Posts Tagged ‘Sebastian Bach’

February may have been slow but I certainly made up for it in March with some great new releases, some used bargains and more than a few deals on Ebay and Amazon. Get ready, this is a long update!

Newbury Comics

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Krokus – Dirty Dynamite (2013) – $13
Hatriot – Heroes Of Origin (2013) – $9 used
Halcyon Way – Building The Towers (2010) – $6 used
Jeff Scott Soto – Live At Firefest V 2008 (2CD) (2010) – $6 used
Mass – ’84 Unchained (1985/2010 reissue) – $4 used
DC4 – Electric Ministry (2011) – $4 used
Psycho Motel – Welcome To The World (Japanese import) – $2 used

Flotsam & Jetsam – Cuatro (1992) – $3 used
Firewind – Allegiance (2006) – $6 used
Skid Row – Revolutions Per Minute (2006) – $7 used
Witch Mountain – Cauldron Of The Wild (2012) – $9 used
Anthrax – Anthems E.P. (2013) – $7
Adrenaline Mob – Coverta E.P. (2013) – $7
Clutch – Earth Rocker (2013) – $10
Lordi – To Beast Or Not To Beast (2013) – $13
Orden Ogan – To The End (2012) – $14
Rival Sons – Head Down (2012) – $14

Sinergy – To Hell And Back (2002) – $4 used
Ram Jam – Golden Classics (1996) – $4 used
Delain – April Rain (2009) – $6 used
Lost Horizon – A Flame To The Ground Beneath (2003) – $6 used
7th Heaven – Silver (2CD) (2003) – $6 used
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Dreams Of Fireflies E.P. (2013) – $7
Firewind – Few Against Many (2012) – $8 used

TNT – Tell No Tales (1987) – $10
DeAllen – Deceptions Of Reality (2002) – $6 used
Trivium – The Crusade (2006) – $6 used
Evergrey – Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy (1999) – $4 used
Evergrey – A Night To Remember Live 2004 (2005) – $4 used
Saxon – Sacrifice (Limited Edition) (2013) – $12
Stryper – Second Coming (2013) – $12

Enforcer – Death By Fire (2013) – $13
Sebastian Bach – Abachalypse Now (2CD/DVD) – $16
Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (2CD) (2013) – $20

Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (DVD) (2013) – $15

Like I said…..this is going to be a long update!

The first trip to Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI was your basic run of the mill shopping trip, I was heading there to buy the new Krokus record, Dirty Dynamite. The cool thing about this trip was when I walked into the store, I noticed a new section labelled USED NEW ARRIVALS. I got the Krokus disc and went over to the new bin and found some great deals, the first of which was the new Hatriot album for $9 used. I went back over to the METAL section later and found a brand new copy of the Hatriot CD in the rack for $17, so I saved almost half! Other great buys from the new section: Halcyon Way, Jeff Scott Soto, Mass, DC4 and Psycho Motel. The Psycho Motel was an awesome find for $2 used because it was a Japanese import complete with all inserts and the OBI strip. I had just put the Psycho Motel records on my want list because I never really got into Adrian Smith’s work outside of Iron Maiden and then I find one extremely cheap…..not a bad deal!

My second CD hunt of March was a return to the scene of the previous week’s crime, I had to go back to the Newbury Comics in Warwick because of the great deals in that USED NEW ARRIVALS bin. Unfortunately, that bin had no new Metal in it and it was basically everything I already owned so I had to head over to the Metal section and see if any bargains came in during the week. Sure enough I found used copies of Flotsam & Jetsam’s Cuatro and Firewind’s Allegiance right away but the real gems were the Skid Row and Witch Mountain albums especially since they were both added to my want list within the last couple of weeks. The Skid Row CD was the only one I needed to complete their spot in my collection and I hadn’t seen a copy in the local stores in years but this one was actually sealed but marked used…..even better! I read about Witch Mountain online and sampled some of their songs so I put them on the want list too but I’ve held off because the regular price was between $15 – $17 depending on the store. I found this copy on the hunt for $9 used and saved around $6 compared to the one new copy that was also there. I also picked up some new albums as well from Anthrax, Adrenaline Mob, Clutch, Lordi, Orden Ogan and Rival Sons…..all on sale.

