KISS – 40 (2014) review

KISS 40

KISS – 40 (2014, Universal/Island Def Jam)

CD 1

  1. Nothin’ To Lose
  2. Let Me Go Rock ‘N Roll
  3. C’mon And Love Me
  4. Rock And Roll All Nite (Live) (from Alive!)
  5. God Of Thunder (Demo) (from The KISS Box Set)
  6. Beth
  7. Hard Luck Woman
  8. Reputation (previously unreleased demo)
  9. Christine Sixteen
  10. Shout It Out Loud (Live) (from Alive II)
  11. Strutter ’78
  12. You Matter To Me
  13. Radioactive
  14. New York Groove
  15. Hold Me, Touch Me
  16. I Was Made For Loving’ You (single edit)
  17. Shandi
  18. A World Without Heroes
  19. I Love It Loud
  20. Down On Your Knees
  21. Lick It Up
  22. Heaven’s On Fire

CD 2

  1. Tears Are Falling
  2. Reason To Live
  3. Let’s Put The X In Sex
  4. Forever
  5. God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II
  6. Unholy (Live) (from Alive III)
  7. Do You Love Me (Live) (from MTV Unplugged)
  8. Room Service (Live) (from You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best)
  9. Jungle (radio edit)
  10. Psycho Circus (single edit)
  11. Nothing Can Keep Me From You (from Detroit Rock City soundtrack & The Box Set)
  12. Detroit Rock City (Live) (from Alive IV – Symphony)
  13. Deuce (Live 2004) (previously unreleased)
  14. Firehouse (Live) (from Alive – The Millenium Concert)
  15. Modern Day Delilah
  16. Cold Gin (Live 2009) (previously unreleased)
  17. Crazy Crazy Nights (Live 2010) (previously unreleased)
  18. Hell Or Hallelujah

Another year, another KISS compilation. Let’s not blame the band on this one, Universal Music owns the band’s catalog and can keep pumping them out. So what’s different here this time around? Well, KISS is celebrating their 40th anniversary and this two disc set is the latest and greatest package of the “Hottest Band In The World”. There’s a few things that might make this compilation worth it for both the diehards and the casual KISS fan.

Starting with the booklet…..it’s a smooth high glossy booklet that includes pictures of all eras of the KISS lineup through the last tour, album artwork, iconic photos and it even includes a couple of pictures of Vinnie Vincent and Mark St. John in the band. For me, a booklet is a booklet when it comes to a KISS compilation. After being a fan for 37 years, I know the songs, I know the lyrics, I know the KISStory so I don’t really pay much attention except for the initial reading. The high quality glossy pages are great and I wish more booklets were like this and I also like the fact that all lineups and albums were pictured. Basically, it’s for the casual fan to get a quick 18 page visual history of the last 40 years.

The tracklisting is pretty good with a few surprises mixed in. 40 songs for 40 years with each album represented by at least one song, including all the live albums, the Double Platinum greatest hits, the solo albums, the Killers album and even The Box Set. While some fans will debate the tracklisting, it’s a really good representation of the band’s overall catalog. You’ve got the big hits with ‘Beth’, ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’, ‘Shout It Out Loud’ and ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’ from the classic makeup era but you also get a single track from each solo album, ‘Shandi’ from Unmasked, ‘A World Without Heroes’ from The Elder and ‘I Love It Loud’ from Creatures Of The Night. The biggest surprise for me was the inclusion of ‘Down On Your Knees’ from Killers because I didn’t think that the album would be represented seeing that it was only released everywhere but North America. I might have replaced the proper single from the Paul Stanley solo album, ‘Hold Me, Touch Me’, with ‘Move On’, the song they played on the 1979 tour but that’s just personal preference. ‘Lick It Up’ and ‘Heaven’s On Fire’ start the non-makeup era and end the first CD. There are two demos on this first disc: ‘God Of Thunder’ and ‘Reputation’. The ‘God Of Thunder’ demo was previously released on the KISS Box Set and has Paul Stanley singing vocals while ‘Reputation’ is a Gene Simmons demo that is previously unreleased. For the casual fan, maybe the album version of ‘God Of Thunder’ would be better, the diehards that bought the box set already have it. ‘Reputation’ is a cool oddity but I believe other versions of this demo have circulated through trading circles, a nice inclusion for those people who don’t collect KISS demos.

The second CD starts off with the big hits from the mid to late ’80s (‘Tears Are Falling’, ‘Reason To Live’, ‘Forever’) and moves into the ’90s with ‘God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II’ and ‘Unholy’. Let me stop right there and say that Revenge was a great album and that it should be represented by the studio version of ‘Unholy’ rather than this live version from Alive III. I also can’t stand ‘God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll…’ but it was a single and…. The Reunion era is represented with ‘Psycho Circus’ from the reunion album of the same name and we get the ‘Jungle’ single from the shelved Carnival Of Souls album that was released in the middle of the Reunion but featured the last non-makeup lineup…..more KISStory there than I want to type! The rest of the CD consists of live tracks, both of the latest singles from the newer albums (‘Modern Day Delilah’ and ‘Hell Or Hallelujah’) from Sonic Boom and Monster. Of the live tracks, ‘Deuce’, ‘Cold Gin’ and ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’ are all previously unreleased and feature the bands current lineup of Gene, Paul, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer from the tours in 2004, 2009 and 2010 respectively. What surprised me here on Disc 2 is the major classics that were represented as live versions and the inclusion of the of both songs from Sonic Boom and Monster, especially ‘Modern Day Delilah’ because Sonic Boom was a Wal-Mart only release and Universal doesn’t own the rights to it so they had to pay for it’s use. I’m allowing myself one more rant…..there is no reason to have ‘Nothing Can Keep Me From You’ on this compilation. I don’t consider it a KISS song, even though technically it is, because only Paul Stanley performs on it and it was a collaboration with songwriter Dianne Warren to try and get a hit with a ballad like Aerosmith did with ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ the previous year. It was a throwaway as the credits rolled for the Detroit Rock City movie and the song never charted. Personally, it’s the worst song in the KISS catalog. Rant over…..

