Posts Tagged ‘Savage Grace’

Not every album released is a new studio album…..but it sure seems like they are! Every year there are a ton of live albums, greatest hits packages, reissues, remasters, box sets, special edition and limited edition releases that flood the marketplace. Sometimes there are multiple versions of these releases depending on which part of the world they are released in!

The one important criteria I have each year for the best and worst albums lists is that the albums have to be new studio albums…..or at least promoted as new studio albums. The problem is that some of these live records and greatest hits packages are quality releases and there’s nothing like getting a really good reissue of some long out of print album you’ve been searching years for. That’s why this year I’m creating this new list to recognize some of the quality non-studio, non-original releases that have found their way into my collection. There were a lot of different releases that I picked up that weren’t studio albums so I’m only going to list my ten favorites. So here are my Best Miscellaneous Releases of 2010…..

Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol Deluxe Edition (1987/2010): Black Sabbath is one of my favorite bands and the Tony Martin era of the band is one of the most underrated eras of any band. It’s no secret that I prefer the Dio era and the Martin era to the Ozzy era (I like the Ozzy era too!) so I’ve been collecting these Sabbath deluxe editions all along. The original release of THE ETERNAL IDOL was in 1987 and was the last album under Sabbath’s Warner Bros. contract but did you know that Tony Martin wasn’t the original vocalist that recorded the album? Sabbath fans know that Ray Gillen, who replaced Glenn Hughes on THE SEVENTH STAR tour and would go on to front Badlands, did the original sessions. When Gillen left Black Sabbath, Tony Martin was brought in to re-cut the vocals and properly join the band. The original album is remastered and it sounds great but the gems here are the two B-Side singles ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Some Kind Of Woman’. Disc Two is the collectible for fans who don’t trade bootlegs: the Ray Gillen sessions! These sessions have been widely available in traders’ circles but I could never acquire a copy…..now I don’t have to!

Dio – At Donington, UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (2010): As a huge Dio fan, Ronnie’s death in May really affected me, the thought of my heavy metal heroes passing away was unbelievable because the music and the bands have meant so much to me for the last 28 years. With no new music coming from the Dio camp, unless there’s some unreleased material, it’s good to see that Ronnie’s wife and manager, Wendy Dio, is releasing archival material like this live set. Both shows have been cleaned up and sound great, you can hear the awesome power in Ronnie’s voice and both lineups are extremely tight. Both the 1983 and the 1987 sets are awesome but I keep reaching for the second disc for the DREAM EVIL setlist with tracks like ‘Dream Evil’, ‘Naked In The Rain’ and ‘All The Fools Sailed Away’ among the other Dio anthems and the Black Sabbath and Rainbow classics. Disc 1, the HOLY DIVER set, is no slouch either and might be most fans’ favorite of the two but I like the deeper tracks on Disc 2. A great live CD set that truly honors one of the greatest singers in Metal history.

Judas Priest – British Steel (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2010): Judas Priest have been my second favorite band since 1982 and BRITISH STEEL (1980) has been a big reason why. This 30th anniversary set was hard to come by because I wanted the three disc version rather than the two disc and it was definitely worth the search. The remastered album is already in my collection because it’s the same as the 2001 remaster but the reason to buy this is the live CD and DVD recorded in Florida on the 30th Anniversary tour. I saw the show in Mansfield 10 days before this show so the performance is like a tour souvenir for me. There are a lot of deluxe edition and limited edition reissues of older albums flooding the marketplace now and it’s good to see that some of them have the quality bonus material that this package does. My only complaint is that the label put out two versions: this one and a 2 disc without the live CD, it makes things confusing for the fans and harder to find what you want.