My third and fourth trip out on the hunt were on the same Sunday in March when my family and I headed to the closest Ikea store about an hour away for a bookcase. In the back of my mind, I know that there was a Newbury Comics near the entrance to the Ikea about a quarter mile away so, after the trip to Ikea, I was able to get to the Avon, MA Newbury Comics store and look for treasures. Now Newbury Comics is an independent record store chain in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area that I’ve shopped at for the last 18 years, they are the closest thing we can get to “mom & pop” record stores in this area. Unfortunately, the Avon Newbury Comics sucks…..no selection at all. You can usually tell how a store is when you walk in and see their inventory size…..when the t-shirts, toys, comics and other paraphernalia has more floor space then the CDs & DVDs, you know you’re in trouble. I found used CDs from Sinergy, Ram Jam, Delain, Lost Horizon, 7th Heaven, and Firewind all for decent prices so there was a few things there but the gem of this rare visit was the latest Trans-Siberian Orchestra E.P. that I blew off when it first came out and I haven’t seen it since.

After the Avon store visit, it was time to head for home but I knew that if I went a certain route, I would drive by the Newbury Comics Norwood, MA store (basically the biggest one they have). I wasn’t going to leave without buying something but I found a few used bargains from TNT, DeAllen, Trivium, and Evergrey but I also decided to buy the latest from Stryper and Saxon (Sacrifice limited 2 disc edition) for $12 each.

The last trip of the month was back to the Warwick location for the new Enforcer, Sebastian Bach and Iron Maiden releases, all of which were new and on sale. Here’s my one complaint: Why do some bands decide to put out live releases with the CDs & DVDs packaged together and some who separately release each format? And a second complaint: Why are double CD live albums more expensive than double DVD live videos? The case for my arguement is Sebastian Bach vs. Iron Maiden. Sebastian Bach’s Abachalypse Now was released around the same time as Maiden England ’88 and it was a very similar package, a 2 CD/DVD package vs. Maiden’s separate 2 CD release and 2 DVD release. Now it’s probably a label thing but why can’t it be packaged together? $16 for Sebastian Bach and $35 for both Iron Maiden releases. It’s more than double for the complete Iron Maiden package! Then you add that the Maiden double CD is $5 more on sale than the Maiden double DVD! It’s just one of those things that bother me but I still spend the money anyway.

Best Buy, Amazon, Ebay and Bandcamp

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KISS – Monster (Exclusive Best Buy edition with 3D cover) (2012) – $12

Saxon – Saxon, Wheels Of Steel, Strong Arm Of The Law, Denim And Leather, Power And The Glory, Crusader, Rock The Nations (2009 remasters with bonus material)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Live (2006 remaster)
Triumph – Live At Sweden Rock (CD/DVD) (2012)
Steel Panther – British Invasion DVD (2013)

(Total Amazon order = $119)

Helix – Back For Another Taste (1990) – $12 used
Killer Dwarfs – Dirty Weapons (1990) – $9 used
Loudness – Lightning Strikes (1986) – $10 used
Return Of The Comet (A Tribute To Ace Frehley) (1997) – $15 used
Corsair – s/t (2013) – $9

Dreamer – Turn It Up (2011) – $10

So we start off the miscellaneous purchases with another version of KISS – Monster, this time from Best Buy with the 3D cover and supposed bonus track. Unfortuately, there is no bonus track on this edition, all the Best Buy CDs are just like the normal version. Bonus tracks were included on the iTunes download of the full album and the Japanese release. I have the regular CD and the Wal-Mart version in the special tour magazine so why not have all the versions? All I need now is the vinyl LP, the picture disc and the Japanese import!

I decided that I wanted to complete my Saxon remasters collection from 2009 and get all those bonus tracks so I put aside a few dollars from my tax refund and I picked up the 7 studio albums I needed to get it done. I also picked up The Eagle Has Landed Live 2006 remaster because they never re-did it in 2009. I also decided to get a couple of items off my Amazon wish list with the Triumph live release and the Steel Panther live DVD. The total came to $119 (less than $12 each item) and the Triumph and Steel Panther releases were priced significantly lower than the advertised sale prices that Newbury Comics had!