Bottom Line:
I’m a diehard KISS fan with 37 years of service so I buy new releases by the band when they come out but I’m very picky when it comes to these compilations/greatest hits packages. I like this one though and I definitely dropped my $15 at the record store for my copy! The book is great because it shows some care and effort. I haven’t analyzed it for errors but it’s a nice montage of KISStory. 40 songs for 40 years on two CDs, that’s value for $15 and you get a pretty good overview of the band’s career. There’s a few misses in my opinion as far as the tracklist but the powers that be kept it to the hits/singles with a few curveballs thrown in. This was a must buy for me because of the four unreleased songs, especially the live tracks. Ask most KISS diehards and they probably bought this too. Definitely one of the better releases in a long line of KISS hits packages. Here’s to another 40 years!

KISS (complete member history):
Gene Simmons – Bass & Vocals
Paul Stanley – Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
Peter Criss – Drums & Vocals
Ace Frehley – Lead Guitar & Vocals
Eric Carr – Drums
Vinnie Vincent – Lead Guitar
Mark St. John – Lead Guitar
Bruce Kulick – Lead Guitar
Eric Singer – Drums
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar

Country: USA

KISSonline

Buy the 2 CD set at Amazon.com
Buy the digital download at Amazon.com
Buy the digital download at iTunes

 

Linda & The Punch – Obsession (2014) review

Linda & The Punch - Obsession (2014)

Linda & The Punch – Obsession (2014, Escape Music)

  1. What A Shame
  2. Cold Cold World
  3. Welcome To London
  4. Wake Up Dreaming Of You
  5. Nothing Of Anything
  6. Bite
  7. Looking Out For Number One
  8. Kill The Lights
  9. Lost For Words
  10. Love Kills Me
  11. Because The Night

linda-punch-1

Band Lineup:
Linda – vocals
Torsten Asemann – bass & vocals
Tim Edler – keys & vocals
Ralf Heyne – guitars & vocals
Oliver Ross – drums & percussion

Producer: Michael Voss

Country: United Kingdom

Total Time = 39:50

Linda & The Punch on Facebook
Escape Music

Buy the digital download at Amazon.com

When Obsession, the debut album from Linda & The Punch, crossed my desk I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I read the press release and it described Linda’s singing as a cross between current Pop superstar Pink and Rock icon Pat Benetar…..reading that made me unsure if this hardened Metal heart would enjoy that type of combination. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Just a quick rundown of some of the major players here: Linda is a fresh faced 21 year old that has a serious voice, the kind of Rock singing that you wished was on today’s radio, she is definitely the focal point. The rest of the band, The Punch, provide a solid musical foundation that blends early ’80s Rock, Pop, Melodic Rock and a slight Punk edge. I definitely hear that early ’80s Rock sound from having grown up listening to the radio back then so I can understand the Pat Benetar comparison. The producer here is Michael Voss, who you can hear on Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock album, and he also adds in his writing skills along with ex-Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell, Tommy Denander, and the talents of songwriters Jeff Franzel and Steve McEwan. That’s a pretty solid team.

As I mentioned, this is straight up melodic Hard Rock with a Power Pop and Punk feel to it. I can hear contemporaries like the Hard Rock band Halestorm, Pink, Kelly Clarkson and some of the other Pop princesses out there but Linda has a Rock ‘n’ Roll grit and power to her voice that channels Pat Benatar  or even Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders. The band plays a great contemporary style of guitar driven Rock and the melodies and grooves just stay stuck in your head! The opening track ‘What A Shame’ has that Pop-Punk sound to it with an infectious chorus that reminds me of a musically superior alternative to The Donnas crossed with Pink. My favorite tracks are the melodic ‘Welcome To London’ and ‘Looking Out For Number One’, two songs that had that instant sing-a-long quality to them and I really haven’t been able to stop repeating those songs on my iPod. I just like that melodic ’80s Rock sound both tracks have but they are complete rockers. I also really like the ballad ‘Wake Up Dreaming Of You’, a song that could easily be a hit on any Billboard chart, a real showcase for Linda’s vocals. I’m not really sure I like the addition of a cover song at the end, especially Patti Smith’s ‘Because The Night’, a song that everyone seems to do. Everytime I hear the original song, the Natalie Merchant version, this version, any version…..all I think about is Keel doing a cover, and a video, for this track. At least the song was left to the end so it can be skipped but I will say that the band does a slower powerful version that’s not too bad.