Keel – The Right To Rock (25th Anniversary Edition) (2010): Has it really been 25 years since THE RIGHT TO ROCK came out? 1985 doesn’t seem that far away! The Keel reunion and new album was one of the reasons why THE RIGHT TO ROCK got a proper reissue on Frontiers Records. I’m putting this album in this list because I’ve had this album on both vinyl and cassette but a CD version is very hard to find. There may have been a Japanese CD edition back in 1985 but I have no information and the Metal Mayhem reissue from 2000 seemed a little basic, a little “bare bones”, even though it was officially endorsed by Ron Keel himself. The remastering sounds great and it’s cool to get a couple of bonus tracks but I would have like a little more in the way of extras. The selling point for me was getting a definitive official CD reissue to add to my collection.

Jorn – Dio (2010): This album wasn’t without some controversy with it’s release coming quickly after Ronnie James Dio’s passing but this album was already made and ready for release when Dio passed so it was just a matter of bad timing. I’m not a fan of cover songs but I can do a tribute or covers album…..odd, isn’t it? The selling point here was the original song and video ‘Song For Ronnie James’ that was to be Jorn’s special tribute to the man who influenced him as a singer. Then the balance of the album would be Jorn and band covering different Dio songs. What made this one of the better non-studio releases was the tracklisting, Jorn went through the Dio catalogue and picked out a lot of songs that don’t normally make it into Dio’s “greatest hits”. Songs like ‘Invisible’, ‘Sunset Superman’, ‘Push’, and ‘Shame On The Night’ were all good to hear as part of the tribute instead of the usual fare like ‘The Last In Line’ and ‘Holy Diver’.

MainEEaxe – Shout It Out (1984/2010 reissue) & Going for Gold (1985/2010 reissue): One of the things I like to collect is bands and albums from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) and these two MainEEaxe albums have been on my radar for a long time. These two reissues are great because they have all the criteria needed: bonus tracks, extensive liner notes and credits and pictures. A lot of care on the part of Cherry Red Records/Lemon Recordings went into these packages because everything is here including album and single artworks. What makes these reissues worth it is that all the bonus tracks are songs from MainEEaxe’s hard to find singles and E.P.s…..if you do the research, every song the band recorded is on these two reissues in proper order and the singles and E.P.s are noted in the credits. When you’re talking hard to find records from the mid-80s, it’s good to get everything together on CD, I wish every reissue could be done so well.

Savage Grace – The Dominatress/Master Of Disguise reissue (2010) & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into the Night reissue (2010): As if the two MainEEaxe reissues weren’t enough, Limb Music takes reissuing to another level with these two sets from Savage Grace. I have had the album cover for MASTER OF DISGUISE in my mind for years from when I was a record store junkie as a kid, and I just recently got around to buying it on vinyl, but I wanted proper CD versions of all the band’s albums to preserve my pristine LPs. You can tell Limb went above and beyond with these reissues by adding in all the songs from Savage Grace’s hard to find demos and the RIDE INTO THE NIGHT E.P. (1987). That alone is the selling point aside from a proper CD pressing but then there are lyrics to all the songs, pictures, extensive liner notes and band history. One of the things I was looking for on these reissues was to see if the original album artwork would be retained because it’s a bit X-rated for our time 25 years later and it is. Image this album artwork on store shelves today!

Triumph – Greatest Hits Remixed (2010): Normally a greatest hits collection wouldn’t get my juices flowing but Triumph always puts out great releases when they have full control. Back in 1989, a greatest hits package titled CLASSICS was released by MCA Records but, by then, Triumph was basically over as far as the classic lineup went and CLASSICS was a quick cash in as the band’s contract ended. There hasn’t been a Triumph compilation since but, now that the band has the rights to their music catalogue, they have created their own. This is a two disc set including a DVD of 14 music videos and the Canadian Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, that’s the selling point because it’s a great package for the price. The music CD sounds great and you can tell that the band took good care in remixing the songs for the best sound. The only problem I have is that some of the songs, when compared to the originals, sound different. I’m not one for redoing the original to the point where you can pick out obvious differences and I picked up on this when I sat down and compared these remixes to the originals…..yes, I did compare the two! Aside from that small complaint, it’s great to get so much music for so little money. I paid $12 for two discs (14 songs & 14 videos), similar packages released this year were much more expensive and didn’t have that much content.

