Tyr - Valkyaja

CD Scavenger Hunt – January 2014 update

Here we go…..another late post…..another late update on my continuing quest for new additions to my collection…..

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PlanetHelix.com

Metal On Ice
Helix – A Heavy Mental Xmas (2008)
Helix – All I Want For Christmas…is the Leafs to Win The Cup! (7″ vinyl) - $35 bundle

Ebay

W.A.S.P. – Inside The Electric Circus (1986) – $8 used
W.A.S.P. – Live…In The Raw (1987) – $11 used
W.A.S.P. – The Crimson Idol (1989) – $8 used
Rhett Forrester – Gone With The Wind (1984/2001 reissue) – $9 used

Sammy Hagar & Friends (2013) – $7.25
King Kobra – II (2013) – $7.25
Coney Hatch – Four (2013) – $7.25
Little River Band – Cuts Like A Diamond (2013) – $7.25
Nightwish – Oceanborn (1998) – $10 used
MSG – Nightmare: The Acoustic MSG (1992) – $10 used
Great White – s/t (1984) – $5.50 used vinyl
Great White – Out Of The Night E.P. (1983) – $5.50 used vinyl

Amazon

Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise (2013) – $12
Tyr – Valkyrja (2013) – $10
Benedictum – Obey (2013) – $15
KISS – Best of Vol. 3 (The Millenium Collection) (2006) – $7

Newbury Comics

MSG – Bridge The Gap (Ltd. Ed.) (2014) – $24
Scorpions – MTV Unplugged: Live In Athens (CD/DVD) (2014) – $12
Iced Earth – Plagues Of Babylon (Dlx. Ed.) (2014) – $16
Nashville Pussy – Up The Dosage (Ltd. Ed.) (2014) – $16
Michael Monroe – Horns & Halos (2013) – $14
Lita Ford – The Bitch Is Back…Live (2013) – $0
Dream Theater – s/t (2013) – $14
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals – Walk Through Exits Only (2013) – $10 used
Trouble – Distortion Field (2013) – $0 used
Circle II Circle – All That Remains E.P. (2005) – $4 used
Andersen/Laine/Readman – Three (2006) – $4 used
Sinner – There Will Be Execution (2003) – $0 used
Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For (2013) – $18
Helker – Somewhere In The Circle (2013) – $10 used
Firewind – Few Against Many (2012) – $0 used

I started off the year with a major bang by scoring a lot of older releases and many 2013 releases that I received digital promos for from the labels. One of my resolutions for 2014 was to acquire more older catalog releases…..albums that have been missing from my collection for a long time.

My first purchase was from PlanetHelix.com, the official website of Brian Vollmer and Helix. The had a holiday bundle that included the Metal On Ice album, the Helix holiday CD and a bonus 7 inch vinyl single of the new Helix holiday song for a cool $35. I bought the deluxe package with the Helix t-shirt and baseball cap for $75.

Ebay was awesome for great buys early this year! I scored original Capitol Records pressing of the three W.A.S.P. albums that are missing from my collection. I’ve always had the entire W.A.S.P. discography be it on cassette back in the ’80s, the original pressing CDs and then the reissues with bonus tracks in the late ’90s. I sold my original pressings of all the W.A.S.P. albums about ten years ago when my wife and I were strapped for cash when our second daughter was born, and I sold them for decent bucks, but I’ve regretted it ever since. It’s been an on again/off again search for these original pressings but I finally decided to acquire them all once I found a seller that had them all up at once. Same thing happened with the Sammy Hagar, King Kobra, Coney Hatch and Little River Band CDs, these were all one lot at a great price from a reputable seller. I had all the digital promos but I wanted the first three albums in my collection, would have passed on the Little River Band if it was alone but it was a great price for the 4 CD lot. The other CDs I grabbed of Ebay were ones I stumbled on when I was searching some of my favorite sellers but my favorites were the two Great White vinyls I won for $5.50 each…..both original pressing in near mint condition.