Bottom Line:
Linda & The Punch are definitely a new band that will be on the rise. Out of the ten original songs on the album, I really like eight of them and would pull them up in my daily music playlist for months to come. Strong band musically, solid beautiful vocals and catchy well written songs…..what’s not to like? This album is definitely one of the biggest surprises of 2014 for me!

Favorite Songs:
‘Welcome To London’, ‘Looking Out For Number One’, ‘What A Shame’, ‘Wake Up Dreaming Of You’, ‘Nothing Of Anything’

 

Battle Beast - self titled (2014)

CD Scavenger Hunt – March 2014 update

Another late update but I’m catching up…..here’s the hunt for March…..

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Newbury Comics

House Of Lords – Precious Metal (2014) – $14
Battle Beast – s/t (2014) – $12
KXM – s/t (2014) – $10
GWAR – Battle Maximus (2013) – $10 used
Gus G. – I Am The Fire (2014) – $12
Savage Messiah – The Fateful Dark (2014) – $13

March was a slow month for record store trips, I only made two and I only went because I was in the immeadiate area. Call me old, call me lazy but I don’t leave the house unless I really have to in the winter. March was still nice and freezing here in Rhode Island and I hate the cold so I spent most my time watching online prices and waiting. I had to run some errands so I ended up being so close to the record store both times that I just went in. The first trip netted me the new House Of Lords, Battle Beast and KXM. The prices were just about the same as Amazon, they were all at sale prices so I saved $12 total. The second trip was a week later and I scored  a used copy of GWAR’s latest album, Battle Maximus, from last year and the new albums from Gus G. and Savage Messiah. Again, the Gus G. and Savage Messiah albums were on sale and the prices were comparable to Amazon so I saved a total of $9 off regular price. The GWAR album was a bargain at $10 used because I’ve seen it as high as $17 regular price and $12 used.

Ebay

Filthy Lucre – Popsmear (1997) – $23 used
Cutty Sark – Die Tonight (1984/1997 reissue) – $22 used
Cutty Sark – Regeneration (1998) – $31 used
Overdrive – Metal Attack (1983/1997 reissue) – $15 used
Overdrive – Swords & Axes (1984/1997 reissue) – $13 used
Railway – s/t (1984/1997 reissue) – $10 used

Ebay was an expensive outlet for my CD addiction this month, no serious savings here! First up was the Phil Lewis (L.A. Guns) project, Filthy Lucre. I remember seeing the album, Popsmear, advertised in one of the old Metal zines I used to buy and I read something online about the album real quick…..that’s all it took, I needed it. Two copies were on Ebay, I ended up high bidding this CD at $25 and won it for $20 + $3 shipping. The next five CDs were all bought from the same seller, all were low starting bids and four were High Vaultage reissues that I have been collecting since 1998. The two Cutty Sark albums I got into bidding wars for so I paid top dollar. Die Tonight was a bargain at $22 (price includes shipping) because I’ve seen the same CD copy for at least three years from another seller listed at $69.99 and, for some strange reason, it never shows up on Ebay. You can buy it on vinyl but never the High Vaultage reissue. Regeneration was Cutty Sark’s last album from 1998 and I never see that around so I wanted it and paid and expensive $31 total. The two Overdrive CDs and the Railway disc were all High Vaultage reissues and I got them for decent prices with the shipping, nothing like the Cutty Sark discs!

When it’s all said and done, I bought 6 CDs at the record store and 6 CDs on Ebay…..but I only spent $71 at the store and a high $114 on Ebay!

Totals

Total (March) = $185

Total (year) = $800.10

Average Price (per item) = $11.60

Total CDs (year) = 66

Total LPs (year) = 3

primal fear - delivering the black

CD Scavenger Hunt – February 2014 update

It’s the end of April but here’s the February purchases…..late as always!

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Newbury Comics

Primal Fear – Delivering The Black (CD/DVD) (2014) – $15
Red Dragon Cartel – s/t (2014) – $13
Def Leppard – Slang (2CD Deluxe Edition) – $14
Starship – Loveless Fascination (2013) – $9
Behemoth – The Satanist (CD/DVD) (2014) – $13
Exodus – Bonded By Blood (1985) – $10
Prong – Cleansing (1994) – $4 used
GWAR – Carnival Of Chaos (1997) – $6 used

The first hunt in February took me to the Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA…..the only trip to the record store the entire month! I had a few new releases that I needed to purchase and a $100 budget to use, that includes sales tax. First three albums on the list were the new Primal Fear, Red Dragon Cartel and Def Leppard. I was able to get the new Primal Fear on sale $3 less than regular price and the Red Dragon Cartell as well for $4 off sale price…..not bad deals but the deal was the deluxe edition of Slang. I expected a 2CD set to be close to $20 and, with all the deluxe editions of albums coming out, I expected it to be as high as $30 like those pricey Thin Lizzy deluxe editions I’ve been eyeballing. Regular price was only $14! That’s a steal for 30 tracks (1 bonus disc). Keeping an eye on my list, I found two copies of Mickey Thomas’ Starship lastest record, Loveless Fascination, for $9 and $15 new and sealed…..guess wich one I bought? I’ve always had a soft spot for Starship because I like Thomas’ vocals so I snagged the album and paired it with the deluxe version of the new Behemoth record, The Satanist. Talk about two opposite sides of the spectrum! I saved $5 off regular price for the Behemoth so I still had some money to play with and I replaced two old cassettes picking up the classics Exodus – Bonded By Blood and Prong - Cleansing, topping it off with GWAR’s Carnival Of Chaos to fill a hole in the GWAR collection.

