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 (March update)

March was a slow month for CD hunting, I really didn’t get out to the record stores that much at all. A part of me wants to save a few bucks and another wants to buy every new release on the market! One rule I decided on was to skip over the new releases I already received from the record company…..I usually go out and buy the albums I like, and I still will, just not right away. I did tap Ebay for a few items along the way but it was still one of my slowest months ever for purchases!

Newbury Comics

Whitesnake – Forevermore (2011) – $13: If there’s one album I was looking forward to in 2011, it was the new Whitesnake! I may not have wanted to go out to the record store but you can sure bet I was outside the door to Newbury Comics 20 minutes before the store opened so I could buy my copy. I still have that old school mentality when it comes to new releases…..I have to be there early. Back 20, 25, even 30 years ago, a new album from a major band made the local record store the center of attention, especially on the day of release. I used to be in those lines to get in to the record store and it was always a good time, it was an event. Not so much in 2011 but there were a 3 or 4 other people waiting in their cars in the parking lot and I noticed a couple picked up this album. There were two different pressings: the regular CD and the special edition with 3 bonus tracks and a bonus DVD…..I splurged and paid the extra money for the limited edition. This was a mandatory purchase and $13 on sale made it that much easier. Saved $7.

Pushking – The World As We Love It (2011) – $10: I’m totally in the dark on this Russian hard Rock band but when I saw the commercial for the album on VH-1 Classic, I figured it was worth checking out. Then I checked online and saw that Paul Stanley (KISS) sang on a couple of tracks so it became a must have purchase! Pushking has been around since 1994 and they have an extensive discography, THE WORLD AS WE LOVE IT is a collection of re-recorded songs with guest stars doing the vocals and guitars. Stars like Paul Stanley, Billy Gibbons, Nuno Bettencourt, Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes, Alice Cooper and a ton more all perform with Pushking and make this a great introduction to the band’s discography. I actually passed on this CD when it came out but I decided to snag it when I found the lone copy on the store the same day I bought the new Whitesnake album. It was still on sale so I saved $4.

Ebay

 Torch – Electrikiss (1984) – $16 used: Finally! After a long and hard search, I finally acquired a vinyl copy of ELECTRIKISS by Torch! It’s been a long struggle to find a decent copy on Ebay that was in a good price range, I had featured this album in my WANTED column back in August 2007 and it’s taken me over three years to buy it. I was watching this copy all week and went into the final minute before I placed a bid above the $9.99 starting price. All of sudden, I get outbid! I ended up winning this LP in the final seconds with some quick finger tapping and bidding. The jacket is near mint with some creasing due to age but the vinyl inside is flawless, not a scratch. There’s a few different styles floating around but the copy I bought was the original red vinyl album. I’m not sure how much I saved on this LP, sometimes is goes for under $20 and sometimes it can reach above $50. Either way, I finally added it to my collection.

Scheepers – s/t (2011) – $13: Here’s a case of an album that I received a promotional download from the record company but also an album that I would buy either way. I’m a huge Primal Fear fan so getting lead singer Ralf Scheepers new solo album is a no-brainer…..the only problem is where to buy it? The local record store didn’t get a copy and the online shops I like had this as an expensive import. I ended up on Ebay and found a lot of copies floating around the $20+ range (incl. shipping) but I found this CD by spelling Scheepers with one “E”. I ended up paying around the same price i would for a Frontiers Records’ release on sale at the record store the day it was released so I was happy to pay what I thought was a fair price. If I had bought this at regular price through regular retail channels, i might have paid around $16 so I estimate I saved $3 at auction.

Big Ball – Hotter Than Hell (2010) – $9: here’s another album that I received a digital promo for from the record company but I never got around to listening to or buying. I stumbled upon this CD when i was watching another CD and checked out the seller’s other items. Turns out the seller spelled the band name Big Ball as “Big Bail” so no one was bidding on it. Just like the Torch LP, I waited until the last minute to bid and then someone counter bid, I ended up snatching this CD up in the last few seconds. Big Ball is your basic AC/DC clone and even the sticker on the front reads “AC/DC style Hard Rock! If you like Krokus, Airbourne & AC/DC, you will love Big Ball!” I’ve only spun this a couple of times and the sticker is right, this is for AC/DC fans, even the album cover has that simple black & white AC/DC style to it! If I paid regular price it would probably be $15 so I saved $6 at auction.

