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

 

 

CD Scavenger Hunt (July update)

After a solid month of purchases in June to end the first half of the year, it’s time to set sights on the second half of 2011. Will the money be there to spend? Will the CDs be there to buy? What treasures will be found? The answers start now…..

Newbury Comics

Metalium – Hero Nation: Chapter III (2002) – $6 used: I started off the month of July with a very easy purchase…..a used copy of Metalium’s third album HERO NATION for $6. You may be asking why this album has so much significance, and there really isn’t any, the price was right and I have been watching this CD sit in the Used Metal section for at least six months! Over the last six months I think I’ve checked my collection at least a dozen times to see if I already own this CD but I would forget everytime I’d be in the record shop. Finally, I wrote it down on the growing Want List but I never got around to buying it until now. I never like to miss a bargain and my online research tells me that this CD still gets at least $15 regular price so I decided to make the purchase and saved myself around $9. This puts the Metalium collection a little closer to being completed, now I just need Chapters IV, V, VI, VII and VIII! Bonus enhanced CD included on this also so it was a great find.

Deep Purple – Phoenix Rising (Special Edition DVD/CD) (2011) – $14: I love Deep Purple, all lineups, all albums…..they are one of the founding fathers of Heavy metal as we know it and the credit is well deserved. I saw an add for this DVD in Classic Rock Magazine so I checked it out when it received a U.S. release. The special edition DVD is based on the Mark III and Mark IV Purple lineups that include David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes and Tommy Bolin along with founding members Ian Paice and Jon Lord and it’s a great snapshot in time of a Deep Purple era that so many have for gotten about. There is a DVD with a Japanese concert from 1975 and a documentary, the CD version of all the live tracks and two special booklets. Add in a bonus interview with Lord & Hughes and the COME TASTE THE BAND press kit and you get a little more for the money. The difference between the standard DVD and the special edition was $4 so I went for the extras as I always do. Regular price for the special edition was $20 so I saved $6.

So on one shopping trip, I made it over to the Newbury Comics location in Warwick, RI…..this was my usual store until a location opened near my house a few years ago. If it wasn’t for the 20 minute drive (I know, 20 mins is nothing but it is to a true Rhode Islander!), I’d be down there all the time because it’s a bigger store and they get some great used bargains. I went diving in the used bins, especially the real cheap CDs, and here’s what I pulled out…..

Project X – Blueprint For Xcess (1996) – $2 used: I knew nothing about Project X but I noticed that the album was released in 1996 on Escape Music, distrubuted by MTM Music…..that’s a Hard Rock/Melodic Rock label! Closer inspection at the back tray card revealed the name Don Wolf who used to be the lead singer for White Wolf and was Don Wilk back then. I remember White Wolf from back in the early ’80s, I tried to win a cassette copy of STANDING ALONE (1984) from an ad in Hit Parader magazine. Never won that tape but I did get to dub a copy of the record from a friend of mine…..remember dual cassette decks? So with the Escape Music link and the White Wolf pedigree, I picked this up used for a cool $2. How can you go wrong with $2 for a used disc? I did some research on my phone when I got to the car and it seems that you can get this CD online anywhere from $7 to $20 depending on where you shop. Assuming we go by a regular price of $12, I saved about $10.

Brother Cane – Seeds (1995) – $3 used: This is where the Collectorz software I use came in handy! As the long time readers know, I’ve had the Collectorz Music Collector software software for awhile and I’m slowly putting my collection in the database…..I also have the Android app that lets me put what I have on my main computer on my cell phone. Well, I’m not too far along (in the D’s) but I was able to double check to see if I owned this Brother Cane disc. Lead singer/guitarist Damon Johnson is in Alice Cooper’s band and he’s played with Sammy Hagar, John Waite and Jack Blades. I remembered Brother Cane from their first record and ‘Got No Shame’ so I decided to grab this used for $3. The funny thing about it is that there were three other used copies in the same spot priced at $5, $7 and $10! I’m the lucky one I guess! Considering a regular price around $12 for an older album from the early ’90s, I saved $9.