Ebay was another great way I picked up some older albums from Helix, Killer Dwarfs and Loudness but the two gems this month were the Ace Frehley tribute album and the latest album from Corsair. I read good things about the Corsair album so I decided to give it a try but I kept passing it over at the record shops because the regular price was $14. When I saw a brand new sealed copy going for $9 plus free shipping, I placed the bid and won the auction. The Return Of The Comet tribute album is one I’ve been searching for since 1997. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick this up when it first came out in 1997 during the KISS reunion hype and I’m not sure why I didn’t pull the trigger, I was devouring anything KISS at that time! I remember seeing it at an old mom & pop store back then but I passed probably figuring I could get it anytime and no one really cared about an Ace Frehley tribute CD. The the label, Shock Records, went under and the CD went out of print and that’s when I had to have it! I’ve been watching Ebay for years but have been unwilling to pay the $40 to $100 I’ve seen it end for. I started watching a certain auction for this CD back in January and it was going for $75 Buy It Now. I watched as the seller relisted the CD four times and lowered the price four times until the disc was $50. That’s when I stepped up and put in a “best offer” of $30…..the seller countered with $47. I waited again for the auction to end and the seller relisted the same CD again but back up to $75! I offered $30 again and was countered $65. Auction ends, no buyers, relist $70. Offer $30 again, auction ends, relist $70 again! finally I just shot the seller a nice email through Ebay saying that he was obviously not selling the item and I had been watching for almost two months and I was willing to buy it for $30 plus $5 shipping. I made the case that the CD wasn’t that rare (you can get it at KISS expos) and that it was way overpriced but I was willing to pay half. Basically the response was a “drop dead” sort of reply. About a couple of days later, a different seller listed a used copy of the same CD with free shipping for $15. It was a 5 day auction, I bid $30 and won it for the listed $15. After I paid via Paypal and secured the deal, I then emailed the first seller direct with a link to the completed auction…..needless to say, that first seller ended up relisting for the umpteenth time but this time at $35…..there are still no buyers! The last purchase was through Bandcamp.com for a local Rhode Island band Dreamer and their latest CD, Turn It Up. I always like to support local music, especially good local Rock music.

Total = $489

Total (year) = $867.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.43

Total CDs (year) = 87

Total BluRays or DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

I think I say the same things every year when I write the introduction to my Best of the Year list…..this year was one of the greatest years for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal! More and more new albums come out from a wide variety of bands and 2011 was no exception, this was the biggest year for Heavy Metal Addiction as far as promotional review copies go. Usually, I physically buy all my new albums but this year I partnered with more labels, more promotional people and more bands and I received more albums for review than any other year. Honestly, I couldn’t keep up and I came nowhere close to listening to all of them properly. Looking at the piles on my desk, the boxes next to it and the separate iTunes folder I reserve for promo downloads, it’s easy to estimate that I have more new 2011 albums submitted to Heavy Metal Addiction than in 2010! Add in all the new releases I bought on my weekly trips to the record stores, and my daily online searches, and it’s fair to estimate that the total number of new releases is on par with what I had for 2010. Unfortunately, I’ve let the website go a little in the last couple of years so, while I’ve been listening to almost everything, I just haven’t posted about it.

The only criteria I followed for my Top 25 was the same criteria I’ve used for the last few years: the album had to be a studio album (not a live record, best of, or covers collection) AND the album had to be released in 2011. Just like previous years, an album that was released in 2010 internationally, but was released in the U.S. in 2011, qualified as a 2011 album…..basically I went by the date on the back of the CD! There are plenty of albums that got late U.S. releases and there may be a few in this countdown. 

The ranking of the Top 25 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom Line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I could have continued with a Top 40 list but I got so far behind listening and writing so there are definitely albums I haven’t heard yet or didn’t give proper time to. We’re talking a couple hundred albums though so anything that got missed might end up in an expanded “Albums I Missed in 2011″ post during next year’s awards week. Just like last year, I will be splitting the Top 25 into three posts so it’s easier to read. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 25 Albums of 2011:

25. Nelson – Lightning Strikes Twice (2011)
24. Michael Monroe – Sensory Overdrive (2011)
23. U.D.O. – Rev-Raptor (2011)
22. Riot – Immortal Soul (2011)
21. Tokyo Blade – Thousand Men Strong (2011)

Starting at the bottom of the countdown is the new Nelson album that surprised me with it’s huge melodic hooks and vocals, former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe’s latest solo album that I bought late in the year but ended up enjoying a lot and the steadiness of U.D.O.’s Traditional Metal REV-RAPTOR. I still can’t figure out what a “rev-raptor” is aside from the machine on the cover but there you go. Two huge surprises were from Riot and Tokyo Blade! Riot scored #22 with a solid record from the THUNDERSTEEL-era lineup (a record I was looking forward to big time!) but the band had to endure the loss of Riot founder/guitarist Mark Reale…..at least he left a lasting legacy with this last album. The big surprise was NWOBHM legends Tokyo Blade, who came out of nowhere with THOUSAND MEN STRONG, one of the biggest comebacks of 2011! I’ve been a Tokyo Blade fan for a long time but I really didn’t expect much when I heard the band was releasing a new album but I was completely surprised and excited, sounds like old school NWOBHM with a modern touch.