Amazon

Chastain  – Surrender To No One (2013) – $12
Adrenaline Mob – Men Of Honor (2014) – $10
Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi – Who Cares (2012) – $15
Altitudes & Attitudes – s/t E.P. (2014) – $5

While I was shopping at Newbury Comics, I found a couple albums on my wish list but I had to compare prices. Back in the early 90s, I dreamed of having something in my hand that had my want lists, collection and availability…..we call that the smart phone. With my phone out, I had my new release list for 2012, 2013 & 2014 and I saw both Chastain and Adrenaline Mob listed and in stock at the store. Unfortunately, I’m not paying regular price so I opened the Amazon app, scanned each bar code and found both albums much cheaper (saving $5 each) so they went in the cart. When I got out of the store and into the car, I remembered the new project with Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) and Frank Bello (Anthrax) called Altitudes & Attitude. It’s only a 3 song E.P. but it was also only $5 so that got thrown in the cart. I was going to checkout but I went to my Amazon Music wish list and one of the first CDs I added way back when was the Ian Gillan/Tony Iommi Who Cares project that I never bought when it first came out. I bought the single but not the full album and it’s been an expensive $20+ price tag for the CD but here it was with a price reduction of 25% off since I added it…..into the cart! So I spent $42 on top of the $100 in the record store.

Ebay

Kix – Midnight Dynamite (1985) – $10 used
Jack Blades – s/t (2004) – $5 used
7th Heaven – USA-UK (2008) – $5 used
Ted Poley – Greatest Hits Volume 2 (Ltd Ed) (2014) – $23
Axxis – Utopia (Ltd Ed + 2) (2009) – $7
Blackberry Smoke – The Whippoorwill (2012) – $8.60 used
Persian Risk – Rise Up (1986/1997 reissue) – $11 used
Tysondog – Painted Heroes: The Anthology (2002) – $20 used
Bret Michaels – Jammin’ With Friends (2013) – $10
Revamp – Wild Card (Ltd Ed) (2013) – $22.50

Ebay has been a go to destination for me since October 1999 and, close to 15 years later, I still find bargains and rare CDs. Nothing is better than finding a CD you want and searching the seller’s other items only to find MORE CDs you want/need. I recently found one such seller who had been kind enough to list his/her collection on Ebay in portions…..lots of CDs I don’t own too! The Jack Blades solo album, the 7th Heaven, Blackberry Smoke, Persian Risk and Tysondog CDs all came from the one seller and it was all because I was searching for the High Vaultage reissue on CD of Persian Risk’s Rise Up. Once I found that at a decent price, I checked the other items and found the rest. I’m not happy about paying so much for the Tysondog anthology but it is the first two albums the band released and the E.P. they had from 1984 through 1986. I had put a high bid of $20 in and I was the only bidder with 10 seconds to go and someone who was watching it went just under $20. I thought I already owned Kix – Midnight Dynamite but I was wrong and you wouldn’t believe how much this CD goes for on Ebay! Upwards for $20+! I got a bargain for $10, same with the Axxis CD for $9 brand new and that replaced one of the first promotional downloads I ever received doing this site. Another $10 went to the latest Bret Michaels solo CD so I could hear just how bad it is…..I know I shouldn’t have bought it but I’ve been dying to hear it because everyone says it’s a train wreck. The two big purchases was the Ted Poley – Greatest Hits Vol. 2 and the limited edition version of the last ReVamp album, Wild Card. Wild Card is an import so normal channels had the price $30+, I’m a big fan of Floor Jansen so I wanted to hear this project. The Ted Poley CD came straight from Ted himself on Ebay and autographed to me personally.

Johnny Lima website

Johnny Lima – My Revolution (Ltd Ed) (2014) – $23

I’ve been a big Johnny Lima supporter after I heard, and then immeadiately bought, his 2009 release Livin’ Out Loud. That was one of the best albums of 2009 and I still spin it today so I always have an eye on Johnny’s website. Sure enough, I checked the website and there was the announcement for the new album, My Revolution, but only as a limited edition CD release and regular download. I’m a physical media freak so I had to have the actual CD so I sent Johnny my $23 and he sent the CD same day! Hit the link above and check Johnny Lima out.

Totals

Total (Feb) = $271.10

Total (year) = $615.10

Average Price (per item) = $10.79

Total CDs (year) = 54

Total LPs (year) = 3

Lover Under Cover - Into The Night (2014)

Lover Under Cover – Into The Night (2014) review

Lover Under Cover - Into The Night (2014)

Lover Under Cover – Into The Night (2014, Escape Music)

  1. A Fight
  2. Into The Shadows
  3. Miracle
  4. Toy Soldier
  5. Crushing Stones
  6. Life Is Easy
  7. Playboy No 7
  8. The Game Is On
  9. Fantasy Man
  10. Closer To The Truth
  11. No Place Like Home

Band Lineup:
Mikael Carlsson – (Rain) Bass, Guitars, Keyboards and Backing Vocals
Mikael Erlandsson (Last Autumn’s Dream/Salute) – Vocals, Keyboards
Martin Kronlund (Gypsy Rose, Phenomena, Salute) – Guitars
Perra Johnsson (Coldspell) – Drums

Producer: Martin Kronlund

Country: Sweden

Total Time = 45:20

One of the things I love most about running this website for the last 8 years is that I get to discover new bands and new music on a daily basis. Sometimes an album crosses my desk and it completely takes hold of me and captures my complete attention…..Into The Night from Sweden’s Lover Under Cover is one of those albums. Lover Under Cover is a name I’ve heard before but never really investigated. The band is a Swedish melodic rock “supergroup” of sorts with all the members being in well known bands like Coldspell, Last Autumn’s Dream, Salute and more but the music put to record is not a bunch of guns for hire playing their respective parts but an actual band rocking it hard and playing flawlessly.