Barracuda – Keep Me In Your Heart (2003) – $24: This is actually a re-release of the 1989 album OPEN FIRE by Barracuda but even this is a rarity. I’ve come across both OPEN FIRE and this reissue over the years and both usually command high dollars, especially the original album. I was watching this item and the seller was the same one who sold the Big Ball CD so I actually saved money right away because multiple items qualified for free shipping. Like all the other auctions this month, I ended up going for the CD in the last minute and someone else was watching as well. I ended up in a bidding war with someone and I ended up spending a few extra dollars than I wanted to. Like I mentioned, even this reissue is a rarity so I’m still psyched to get my hands on a copy. I read a lot of rave reviews on this and the original album so I’m looking forward to giving this a spin and now I’m out to find the original pressing of course!

Total = $85

Total (year) = $248

Average Price (per item) = $9.92

Total Savings (month) = $20

Total Savings (year) = $215

Total CDs (year) = 23

Total DVDs (year) = 1

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt – Last Week’s purchases

The buying spree continued last week both in-store and on Ebay with some very good bargains and sale prices. I ended up visiting one of the local Circuit City stores that are going out of business and CDs were 40% off but selection was very slim, I ended up supplementing that visit with a stop at Newbury Comics for some new releases……

Circuit City

Black Tide - Light From Above (2008)Black Tide – Light From Above (2008) – $6: I already have this CD but it’s a CDR promo I received for review purposes (I have a digital copy also) so I really wanted the original CD. I really enjoyed the album and it made my Top 30 Albums of 2008 at #29 but I never got around to actually buying it. There were at least 20 copies of this album in the Circuit City racks for $10 but the 40% off really made the sale. The cool thing was that the guy standing next to me in the CD section saw me pick this up and he grabbed one too, he mentioned that he had it on his list to buy also. I ended up recommending a couple other albums to him and I ended up seeing him again later at Newbury Comics!

blackstonecherryfolkloreBlack Stone Cherry – Folklore And Superstition (2008) – $7.80: I never got around to picking up Black Stone Cherry’s sophomore effort despite all the great reviews I read throughout 2008. I really enjoyed the debut but I always found something else to buy when I had this CD in hand. This was another one of the bargains at 40% off that was regularly priced at $13. There were a lot of copies left in the racks so if anyone is in the North Attleboro, MA area, go get one!

Newbury Comics

3-inches-of-blood-battlecry3 Inches Of Blood – Battlecry Under A Winter Sun (2009 reissue) – $9.99: I have become a really big 3 Inches Of Blood fan in the last couple of years and I have spent that time searching for this CD. Unfortunately, the original version on Minion Music is long out of print and the band cut a deal with Sonic Unyon and Caroline Distribution to get their debut re-released in North America. To make the new edition a little special, the band included 4 bonus tracks that were previously unavailable outside Europe. Well worth the sale price and another Cd off the Want List!

avantasia-lost-in-space-part-1-and-2Avantasia – Lost In Space Parts 1 & 2 (2009 reissue) – $11.88: Avantasia has become one of my favorite concept projects and I have been trying to track down both LOST IN SPACE E.P.s at decent prices. The problem has been that most of the prices are extremely high because they were European only releases, even Ebay has been high priced. I had no idea this was coming out and I was psyched when I saw this CD stocked next to 3 Inches Of Blood in the “New Release” section. Avantasia/Edguy mainman Tobias Sammet dropped in a bonus track for this release with an extended version of ‘Lost In Space’.

grave-digger-pray-epGrave Digger – Pray E.P. (2009) – $7: I got shut out two weeks ago when I specifically went to the store to pick this up, there are a few metalheads out there like me that actually show up BEFORE the doors open on a Tuesday. I was a little late that week so I waited for a re-stock and I was able to get the only copy they had last week AND the sale price from the initial release date. It drives me insane when bands release an E.P. before a new album release because there is usually only one exclusive track to the E.P., PRAY has 3 non-album tracks and an extended version of ‘Pray’…..not too bad for 7 bucks.

ted-nugent-cravemanTed Nugent – Craveman (2002) – $4 used: I love the Motor City Madman and I think I’ve seen him more times in concert than any other band except for KISS and maybe Aerosmith. Of course, everytime I’ve seen him it’s been as an opening act for both bands so I think the total is up to 7 or 8. I never picked up CRAVEMAN when it came out and it’s been on the Want List for a long time. There are always those albums that you mena to buy, never do, and then when you want them you need to spend as little as possible. I’ve seen this over the years but always around $15 brand new, finding this used for 4 bucks is a steal!

38-special-rockin-into-the-night.38 Special – Rockin’ Into The Night (1979) – $4 used: I like me some Southern Rock and .38 Special has been a favorite of mine since I heard ‘Hold On Loosely’ (from WILD-EYED SOUTHERN BOYS) back in 1981. I don’t know what it is about .38 Special but I always make sure I look at their section for a couple of the missing albums I need. Never heard any of the tracks except the hit title track but I know the overall .38 Special sound and I’m sure it follows the triple guitar/dual drum kit, country-fried Classic Rock that they are well known for.