20. Stratovarius – Elysium (2011)
19. Journey – Eclipse (2011)
18. Iced Earth – Dystopia (2011)
17. Royal Hunt – Show Me How To Live (2011)
16. Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (2011)

I came late to the Stratovarius party even though I’ve acquired a few albums over the years, ELYSIUM was another epic Power Metal record. Journey’s ECLIPSE was a leader for the Top 5 this year but, as other bands released new records, and I kept comparing this album to 2008′s REVELATION, ECLIPSE fell a little. It’s still a solid AOR album Arnel Pineda still shines as the new Steve Perry but it wasn’t as good as REVELATION. Iced Earth made another vocalist change adding Stu Block from Into Eternity but they released one hell of an album with DYSTOPIA…..another late year purchase that might have gone higher with more time. Same for Royal Hunt but their reunion with D.C. Cooper is just what I needed to add their new Progressive/Power Metal album into the Top 25. I know a lot of fans of the more extreme side of Metal look at Arch Enemy as somewhat of a commercial band, especially with Angela Gossow front and center, but they are still kind of new to me. As I open myself up to more extreme bands, a band like Arch Enemy is a good starting point. I’m more of a Traditional/Power Metal fan and a AOR/Hard Rock fan but KHAOS LEGIONS sounded great to my ears and I had to rate it higher than some of my favorite bands (Iced Earth, Royal Hunt, Riot).

15. Anvil – Juggernaut Of Justice (2011)
14. Scheepers – Scheepers (2011)
13. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011)
12. Chickenfoot – III (2011)
11. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (2011)

Gotta give some love to Anvil because THIS IS THIRTEEN (2007) was a great comeback album (even though they never left!) even without the movie and they had four busy years to release a follow-up. JUGGERNAUT OF JUSTICE continued where THIS IS THIRTEEN left off and exceeded all my expectations…..great to see the band still getting success even with the movie hoopla dying out, hard work pays off! Ralf Scheepers didn’t stray too far from the more commercial side of Primal Fear’s last few albums but his first solo album was just as good as those. What can you say about Dream Theater? They always release one great record after another and, yes, Mike Portnoy is a huge loss on drums but Mike Mangini does a great job! Another big surprise in 2011 was the new Chickenfoot album, III, because I didn’t really feel the debut album. Not to say I didn’t like the first Chickenfoot record but the songs weren’t as catchy, as memorable. On III, the songs instantly stuck too me and the harmonies were awesome between Mike Anthony and Sammy, they can take the “supergroup” label off and just be a band now. Talk about a comeback! Sebastian Bach came back and kicked his former band in the teeth with this new solo album, KICKING & SCREAMING.  Baz sounds as great as he ever did and his band is blazing! I always get disappointed with Baz because I always think he should be doing more music than interviews, or reality shows, or VH-1 related things but he really came back strong with this record.

10. Warrant – Rockaholic (2011)
9. Saxon – Call To Arms (2011)
8. Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011)
7. Motorhead – The World Is Yours (2011)
6. Black Country Communion – 2 (2011)

Despite original singer Jani Lane passing away, Warrant recruited former Lynch Mob singer Robert Mason (who replaced Black ‘N Blue singer Jamie St. James) and released a wicked Hard Rock record with ROCKAHOLIC. The first two songs, ‘Sex Ain’t Love’ and ‘Innocence Gone’, are two of the best Hard Rock songs of the year! Saxon is one of my Top 5 favorite bands of all time and they released another great album with CALL TO ARMS. I was a little worried when I read they were stripping back their current sound for something more like the early ’80s because they have released a string of great Traditional/Power Metal albums since 1997′s UNLEASH THE BEAST…..the good news is that the old NWOBHM guard still maintained their excellent track record of the last 15 years! I’ve been a Night Ranger fan since the early ’80s and I thought they easily made the best Melodic Rock record of 2011 after one spin of the new album, once I heard this album, the  Journey and Nelson records started to pale in comparison. Like Saxon, Motorhead is a favorite band and a staple when it comes to my year end countdowns. You know what you’re going to get from Motorhead before they album is released but you know it’s going to rip your face off and punch you in the gut! Lemmy, Mikkey and Phil just keep making great album after great album every other year…..see you in 2013 Motorhead! Coming is at #6, and just missing the Top 5 by a hair, is the sophomore album by Black Country Communion (the other supergroup in the countdown). Just hearing Glenn Hughes sing ’70s styled Hard Rock is enough to catapult any band or album into year end lists but the songs are so good and the performances so perfect that I knew this was going to be a top album of 2011 after the first spin. Hard working band too, this album came out a year after the debut, they released a live record and DVD and have toured constantly…..that’s old school work ethic and it pays off.

