Current Playlist

The CDs are piling up but I’ve been under the weather with allergies and the flu so Music hasn’t been the priority. I have listened to a few CDs lately, mostly stuff that has been in rotation for a few weeks…..

Tank – The Filth Hounds Of Hades: Dogs Of War (1981-2002) box set (2007): This has been an exciting box set for me. I’m a huge New Wave Of British Heavy Metal fan and I only had a few Tank albums to my collection. All six Tank studio records are here, plus two live albums, and a live DVD. This has been taking up much time because I want to review it…..eventually!

After Forever – s/t (2007): I’m still enjoying this album even after close to three months. I enjoy the epic/symphonic/gothic Metal with the clean female vocals and death style male growls. I’m going to have to track down the rest of the band’s catalog.

Night Sun – Mournin’ (1972): I’d better spin this after all the hassle I had with it — hadit, lost it, searched for it, gave up, and then got it in the mail so I never had it to begin with. The mind plays tricks! I will eventually write this one up too.

Iron Maiden – (all Bruce era albums): Just ordered my Maiden tickets for June at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA so I am really on a Maiden kick. Last month, I was spinning a lot of D’ianno & Blaze Bayley albums to mix it up but it’s all about Bruce now. The focus has been on NUMBER OF THE BEAST thru FEAR OF THE DARK but I have also revisited all the current albums too. Up the Irons!

Helix – The Power Of Rock And Roll (2007): I missed this album in 2007 but I bought it at the beginning of 2008. Straight up Hard Rock that would easily have made my Top 15 of 2007 if I bought it in 2007. If I expanded to a Top 20 or 25, this would be in there.

Sebastian Bach – Angel Down (2007): This CD made the 5 Worst Albums of 2007 and I wanted to go back and give a fresh listen. I’m still not digging the down-tuned production and growling vocals but I have found more to like than I did originally. I stand by my ranking though, it’s still a major disappointment.

Journey – Arrival (2000): This was Journey’s comeback record with Steve Augeri (ex-Tall Stories) at the mic and Deen Castronovo (ex-Wild Dogs) on drums. Probably one of the most underrated records of 2000, this is a perfect slab of AOR and sits nicely with all the classic Steve Perry era albums. I saw the tour that summer…..excellent.

Black Tide – Light From Above (2008): Put these guys in with Airbourne and Endeverafter as true leaders of the next wave of good Hard Rock & Metal. I admit that I was surprised at how good this record was coming from a brand new band. Review this week!

Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008): Tobias Sammet really puts together solid albums for Edguy and Avantasia is a solid side project that has taken a life of it’s own three albums in. There’s a lot to listen to hear but the Alice Cooper track is my favorite so far.

The Bangkok Five – We Love What Kills Us (2008): I got sent a promo CDR of this forthcoming album and I listened to it all day yesterday so I could write a review. It’s only five songs, so it’s more like an E.P. instead of a full-length LP. I listened over and over again but my initial reaction to it hasn’t been good. Not my style but kids that enjoy current popular Rock trends might like it.

The search is over…..

As many of you already know, I had some extremely bad luck losing a brand new CD close to two weeks ago. The CD in question?

Night Sun - Mournin’ (1972)

Night Sun – Mournin’ (1972)

I won the CD for around $35 on Ebay on March 3rd. Around the same time, I went on a little shopping spree at the local record stores. Add a few more Ebay discs, some promos, and a house in need of some straightening…..I lost the Night Sun album.

My memory was very clear: I opened the envelope at my dining room table, looked at the disc, and put it on the top of the new pile. I also remember looking at it late at night after work at my desk in my Music room. After a few days, I hadn’t seen it. It vanished! I noticed Wednesday March 12th in the early morning.

In 24 hours, I turned my house upside down looking for it. I checked and cleaned every room methodically: every drawer, shelf, cushion, and crevice. I dug through a week’s worth of trash. I checked the cars, the garage…..hell, I even went through the basement! I took the dog out and used her keen sense of smell to check the front and back yards. My wife thinks I’m crazy to begin with so she took pity on me and went through the garbage again. She remembers my “special” CD coming in the mail so she knew I was disappointed. She didn’t find the disc either. My two daughters kept bringing me CDs from my collection in the hopes that the one they brought would be the missing one and that they would collect the $10 reward I posted on the fridge. Nothing…..

On Tuesday morning, I decided that the CD was in the trash and that it had travelled to its final resting place at the Johnston Landfill with that morning’s garbage pickup. I determined the experience as a valuable lesson, one I would never repeat. The only place I didn’t check was work. My last gasp of hope came Wednesday night when I stopped all production and took my 15 person crew and tore apart my backroom, my primary work area. It was the only place it could be! Sure, I got weird looks from my crew as I barked out specific search instructions but they all looked carefully. Nothing…..

So what is so important about this specific CD? Aside from the $35, nothing really. It was the point that it was purchased and lost by my own hand.

Is the CD that good? Not sure, I never got a chance to listen to it.

How did I hear about the album? I read about it in a book on ’70s Hard Rock & Heavy Metal a few years ago. Add a little research and it was just one of those albums I wanted to find and listen to.

Fast forward to Saturday and I’m trying to relax by listening to my new Heavy Load – Death Or Glory (1982) CD. My wife comes upstairs, sees the Heavy Load album and says, “Found it!”. Of course, I know where THAT album is because I’m listening to it but she tells me that it’s the CD she remembers being the “special” CD that came in the mail. I told her not to bust my chops, that I had made peace with the situation, and I would acquire the Night Sun album again someday.

Happy Easter! While the kids went on their Easter egg hunt around the house and in the yards, my wife handed me the stack of mail that I never opened Saturday afternoon. Among the bills and junk is a small package from Florida that’s obviously a CD. It had to be a promo from a band I’ve talked to so I open it…..

IT’S THE NIGHT SUN CD!!!!

Of course, my wife is standing right there and she is speechless. I’m speechless. The dog is speechless. After going crazy for about a week looking for this CD, digging through trash and spring cleaning/organizing the entire house, it arrives in the mail.

I swear that I had it in my hands, that I had looked at the disc and the liner notes but I was mistaken. The disc I thought was Night Sun was probably Heavy Load and I was so preoccupied with Night Sun that I convinced myself I had it. Needless to say, I apologized to my wife a lot today…..

…..but I would do it all over again if I had to!

CD Scavenger Hunt – Catching up edition

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

Band Websites

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

Ebay

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

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

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

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

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

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

Record Convention

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

Newbury Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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