisphere Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria – 6/22/2010
(Each band played approximately 1 hour sets.)

Anthrax
Caught In A Mosh
Got The Time
Madhouse
Be All, End All
Antisocial
Indians/Heaven And Hell
Medusa
Only
Metal Thrashing Mad
I Am The Law

Megadeth
Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
Head Crusher
In My Darkest Hour
Skin O’ My Teeth
A Tout Le Monde
Hook In Mouth
Trust
Sweating Bullets
Symphony Of Destruction
Peace Sells/Holy Wars Reprise

Slayer
World Painted Blood
Jihad
War Ensemble
Hate Worldwide
Seasons In The Abyss
Angel Of Death
Beauty Through Order
Disciple
Mandatory Suicide
Chemical Warfare
South Of Heaven
Raining Blood

DVD 2: Live From Sonisphere Festival, Sofia, Bulgaria – 6/22/2010
(Metallica played a 2 hour set, the documentary is 45 mins.)

Metallica
Creeping Death
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Fuel
Harvester Of Sorrow
Fade To Black
This Was Just Your Life
Cyanide
Sad But True
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
All Nightmare Long
One
Master Of Puppets
Blackened
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
Am I Evil?
Hit The Lights
Seek & Destroy

DVD Extra – Backstage documentary including interviews and rehearsal footage of ‘Am I Evil?’

Anthrax
Joey Belladonna – lead vocals
Scott Ian – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Rob Caggiano – lead guitar
Frank Bello – bass, backing vocals
Charlie Benante – drums

Megadeth
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, guitar
Chris Broderick – guitar, backing vocals
David Ellefson – bass, backing vocals
Shawn Drover – drums

Slayer
Tom Araya – vocals, bass
Jeff Hanneman – guitar
Kerry King – guitar
Dave Lombardo – drums

Metallica
James Hetfield – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Kirk Hammett – lead guitar, backing vocals
Robert Trujillo – bass, backing vocals
Lars Ulrich – drums

Region 0, NTSC
Total Running Time (DVD 1)
= approx. 3 hours
Total Running Time (DVD 2) = approx. 2 hours & 45 mins
Anthrax CD = 1:03:22
Megadeth CD = 1:01:04
Slayer CD = 1:01:54
Metallica double CD = 1:05:37 & 1:05:57

Metallica
Slayer
Megadeth
Anthrax

Filmed and recorded at the Sofia, Bulgaria stop on the Sonisphere Festival Tour (6/22/2010), this DVD/CD set captures an event that Metal fans around the world have been hoping for: the Big 4 of Thrash all sharing the same concert bill/tour. What was at least a year in the making from a negotiation standpoint, all four bands (Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica) all toured throughout parts of Europe together on the Sonisphere Festival tour, something that I can’t remember ever being done before. All I know is that I grew up with each band being a cornerstone of the Thrash movement back in the ’80s and it’s hard to deny the four bands’ history and legacy when it comes to Heavy Metal music. In addition to the Metal faithful in attendance in Sofia, the concert was screened in over 800 cinemas worldwide on the same day. This was a historical tour and I was sure that a DVD was going to be released and Lars Ulrich himself announced such plans to the audience at the show so I was eagerly awaiting this release. Once it was released, I paid the extra money for the complete audio & video deluxe set.

The Package:
I expected a nice box set and that’s exactly what I got. The box itself is a little larger than a regular DVD case and definitely deeper to fit all the materials. Inside is the DVD set and it’s the casing I don’t like much with one DVD sitting halfway over the top of the other, I always worry about scratches even though I am strictly careful. Also included are a full color booklet with plenty of photos and credits, a double-sided foldout poster with the box set artwork on one side and the tour poster on the other, four picture cards (one for each band) and a special guitar pick. After all that is removed, the five CD set is nestled inside! Each CD is housed in a cardboard slipcase with the band’s logo and a picture of parts of the drum kit, Metallica’s double disc is in a double-sided cardboard slipcase with logo and pictures of the crowd and the band in action.