Opening track ‘A Fight’ kicks the album off in high gear with a quick keyboard intro that rolls straight into some blazing guitar work. Mikael Erlandsson’s voice immeadiately commands your attention and he kind of reminds me a bit of Tony Harnell (TNT/Westworld), very melodic sounding and forceful when needed. ‘A Fight’ is infectious with it’s big harmonies on the chorus and I found myself singing along right away. ‘Into The Shadows’ continues the initial assault with another infectious chorus and plenty of harmonies, the song takes me right back to the ’80s when I was growing up when Rock music was an art of perfectly blended musicianship. And the melodic assault doesn’t stop because ‘Miracle’ is high energy powerhouse that reminds me of a combination of Westworld, Treat and Bon Jovi and it’s definitely my favorite song on the record. Martin Kronlund has some great solos on this track but the main riff, combined with the keyboards complimenting, really drives the song.

Time to slow it down a little with the album’s first ballad, ‘Toy Soldiers’. Now I’m listening to the album in the car when I first heard this song and I knew most of the words…..what? Turns out this is a cover of ‘Toy Soldiers’ by Martika from 1988 and, as a high school teenager glued to MTV back then, I remember that song well. Actually, my wife loves the Martika song. So I’m thrown off a bit by the Martika cover but it’s done really well so I can’t really fault the band for recording it. I’m not a fan of cover songs on studio albums but this is a really good one. ‘Crushing Stones’ goes back to the solid melodic rock of the first three songs and I especially like the keyboard line that holds it all together but it all comes down to the guitar for me and I’m really enjoying another great performance that brings a bit of an edge to the track. ‘Life Is Easy’ is a Bon Jovi sounding song but absolutely better than anything Bon Jovi has released in a decade (Jon take notice!). It’s just another great tune, an album favorite for me, another catchy song that immeadiately grabs you but it’s a bit more mellow, more  mid-tempo, and I like the way the band has mixed it up. ‘Playboy No. 7′ is another uptempo Hard Rock song and it’s good but it sounds a little repetitive of what’s played before it.

A second song with a bit of a crunchy edge is ‘The Game Is On’ and ‘Fantasy Man’ follows ‘Life Is Easy’ a little as far as that easy melodic tempo goes. Both are really great songs but ‘Fantasy Man’ joins ‘Miracle’ and ‘Life Is Easy’ as my stand out tracks. Add ‘Closer To The Truth’ to that list as well because that’s another effortless melodic rocker that has me singing along and doing my air-drums. This is another example of an great old school ’80s sounding song done perfectly. Ending the record is a cool mid-tempo/ballad style track, ‘No Place Like Home’, that Jon Bon Jovi wishes he could write (steal!) and, even though it ends Into The Night on a softer note, it’s a great song.

Bottom Line:
If your a fan of good melodic Hard Rock with a lot of ’80s influences, great vocals, great guitars and sing-a-long lyrics, then Into The Night is definitely for you. The entire sound of the album is excellent, great production by Martin Kronlund, and it sounds like what I remember from my younger days…..an album from a bygone era maybe? This is my first proper album review for 2014 but I’ve listened to a lot of albums so far this year and Lover Under Cover has captured my listening time more with this new album than other new albums I’ve acquired so far. It’s really that good and, like I mentioned earlier, I love it when an album crosses my desk and surprises me by hooking me in immeadiately. I highly recommend people picking this album up.

Favorite Songs:
‘Miracle’, ‘Life Is Easy’, ‘Fantasy Man’, ‘Closer To The Truth’

Lover Under Cover
Escape Music

Buy the CD at Amazon.com
Buy the digital download at Amazon.com
Buy the digital download at iTunes

 

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

 

 

Aeon Zen - Self Portrait E.P.

CD Scavenger Hunt – November & December 2013 update

I know it’s late but here’s the updates for November & December 2013 and the totals for the year…..

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November

Aeon Zen – Self Portrait E.P. (2013) – $12

I only bought one CD in November…..ONE CD! That itself is amazing! Seriously though, getting close to the holidays and it’s better to save money. I picked up this E.P. from Aeon Zen from their website because I wanted the actual CD and not the download, seeing that the CD was limited to 100 copies, I bought it immeadiately.