I had to kill an Amazon gift card that I received for a Xmas present so I picked up some 2013 releases: Kill Devil Hill, Tyr and Benedictum. All were cheaper than actually buying them from the record store and, to round out my gift card, I added the KISS – Millenium Collection 3 compilation for completist purposes.

I did actually go to the record store three times to start the year! I stopped by the North Attleboro, MA Newbury Comics to pick up the new Michael Schenker Group album and I dropped $24 on the limited edition digibook with the bonus track featuring Don Dokken on vocals. I know that’s a lot of money but Michael Schenker is one of those artists that I will spend the extra money on. Luckily, I caught the sale because regular price on that bad boy was $30! While I was in store I added the new Scorpions MTV Unplugged CD/DVD and the new Iced Earth to the MSG album, both were on sale and I saved $5 and $8 respectively. The Scorpions release was cheaper on sale than on Amazon and it’s the CD/DVD version, same with the new Iced Earth which was also a CD/DVD combo.

My second trip out to the stores was to catch a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale on all CDs. I made it up to the the big Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA (nice vinyl section there!) and scored mostly 2013 releases that I never bothered to pick up. I’ve been a Nashville Pussy fan since their first record so I needed Up The Dosage and I saved $3 buying the deluxe edition (2 bonus tracks) for $16 on sale. I paired it with Michael Monroe’s latest (also on sale for $14, saving $3) to get the Lita Ford live album free (also on sale for $14, regular $17). I paired the latest Dream Theater (also on sale for $14 from $17) with a used copy of the Phil Anselmo CD ($10 used instead of $16 regular) to get the latest Trouble album free $10 used instead of $16 regular). My last bundle was a few older releases that were all $4 used: Circle II Circle + Andersen/Laine/Readman = Sinner for free.

On the way home from Norwood, I hit the North Attleboro store to buy the latest Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For for a high priced $18 regular price, paired with a used $10 copy of the latest Helker album to get Firewind’s Few Against Many free. I already bought the Firewind album once and I uploaded it into my iTunes but I realized that the used copy I bought mid-year in a record store was NOT the jewel case version I thought it was. Upon further review, it was a ripped in half digipak version stuffed into a jewel case and priced as used. Needless to say, that won’t do for my collection, no damaged CDs allowed! When I found this copy used for $8, it was a an easy buy with Royal Hunt and Helker.

Totals

Total (Jan) = $344

Total (year) = $344

Average Price (per item) = $10.12

Total CDs (year) = 31

Total LPs (year) = 3

 

 

CD Scavenger Hunt (August update) – The Birthday Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total = $225

Total (year) = $669

Average Price (per item) = $8.26

Total Savings (month) = $225

Total Savings (year) = $670

Total CDs (year) = 75

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

 

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!

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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.

Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009)

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Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009, SPV)

  1. Speed Machine
  2. From Hell To Texas
  3. Drunk Driving Man
  4. Lazy Jesus
  5. I’m So High
  6. Ain’t Your Business
  7. Dead Men Can’t Get Drunk
  8. Late Great USA
  9. Pray For The Devil
  10. Why Why Why
  11. Stone Cold Down
  12. Give Me A Hit Before I Go

nashvillepussy

Band Lineup:
Blaine Cartwright – Vocals & Guitars
Ruyter Suys – Guitars
Karen Cuda – Bass
Jeremy Thompson – Drums

Producer: Daniel Rey

Total Time = 38:56

Nashville Pussy
Nashville Pussy MySpace page
SPV Germany
SPV USA

Add Motorhead, AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Lynyrd Skynyrd together and you get the Southern-fried Hard Rock frenzy of Atlanta, Georgia’s own Nashville Pussy. I got into the band back in 1998 when they released their debut LET THEM EAT PUSSY and I continued on by buying the follow-up HIGH AS HELL (2000). Once you’ve heard Nashville Pussy’s guitar heavy, alcohol fueled, sex crazed sound then you get the picture so I kind of pushed the band aside and missed the last two studio albums. Once FROM HELL TO TEXAS came in the mail, I went back and gave the first to albums a fresh listen…..what the hell was I thinking? The band smokes and that Southern inspired Metal sound works really well.