Ebay (prices include shipping)

WASP - Dying For The World (2002)W.A.S.P. – Dying For The World (2002) – $5.35: This has been on the WANTED! list for a long time and I have had opportunities to grab this CD but the price was always too high. I don’t know what it is really but I have this thing where if a CD is a few years old then I expect to buy it at a used or discounted price. A lot of people have emailed me to tell me that this album is really good but I think DYING FOR THE WORLD just had a bad slot in between HELLDORADO (1999) and the two NEON GOD albums (2004). The weird thing is I picked up UNHOLY TERROR (2001) and loved it so I think I just could have been in an non-W.A.S.P. phase. This completes my W.A.S.P. collection…..

torch-self-titledTorch – s/t (1983) – $22.50: This one got a little expensive because I got into a bidding war in the last hour. The good news is that the average ending price at auction hovered around $20-$30 in the last couple of months so I really paid a decent price. I remember a few years ago I was trying to grab this one on Ebay and I wouldn’t go over $15 for it and I left it on my Want List. I already have the Torch E.P. (1982) on CD and the only release that eludes me from completing this Swedish Metal band’s discography is their 1984 release ELECTRIKISS.

gammaray_theawesomeGamma Ray – Hell Yeah! The Awesome Foursome – Live In Montreal (2008) – $8: I already had the 2 DVD set so getting the companion double live CD just keeps the gamma ray collection up to date. I really had no intention of even buying this CD but I noticed that my favorite Ebay seller had this up for auction, brand new and starting at $5. I high bid to $10 but no one even challenged my bid and I ended up winning for $5. A 2 CD set for $5? Bargain city!

armed-forces-let-there-be-metalArmed Forces – Let There Be Metal (1984) – $9: I just posted this album in my WANTED column yesterday and I decided to blow the last $10 in my Paypal account on it. It was either this album or ELECTRIKISS and LET THERE BE METAL was the cheaper decision at $5 BUY IT NOW for a near mint vinyl. Another deciding factor was that the seller of this album answered all my questions right away whereas the seller of ELECTRIKISS has ignored my question for about two weeks. I figure that the Torch record will be there next time…..I can finally say that I actually own this album after 25 years of procrastination!

Griffen – Linked In Eternity (2008)

Griffen – Linked In Eternity (2008, self-released promo demo)

  1. Linked In Eternity
  2. Secret Fire
  3. Falling Inside
  4. The Hydra
  5. Life Is On The Way

Band Lineup:
Jörgen Söderberg – Lead Vocals
Tomi Peltonen – Guitars, Vocals
Harri Tuovila – Bass, Vocals
Stefan Törnblom – Guitars, Vocals
Kristian Huotari – Drums, Vocals

Total Time = 25:36

Griffen official website
Griffen MySpace page

Up until about a month ago, I had never heard of Griffen. The band was kind enough to contact me and send me a copy of LINKED IN ETERNITY for review. I did a little research and found that Griffen is from Sweden and has two current members of Torch among their ranks (Peltonin &  Huotari)! I have had a fascination with Torch for a long time so my interest got sparked big time. Turns out that this is Griffen’s second promo demo (the first was in 2007) and it is one of the most professionally done demos I’ve heard in the last couple of years.

The music is basically a blend of melodic Hard Rock and traditional Heavy Metal that really has it’s roots in the ’80s…..it’s all straight forward Metal with strong vocals, a great twin axe attack, and a powerful rhythm section. The guitars really form a solid groove on every track without being overbearing. It’s not about overplaying and fitting in as many notes as possible, it’s about attitude. The blend of heaviness and melody cannot be overstated, this is the basis of good old fashioned Metal. Yes, the songs’ roots sound like they’re from the ’80s but it’s far from “dated”, the production is top notch and the mix crystal clear. The music is excellent but Söderberg’s vocals are particularly impressive, he can move from low/mid-range to hitting all the highs while maintaining a melodic presence. It seems very easy for Söderberg to move between straight up Hard Rock to the heavier Metal songs, I would take a close listen to both ‘The Hydra’ and ‘Life Is On The Way’ as perfect examples.

Bottom Line:
For a second demo, everything is crystal clear and evenly mixed, very professional work. Every song has solid musicianship and vocals but the key is that they songs themselves were well-written and stayed true to the attitude and style of the band. I’m very surprised that a European label has not snapped these guys up yet for a full-length album, there is some major talent here and Griffen would do well in today’s crowded Metal scene. Frontiers would be a solid fit, maybe even Nightmare Records in the U.S., whoever signs Griffen will end up with a solid, well-tuned band. I’m hoping to acquire the band’s first demo CD as well so keep your eyes here for more news on Griffen in the future, I’m sure we will be hearing good things from them.

Favorite songs: all of them