December

Alestorm – Live At The End Of The World (CD/DVD) (2013) – $15
Stryper – No More Hell To Pay – (CD/DVD) (2013) – $14
Saxon – Unplugged And Strung Up (2013) – $0
Skeletonwitch – Serpents Unleashed (2013) – $10 used
Newsted – Heavy Metal Music (2013) – $10 used
Ghost B.C. – If You Have Ghost E.P. (2013) – $0
Boston – Life, Love And Hope (Best Buy Exclusive) (2013) – $12
Black Oak Arkansas – Back Thar N’ Over Yonder (2013) – $10
Epica – Retrospect 10th Anniversary Box Set (3CD/2DVD) (2013) – $36
Nightwish – Showtime, Storytime (2CD/2DVD) (2013) – $25
Ayreon – The Theory Of Everything (2CD/DVD) (2013) – $20
Rhapsody Of Fire – Dark Wings Of Steel (2013) – $12
Seventh Seal – The Black Dragon’s Eyes (2003) – $4 used
Van Canto – A Storm To Come (2006) – $6 used
Bal Sagoth – The Chthonic Chronicles (2006) – $5 used
Meliah Rage – The Deep And Dreamless Sleep (2006) – $5 used

Let’s start December at Newbury Comics in Warwick. There was a sweet sale (Buy 2 Get 1 Free) on CDs so I decided to spend a few bucks. I didn’t know the Alestorm album was out so I dropped the $15 sale price (saved $5 off regular price) and paired it with the new Stryper studio album on sale for $14 (saved $4) to get the new Saxon unplugged album for free (saved $12). The Saxon CD was on sale for $12 for the regular edition ($16 regular price) but there was also the limited edition with the bonus CD of re-recorded classics. Turns out this bonus disc is Heavy Metal Thunder re-recorded compilation from 2002 so I didn’t need another version of that. I forget the price on the 2 disc set but I think it was around $20 on sale, maybe $24 regular price. Keeping this trip under $50 was a goal so I grabbed three used CDs: the new Skeltonwitch for $10 (saved $6), the new Newsted for another $10 (saved $5) and the new Ghost B.C. disc for free (saved $8). The Ghost B.C. album was listed as used but it was sealed and brand new. This whole trip saved me $40.

The second trip was actually on the same day. I was Xmas shopping so I decided to grab the new Boston album at Best Buy for the exclusive bonus track but I couldn’t find the new Black Oak Arkansas album. Pulled out the phone, added the CD to the Amazon Xmas wish list and, when I got home, I placed the order with other Xmas gifts. Very easy!

Made a second trip to Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI while Xmas shopping a few days later. I bought what I needed for presents and decided I needed a couple presents! I bought the new Epica – Retrospect box set on sale for $36 (saved $10 on the 3CD/2DVD set) and I added the new Nightwish live album (2CD/2DVD) for $25 (saved $5).

The last trip of the year went to the same record store after the holiday. I won $50 on a scratch ticket so I spent it on CDs. I didn’t really see much aside from the new Ayreon and Rhapsody of Fire releases (saving a total of $8 on both) and 4 cheap used CDs that I didn’t own. I ended up spending an extra $2 over the lottery winnings so it was a solid trip.

Final 2013 Totals

Total (Nov & Dec) = $196

Total (year) = $2230.84

Average Price (per item) = $11.93

Total CDs (year) = 169

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 5

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) = 7

Just a quick analysis…..

Compared to 2012, I bought 46 less items this year but I spent about $427 more. A lot of that money goes to a few higher priced Ebay purchases and some new releases that were CD/DVD combo packs. I bought 58 fewer CDs and 1 less DVD/Blu-Ray but I did pick up 7 box sets and 6 vinyl LPs so the collection is getting more diverse. Maybe I will add some cassettes in 2014! I’m not sure what 2014 will be for CD hunting but I’m hoping that I find more gems, fill a lot of holes in my collection, acquire more and spend less. I say that every year but I’m really going to concentrate on obvious and glaring holes in the collection that are more mainstream and/or popular. I still like the rarities but I’m going to go for more accessible releases from past years.

Let the hunt continue!

State of the Blog address…..

Well, it’s 2014 and the 8 year anniversary of this website has come and gone.

Unfortunately, the last 2 or 3 years haven’t been that exciting at Heavy Metal Addiction.com because I just haven’t felt like writing or posting. To be honest, I became very disillusioned with the whole process of trying to write reviews of EVERYTHING that crossed my desk,  of EVERYTHING that was sent via email or traditional mail and of EVERYTHING I experienced in the glorious world of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal. The whole idea of this website was to review albums from my ever-growing personal collection, as the website got bigger and people in the business took notice, I focused more on the deadline of getting things posted rather than the sheer enjoyment of the music. I also decided that since there were so many websites and blogs dedicated to doing the same thing I do here that there was no reason to really continue head on. While I have made a few posts over the last few years, I haven’t really had the excitement to write…..until now.

I’ve been still buying albums & DVDs (or Blu-Rays) as much as I ever have been but I haven’t been going to as many concerts…..I even missed the last two KISS tours and they’re my all time favorite band! Even though I’ve been buying new and old music, thus expanding my personal collection, I’ve been selectively listening. That all changed yesterday when I watched the latest double CD/double DVD live release from Nightwish, Showtime, Storytime. I watched the live DVD and the 2 hour documentary on the bonus disc and something clicked…..maybe it was the enthusiasm of the fans in the DVD, maybe it was the music, maybe it was the band…..who knows? All I know is that I got the itch to write.

So here I am…..8 years after starting this blog…..after a 2 year hiatus of sorts…..after countless emails and submissions…..I’m ready to re-boot!

