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

 

 

Sinner – Crash & Burn (2009)

sinner-crash-and-burn-2009

Sinner – Crash & Burn (2009, Candlelight Records)

  1. Crash & Burn
  2. Break The Silence
  3. The Dog
  4. Heart Of Darkness
  5. Revolution
  6. Unbreakable
  7. Fist To Face
  8. Until It Hurts
  9. Little Head
  10. Connection
  11. Like A Rock

Band Lineup:
Mat Sinner – Bass & Vocals
Henny Wolter – Guitar
Christof Leim – Guitar
Klaus Sperling – Drums

Producer: Mat Sinner

Total Time = 41:44

Country: Germany

Sinner official website
Sinner MySpace page
Candlelight Records USA

Sinner is one of those German Metal bands that I have always meant to take a serious listen to but never got around to it. Taking a look at my CD collection, it turns out I have a couple late ’90s albums (1997’s JUDGEMENT DAY and 1998’s THE NATURE OF EVIL) but I think I’ve only given them a couple spins each about a decade ago. Mat Sinner has been a fixture in the Heavy Metal world since Sinner released their first record in 1982 but he is recognized more as the co-founder/bassist of Power Metal powerhouse Primal Fear. Now 28 years later, Sinner is back with studio album #15…..CRASH & BURN.

Having never really listened to Sinner, I expected to hear a Power Metal album in the same style that Primal Fear would make, especially with current and former members of Primal Fear (Mat Sinner, Henny Wolter and Klaus Sperling) involved but the Sinner sound is more of an ’80s retro Traditional Metal sound with more in common to the Hard Rock side of things rather than the Metal. There is plenty of guitar with a twin axe attack, as well as, solid and powerful rhythm section but the overall sound is more melodic and Blues based. Bands that immeadiately come to mind are AC/DC, Saxon, U.D.O./Accept, Thin Lizzy and a touch of Primal Fear but there is also this sleazy Hard Rock influence that make this more commercial sounding. What I expected was fast and furious Power Metal but I got catchy, melodic, straightforward Metal. I knew Mat Sinner’s vocal range was not as good as his Primal Fear partner Ralf Scheepers but he does a good job with his deeper rasp that sounds like a combination of Dave Mustaine,  Udo Dirkschneider and Phil Lynott.

The opening title track starts off with a blaring siren and a powerful guitar riff that leads into a mix of old school Traditional and today’s Power Metal….the combination that Saxon has used so well since the ’90s. ‘Break The Silence’ is very melodic with the harmonies on the chorus and slick main riff but there are also some cool solos added in for power. It’s a very groove oriented song that could easily be from any of the last few U.D.O. albums. Sinner uses that same heavy groove but speeds the tempo up for ‘The Dog’ using an AC/DC-ish Blues base and putting in a bit of Primal Fear over the top. ‘Heart Of Darkness’ is a very surprising track because I immeadiately thought of Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy. The twin lead guitars and harmonies give off that melodic but heavy classic Lizzy sound while the double bass drums give the song a certain “gallop”. So far every song fits within a certain framework but I was completely surprised by the album’s first single ‘Revolution’. This song sounds like gritty, bluesy U.S. Hard Rock like Cinderella, Jackyl and Great White that gets the feet stomping and the party going. This is complete ’80s retro complete with cowbell and full on vocal harmonies but with a biting guitar, ‘Revolution’ could easily fit on LONG COLD WINTER (1988) or HOOKED (1991).

‘Revolution’

Sinner gets back to their basic formula with the mid-paced melodic groove of ‘Unbreakable’ and following up with a lot of power with the fast assault of ‘Fist To Face’, a song that could easily fit on the first Primal Fear album or one of the Ripper-era Judas Priest records. The speed is kind of refreshing because ‘Fist To Face’ is exactly what I thought CRASH & BURN would sound like. I may not have expected the sound to be different on a new Sinner album but I know I didn’t expect a power ballad! ‘Until It Hurts’ has some cool guitar lines but the song sounds out of place and ‘Little Head’ sounds like something straight out of American Rock radio during the late ’90s Grunge movement. This is definitely not the sound I expected from a German Heavy Metal band, it almost sounds kind of like Green Day and/or Blink 182 but it turns out that the song is really a cover of a Marvelous 3 song. I almost want to give Sinner a pass doing a cover because I have a lot of respect for Marvelous 3 mainman Butch Walker…..but I can’t! It’s a cover song and I hate cover songs on an album when an original could be used. ‘Connection’ is definitely another Thin Lizzy inspired track complete with the harmonized twin leads. Its a pretty good Hard Rock song but it sounds a little dated…..the guitars sound so close to Lizzy that I thought it was a second cover tune in a row. The album closes on a heavier note with the U.D.O./Saxon style ‘Like A Rock’ that sounds a bit cheesy with lyrics like “I’ll rock the devil’s playground…” etc. It’s another solid song with excellent guitar and a big U.D.O. style background vocal.

Bottom Line:
Having never given Sinner a close listen, I expected fast European Power Metal but I was wrong. CRASH & BURN is a blend of straightforward ’80s Hard Rock, some AC/DC boogie, and Traditional Metal along the lines of current day Saxon and U.D.O. There are some Power Metal elements along the lines of Mat Sinner’s main band Primal Fear but that sound is more of an enhancement to the overall sound. I was surprised of the musical direction but not surprised at the musicianship and production: the music is played extremely well (especially those twin lead guitars!) and the it all sounds crystal clear. CRASH & BURN sounds very retro, very classic…..the kind of Metal I began with back in the early ’80s. Overall, I liked this record a lot and I’m going to track down the rest of the Sinner back catalogue.

A quick note: CRASH & BURN was released back in August 2008 on AFM Records for Europe but it only now gets a North American release in January 2009. There really isn’t any difference between the versions except the date.