5. Whitesnake – Forevermore (2011)
4. Mr. Big – What If… (2011)
3. Anthrax – Worship Music (2011)
2. Michael Schenker – Temple Of Rock (2011)

Making the Top 5 is no easy task when hundreds, if not thousands, of new albums get released each year but these four albums had the #1 spot on my countdown and really put me to task to pick the best album of 2011. Whitesnake started the year off with the album to beat, FOREVERMORE being a continuation of GOOD TO BE BAD but just a shade behind that awesome 2008 album. Maybe it’s because FOREVERMORE didn’t have 11 years of waiting and then hit you between the eyes but the new album did keep David Coverdale and the band at the top again. This year’s countdown has a lot of Hard Rock comebacks with Baz and Warrant turning in solid albums but Mr. Big really made the superior Hard Rock album of 2011 and then toured the album hard with more than just a few making the live set. I expected nothing from a new Mr. Big album but WHAT IF…. was a great album from a band reuniting and not just going out for the quick nostalgia buck. I’ll tell you what, they were definitely one of the best concerts I saw this past year too! Mr. Bog would have had the top album of 2011, and the best comeback of 2011, if Anthrax decided not to release WORSHIP MUSIC! Are you kidding me? WORSHIP MUSIC is an album that should be my top record of 2011 because it’s so good, so thrashy, so hard and so melodic all rolled into one. The band is tight as usual, no problems there, but the wild card in all of this was whether the band reuniting with Joey Belladonna would make a difference. No offense to the John Bush-era of Anthrax but Belladonna is just a better fit! Joey sounds as good as he ever has, the band sounds as brutal as ever and there isn’t a throwaway song on the album. A lot of year end countdown’s have Anthrax at the top of the list and, in a year of comebacks, they have the best one but the band got trumped by one of my favorite guitarists of all-time…..Michael Schenker! The #2 album of 2011, and a serious contender for the #1 spot right to the end, was Schenker’s new TEMPLE OF ROCK solo album. Is it the Michael Schenker Group? Is it him by himself, hence a solo album? TEMPLE OF ROCK follows the lead of 2006′s TALES OF ROCK ‘N ROLL where Michael and his regular backing band teamed up with another new vocalist for the half of the new album and then did a few songs each with a different singer from Michael’s career. This time around it’s new singer Michael Voss for 10 of the 12 new songs with Robin McAuley and Doogie White each singing one…..I kind of expected Gary Barden to fit in here somewhere considering he’s done Michael’s last two albums but he’s not here. Voss sounds great, the guitar is pure Schenker mastery and the songs are all well written with big memorable hooks and solos. Best song on the album is the McAuley led ‘Lover’s Sinfony’, which I got to see live when the band came through town, with a close second being ‘Miss Claustraphobia’ performed by Michael Voss. Michael Schenker had some rough years since the mid-’90s but the guy is such a talented musician, so prolific on guitar, that the music is a reflection of the man’s genius. Definitely a tough task to beat out anyone in the Top 5, especially Anthrax, but Schenker and company came out of nowhere and blew me away.

Up until the last minute, up until I had written this post this far, I finally made the decision to place the next album as the best album of 2011…..the top album of 2011 is…..

(drum roll please…..)

#1

Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011)

This was a hard one to call with the Top 5 albums being so good and Anthrax and Michael Schenker being in a virtual three-way tie with Alice Cooper right up until the end. Actually, I didn’t make up my mind until I gave each album a spin one last time before I wrote this up. In the end…..Alice is the winner!

WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE is not a sequel to the iconic WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE (1975) but a continuation of Alice’s nightmares…..that’s exactly how this album won. Alice and producer Bob Ezrin weren’t trying to best one of the greatest Rock albums of all-time, they were trying to continue the tale and putting a current spin on what Alice would be dreaming about 37 years later! Turns out Alice’s nightmares just get worse! Every song on the album is well written with the usual Alice Cooper trademark humor and horror mix, the production is perfect and the performances are flawless. There are more than a few guest stars, including the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper band and notable names like Vince Gill and Ke$ha, and they all move into the dreamworld effortlessly. I was especially impressed with the reunion of the original Alice Cooper band members because it just shows how much impact the original band had and how much creativity they still have because they are all great musicians. Now Alice Cooper is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and now Alice has a #1 album at Heavy Metal Addiction…..what could be better?