Nothing flashy is going to happen here, I’m not changing the look of the site or adding in a bunch of extras, I’m just going to try and write with no self imposed deadlines and just give my honest opinion. I am going to try and review as many releases as I can from 2012 and 2013 while trying to keep up with 2014…..I guess that’s a deadline, or a goal, of some sort  isn’t it? Either way, I expect to have more things posted here than previous years, maybe not daily as I would like, but more than I have recently.

For all those who people who emailed me regarding the 2013 Heavy Metal Addiction Awards…..they will happen, maybe sometime in late February/early March. I’m glad to see that people like that part of the site. Besides album, DVD/Blu-Ray, and concert reviews, I will still do the CD Scavenger Hunts and hopefully get back to doing Feature Weeks but the main priority is trying to be more active with writing something and being active.

Cheers to a great Metal year for 2014!

– Steve

My review of Iron Maiden Trooper Ale (a premium British beer)

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OK, you see my lovely bottle of Trooper Ale, a premium British beer created by Iron Maiden, specifically Bruce Dickinson, and Robinsons Brewery, a family brewery from the Manchester town Stockport crafting brews since 1838. If you’re reading this website and are a fan of any genre of Metal, then I will assume that you know who Iron Maiden is. I will also assume that you know that Iron Maiden has a song titled ‘The Trooper’ from their 1983 album Piece Of Mind. And, of course, if you know all that, then you know that the dead soldier on the label carrying the Union Jack is Iron Maiden’s famous mascot Eddie. Basically, this beer was created because Bruce Dickinson is a beer enthusiast and the band was approached about creating their own brand of beer. It’s that simple. Bruce did his research, hired Robinsons and off they went to create beer and Metal history.

So what’s so special about Trooper Ale? Well, for me, I wanted to find out what an Iron Maiden beer would taste like and that Iron Maiden logo and Eddie label made it very easy for me to drop down $7.99 per bottle at the local liquor store. Two bottles and $16 later and I have my beer! So the only real reason I bought this was because of the band/brand. I’m not a big drinker, nor am I a beer connoisseur, but I do occasionally like to have a few brews and when I do I’m very particular about the kind I drink. I like to taste my beer, I like a dark beer with different flavors and layers…..do I sound like a connoisseur? Seriously, I like to drink mainly British beer with the exception of a few local New England beers. My regular beer right now is Hobgoblin, another specialty beer I pay a lot for, but it has a distinctive taste…..that’s what I’m hoping for with The Trooper.

Like I said, I enjoy dark beers and The Trooper has a nice dark amber color to it so we’re off to a good start. I don’t usually sit and smell my beer but each brand is unique and this one smells very rich…..malt, caramel, toffee and some citrus to it. It’s not a fruity beer but a little citrus added in to the brew makes for a unique flavor, I think it’s a bit of lemon in this beer. What do I know? I could be totally off on the smell and it could be anything but that’s what I think. The only reason I smell the beer anyway is because someone told me to do it once and it would enhance my drinking experience. It doesn’t have the same effect if you’re sniffing the Coors Light or Natty Ice but it’s cool if you try different brews. First swig…..second swig…..a decent bitter ale. Definitely has a bit of an after taste but that’s where you can taste the different flavors. Do I sound like a beer connoisseur yet? Reminds me of Hobgoblin a bit, Trooper is a very rich beer, very smooth, 4.7 % alcohol…..so it goes down easy.

All in all, in my uneducated and Heavy Metal biased opinion, I think it’s a decent beer. I like the color and taste and I’ve downed my first bottle as I wrote this. Will I make The Trooper my beer of choice? Not at the import price of $7.99 for a pint but maybe I’d grab a bottle from time to time while I was getting a sixer of Hobgoblins or something else in the British section. If I found it on tap somewhere I would definitely give it a go a couple rounds but I’ve tried it, enjoyed it and now my bottle will be washed out and put in my Metal collection for posterity. Beer #2 is saved for the football game tonight!

If you want to get more information on Trooper Ale, head to Iron Maiden Beer. If you live in the Rhode Island/southeastern Massachusetts area, you can buy Trooper Ale at Yankee Spirits in South Attleboro, MA.

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CD Scavenger Hunt – October update

Here’s the update for October…..I’m finally caught up! It’s another small update as I didn’t want to spend a lot of money but I did spend a few bucks and grabbed some great releases…..

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Cheap Trick – Silver DVD (2001) – $10.01 used
Manowar – Battle Hymns MMXI (2010) – $20.25 used
Manowar – Battle Hymns MMXI (Metal Hammer Edition) (2010) – $20.25 used
Manowar – The Lord Of Steel (2012) – $20.25 used
Manowar – The Lord Of Steel (Metal Hammer Edition) (2012) – $20.25 used
Def Leppard – Viva! Hysteria (2CD/DVD Deluxe Edition) – $20
Motorhead – Aftershock (CD/DVD Special Edition) – $14

Very quick update here with only Ebay sellers and Best Buy getting my money this month. First up is the Cheap Trick Silver DVD that I won for $10.01. I’ve been immersing myself in all things Cheap Trick for a couple months now so I was able to borrow this from a guy at work and I loved it so I wanted a copy for my own collection. Won it on Ebay for $7.01 + $3 shipping. The DVD is a concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band and it’s an excellent show with a diverse setlist. I bought the four Manowar releases from the same seller who was selling them as a lot. I have both Battle Hymns MMXI and The Lord Of Steel on my want list for the last couple of years because I didn’t want to pay the high import price online. Usual Ebay prices for these are also high if not higher especially with decent shipping so I waited. I stumbled on this auction and grabbed the regular releases of both albums AND the Metal Hammer editions that came in the special Metal Hammer Manowar magazines. I didn’t get the magazines with these CDs but I’m psyched to have the CDs because I understand that they are a different mix. Honestly, $81 for all four CDs is a steal.