Opening song ‘Speed Machine’ is a muscle car style track that careens down the Metal highway with speed and fury but the buzzing guitars sound like they came right out of the mid-’70s arena rock days. No let up with the title track, it’s another fast buzzsaw that cuts right through the speakers with blazing guitars. A lot of Nashville Pussy’s music has to do with drinking and cars so put the two together and you get the Alice Cooper meets KISS ‘Drunk Driving Man’. It’s a catchy tune that had me singing along right away, it has a great groove and the retro soundsounds like mid-years Alice, especially on the vocals. Blaine Cartwright has got that nasally Alice wail down pat and he teams up with his wife/bandmate Ruyter Suys to add a dual guitar attack that sounds like Stanley/Frehley circa ’74-’77. ‘Lazy Jesus’ is pure redneck fun complete with twangy guitars and harmonica that sounds more like a backyard BBQ sing-a-long than a Rock tune but the band returns to the Rock with the faster ‘I’m So High’ and ‘Ain’t Your Business’. I like the speedier riffs on ‘Ain’t Your Business’ and it’s in the same style as the first two cuts with that fuzzy ’70s guitar.

Another fast riff rocker about drinking, ‘Dead Men Can’t Get Drunk’, has some interesting guitar but you get the feeling you’ve heard it all before. That’s the thing…..most of the songs are under 4 minutes long and the delivery is so straightforward that it all sounds the same sometimes. Homage to the band’s hometown of Atlanta with the speedy ‘Late Great USA’ and the Blues grooved ‘Pray For The Devil’ is more dirt and debauchery with a touch of Motorhead styled Punk. ‘Pray For The Devil’ starts out fast but it slows down mid-song into a blues base with guitars soloing all around the main riff. One of my favorite songs on the album is the sex-crazed redneck party fun of ‘Why Why Why’. Definitely sounds like something Alice would put out but with sexually explicit, but juvenile, lyrics that would make KISS and the Nuge cry with envy. More AC/DC meets Southern blues shines with the mid level groove of ‘Stone Cold Down’ and the sleazy ‘Give Me A Hit Before I Go’.

Bottom Line:
Like I said before: cross AC/DC, Motorhead, Ted Nugent with the Southern hospitality of Lynyrd Skynyrd and you get the overall Nashville Pussy sound. The music sounds ’70s retro with the fuzzy buzzing guitars, the Alice Cooper/Nugent style vocals, and that redneck country twang like Skynyrd and Black Oak Arkansas. Damn, I forgot about Black Oak Arkansas because you can hear a lot of Jim “Dandy” Mangrum is Cartwright’s vocals! The music is good but they stay true to the formula so it all sounds too much like the same thing after a while. The lyrics are what you expect from Pussy with songs about drinking, drugs, fast cars and loose sex…..basically everything that Hard Rock stands for! There’s something about this record that keeps me coming back for more, FROM HELL TO TEXAS has gotten more spins on the stereo and on the MP3 player than any other 2009 album except for the new Saxon. Maybe it’s the blend of styles or maybe it’s because I haven’t checked the band out in a few years? Either way, this new album is pretty damn good and makes me want to pick up the two missing studio records SAY SOMETHING NASTY (2002) and GET SOME (2005).

Favorite Songs:
‘Drunk Driving Man’, ‘Why Why Why’, ‘Lazy Jesus’, ‘Speed Machine’, ‘Pray For The Devil’

Weekend Playlist

The only good thing about inventory week at work is that I get the entire weekend off! Faced with plenty of time on my hands, and a lot of new CDs, I spent a lot of time in front of the stereo…..

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus (2009): I just realized that I made the new Edguy March’s album of the month and I never got around to reviewing it! I’ve been spending a lot of time on this CD all week and I can’t get passed some of the juvenile lyrics but so far I like the album.