The hunt for CDs always continues but September is always a slow month because of back to school and getting the house ready for Fall/Winter. September is also slow because there aren’t as many new releases because the Summer concert/release season has come and gone and a lot of new albums are planned closer to the Winter holidays. There were more than a few big releases though and I was at the record store buying them up on sale…..

Newbury Comics

Anthrax – Worship Music (2011) – $12: One of the most anticipated releases of 2011 for me because of the reunion with singer Joey Belladonna but also because there hasn’t been a new Anthrax record since 2003′s WE’VE COME FOR YOU ALL. That’s 8 long years! There’s been a lot of drama in the Anthrax camp at the singer slot with John Bush leaving and Belladonna coming in for a reunion tour, then Dan Nelson replacing Belladonna for a new record. When that didn’t work, Bush came back for festival dates and to try and record the Nelson material but that didn’t work and Belladonna came back for the Big 4 tour dates. Get all that? WORSHIP MUSIC has the classic lineup intact, save for Rob Caggiano on guitar, and it sounds like the band never parted ways with Belladonna back in 1992. I’ve been an Anthrax fan since the beginning and this is a classic ’80s styled release and it sounds great. Regular price was $16 so I saved $4.

Edguy – Age Of The Joker (2011) – $10: I have this love/hate releationship with Edguy. When they first came out in the late ’90s, they were a pure Power Metal band that I discovered while getting completely immersed in the growing Power Metal resurgence. As time went on, I had a harder time with the change in sound on albums like HELLFIRE CLUB (2004) and ROCKET RIDE (2006) to a more Hard Rock sound…..at least that’s what I hear. I always buy Edguy’s albums though and they’re always really good but I think they get overshadowed now by Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia projects. I couldn’t pass up the album though and it was on sale the day of release for $10, a $6 savings compared to the $16 regular price. I’ve read online that there’s a limited edition two disc version with six bonus tracks but it wasn’t available at the record store the day of release. Actually, I had no idea there was a special edition or I might have waited and bought online.

Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011) – $16: The only reason why this new Dream Theater album seems so expensive is because I bought the special edition with the bonus DVD documenting the drummer auditions the band held to replace the departed Mike Portnoy. I thought that was pretty interesting and I wouldn’t mind seeing new drummer Mike Mangini’s (ex-Annihilator, Extreme, Steve Vai) induction to the band. Not really a surprise pick seeing that Mangini already worked on some of James LaBrie’s solo projects. This is Dream Theater though and I’m going to buy the album anyway, the only difference being do I want to shell out an extra $3 for a bonus DVD? The standard version was $13 on sale with a regular price of $16, the special edition was $16 on sale with a regular price of $22…..I saved $6 and got the bonus DVD that I’ll probably watch once!

Doro – 25 years In Rock…..And Still Going Strong (2011) – $20: Now here’s the reason I made the trip out to the record store this particular week! Doro Pesch has been around a long time and she is still kicking ass! I’ve been following her since the Warlock days and it seems that I’ve acquired a large Warlock/Doro collection over the years. Back in 2008, Doro celebrated her 25th year in Metal with a huge concert in her hometown of Dusseldorf, Germany with a ton of special appearances and guests from across the Metal world including a Warlock reunion! I’ve only seen and heard bits and pieces online and through various Doro releases but now the entire collection is finally seeing the light of day in the U.S…..it seems that this was released in Europe in november 2010 through Nuclear Blast Germany. The package includes 5 hours of concert footage & a documentary on 2 DVDs and a 43 minute audio CD of parts of the live 25th anniversary concert. The DVDs include the full anniversary show, the behind the scenes look at the show and a bunch of live extras from various festivals over the last few years. I would have preferred the full show on audio so I’m going to see if it’s available on that earlier European release. Regular price was $30, paid $20, saved $10.

Saxon – Call To Arms (2011) – $10: The new Saxon record was the only reason I made a second trip to the record store during September…..like I said, it was a slow month but I’m not missing a new album from one of my favorite bands! CALL TO ARMS was released a few weeks earlier in Europe and I’d read some great reviews so I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the cover doesn’t impress but the music sure does! There were two versions of this CD: the standard and the special edition that included the Live At Donington 1980 live album. That Donington ’80 live album has been repackaged so many times that it’s become kind of a joke, if you already own the original like I do then there’s no reason to buy the special edition. The original Donington ’80 is relatively easy to find as well. Regular price here was $13 (the special edition was $16) and the sale was $10 ($13 for the special) so I saved $3.

Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (2011) – $14: Just like Edguy, I have this love/hate thing going with Sebastian Bach. Most of the time, I find the guy to be full of himself and he really hasn’t released much since Skid Row’s SUBHUMAN RACE (1995). Granted that he did Braodway and a lot of work on television with MTV Networks and reality TV but his solo projects haven’t been barnburners for me. He had the group The Last Hard Men, a half studio/half live album, a covers album, ANGEL DOWN (2007) and the Frameshift collaboration in 2005. For me the Frameshift record is the best of them all so I wasn’t expecting much. Then I look at the guy and he embodies that “rock star” persona and you know the talent is there so I always have hope. I heard the first single, the title track, and it sounded pretty good so I decided to take the chance.  I ended up buying the special edition with the bonus DVD that include the making of the album, live bonuses and videos while the proper CD has a bonus track ‘Jump Off The Wagon’. Regular price was $20, paid $14, saved $6.

House Of Lords – Big Money (2011) – $13: One thing I like about the Newbury Comics I shop at is that they group all the Frontiers Records’ new releases together in the new release section, I end up buying albums I totally forgot about all the time! Right next to the Sebastian Bach was the new House Of Lords which, just like Doro, I seem to have acquired almost all of the band’s albums very quietly. The problem with that is I usually end up not giving these House Of Lords albums enough time on the stereo…..maybe it’s because the first two albums were so good? Frontman/co-founder James Christian is back again as the only one left from the glory days and he’s done a great job of keeping HOL alive, the guy also still has a great voice. I forgot about this album so I grabbed the only copy in the store for the $13 sale price. Regular price for this Frontiers import was $17 so I saved $4. Just a quick thought…..I realize the crest is the band’s trademark but couldn’t we vary some of these album covers a little?

Michael Monroe – Sensory Overdrive (2011) – $10: This CD was a complete out of the blue purchase. I’m not a big Hanoi Rocks or Michael Monroe fan because I just never got around to buying most of the albums. I have a few but I bought them years ago and haven’t revisited them in years. So I’m browsing the regular priced Rock section and I notice one of the clerks stocking a section so I asked the guy if he had good stuff. The guy told me to give this disc a try so I took it and added it to my shopping basket. If you’ve read this website long enough then you know I always grab a handbasket when I walk in and I fill it with all the good stuff I find. When I’m done, I make my decisions, keep what I’m buying and I restock the other CDs back on the shelves where they belong. When it came down to decision time, the reason why I took a chance on Michael Monroe was because the other competing albums had multiple copies and this had only one, the others were a few dollars more, this was a lower price and I quickly pulled up a few reviews on my phone. I figured $10 sale price was worth a chance…..regular price was $13 so I saved $3.

Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising (2011) – $12 used: I ended up find ing the latest Amon Amarth album on my third and final trip to Newbury Comics in September, I actually went back to the store the day after I bought the Saxon, Bach, Monroe and Lords albums because I forgot to buy my wife a CD she asked me to pick up. So I go back in and I decide to do a quick double check of the Metal section because how much is really going to change in 24 hours? Well SURTUR RISING wasn’t there the day before and there were two copies: a new one for $20 and this used one for $12! This is the special edition digipak that includes the 10 song CD and the 33 track DVD – BLOODSHED OVER BOCHUM, GERMANY 12/28-12/31/2008. I saved the $8 over the regular price and the content value is great for that price but this was a solid purchase because 1) the digital download I received from the promo company had a glitch in it and I couldn’t download the entire album and 2) I haven’t seen a copy of SURTUR RISING stocked in any of the various Newbury Comics locations I’ve been in since a month after the album’s release. The search is over and I paid just under what the original sale price was on the new release date.

Kik Tracee – No Rules (1991) – $3 used: If you find one great bargain then there’s bound to be another! Nothing else of any significance cam out of the quick check of the Metal section so I went over to the bargain bin for a quick check and there it was right in front of the ‘K’ section. I’ve been looking for a good copy of NO RULES for a long time but everytime I search Kik Tracee on Ebay, the available copies are either going through a bidding war or the BUY IT NOW is set extremely high. I quickly checked Ebay for some current prices and the range was as low as $15 for a used CD and as high as $75 for the Japanese import. Either way, $3 for a mint condition used CD is an awesome price, especially considering the demand and my quest for the album. Instant purchase! Of course, I forgot my wife’s CD when I was ready to check out but I did go back and get it. Average price on Ebay is around $25 but I will go with the lowest price I saw of $15 so I saved $12.