It’s been a long month but I am on the verge of vacation so I’m hoping to post a little more but I have been listening to music…..and buying! A lot of cool new releases came out and I found a lot of cool bargains over the last month so this is going to be a long update that’s going to be posted in two parts…..

Ebay
(free shipping this time around)

Airbourne – No Guts, No Glory (Special Edition) (2010) – $9: When Airbourne came out in 2007, I became a big fan. Yeah, I know they sound like AC/DC, or Rose Tattoo, or The Angels/Angel City or…..well, you get the idea. I liked the music, your basic barroom boogie Rock ‘n’ Roll with a ton of energy. I ended up getting an email straight from Roadrunner Records offering a fan-pack that included a limited edition double disc set that included a live DVD in addition to the regular album, the album also included 5 new songs as bonus tracks and a limited edition t-shirt…..all for $40! I don’t like Airbourne that much! Could care less about the shirt or the DVD but the bonus tracks were the key. The regular U.S. pressing was $9.99 without the extra songs the first week of release but I passed. I found this seller on Ebay and I picked up this CD at a great price along with the next couple…..

Danger Angel – s/t (2010) – $7: I don’t know much about Danger Angel except that they are on Perris Records, so that means the music must be in the Hard Rock style, and Jeff Scott Soto added lead vocals to one of the songs. I actually received a digital promo of the album months ago and I have never listened to it…..not sure why because even the cover looks cool like an old school ’80s record. The band is from Greece, they’ve supported Winger and Jeff Scott Soto on tour and they’re a new band. Hopefully this is a promising debut…..

Sinbreed – When Worlds Collide (2010) – $4: Here’s another great deal that I got from the same seller on an album that I received a digital promo of but never really listened to. I’m a big Power Metal fan and Sinbreed is a pure Power Metal group from Germany so I’m hoping that it’s a solid record. The band has a U.S. distribution deal with Nightmare Records and I received a digital promo but with all the new releases out now, I pushed it aside. I’ve read a lot of good reviews on this record so I’m looking forward to it.

Online

Judas Priest – British Steel (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2010) – $30: Back in mid-May, I went to the record store to pick up this album and, of course, I bought the 2 disc version not the 3 disc pressing…..I wrote about it in the “Buyer Be Aware” edition of CD Scavenger Hunt. I wanted the 3 disc set with the remastered album, the live DVD and the live CD of the live DVD. The version I ended up snagging for $14 on sale was just the remastered record and the live DVD and I returned it the next day for a refund. Turns out the 3 CD Deluxe set was released in Europe at the same time as the 2 disc set but the the U.S. release for the 3 disc was slated for early June. I ordered directly through JudasPriest.com so I wouldn’t have a hassle, it was $30 but I received the album within 48 hours from Sony Direct in a perfect package. Sometimes buying straight from the band is the way to go.

Best Buy

Lamb Of God – Hourglass (3 CD box set) (2010) – $7: Best price on this 3 disc set was at Best Buy, they had it advertised for $16.99 in their new ad for the Tuesday release so I definitely made the trip. The reason I got the set for $7 instead of $17 was because I had a $10 off coupon from the Best Buy Rewards program that I was going to use to reserve my copy of Madden 2011. I went for the instant $10 savings on the box set and, even though I’m new to Lamb Of God, it’s some very brutal music that I’m really getting into. I’ve actually seen Lamb Of God live but I never really got into their albums but I’ve made it a point lately to listen to more extreme Metal and the band fit the bill. Saved $10.