Nashville Pussy – From Hell To Texas (2009): I started on Nashville Pussy with their first record, LET THEM EAT PUSSY (1998), but I never got into them past 2000′s HIGH AS HELL. I got this CD in the mail and I really got into it…..look for a review this week.

Siren’s Gate – Haunt Me (2008): I enjoy all forms of female-fronted Metal but I do like the atmospheric/gothic/orchestrated style the best. Bands like The Gathering, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Lana Lane and After Forever all occupy space in my collection. Siren’s Gate is in the same mold as the bands and this E.P. is a more like a demo but still pretty good. Review coming…..

Great White – Rising (2009): I just got this in the mail the other day and I broke the cellophane and gave it a single spin.

Hammerfall – No Sacrifice, No Victory (2009): Just like the new Great White, I got this CD in Saturday afternoon so it only got the first spin this weekend.

My 10 yr. old daughter is starting to raid Daddy’s CD collection and sample different bands so I had to teach Metal 101 to her a little over the weekend. I pulled out a few greatest hits/live albums to give her an idea of what some bands sounded like but she started looking on her own. Here are some of the albums she picked out and we listened to…..her Twisted Sister obsession is still going strong!

Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid (1991)

Saxon – Denim & Leather (1981)

AC/DC – Back In Black (1980)

Motorhead – Everything Louder Than Everyone Else (1998)

Scorpions – Deadly Sting: The Mercury Years (1997)

Desperado – Bloodied, But Unbowed (1996)

Dee Snider – Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down (2000)

Twisted Sister – Still Hungry (2004)

Anvil – Anthology Of Anvil (2000)

Press Release: New album from Nashville Pussy, From Hell To Texas, artwork, release dates and tracklisting

From Earsplit:

They’re back to kick your ass!  
 
For over a decade, Nashville Pussy has been bringing the fire and spirit of REAL rock n’ roll to stages all across the planet. With four acclaimed full-lengths and a Grammy nomination in tow, the band has honed their most impressive recording to date in the form of From Hell To Texas.  
nashville-pussy-from-hell-to-texas-2009
 
Indeed, From Hell To Texas stacks up perfectly against other masterful ‘Pussy classics such as Let Them Eat Pussy and High As Hell  As always, Ruyter Suys’ spectacular axe-work is front and center, breathing even more whiskey-fueled passion into husband Blaine Cartwright’s creations, with burners such as “I’m So High,” “Drunk Driving Man,” and “Pray for the Devil” leading the charge. The album was recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio in Texas on the same two-inch tape machine which Willie himself has used to cut all of his legendary albums.    
 
In the past year, they’ve continued to cement their reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the world, with tours of Australia, Brazil, Japan, Europe and most recently almost a year straight with the Reverend Horton Heat all over North America. All the while, band mastermind Cartwright (vocals, guitar), Ruyter Suys (guitar), Karen Cuda (bass) and Jeremy Thompson (drums) spent three years working on the release. “We allowed ourselves this time to give the songs the chance to turn out as perfect as possible,” Cartwright explains.
 
2009 will be another ambitious year for Nashville Pussy. Along with the March 3rd release of the new album, the band’s roadmap is already set:  an exhaustive trek across Europe, followed by summer festivals and full-scale North American tour.  The rock never stops. Bottom line…..Nashville Pussy is the genuine article.  Accept no substitute!
From Hell To Texas tracklisting:
‘Speed Machine’, ‘From Hell To Texas’, ‘Drunk Driving Man’, ‘Lazy Jesus’, ‘I’m So High’, ‘Ain`t Your Business’, ‘Dead Men Can’t Get Drunk’, ‘Late Great USA’, ‘Pray For The Devil’, ‘Why Why Why’, ‘Stone Cold Down’, ‘Give Me A Hit Before I Go’.
The album will be released via SPV/Steamhammer Records on the following dates:

Germany / Austria / Switzerland: February 13th
UK / Rest of Europe: February 16th
USA / Canada: March 3rd