The DVDs:
There are 2 DVDs and close to 6 hours of footage. DVD 1 includes complete sets by Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer in that order and they were edited on site after each performance so the show could be viewed around the world in cinemas on the same day. DVD 2 is the full Metallica headline set and a bonus documentary of the backstage area and the rehearsal footage of the bands together on ‘Am I Evil?’. All the performances are recorded and filmed crystal clear (this isn’t bootleg material!) and each band gives their performances their all. I wasn’t surprised by the running order of bands like a lot of people were online: obviously Anthrax would open and Metallica would headline but where would Megadeth and Slayer slot in? I wasn’t surprised to see Megadeth second considering that the past bad blood between Dave Mustaine and his former Metallica bandmates might be too much to get Dave to open just before Metallica came on. The more I thought about it though, Slayer is just as huge internationally as Megadeth if not more in certain countries. Who knows? I thought the running order was great and I enjoyed each band’s set. DVD 2 has the full Metallica set, the big draw being the four band jam on the Diamond Head classic ‘Am I Evil?’, and the behind the scenes documentary. If I had to choose which DVD is better, I would pick the first one because I think Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer are truer to the cause than Metallica. I know I will take a ton of criticism for that statement but I really haven’t been into Metallica since the Black album…..I have all the albums since and see the band live but I just prefer the older stuff, the stylistic changes to their overall sound, as well as, their commercial aspirations have soured me over the last 20 years. I have enjoyed albums and concerts by Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer a lot more in the last 20 years and I have become more of a fan of those bands as time has gone by when compared with Metallica. Like I said before, each band puts on a great show and the ‘Am I Evil?’ jam was really cool even if only Dave Lombardo from Slayer performed. If I had to pick the best performance for me it would be a tie between Anthrax and Slayer, I just enjoyed those more. The documentary after the Metallica performance was cool, you got a look at backstage life with each band, rehearsal/soundcheck footage, meet & greets with fans, band interactions and look at the stage area. Like the regular performance, the rehearsals for ‘Am I Evil?’ were extremely cool to be captured on film. One thing I really want to point out during all the bands’ performances is the crowd. Starting with Anthrax and ending with Metallica, the people packed into the stadium were ravenous for Metal and the bands. Anthrax had a large crowd to open that would easily fill arenas and sheds in the U.S. and, as the day continued, the crowds got bigger and hungrier for each band. I always like seeing Metal DVDs filmed outside the U.S. because it goes to show that there is a deep rooted love for all types of Heavy Metal around the world.

The CDs:
I think the best way to sum up the five audio CDs is that they are cool bonuses. The main reason you buy this set is to see the DVD of the entire concert, the CDs are a cool way to re-live that on your stereo or iPod. For me, I liked having the live sets on CD because I have listened to them in the car and on my iPod…..you can only sit in front of a TV for so long! This way you get four live albums for your collections and each one is an exact copy of the performances on DVD, nothing is missing.

Bottom Line:
If you couldn’t be there, or you didn’t have a theater near you that was screening the show, then this is a really cool box set to pick up. I paid the extra money to have the complete box set with the audio and video but there is a DVD only set that is priced lower, I’m not sure if it has all the extras like the poster, pick and pictures. Everything is professionally done, all the performances look and sound great and the behind the scenes documentary is definitely a bonus highlight. If your a fan of all or just a few of these bands, i recommend picking this up and watching a piece of Heavy Metal history.

Favorite Highlights:
Anthrax – ‘Got The Time’ & ‘Indians/Heaven And Hell’
Megadeth – ‘In My Darkest Hour’ & ‘Symphony Of Destruction’
Slayer – ‘Angel Of Death’ & ‘Raining Blood’
Metallica – ”For Whom The Bell Tolls’, ‘Am I Evil?’ & ‘Hit The Lights’

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

The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#26-#40)

2009 was another great year for new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums and I was lucky to have heard a great many of them. There were hundreds of new albums released by hundreds of bands over a wide range of Metal genres, it was very hard to keep up especially when I’m spending my hard-earned cash! Unfortunately, I can’t buy every new album so there are more than a few that I have missed. I am still very lucky to have many labels, PR firms, and bands sending in their CDs for review, to all of them I would like to extend a very grateful THANK YOU! Without these promotions I would have never heard some great releases and discovered some new bands. I have totalled up the CDs and there were 125 albums up for this year’s honors!

The only criteria I followed for my Top 40 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection AND the album had to be released in 2009. In the beginning of the year I decided that an album that was released in 2008, but was released in 2009 for the U.S., qualified as a 2009 album…..basically I went by the date on the back of the CD! There are plenty of albums that got late U.S. releases and there may be a few in this countdown. 

The ranking of the Top 40 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom Line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I more than doubled the list this year so I will be splitting it into three posts. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#26 – #40):

#40

Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Night Castle (2009): I have been waiting five years for a new TSO album and they announced the release of NIGHT CASTLE back in December 2008! Nothing like waiting a full year but the wait was worth it. A double album full of TSO expert Rock orchestra with enough guest vocalists (Jeff Scott Soto sings) to make it interesting. I prefer TSO’s holiday albums but NIGHT CASTLE fits in great.

#39

Immortal – All Shall Fall (2009): I’ve always read a ton of great reviews and articles about Immortal but Black Metal has never really been my genre of choice. I picked up ALL SHALL FALL to try the band out and I ended up really getting into it! What impressed me most was that it wasn’t stereotypical Black Metal but there were melodic layers to the overall sound using orchestration and some great guitarwork. I’ve started to backtrack and explore the rest of the Immortal back catalog as a result.