Newbury Comics

Visions Of Atlantis – Cast Away (2004) – $6 used: For the last couple of months I have been watching a few used CDs that have regular priced counterparts right with them. I’ve been meaning to buy them all up because they are solid bargains but I always find something else to pick up. This Visions Of Atlantis CD has been on my radar for at least two months, maybe longer. It’s regular priced comrade is $16 so I figured maybe someone would snag this album if they saw the $10 savings. These two discs were filed in the “V” section in the regular stock CDs so I took the used CD and placed it in the Heavy Metal section under the “V” there. Not every Newbury Comics has a specific Metal section but there are some Metal dudes that work there and they are cool enough to make a dedicated place for Metal, this is one of the reasons why I keep going to the same store! I figured that since Visions Of Atlantis were a Symphonic Metal band then they should have a presence in the Metal section…..and keeping the two differently priced CDs seperate so i could wait and decide when to buy the used one. Saved $10.

Bang Camaro – II (2008) – $4: Here’s another bargain CD that I’ve been watching for a while! Bang Camaro is a Boston band so I naturally have an interest because I live in Rhode Island about an hour away. Bang Camaro got a lot of press when they debuted in 2007 because they feature 8 to 12 singers on each album and sometimes on each song! The band lineup is a revolving door but the spirit of the project remains strong. I had the opportunity to buy the debut at a cheap price but I passed and now I can’t find it locally. Bang Camaro came to my attention when I heard their song ‘Revolution’ while playing Madden 2010 on my Playstation 3…..it’s a good tune so I figured I would finally give them a chance. There were three brand new copies of this CD: one for $8, another for $6 and the copy I bought for $4. Saved $4.

Stephen Pearcy – Social Intercourse (2002) – $5 used: I never really got around to buying any of Stephen Pearcy’s solo work until just over a month ago. I have all the records from Arcade and Vertex, and I’m a huge Ratt fan, so I finally decided to pick this stuff up. I didn’t expect to find anything new under Ratt but old habits are diehard and I checked their section…..there’s this CD! It’s been a while but I’ve seen this album go for around $15 in the record stores at regular price, while the online prices change rapidly, so I estimate I saved $10.

Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy (2010) – $12: I bought this album the day of release on sale for $12 because i thought the cover was really cool. I have been into Nevermore since 1999′s DREAMING NEON BLACK and that was only because I found out through the power of the Internet that the members of Nevermore were also members of Sanctuary…..I had a cassette copy of REFUGE DENIED when it came out in 1987! I’ve missed out on the last couple Nevermore albums since 2000′s DEAD HEART IN A DEAD WORLD so I figured that this new album would be a good way to reconnect. Regular price was $17 so I saved $5.

Kingdom Of Sorrow – s/t (2008) – $10: I work with a guy that is huge into Kingdom Of Sorrow and he constantly asks me if I have heard any of the music or if I have picked up a CD. Up until a couple of weeks ago I really didn’t pay attention to the recommendation but then the band’s new album came out and I decided to buy that one on sale (I’ll get to that next!). When I was going to grab the new CD, I noticed that the debut had a $9.99 sale sticker too. Maybe it was a mistake? The other two copies of the debut didn’t have sale stickers so I snagged this one quick. I like to start at the beginning if I can with new bands so this was a good purchase. Saved $5.

Kingdom Of Sorrow – Behind The Blackest Tears (2010) – $10: Like I mentioned above, when this album was released there was a great sale price. Add the sale price to the constant recommendation from a co-worker with my going to Ozzfest this summer and you have the recipe for a CD purchase. Truthfully, I’ve been meaning to check out KOS because I’ve read good things but my co-worker’s insistence made me not purchase the debut until this new record came out. Now I won’t be staring into space when I see the band on Ozzfest…..saved $5.

Savage Grace – The Dominatress/Master Of Disguise reissue (2010) & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into the Night reissue (2010) - $24 ($12 each): Now this was a complete surprise! Every week I get the Newbury Comics e-newsletter telling me what the new releases are and how much they are going to be but somehow I missed the reissues for the Savage Grace albums. Before I went out to the store, I jumped online quick and I found a quick announcement regarding the reissues. I double checked my newsletters (I save them for a while) and there they were on sale for $12

each! When I got to the store they had 2 copies of each reissue so I was able to get both and let someone else enjoy some classic Heavy Metal. Each reissue is a single disc housed in a nice slipcase with 4 bonus tracks and 3 bonus tracks respectively. There are full color booklets with extensive liner notes and pictures along with the preserved and uncensored  original album artwork. You can tell that Limb Music took special time and care to get these reissues just right. Most of these albums are available on Ebay in cassette or LP form but the CDs are usually bootlegs. I believe AFTER THE FALL FROM GRACE has an official CD release but THE DOMINATRESS and MASTER OF DISGUISE are usually a 2-on-1 CD from Greece that is a definite bootleg. It’s nice to have an official re-release finally…..and a superb job as well. Regular price was $16 each so I saved $8 ($4 each).

Total = $128

Total (year) = $813

Average price (per item) = $10.04

Total CDs (year) = 74

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 1

Another week, another trip to the record store. I mixed it up this week and went to the Newbury Comics in Warwirck, RI (about 25 mins from home) because I hadn’t been there in months. I had spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday curled up on the couch suffering from spring time allergies so my wife decided the only way to break the cycle was to get me out of the house. We ate a quick dinner, piled the kids in the car, and headed down I-95 to Warwick.

Now if you’re a true Rhode Islander then you know that if something isn’t within a 10 minute radius from home, it’s not worth going out. I used to go to the Warwick Newbury Comics twice a week for years but, when they opened the North Attleboro store (10 mins from home!), I stopped going. What’s been killing me about the North Attleboro location is the lack of selection. Don’t get me wrong, they stock more Hard Rock and Metal than your average big box retailer but there is still a lack of variety. Previous hunts have seen me get shut out of some newer releases because only 1 or 2 copies were ordered so I figured that checking out the Warwick location would turn up a couple of gems. It did…..

My wife was kind enough to drop my oldest daughter and me off while she took our youngest to do the errands she needed to do, we had a full hour to scrounge used bins and go through all the regular priced CDs for bargains. I must say, the selection is much better in Warwick as I found all the new releases I missed out on like the new Ian Gillan CD and the limited edition Saga – LIVE IN MUNICH 2 CD/2 DVD set. I started at “A” and worked my way around the racks while my daughter grabbed a Motorhead t-shirt that she begged me to buy (and I did!). Nothing like a 10 yr. old begging for a Motorhead shirt…..reminds me of me when I was 10! I took a look around and found the new Ian Gillan album for $10 and the Saga limited edition for $25 so I grabbed those and a couple of other bargains right away.

My strategy has remained the same for years: grab all the CDs you want, get all the bargains, and then sit down in a corner of the store and decide which ones you want the most. This serves me well because there’s nothing worse than seeing an album, passing on it, and then coming back 15 minutes later to find someone bought it! Sometimes I have to decide between 20 CDs and bring it down to a better financial number. Anyway, here’s what I bought this week…..

avantasia_-_the_metal_operaAvantasia – The Metal Opera (2001) – $10: Seems weird that for a guy who had Avantasia – The Scarecrow as his #1 album of 2008 to NOT have the first two Avantasia albums. I picked up Part 1 of THE METAL OPERA in the regular CDs with an old sale sticker on it for $9.99, all the other copies were $14.99! I wasn’t passing up the bargain and this was high on my want list. I put the Ian Gillan disc back, there were 3 copies and I figured it would be there next week.

avantasia-the-metal-opera-part-iiAvantasia – The Metal Opera (Part II) (2002) – $8 used: If your going to buy Part 1, shouldn’t you also buy Part 2? There were plenty of copies in the regular CD rack for $14.99 each so I grabbed one figuring I got lucky with the sale price on Part 1. When I got to the used section, I was surprised to find 3 copies of Part 2 all for $7.99. I grabbed one of the used copies, checked the CD for scratches, and put the regular CD back in it’s rightful place.

