CD Scavenger Hunt – May update

In keeping with the tradition of not posting the Hunts at the end of the proper months, here is another big update, this time for this past May…..

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Fozzy – Happenstance (2002) – $4 used
High Noon – No Turning Back (2009) – $6 used
Lance King – A Moment In Chiros (2011) – $6 used
Heaven’s Edge – s/t (1990) – $12 used
Rush – Moving Pictures (1980) – $2.50
Rush – Signals (1982) – $2.50
Deep Purple – Now What?! (2013, Deluxe Edition) – $16
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Mind Control (2013) – $12
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Blood Lust (2012) – $15
Queensryche – Frequency Unknown (2013) – $10
Stratovarius – Nemesis (2013) – $10
Avantasia – The Mystery Of Time (2013) – $10
Amaranthe – The Nexus (2013) – $10
Free Fall – Power & Volume (2013) – $10
Ugly Kid Joe – Stairway To Hell E.P. (2012) – $6

Poison – Sexyback (promo CD single) (2007) – $7 used
Arch Enemy – Black Earth (1996) – $7 used
Arch Enemy – Burning Bridges (1999) – $7 used
Arch Enemy – Wages Of Sin (2001) – $7 used
Arch Enemy – Dead Eyes See No Future E.P. (2004) – $7 used
Shok Paris – Go For The Throat (1984) – $7 used
Shok Paris – Steel & Starlight (1987) – $11 used
Shok Paris – Concrete Killers (1989) – $11 used
Trixter – New Audio Machine (2012) – $12
Waysted – Save Your Prayers (1986/2013 reissue) – $10
Jorn – Symphonic (2013) – $11
Torch – Electrikiss (1985) – $14 used
Airbourne – Black Dog Barking (Special Edition) (2013) – $22.50
Armored Saint – March Of The Saint (1984) – $9.25 used
Armored Saint – Delirious Nomad (1985) – $9.25 used

May was a really good month but I kind of stayed away from the record stores and did more online. I’m torn right now because technology is providing me a means to compare prices on Amazon and Ebay while I’m in the record store and I’m making decisions based on price. I’ve always been a record store rat and I always will be but, I buy and devour so much music yearly, that I need to save as much money as possible. I support local record stores but it’s hard to when Amazon offers the same CD cheaper than the record store sale prices and no sales tax. No shipping for me because I’m an Amazon Prime member and the membership has already paid for itself. Let’s move on to the treasures I found…..

My first outing of the month was a quiet one. I hadn’t planned to go to Newbury Comics but I was driving through Warwick, RI and decided to stop in. I picked up the Fozzy, High Noon, Lance King and Heaven’s Edge CDs all in the used bin for some really great prices. The Lance King CD replaces the promo digital download that Lance’s label, Nightmare Records, sent me to review but the gem was the original pressing of the self-titled Heaven’s Edge album. It’s a highly bootlegged CD and there have been some shoddy reissues so I was cool spending $12 for a used CD. I checked Ebay while I was in the store and original pressings were listed for $25+ so I feel like I got a bargain. After the record shop, I went across the street to Best Buy so I could burn a $5 off coupon that was expiring the next day. Best Buy doesn’t have much of a selection and they aren’t big on organization so it can be a crap shoot finding a gem. I knew what I wanted…..Rush! I’ve been filling the holes in my Rush CD collection with Best Buy purchases because they are all $5 each so I grabbed Moving Pictures (1980) and Signals (1982). Take that $5 coupon off the $10 total and I got both for $2.50! My last trip out before I went online shopping was to my usual Newbury Comics location in North Attleboro, MA to grab the new Deep Purple album special edition. I wanted the CD/DVD edition so I paid a little extra than the regular CD. While I was there the store was playing the new Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats record, Mind Control, so I added that in on sale and caved in to buy their 2012 release Blood Lust also.

Now we get to the dilemma…..online vs. record stores. I had been watching a few new releases at the record stores and passed on them because I either thought the sale price was too high or I was skeptical about the material therein. The releases in question were the new albums from Geoff Tate’s version of Queensryche, Stratovarius, Avantasia, Amaranthe and Free Fall.  The Queensryche record has gotten terrible reviews so I was holding out for a used copy and I was actually shopping for the new Stratovarius online for the special ecition with three bonus tracks and those two were well stocked at the sale price. Also, I wasn’t in the mood for another concept record so I passed on Avantasia on sale and I really wanted to try out Amaranthe and Free Fall but those CDs were available at regular price. I finally caved in towards the end of the month and checked the prices on Ebay and Amazon and decided that the best value was to order through Amazon. I got all five CDs for $10 each ($50 total) with free shipping (I have Prime) and no sales tax, had I bought in the record store, with sale prices, the total would have been $68. So I actually saved $18 for the same exact items on Amazon vs. my favorite Newbury Comics…..that’s 1 or 2 CDs! If the Queensryche, Stratovarius and Avantasia albums were bought in store at their respective regular prices ($17 each regular price) then my total in store would have jumped to $80. And those figures in store don’t include state sales tax! The savings is obvious and I guess that’s why record stores are having a hard time competing. As a bonus for saving all that money, I also ordered a hard copy of the Ugly Kid Joe E.P. that I bought digitally back in 2012. The actual CD was $6 so it wasn’t a large add on.

Ebay was extremely lucrative in May. There were a few CDs I paid a little extra for and there were some good bargains. I had to have Poison’s cover of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Sexyback’ but I didn’t want the entire Poison’d covers album so I found the CD single for a cheap $4 + $3 shipping. As soon as that CD was taken off the want list, I focused on Shok Paris. I found a copy of Go For The Throat from a seller who was also selling a four CD lot of Arch Enemy CDs I needed so I went for both auctions and won for a grand total of $35. So I’m averaging $7 per CD on Ebay but the rest of the month was higher. I finished the Shok Paris discography (Steel & Starlight and Concrete Killers) for $11 each, grabbed the latest Trixter record from 2012 for a cheap $12 (replacing the promo download I was sent), the Waysted – Save Your Prayers 2013 reissue from Cherry Red Records and Jorn Lande’s Symphonic album for $11. I grabbed a CD copy of Torch – Electrikiss even though I already own the vinyl…..I’ve never seen a CD version so I grabbed it for $11 + $3 shipping and it’s in mint condition. The CD says Metal Blade for a label and I checked all Metal Blade releases through 2002 (through the anniversary box set) and didn’t see it listed. I think it was a Metal Blade Europe release and it’s a real silver pressed, factory made CD…..I’m still researching it. I had to have the new Airbourne album but I wanted the 2 disc special edition so that cost me a total of $22.50 and the seller who sold me the Arch Enemy lot had both Armored Saint CDs listed in one lot so I grabbed that for $18.50.

Total = $284

Total (year) = $1106.80

Average Price (per item) = $11.07

Total CDs (year) = 91

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 3

Total LPs (year) = 1

Total Box Sets (year) =5

UFO – The Visitor (2009)

ufo-the-visitor-2009-cd

UFO – The Visitor (2009, SPV)

  1. Saving Me
  2. On The Waterfront
  3. Hell Driver
  4. Stop Breaking Down
  5. Rock Ready
  6. Living Proof
  7. Can’t Buy A Thrill
  8. Forsaken
  9. Villains & Thieves
  10. Stranger In Town

(NOTE — The Japanese and European pressings have a re-recorded bonus track ‘Dancing With St. Peter’, a song that was originally released on Phil Mogg’s side project $ign Of 4 in 2002.)

Band Lineup:
Phil Mogg – Vocals
Paul Raymond – Keyboards & Guitars
Vinnie Moore – Guitars
Andy Parker – Drums

(NOTE — Bassist and founding member Pete Way is currently suffering from a liver disease and was unfortunately not available for the studio production.)

Additional Musicians:
Peter Pichl – Bass

(NOTE — Pichl is the bass player in Nektar and is not credited in the liner notes of the advance copy.)

Producer:

Total Time = 42:27

UFO
Strangers In the Night
SPV
SPV USA

UFO has been around for a long time…..40 years and going strong! THE VISITOR marks the band’s 20th studio album, the third with current lead guitarist Vinnie Moore, but without founding bassist Pete Way who is currently battling a liver disease and could not work in the studio. It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since 2006′s THE MONKEY PUZZLE but the band hasn’t missed a step with their classic brand of Hard Rock & Blues.

The sound of THE VISITOR isn’t that different from THE MONKEY PUZZLE or the first album with Moore, YOU ARE HERE (2004), and it’s that type of stability and quality that I like in a band. UFO knows one way to do things and they continue to deliver. Honestly, the band has been on a roll since they reunited with longtime guitarist Michael Schenker back in 1995 for the WALK ON WATER album despite the personnel changes. Vinnie Moore has stepped in for the long departed Schenker and put his bluesy stamp on the UFO sound, a perfect compliment to Phil Mogg’s vocals. One of the continuous high points over the entire record is the axe work of Moore: he solos effortlessly and his riffs have that thick 70s Classic Rock sound. I’m not going to get into the Moore vs. Schenker debate because they are two different style guitarists but it’s easy to hear that Moore has become and integral part of the sound and the writing…..and with Pete Way sidelined, it’s good to have “the new guy” step up and help take the reins with Mogg. Of course, Phil Mogg IS the sound of UFO and his voice has gotten stronger with the years…..it’s hard to believe that he just turned 61!

Opening track ‘Saving Me’ has a cool Southern Rock styled guitar intro and moves right into a bluesy Hard Rock number with Mogg turning out trademark phrases. It’s heavy and bluesy but it’s also a melodic song…..that’s a key ingredient to the overall UFO sound: melody. More melodic Blues Rock with the mid-tempo ‘On The Waterfront’ that features some really cool lyrics and an effortless solo while the band kicks into high gear again with the pure Hard Rock of ‘Hell Driver’, a song that could have easily fit on anything from WALK ON WATER forward. I’ll bet this is a song the band plays live on this tour because it fits so perfectly alongside the classic newer material, I had the iPod on a “UFO shuffle” recently and ‘Hell Driver’ got sandwiched between ‘Pushed To The Limit’ (from WALK ON WATER) and ‘Hard Being Me’ (from THE MONKEY PUZZLE) and it just blended perfectly. The band goes back in time with ‘Stop Breaking Down’ and returns to the classic ’70s UFO sound. It’s a melodic mid-tempo rocker with plenty of guitar flourishes to satisfy the Schenker disciples and Mogg puts in an inspired vocal but the highlight here is original drummer Andy Parker, the unsung backbone of UFO. Whereas the departed Jason Bonham provided UFO with an excellent heavy drumming style, Parker’s style sounds so effortless and retains the heaviness but in a more subtle way.

‘Rock Ready’ is another uptempo Blues Rock standard that I would pair with ‘Saving Me’ because of that Southern guitar style. The band slows down again from another blues number, ‘Living Proof’, that has this real groove. Mogg’s vocals impress and Moore adds some cool flourishes throughout the song but the overall sound has a certain rhythm that gets the head bobbing and toe tapping. The guitar solo is one of the best on the album. Another guitar intro opens the mid-tempo ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’, another song that has that classic ’70s melodic UFO sound, while ‘Forsaken’ turns out to be one of the best ballads the band has ever done! I think it’s just the way Mogg delivers the ballads with such passion and sincerity, I find myself repeating this song everytime I play the album.

‘Villains & Thieves’ is more bluesy Hard Rock but with some cool piano from longtime guitarist & keyboardist Paul Raymond. I’d put this song with ‘Saving Me’ and ‘Rock Ready’ as far as style goes but the added piano gives the song another distinct detail to it. The usual UFO sound is to have that big Hammond organ playing along with the guitar but it sounds like the organ isn’t as prominent on THE VISITOR so it’s good to hear a little more of the ivories up front. More big sounding Hard Rock on ‘Stranger In Town’ that features more of the Moore/Raymond trade-off between guitar and organ and some heavy handed pocket drumming from Parker. This is the UFO sound!  It goes without saying that not having Pete Way on the album is a disappointment, he is battling some sort of liver disease and he was unable to contribute. The band brought in Peter Pichl from the Progressive Rock band Nektar to handle the bass duties for the record and he does a great job keeping the rhythm section intact.

Bottom Line:
Another triumph for UFO! THE VISITOR is one of my favorite albums of 2009 so far and that’s no surprise because the band is all about solid songwriting and brilliant playing…..that’s what makes a great album! I’ve had the advance for a few weeks now and it has not left my current rotation in the car, on the iPod or on the stereo. Everytime I listen to the album I can’t really find a weak song and I find myself instantly singing along and whistling the solos…..the album captures my full attention and that defines a great album to me. THE VISITOR is classic UFO from the ’70s with an updated sound that leans more toward a Southern Rock and melodic Blues groove that sounds so effortless. That’s the key right there! The performance by the band doesn’t sound forced or pressured, there is no inner turmoil interrupting the creative process, everything sounds relaxed and natural. It’s obvious that Vinnie Moore has fit in perfectly with Phil Mogg, Andy Parker and Paul Raymond and a true bond has formed.

Favorite Songs:
My favorite song on the album is ‘Forsaken’ but the entire album is a solid collection of songs. I really like them all but, if I had to pick a few more to go alongside ‘Forsaken’, I’d pick: ‘On The Waterfront’, ‘Hell Driver’, ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’ and ‘Living Proof’.

Metal Mixtape – 10/12/08

Tale Of The Tape:
Dell DJ 30 (1st Gen)
4555 songs (385 albums)

One of the problems with taking a weekend off is that you need to take care of all the little things around the house that you let slip when you are working and doing all the things you need to do to keep life going. I had some chores around the house to do, bills to pay, a dog to walk and a house that needs it’s Halloween transformation. The only way to get through it is to put the headphones on, press SHUFFLE, and go about your business! Here’s the first 20 songs that played…..

  1. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Badger Badger’ (1980)
  2. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Angel Eyes’ (2008)
  3. Uriah Heep – ‘Tears Of The World’ (2008)
  4. Icarus Witch – ‘Queen Of Lies’ (2007)
  5. Alcatrazz – ‘God Blessed Video’ (1985)
  6. UFO – ‘Hunger In The Night’ (1988)
  7. Alice Cooper – ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ (1971)
  8. Extreme – ‘Slide’ (2008)
  9. Iron Maiden – ’2 Minutes To Midnight’ (1984)
  10. Mogg-Way – ‘Totaled’ (1997)
  11. Motley Crue – ‘Down At The Whiskey’ (2008)
  12. Judas Priest – ‘Wheels Of Fire’ (2005)
  13. U.D.O. – ‘ The Devil Walks Alone’ (2007)
  14. Mogg-Way – ‘Death In The Family’ (1999)
  15. Krokus – ‘Shotgun Boogie’ (1990)
  16. Scorpions – ‘Mind Like A Tree’ (1999)
  17. Saxon – ‘Empty Promises’ (1986)
  18. Krokus – ‘Backstabber’ (1999)
  19. Balance Of Power – ‘No Place Like Home’ (2003)
  20. Black Sabbath – ‘Zero The Hero’ (1983)

Bonus Track: KISS – ‘Charisma’ (1979)