#38

Grave Digger – Ballads Of A Hangman (2009): Old school Power Metal at it’s best, Grave Digger has been doing it longer than most and they always seem to put out a solid album. I got this early in the year and it turned out to be a standout album for most of the year…..being a Grave Digger fan for a long time, I enjoyed it. Unfortunately there were better Power Metal albums that came out this year and I kept moving this one lower, a result of good competition.

#37

Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009): Nashville Pussy is one of those bands I started to follow with their debut album and forgot about, subsequently missing out on a few records. I love this Southern-fried, hard drinking, sex crazed Hard Rock, it’s a cross between Motorhead, Ted Nugent and AC/DC mixed with Black Oak Arkansas & Lynyrd Skynyrd. I didn’t really expect much from this album and it turned out to be a great one, especially for the car! ‘Drunk Driving Man’ is one of my favorite songs of the year.

#36

Great White – Rising (2009): Despite my living in Rhode Island and the whole Station Nightclub Fire, Great White is still one of my favorite bands. In 2007 they released one of the biggest surprises with BACK TO THE RHYTHM so I expected another Hard Rock classic. RISING is acoustic based and slower than it’s predecessor but it’s still a solid record that reminded me of the acoustic SAIL AWAY (1994). This album grew on me over the course of 2009 but I’m still a little disappointed that it didn’t have more of the Blues Hard Rock the band is known for.

#35

Tragik – Outlaw (2009): Good to have a local Rhode Island band in this year’s countdown! Led by local AOR/Melodic Rock artist Phil Vincent, Tragik’s second album was a solid Hard Rock record with plenty of guitar and a great overall tone. Tragik follows the footsteps of ’80s AOR/Melodic Hard Rock bands like Journey, Bon Jovi and Night Ranger but there was a more modern sound. Good solid melodies and plenty of hooks to go along with the great guitar sound made this an album I enjoyed all year.

#34

Alestorm – Black Sails At Midnight (2009): I know a lot of people don’t get into the whole Pirate Metal concept but I’m definitely a sucker for a good gimmick and I really got into Alestorm this year. This album has some good songs but the one thing that pushed this album above a lot of others was that it was fun. I bought into all the whole concept and imagery of and the Pirate Power Metal is definitely different…..I really like all those traditional pirate styled instruments mixed in. Added bonus was the DVD from Wacken 2008 included inthe limited edition.

#33

Behemoth – Evangelion (2009): Kind of like Immortal, I knew nothing about Behemoth except for what I had read online. After I saw the ‘Ov Fire And The Void’ video, I had the obsession with checking out the band. Just like Immortal, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed EVANGELION because Black Metal isn’t usually my thing but what struck me was just how brutal the music sounds. The guitars, bass and drums are just so fast and heavy that you have to take notice. EVANGELION helped me start to open my Black Metal horizons and I went from trying to understand Behemoth to enjoying Behemoth.

#32

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctis (2009): This latest album from Edguy was originally released in late 2008 but it didn’t receive a proper U.S. release until January from Nuclear Blast so I’m going with what the back of the CD says and it’s a 2009 album. I’ve been an Edguy fan since basically the beginning so their Power Metal style is what i like best but the band has gone for more of a Hard Rock style here. I had a hard time getting into this album at first because I kept comparing it to the old Edguy sound, once I got past that I started to enjoy the album a lot more. Turns out I played TINNITUS SANCTUS more as the year progressed and I kept coming back to it.

#31

Saga – The Human Condition (2009): Saga has been churning out melodic Progressive Rock for 38 years and I have been keeping up with the band on and off since 1982. One of the things that helped define the overall Saga sound through the years was the superb vocals from founding member Michael Sadler…..but he left the band in 2007 after a 36 year tenure. Enter ex-Final Frontier vocalist Rob Morrati and he puts on a performance that makes you forget that Sadler just vacated the mic. This was one of the greatest comebacks of the year!

#30

Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009): When Dream Theater releases an album I always know that it’s going to be a good one, then band just releases good albums every single time. Six songs spanning 75+ minutes and that’s just Disc 1! I always have to listen closely to Dream theater records because there are so many layers of sound and this one was no exception, what really stood out was that there was a song that clocked in just under 6 minutes (‘Wither’)! Add the 2 bonus discs and this turned out to be a great package to listen to.

#29

Queensryche – American Soldier (2009): My review is long and it may not reflect the fact that I really enjoyed AMERICAN SOLDIER, the first Queensryche album I’ve enjoyed since 1997. The first thing I needed to do was accept the fact that old ’80s Queensryche is gone and that the band has gone into more Progressive and Epic musical directions. The overall sound is full and layered but it’s the subject matter that really made the album, what is more relevant in today’s society than how soldiers cope with war? Some of the record was repetitive lyrically but the album just flowed every time I listened to it. I bought this when it first came out and I waited until late October to finally unwrap it, I think I would appreciate it more if I had listened to it all along. ‘At 30,00 Ft.’ is one of my favorite songs of the year.