On to Best Buy where the exclusive editions of both new Def Leppard and Motorhead releases were available. The Def Leppard release was the exclusive 2CD and 1 Blu-Ray release and the Motorhead was the deluxe digipak with a bonus live DVD. Prices were comparable to online and record stores for the regular editions so I actually left the house and walked into Best Buy and dropped my $34.

Total = $125.01

Total (year) = $2034.84

Average Price (per item) = $11.83

Total CDs (year) = 153

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 5

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =8

CD Scavenger Hunt – September update

Continuing my late updates…..here’s September’s small hunt…..

Axe Witch – Hooked On High Heels (1985/2005 reissue) – $15.53
Michael Schenker Group – Rock Will Never Die (1984/2009 deluxe edition) – $12.80

A very small update for September as I only bought two CDs this month. There’s plenty of new releases that came out that I wanted to pick up but money gets a little tight sometimes and adding to my collection is a luxury. I did grab two CDs, one on Ebay and one on Amazon, both for great prices. First CD was the Axe Witch album on Ebay for just over $15. I like to collect certain record labels and one that is highly collectible is High Vaultage/Metal For Muthas. The label and imprint is long gone and the CDs are out of print so Ebay is the only way to acquire them. I’ve been watching various High Vaultage reissues from The Rods, Tank, Railway and Axe Witch for years and they are available for around $25…..I just don’t want to pay that much for them! When I find a low price, I go for it and winning this for $15.53 is an awesome price. The second CD I bought was another 2009 deluxe edition for the Michael Schenker Group by buying the live album Rock Will Never Die. My CD/DVD external drive died so I had to buy a new one and the best price was on Amazon. I was getting this no matter what so I decided to throw in a CD as well and knock one off the Amazon wish list. $12.80 is an awesome price for this CD because it ranges from $15 to $25 depending on the website or auction.

Total = $28.33

Total (year) = $1809.83

Average Price (per item) = $10.97

Total CDs (year) = 147

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =8

CD Scavenger Hunt – August update

Another quick update on my purchases…..let’s close out the summer with August’s update…..in November!

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UFO – On Air at the BBC 1974-1985 box set (2013) – $24
Uriah Heep – Very ‘Eavy Very ‘Umble (1970/2003 deluxe edition) – $10
Uriah Heep – Salisbury (1971/2003 deluxe edition) – $11
Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are (1973/2000 reissue) – $12
Michael Schenker Group – MSG (1981/2009 deluxe edition) – $14.50
Michael Schenker Group – Assault Attack (1982/2009 deluxe edition) – $12.50
Michael Schenker Group – Built To Destroy (1983/2009 deluxe edition) – $8
Halford – Live In London (2012) – $8

Warrior – Ancient Future (1998) – $18
Warrior – The Code Of Life (2001) – $11.50
KK Wilde – Rock ‘n’ Roll (1991) – $11.50
Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens – Play My Game (2009) – $9

I split this set of purchases up because I didn’t leave the house to go to the record store, I bought from Amazon and Ebay only. My birthday is in August and I’m a lot older now so presents aren’t important…..OK, yes they are! I can always count on my mom to drop my a card with $100 in it even at my ripe old age of 41 so I always thankfully take that $100 to the record store. This time around it was Amazon so I could get some albums that I would NEVER find in the record store. I bought a lot of deluxe editions of albums I needed to complete my collections. I bought the three MSG CDs to complete my deluxe series, the Deep Purple deluxe edition to keep that series going and I splurged on the first two Uriah Heep albums in deluxe form as well. The UFO box set is a 5 CD/1 DVD set of live recordings that I really wanted and refused to pay the $40 record store price and the Halford live album was a “thrown in” to keep the Halford collection growing, clear an item off my Amazon wish list and make it an even $100.

The second set of purchases were Ebay wins. I’ve been trying to complete my Warrior collection after reading an old Metal magazine I found in a box and it had an ad for Ancient Future inside. I did some research and it seems like that album and The Code Of Life are now hard to find in their original pressings from 1998 and 2001 respectively. I had been watching auctions for both original pressings float above $35 on Ebay so I decided to get into a bidding war on both when I saw a couple copies at low starting prices. I won both albums for a total of $32 (includes shipping) but it was a fight! I also scored an original pressing of the rare KK Wilde album Rock ‘n’ Roll for only $11.50. This album has gone down in price over the years, I’ve seen it go over $100 since I joined Ebay in 1999, so waiting years for a cheaper copy was well worth it. My last purchase was a new sealed copy of Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens solo album that I already own but as a promo copy from the record label with no booklet and artwork, just a CD. I wanted an official copy and I found it for $9 total (includes shipping).

Total = $152.50

Total (year) = $1781.50

Average Price (per item) = $10.93

Total CDs (year) = 145

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =8