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

CD Scavenger Hunt – 4/7/09

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.

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus (2009)

edguy_-_tinnitus_sanctus

Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus (2009, Nuclear Blast)

  1. Ministry Of Saints
  2. Sex Fire Religion
  3. The Pride Of Creation
  4. Nine Lives
  5. Wake Up Dreaming Black
  6. Dragonfly
  7. Thorn Without A Rose
  8. 9-2-9
  9. Speedhoven
  10. Dead Or rock
  11. Aren’t You A Little Pervert Too!?

Band Lineup:
Tobias Sammet – Vocals
Jens Ludwig – Guitars
Dirk Sauer – Guitars
Tobias Exxel – Bass
Felix Bohnke – Drums

Producer: Sascha Paeth

Country: Germany

Total Time = 53:37

Edguy
Edguy Myspace page
Nuclear Blast Germany
Nuclear Blast USA

In January 2008, Tobias Sammet released the latest Avantasia opus THE SCARECROW and it was my Album of the Year. The all-star lineup and specific attention to songwriting really made THE SCARECROW shine but Avantasia is Sammet’s side project and his focus has turned to his primary band…..Edguy.

I got into Edguy back in the late ’90s when I started scooping up albums like VAIN GLORY OPERA (1998) and THEATER OF SALVATION (1999) at the local record shop. Power Metal was having a huge resurgence with Hammerfall, Rhapsody and Blind Guardian leading the way and I was hooked right away so getting into Edguy was easy. Fast forward to 2006 and Sammet and company released the Hard Rock styled ROCKET RIDE and I just couldn’t get into it. It was still Edguy, it was still Power Metal, but with more of a ’80s Hard Rock commercial sound. From then on I put my faith in other Power Metal bands and Edguy became secondary to Avantasia. Less than a year later (TINNITUS SANCTUS was released in December in Europe and Japan), the new Edguy album arrived and I was hoping that a little of the inspiration Tobias had for THE SCARECROW would be heard in Edguy.

Opening song ‘Ministry Of Saints’ gets the Traditional/Power Metal feast started with it’s Judas Priest and Saxon styled songcraft and guitar solos with a touch of melodic harmonies that give it a bit more of a commercial sound. Euro-flavoured Hard Rock is the best way to describe ‘Sex Fire Religion’ with it’s thumping bass and cock rock styled lyrics. It’s definitely a catchy “hair band” styled song complete with sexually retarded lyrics and hooky chorus but made awkward by the band’s Euro-Metal background. It seems like Edguy is trying too hard to be sexually clever. Back to pure Power Metal and speed with ‘The Pride Of Creation’, my favorite track on the album. The guitars duel in almost a Dragonforce style frenzy and the chorus is the catchiest I’ve heard on the whole album. This is what Edguy does best, or should I say Avantasia? This could easily be a track from THE METAL OPERA or THE SCARECROW and this is what I was hoping the entire TINNITUS album would sound like. ‘The Pride Of Creation’ is the perfect blend of the two styles Sammet is trying to combine.

‘Nine Lives’ continues the perfect blend of new and old Edguy songwriting and it kind of reminds me of the direction Primal Fear started to go with on NEW RELIGION. ‘Nine Lives’ retains the Metal, slows down a little toward sthe middle and finds it’s melodic groove. Same thing could be said of ‘Wake Up Dreaming Black’ but it’s a heavier track with more straightforward bass and guitar. ‘Dragonfly’ conjures up the mid-tempo Hard Rock rhythms and ’80s style riffs that the band has been incorporating into their sound, it sounds forced and the chorus has too much of a choral effect. I like the solo though it sounds very George Lynch and, now that I think of it, ‘Dragonfly’ could easily be a lost Dokken tune! Ballad time comes with ‘Thorn Without A Rose’…..is it a play on Poison’s ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’? Maybe only in the title because the song is more bombastic than any ballad Poison ever released. It’s a very catchy song with a Pop Metal commercial vibe.

’9-2-9′ is another commercial sounding song but its a little heavier/faster, it kind of reminds me of the first Westworld album and the late ’90′s Melodic Metal movement. ‘Speedhoven’ has a classic rock element to it with the appearance of a Hammond organ in the mix but the song is Power Metal through and through while ‘Dead Or Rock’ (a title straight from the Saxon lyric book!) is classic ’80s styled Hard Rock with touches of Motley Crue, commercial Judas Priest and Saxon…..great guitar work on this song. Last tune on the album is ‘Aren’t You A Little Pervert Too?!’, Edguy’s stab at a Country & Western joke song. It’s songs like this that piss me off because they just ruin good albums…..the lyrics are just plain bad, worse than anything Gene Simmons could think up and I don’t like the C&W music. I know it’s a joke song (featuring the band as Granato Rambocco & The Killers) but that’s what bothers me…..you waste space on an album and then they will drop another EP on us in a couple of months with a few non-album tracks. I’d rather the album stop after ‘Dead Or Rock’ or get another solid original.

Bottom Line:
TINNITUS SANCTUS has been a hard listen for me since it received a proper U.S. release at the end of January. I’ve spent a good six weeks listening to this record and some days I love it and some I have a hard time getting into it. There is enough Power Metal to satisfy the old school Edguy fan in me and there is a lot of melodic Hard Rock songs that are pretty good but seem a little out of place when compared to the band’s previous albums. What I did on this album was stop comparing current Edguy to old Edguy and I liked it a lot more. Bands are allowed to change their sound and Edguy has done a good job with their new direction but another of my problems is getting by some of the bad lyrics…..you can go to a simpler sound, a Hard Rock sound, but you don’t have to dumb things down. Overall I liked the album a lot despite some of my complaints.

Favorite Songs:
‘Ministry Of Saints’, ‘The Pride Of Creation’, ‘Nine Lives’, ‘Wake Up Dreaming Black’, ’9-2-9′, ‘Dead Or Rock’

NOTE: This album was also released as a 2 disc set with a live set on the bonus CD.