scorpions-live-at-wacken-2006-dvdScorpions – Live At Wacken Open Air 2006 DVD (2007) – $25: Take a look at that price…..there’s 26 tracks on the DVD so it came out to $1 per song after tax! I’ve only seen one copy of this DVD in the last two years and I passed on it because of the high price tag. I noticed that the price tag’s date was last Tuesday so I figured that either an astute store clerk decided they needed to stock it or it was ordered for a customer and they never picked it up. I wasn’t taking any chances, I grabbed it and put the Saga set back!

I also grabbed a CD and a couple LPs off Ebay…..

tygers-of-pan-tang-animal-instinctTygers Of Pan Tang – Animal Instinct (2008) – $18: Opening bid on this CD was $9.99 and it was for the Japanese pressing with the 3 bonus tracks. The bonus tracks are from the BACK & BEYOND E.P. (2007) that the band released through their website. There has been a copy of the European version for months at the local shop but I wanted the extra tracks because the E.P. is out of print. The 3 songs are re-recorded versions of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Man’, ‘Take It’ and ‘Hellbound’ from 1980-1981, the other 2 songs from the E.P. are part of the proper ANIMAL INSTINCT record, ‘Bury the Hatchet’ and ‘Live For The Day’. I won the CD for $10 and the shipping from Japan was $8 registered. This takes ANIMAL INSTINCT off the WANTED! list.

savage-grace-master-of-disguiseSavage Grace – Master Of Disguise (1985) – $16: I grabbed this LP for $12.50 + $3.50 shipping. I bought it last weekend and it arrived today, a nice near mint copy of the sleeve and a mint vinyl. I’m not really sure how I got this album so cheap because copies have been flying off Ebay lately at $30+ for VG/VG+. This takes MASTER OF DISGUISE off the WANTED list.

armed-force-heavy-artilleryArmed Force – Heavy Artillery (1986) – $22: Armed Forces is the same band that released LET THERE BE METAL (1984) but under the name Armed Forces. I picked up LET THERE BE METAL already so I figured I’d get the other album by the band too. Same seller as the Savage Grace LP but I won it for $18.50. Again, another near mint sleeve and a perfect vinyl.

WANTED

savage-grace-master-of-disguise

Savage Grace – Master Of Disguise (1985)

Remember the Metal Massacre series that Metal Blade used to put out? I was one of those dedicated fans that used to go out and by the cassette when it came out to get a sample of some of the newer signings to the label. I was going through a box of CDs that aren’t on display (mostly soundtracks, compilations, tributes, etc.) and I pulled out all the Metal Massacre CDs to listen in order. When I got to Metal Massacre II, I saw a familiar name…..Savage Grace.

I didn’t remember much about the band except that they had a cool album cover for one of their albums with a cop and a chick handcuffed to a motorcycle. I got online and searched the band and came up with MASTER OF DISGUISE (1985)…..I immeadiately remembered the album cover! I remember being at my favorite record store with my father back when I was a kid and checking out this album. I was going to buy the cassette but my father, who was a very moral kind of guy, thought that the cover was obscene and gave the clerk working the store a piece of his mind. Then he took me home (I didn’t get the cassette!) and he went through my tapes to see if I had any lewd albums. I’ll never forget that!

Back to Savage Grace….. Except for the one song on MM II (‘Sceptre Of Deceit’), I never heard anything else. I checked my favorite site for obscure albums, Vibrations Of Doom, and they have soundfiles for MASTER OF DISGUISE (1985) and the band’s first E.P., THE DOMINATRESS (1983). I took a look on Ebay and there seems to be a couple of bootleg CDs that include both albums. There are two versions of the bootleg: one with THE DOMINATRESS cover and one with an alternate cover for MASTER OF DISGUISE…..I’m going to wait for a vinyl to pop up.