#28

Megadeth – Endgame (2009): Like I said in my review, I haven’t fully recovered from 1999′s RISK debacle. UNITED ABOMINATIONS (2007) started me back on the Megadeth bandwagon and ENDGAME follows closely to cement the band back into my good graces. ENDGAME isn’t a pure Thrash record but it’s heavy, I think it’s more traditional Heavy Metal with some Thrash moments. It’s clear that Dave Mustaine and company have a solid direction and a desire to re-conquer the Metal world.

#27

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): If it wasn’t for me discovering Hammerfall in 1997 then I wouldn’t be the big Power Metal fan I am today. They basically single-handedly revived the Power Metal scene with it’s traditional style and soaring vocals. The problem with the last few albums is that they all just sounded the same and Hammerfall started to become a footnote in the now overly crowded Power Metal world. This album reminds me of the first three Hammerfall albums and it’s the first one since 2000 that I’ve really enjoyed. I had this ranked higher but, as 2009 progressed, there were better albums in the same genre. That said, this is still a solid album full of great powerful songs and Joacim Cans sound better than ever but I’m still not sure what the band was thinking with a cover of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’!

#26

Stratovarius – Polaris (2009): Remember what I said about better Power Metal albums? POLARIS is one of the big reasons why both Grave Digger and Hammerfall fell a little in this year’s best of list. I really didn’t expect much from Startovarius…..I had actually forgotten all about the band because it has been four years since the bands last album. Add a lot of new members, especially replacing guitarist Timo Tolkki, and this was a recipe for disaster. I got this album when it came out and left it in the pile, I just started listening to it a couple months ago and I missed out on some serious music. Had I started listening to this record when I got it, I probably would rank it higher because it hasn’t left my daily playlist. Another great comeback this year!

——————————————————————————————

Please check out The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#1-#10) and The Top 40 Albums of 2009 (#11-#25) for the rest of this year’s countdown.

Megadeth – Endgame (2009)

Megadeth – Endgame (2009, Roadrunner Records)

  1. Dialectic Chaos
  2. This Day We Fight!
  3. 44 Minutes
  4. 1,320′
  5. Bite The Hand
  6. Bodies
  7. Endgame
  8. The Hardest Part Of Letting Go…Sealed With A Kiss
  9. Head Crusher
  10. How The Story Ends
  11. The Right To Go Insane

Band Lineup:
Dave Mustaine – Guitars, Vocals
Chris Broderick – Guitars, Backing Vocals
James LoMenzo – Bass, Backing Vocals
Shawn Drover – Drums

Producers: Andy Sneap & Dave Mustaine

Country: USA

Total Time = 45:05

Megadeth
Megadeth MySpace page
Roadrunner Records

I have been a Megadeth fan since their debut album KILLING IS MY BUSINESS…AND BUSINESS IS GOOD in 1985. When I was growing up back then the Metal world was diverse and intertwined, you could listen to Megadeth or Anthrax alongside Poison and Motley Crue and sprinkle in AC/DC and Yngwie Malmsteen in for good measure. It was less about labels and categories and just about the music, success was based on street cred as well as gold & platinum records. I have bought every Megadeth record when it was released, even RISK (1999)! Somewhere in the middle of his career, Dave Mustaine cared more for competing with his old band Metallica and catering to the fashionable trends the Metal world went through. For me, the last pure Thrash album Megadeth made was RUST IN PEACE (1990). That’s not to say the other albums are bad…..just different. For about 10 years, Megadeth released albums that failed to live up to their old school legacy even though they had quality performances. In 2007, UNITED ABOMINATIONS came out and I was skeptical but the band’s live performance impressed me and I listened more closely to the album…..it became #11 in my Top 15 Albums of 2007. Now ENDGAME is here and I’ve given it a closer listen…..another solid Metal record for Mustaine and company! It’s an album that harkens back to the Megadeth of old.

The album opens with the powerful thrashing instrumental ‘Dialectic Chaos’ that showcases the solo tradeoffs between Dave Mustaine and new Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick (ex-Jag Panzer. ex-Nevermore). The instrumental immeadiately leads into the ultra fast ‘This Day We Fight!’, a song that truly sounds like early thrashing mad ‘Deth. So it’s a great start to another highly anticipated album but ’44 Minutes’ is bound to bring a bit of controversy. Most older fans (like myself) always want bands to stay true to their early/classic sound and they usually revolt against any stylistic change. I’m not really one of those fans (unless the music just suck, remember RISK?) so I’m cool with the fact that ’44 Minutes’ is Heavy Metal but not pure Thrash. One of the controversies around UNITED ABOMINATIONS a couple years ago was that there were a lot of heavy tracks and driving riffs but the songs weren’t fast enough. I liked the diversity of that album and I’m glad to see the band continue that pattern now, it breaks up the album a little and shows off a different side of the band, a groove if you will. It’s an expansion fo the overall sound not a detraction. Get all that?

Anyway, more thrashier moments occur in ’1,320′, including a great solo section, and ‘Bite The Hand’, a song that starts off with a grooved main riff but moves into speed territory. ‘Bodies’ has a solid bassline from James Lomenzo that really makes the song but it reminds me of something from the radio friendly CRYPTIC WRITINGS (1999). The chorus on ‘Bodies’ has that melodic touch to it that might scare some people off but the twin guitar work is superb and saves the song, especially the solo that moves into breakneck speed. If you follow anything Mustaine has done then you know that many of his songs are politically charged and the title track ‘Endgame’ is exactly that. Another Heavy Metal track that moves into faster paces thoughout, Mustaine waxes poetic on the current status of the U.S. government, the President, FEMA, the Patriot Act and the state of the country in general. ‘Endgame’ could easily fit on UNITED ABOMINATIONS or THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED (2004) and it’s definitely one of the better songs on the album. The pace slows right down with ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go…Sealed With A Kiss’ for the first half and then speeds up with the second. It’s a tale of two songs really, the beginning and end being the almost ballad style of ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go’ and the middle being the frantic speed of ‘Sealed With A Kiss’. I like the two dynamics coming together so this is definitely a highlight for me. Old School fans will like the straightforward Thrash of ‘Head Crusher’, even if the lyrics aren’t that strong. Same with ‘How The Story Ends’ but it has a more rhythmic groove to it. The last song on ENDGAME is ‘The Right To Go Insane’ and it starts with a simple bass intro and moves into a pulsating main riff. Again, it’s another solid track with a great solo trade-off.

Bottom Line:
ENDGAME is not a pure Thrash record, although it has some old school Thrash moments, it’s definitely more regular Heavy Metal with a slightly slower pace. Maybe it’s the fact that the lines that define what Thrash is today are blurred but Thrash doesn’t always have to be about speed. If that was the case then a ton of Black, Death, Power and Progressive Metal bands out there are a lot faster than Megadeth is. Today’s Thrash has more to do with heaviness and power rather than pure speed, would you call Dragonforce Thrash? Dave Mustaine has taken the best elements of old school Megadeth and the Megadeth of the last 10 years and combines them to make another solid album. I’ll be honest, I still haven’t fully recovered from the experimental Nu-Metal of 1999′s RISK so any new Megadeth record I’m going to approach with caution. The good news is that ENDGAME is a solid record and sits alongside UNITED ABOMINATIONS as a powerful counterpart. ENDGAME may not be the pure old school Thrash album older fans desperately want but it is a formidable album with many Thrash elements and it’s very heavy.

Favorite Songs:
‘Dialectic Chaos’, ‘This Day We Fight!’, ’44 Minutes’, ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go…Sealed With A Kiss’, ‘Endgame’

CD Scavenger Hunt – catching up edition

It’s been a long time since I updated what I’ve picked up at the local shops and online so here’s a list of what I’ve bought in the last couple of months…..

Ebay

UFO – No Place To Run (1980/2009 reissue), The Wild, The Willing & The Innocent (1981/2009 reissue), Mechanix (1982/2009 reissue), Making Contact (1983/2009 reissue), Misdemeanor (1985/2009 reissue) – $50: OK, that’s a lot of albums! I already own all the UFO album except for MISDEMEANOR and I had been searching for the 2000 Japanese pressing to complete my set…..it goes for $50+ on Ebay. Same thing with MAKING CONTACT, I own a Japanese copy but not the 2000 import with the bonus tracks. So what is so special about these new reissues? The first thing is that they are remastered, that doesn’t really affect me. The second is the bonus tracks from the 2000 reissues plus more bonus tracks added in. Third, these new reissues are cheaper and easier to get! I ended up buying MISDEMEANOR from one seller and the other four from another. I wasn’t planning on buying so many of these reissues but I ended up getting a good deal from the second seller on CD price and shipping. I ended spending $50 total for 5 CDs, that includes the shipping charges.

CD Inzane

Want to try a good online store? Visit CD Inzane, I use them all the time and they always have what I want at a slightly better price than a couple other stores I use. They also have things in stock, some places advertise titles before the have it in stock and then you have to wait until they get it in. Here’s my last order, $101 total with free shipping…..

U.D.O. - Dominator (2009)U.D.O. – Dominator (2009) – $25: This was my most expensive purchase but I couldn’t wait for the U.S. release. I ended up spending an extra $10 for the European edition with the bonus track ‘Pleasure In The Darkroom’ and the video for ‘Black & White’. Usually Udo Dirkschneider is good about releasing the album bonus tracks on a pre-release E.P. but this time around it didn’t happen. I’m a big U.D.O. fan so I didn’t mind spending the extra money, I already knew what the album sounded like because I was lucky enough to get a digital promo copy from AFM Records, you can read the review here.

cage-science-of-annihilation-2009Cage – Science Of Annihilation (2009) – $11: I have been waiting to pick up the latest Cage album for a while now. Just like the U.D.O. album, I was lucky to receive a digital promo download of the album so I could review it. The problem was that the download didn’t go through and I was left with nothing to review. I was going to pick this up anyway, download or not, because Cage is an excellent U.S. Power Metal band and all of their albums are great.

Jorn Lande - Spirit Black (2009)Jorn Lande – Spirit Black (2009) – $14: The new Jorn Lande album has been on my list for a while but I just never got around to picking it up. I saw one copy at the local record store and they haven’t restocked it since. CD Inzane had a great price for the European import digipak with the bonus track ‘The Sun Goes Down’ so I decided not to wait any longer. I’m not sure if the U.S. version has the bonus track but I know that I paid at least two or three dollars less than I would have in the record store.

FarCryHighGearFarCry – High Gear (2009) – $11: I’m not sure where I heard about FarCry first but all of a sudden most of the websites I frequent were raving about the band and this debut album. Usually solid melodic Hard Rock like this comes from Europe but FarCry is an all American band and they sound similar to bands like Danger Danger, Bon Jovi, Tyketto and Firehouse. So far, one of the best new bands I’ve heard this year!

outloud-cdOutloud – We’ll Rock You To Hell And Back Again! (2009) – $16: Another new band that I’ve had on my list to check out. Outloud has been getting a ton of great reviews and it’s another ’80s styled melodic Hard Rock album Frontiers Records is well known for. I had been watching Ebay and other online vendors but I saved close to $4 + shipping by ordering it through CD Inzane. So far it’s a great record…..you have to love the album cover, it reminds me of some old obscure ’80s record.

Bitchfire2009Bitchfire – s/t (2009) – $10: All I know about Bitchfire is that lead singer Sharyn Peach had been a singer on the Boston, MA rock scene for a number of years. I was researching local bands and I somehow landed on Bitchfire, found a few reviews and decided to give the band a shot. This is an independent release from the band so I was able to track it down at a decent price. I haven’t given it a spin yet but I’m hopeful.

UZI - MadhouseUZI – Madhouse (2009) – $13: UZI is one of those obscure late ’80s/early ’90s Hard Rock bands that came out just when the overblown L.A. scene was starting to unravel. MADHOUSE is a reissue of 10 long lost songs from UZI’s recording sessions close to 20 years ago. I like hearing obscure bands from back in the day and I read a lot of positive reviews so I ordered this one too. I was a sucker for the band name and the album cover, I might have given this a shot if I had found it in the record stores.

Record Stores

Megadeth endgameMegadeth – Endgame (2009) – $12: One of the most highly anticipated albums of the year! I ran out the day ENDGAME was released and pick it up at the great sale price but I still haven’t unwrapped it! That’s the thing with me and Megadeth…..I buy all the band’s albums but I end up getting around to them weeks/months later. I did the same thing with UNITED ABOMINATIONS and felt like an idiot after I finally gave it a listen.

ace-frehley-anomaly-2009Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009) – $10: Of course I ran out to Best Buy the day ANOMALY came out, I’ve been waiting 6 or 7 years for Ace to finally release this album after so much talk about it when he left KISS again. It’s been 20 years since Ace released TROUBLE WALKIN’ (1989), and his contributions to KISS – PSYCHO CIRCUS (1998) were limited, so it’s cool to hear Ace take flight with an all new record. Pretty cool artwork and packaging on top of a great album.

KISS - Sonic Boom (2009)KISS – Sonic Boom (2009) – $12: If I ran out the day of release for the new Ace Frehley album then you better believe this KISS diehard was at Wal-Mart at 9am after I dropped my kids at school! The first all new KISS studio album in 11 years, Paul Stanley in full control, and a bonus CD and DVD for $12…..that’s a deal! I already have the greatest hits bonus CD because I bought the Japanese import last year. The DVD is a nice preview of the tour but the real reason to buy this is the new songs…..so far I’m really enjoying it.

anvil-this-is-thirteen-2007Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007/2009 reissue) – $10: I’ve had this album since late 2007 when I bought it directly from the Anvil website. Two years later, the band is re-releasing the album on VH-1 Classic Records due to all the hype and success of the documentary ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL. Why not capitalize on the success and get the latest album distributed to a wider audience? The reissue gets a bonus track, the previously unreleased ‘Thumb Hang’.

3inches_doom3 Inches Of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom (2009) – $10: 3 Inches Of Blood has become one of my favorite new Metal bands so I’m always on top of their new records. This was another highly anticipated release for me but I haven’t given this a spin yet! I’m not really sure what my problem is, I bought it right away and it’s made it’s way into the famous “pile”. I’m going to have to pull this out and listen this week.

SUNSTORM - house of dreamsSunstorm – House Of Dreams (2009) – $16: The smoothest singer in all of Rock is back with another Sunstorm project…..I will buy anything Joe Lynn Turner sings on. I had the first Sunstorm album when it first came out and it was excellent AOR/melodic Hard Rock so I was expecting much of the same from this new record. Nothing is better than a JLT record, his last solo album was one of my top albums of 2007.

Trouble - Simple Mind ConditionTrouble – Simple Mind Condition (2009) – $15: What did this take, a decade to finally get released? Trouble was one of those bands back in the day that I always thought would be HUGE! Great records like THE SKULL, PSALM 9, and MANIC FRUSTRATION. This album has had so many delays and so the U.S. release date was pushed back so many times. It’s been out in Europe since 2007 but the prices were high and the availability limited. It’s out now and time to enjoy some Trouble.

white-wizzard-high-speed-gtoWhite Wizzard – High Speed GTO (2009) – $9: Another new band that I really don’t know much about except that they are from Los Angeles and they play old school Heavy Metal. I like the band name, the logo and the cover art of the album…..it all screams NWOBHM or early U.S. Metal. It’s a 7 song disc so it’s more of an E.P. that a full length album, the band has another 7 song E.P. from 2008 titled WHITE WIZZARD that I am seeking out.

death - scream bloody goreDeath – Scream Bloody Gore (1987) – $10: My quest for trying out more extremem forms of Metal brought me to Death’s classic debut album, SCREAM BLOODY GORE. I’m determined to try out as many classic and newer Black & Death Metal bands as I can so I decided to go with what is regarded as one of the first proper Death metal albums. I’ve listened to it a few times and it’s really good, I can’t believe that I never got into Death during all these years.

Immortal - All Shall FallImmortal – All Shall Fall (2009) – $10: I’ve read a ton online about how reat Immortal was but I’ve never bothered to listen to a song. Again, I’m not the biggest Black Metal fan but I want to at least check out some of these bands so I know if I’m missing something. I had no idea that Immortal had a new album coming out so I picked it up to check out what they had to offer. Usually I like to buy the first album and work my way up but I couldn’t remember the name of their debut. Spending $10 to try something new is OK in my book.

The Story Of Anvil movie picAnvil – The Story Of Anvil DVD (2009) – $20: I have been waiting for this documentary to come out on DVD all year. Europe and Japan have had it for a few months but now VH-1 Classic Records is properly releasing the movie on DVD with extras. I already saw the movie back in May but I will still give this a full review soon, I can’t wait to watch it again. Good for Anvil, they deserve all their success!

Mike Albert Project – Afterlife (2009)

Mike Albert Project - Afterlife (2009)

Mike Albert Project – Afterlife (2009, Big Deal Records)

  1. Octavia
  2. Realms
  3. Blind Man’s Bluff
  4. Stalker
  5. Dr. Death
  6. Afterlife
  7. Hypnotic
  8. Weapons Of Mass Destruction
  9. UMFR
  10. Why Do You Always Say Goodbye
  11. UMFR (censored version)

Band Lineup:
Mike Albert – Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals
Richard Schroeder – Lead Vocals
Jon Escobedo – Bass
Angel Lujan – Drums
Ruben Martinez – Guitars

Producer: Mike Albert

Country: USA

Total Time = 39:29

Mike Albert Project
Mike Albert Project MySpace page
Big Deal Records

Old school Thrash fans might recognize the name Mike Albert as he was the touring guitarist for Megadeth back in 1985 around the time of KILLING IS MY BUSINESS….AND BUSINESS IS GOOD. Mike replaced original Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland after the album’s completion, went on tour, but left the band after the tour due to conflicts with Dave Mustaine. After years of writing and other musical projects, AFTERLIFE is the debut record of the Mike Albert Project.

AFTERLIFE is an album that blends the early Thrash movement from the early to mid-’80s, with a dose of Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society and today’s Doom & Stoner Metal scenes. Get all that? What I’m trying to get at is the album sounds retro but with a modern flavor…..and that still makes no sense! AFTERLIFE is definitely heavy…..it has a solid twin axe attack, a fat billowing bass and attacking drums while lead throat Richard Schroeder has a deep rugged delivery. The playing is very good and that may have to do with Schroeder, Lujan and Martinez playing together for a while in Decimate Inc., a Thrash band from California that was together from 2002 to 2005.

Most of the songs sound pretty much the same with the Thrash/Traditional Metal base but things do slow down for more of a Hard Rock or Doom sound. There’s 11 songs on the record and the opening track ‘Octavia’ is a quick 30 second instrumental that seems so unnecessary, I hate it when bands use a quick instrumental on a record and call it a “song”. The Project makes up for it with ‘Realms’, a slower MASTER OF PUPPETS-era Metallica styled song with a hint of seasoned Metal Church for good measure. The old school Thrash starts with ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’ and the modern Metal  with ‘Stalker’. Listening to ‘Stalker’ closely, I just realize now that there’s a similarity in the vocal style of Schroeder with early Scott Weiland (on the 1st Stone Temple Pilots record) and Sully Erna (Godsmack) on top of the Zakk Wylde thing. Let’s see, more Thrash with ‘Dr. Death’ and ‘Afterlife’, the latter has harsh modern Metal vocals/growls. ‘ Hypnotic’ has some melodic flourishes and ‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’ slowly builds into a fast Metal track and then ‘UMFR’ (U Mother Fuck R) is another heavy tune that sounds pretty much like the rest but it has the harsh vocals and the opening drum solo…..a lot of drums in this song! ‘Why Do You Always Say Goodbye’ sounds old school Metal but then it takes a Godsmack style when the lyrics start. Last song is a censored version of ‘UMFR’. Totally unnecessary but I see the point to get the commercial side of the band going, maybe because it’s available on most online outlets for download like iTunes?

Bottom Line:
There’s promise! No doubt that the Mike Albert Project is talented and the music is heavy but I just couldn’t totally get into the album. I either heard the old school style or the modern style and I became distracted. Maybe a lot has to do with the Zakk Wylde/Black Label Society/Godsmack sound? If there was more Thrash or Traditional Metal then I’d like it a lot more. Maybe that’s a result of Mike Albert’s lineage in Megadeth and I expected a certain style? AFTERLIFE isn’t a bad record but it didn’t hold my attention either. I’ll keep an eye on this band because there’s a lot of talent here, I’d like to hear what they come up with on the next record.

Favorite Songs:
‘Realms’, ‘Dr. Death’, Afterlife

Megadeth – Endgame (2009) artwork, tracklisting & release date announced

The track listing for MEGADETH’s twelfth studio album, ENDGAME, which is due on September 15 through Roadrunner Records. The CD was recorded at the band’s own studio in San Marcos, California – Vic’s Garage – which was named after their legendary and iconic Vic Rattlehead character.

Megadeth endgame 

ENDGAME tracklisting: ‘Dialectic Chaos’, ‘This Day We Fight!’, ’44 Minutes’, ’1,320′, ‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’, ‘Bodies Left Behind’, ‘Endgame’, ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go… Sealed With A Kiss’, ‘Headcrusher’, ‘How the Story Ends’, ‘Nothing Left To Lose’.

On Tuesday, July 7th, Roadrunnerrecords.com will be offering up an exclusive download of the new Megadeth song ‘Headcrusher’.

Endgame is being produced by Andy Sneap and Dave Mustaine. Sneap also manned the boards for 2007’s United Abominations.

Endgame boasts the technicality, ferocity and snarl that’s synonymous with Megadeth and Mustaine. It’s a violent masterwork that represents Mustaine’s best work in nearly two decades. In a musical world dominated by bands that make generic, blanket statements, Endgame finds Mustaine, once again, making informed and substantial lyrical declarations about the state of the world we live in.

Mustaine himself commented on Endgame, saying, “Thematically, I’ve never been known to be a silent bystander in a world that needs our participation. As more is revealed about our former President’s legacy, a little-known yet staggeringly frightening document which was signed into law, named ‘Endgame,’ has been uncovered. The album Endgame is the most energetic music offering I have penned in over a decade and is far more believable than knowing someone signed ‘Endgame’ -the document- into law. The album is also the perfect ‘ass- kicking’ music to listen to once you are done reading the aforementioned document!”

In short, it’s the Megadeth record that fans of classics like So Far, So Good… So What? and Rust In Peace have been chomping at the bit for.

“This new album is my proudest moment since the famous (or infamous) Rust In Peace album,” Mustaine also said. “With this album, I am also very excited to be introducing my new lead guitarist Chris Broderick to the world. I have always felt lucky to have had top shredders in that position, but after touring with Chris in support of my last album, I couldn’t wait to get into the studio and see what he could do.”

Megadeth’s lineup consists of Mustaine, Broderick, bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Shawn Drover.