Best Buy

Chickenfoot – III (2011) – $13: There is never any reason to go to a big box retailer like Best Buy, Target or Wal-Mart for a CD unless there is some exclusive release or variation. I walked into Best Buy about an hour after the doors opened the morning the new Chickenfoot was released and I couldn’t find a copy! I asked a sales associate and he looked at me like I was insane. I asked the cashier I saw reading a magazine, she had no idea. I even got the sales flyer and showed these people the CD…..they searched the FOUR racks of CDs they had and there was nothing. New release rack? Nothing. Finally I asked for the store manager because why advertise a limited edition release exclusive to Best Buy if you aren’t going to display it on the sales floor? The manager comes up, makes a call, and a fresh box of CDs arrives from the stockroom! I got one, another guy grabbed one and the fresh out of high school sales associate stocked the other 20 or so CDs in the new release rack. All this for a simple CD? No wonder the business is in shambles! Regular was $16, sale price $13, so I saved $3.

Total = $133

Total (year) = $802

Average Price (per item) = $8.72

Total Savings (month) = $65

Total Savings (year) = $735

Total CDs (year) = 86

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

It’s been another solid year for new releases, hundreds of bands have released new albums in 2007 and it’s been very hard to keep up. I can’t buy everything and the money I put aside for my music fix has to be spent wisely. Unfortunately, I’ve had the misfortune of spending my hard earned cash on some really bad albums. So here is my list of the 5 Worst Albums of 2007:

#1

Manowar - Gods Of War

Manowar – Gods Of War

Absolutely the worst album I bought this year! I am a big Manowar fan and I have been since the early ’80s but this tests my loyalty. One look at the deluxe packaging and everything looked promising, the band really put a solid visual package together for the fans. I wasn’t big into translating the whole booklet but it gave me something to do while I listened. Unfortunately, the music was long and boring. Concept albums are hit or miss, for every OPERATION: MINDCRIME there are many subpar efforts. Even though the concept falls in line with the Manowar line of thinking, it’s hard to follow. How many orchestral passages does one album need? How many sound effects? Half the albums was instrumentals and narratives, for an album over an hour long, that’s a complete waste of time! The other half of the album was proper songs but even then they were too over the top and that’s saying something because everything Manowar does is over the top. Even the accompanying DVD (available on the limited edition) didn’t help.

#2

Vixen - Live & Learn Vixen – Live & Learn

What could you really expect from Vixen in 2007 anyway? Somehow, the nostalgia of my youth and the $9.99 price tag got the better of me and I bought this the day it came out. My big problem with this was that it just didn’t sound like Vixen. All the members are different except for guitarist Jan Kuehnemund and the mix is awful. Maybe if Janet Gardner was still on vocals then LIVE & LEARN could have escaped this list but the record would still need better production and better songs. Oh well, you live and you learn (pun intended)!

#3

Peter Criss - One For All (2007) Peter Criss – One For All

At least I knew going in that this wouldn’t be a Rock ‘n’ Roll album, that takes some of the pain away! This album was a must for me because I am a KISS diehard but I didn’t get value for my dollar. Overall, the music isn’t bad but the vocals are…..he’s not Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett no matter how hard he wants to be. Knowing this album would be mellow and light with no Rock, I knew what I was getting.

#4

Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain (2007) Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain

This is not an Ozzy album. This is a Zakk Wylde/Black Label Society album. Don’t believe me? Spin this CD once and compare it to any BLS album…..you get the idea. It’s obvious that Ozzy is out of ideas and he needs as much help writing as he does from ProTools with his vocals. Obviously, Zakk Wylde is the driving force behind Ozzy’s music even though the writing credits say different. Ozzy’s vocals are enhanced by studio trickery more than ever and the overall packaging of the first pressing leaves a lot to be desired, even with the code for two free Ozzfest tickets. Ozzy had the opportunity to make a real kick ass record and he didn’t. As I wrote in the review: “…..it’s (the album) decent but it doesn’t blow me away. And I expect to be blown away by Ozzy.”

#5

Sebastian Bach - Angel Down (2007) Sebastian Bach – Angel Down

You wait 9 years and release this? I think the five songs on BRING’EM BACH ALIVE (1999) are much better than these songs and having Axl Rose as a guest star on three songs doesn’t make it any better. So why did I buy it? Simple…..hope. I had hope that Bach would make a good solo record, especially considering he had plenty of time to write good songs. I think my biggest disappointment here is the vocals, they are not good. Sebastian Bach has been considered to have one of the better voices from the ’80s and he just doesn’t show it. If the vocals were better, I would have kept it out of the Worst 5. I have yet to properly review this album but I’m definitely done listening to it.