Twisted Forever (A Tribute To The Legendary Twisted Sister) (2001) – $4 used: Tribute albums, cover albums, cover songs…..I could generally do without them but it seems that I own a ton of them! Chalk that up to getting them cheap in used bins over the years! Of course, there are a few essential ones I need because the tributized band adds a song or two in there. This time around, it’s this Twisted Sister tribute that I wouldn’t have bought if it wasn’t for the low price and the fact my oldest daughter’s favorite Hard Rock band is Twisted Sister. There’s some good bands on here paying tribute (doing covers!): Motorhead, Anthrax, Overkill, Hammerfall, Sebastian Bach…..and some questionable ones like Chuck D. from Public Enemy and Lit. Of course, Twisted Sister is on there last with their cover of AC/DC’s ‘Sin City’ which is nothing I hadn’t heard before but it’s a nice package overall. Last copy I saw in a record store was going for about $10 brand new so I saved $6 since spotting it last and I made my daughter ultra-happy!

Jimmy Page – Outrider (1988) – $4 used: OUTRIDER is an album I’ve had on my list for a while, seen it hundreds of times new for $12- $15, but never pulled the trigger because it’s not the best record in the world. I remember a lot of my Rock friends getting psyched for this album back in the day because it was Jimmy Page, guitar god from Led Zeppelin, with Jason Bonham drumming on six out of nine tracks! This fuelled the Led Zep reunion rumors and my group was heavy into it. I’ve never been an overly huge Zeppelin fan even though I like them but I was more interested into where Page was going to go from after The Firm broke up (an underrated band by far!). I remember having a taped copy from a friend (there’s that dual cassette deck again!) and listening to the lead single ‘Wasting My Time’ but that’s about it. I wasn’t going to pass this up at $4 and I assume I saved around $10 by passing on all those new copies over the years!

Ian Parry – Visions (2006) – $4 used: You might remember Ian Parry as the lead singer for Elegy or The Consortium Project, at least that’s how I know Ian Parry! Obviously name recognition went into this purchase as well as the label was Escape Music. Taking a look at my collection it seems I have most of the Elegy albums so I figured that spending a whole $4 on an Ian Parry solo album wouldn’t be much of a stretch musically. To be honest, outside of his name and his work with Elegy, I really don’t know much else about Ian so I’m taking a chance in a way. I don’t own any Consortium Project CDs which is actually odd because I see them used everywhere. The cool thing is that I found another copy of this in the Metal used bin for $8 so I saved $4 off a used price and my research online shows that this album still lists for $15 in most places…..overall I saved about $11.

Carmine Appice Project – Ultimate Guitar Zeus (2006) – $5 used: All right, the only reason I picked this up was because I know Carmine Appice and I heard an interview with him on the Talking Metal podcast. From what I know, GUITAR ZEUS and GUITAR ZEUS II were released in 1995 and 1997  respectively and released to fan club members only. The songs include originals and a few covers that Carmine, bass god Tony Franklin and singer Kelly Keeling teamed up to record along with some of the biggest names on guitar like Zakk Wylde, Ted Nugent, Slash, Brian May and Neal Schon. ULTIMATE GUITAR ZEUS is a compilation of songs from volumes 1 and 2…..of course, when I heard the Talking Metal podcast, Carmine was promoting GUITAR ZEUS: CONQUERING HEROES (2009) which I believe is a double disc that is both volumes in a nice package.  Considering that this CD, the first two original albums, and all the Japanese pressings are out of print and go for various prices on Ebay, all I have to go buy is the newest installment that retails at $15 via Carmine’s website. I’ll assume I saved $10.

Enough used bin diving…..back to the new releases! More trips to the local store near my house for the new albums on Tuesdays…..

Rhapsody Of Fire – From Chaos To Eternity (2011) – $10: Rhapsody Of Fire, formerly just Rhapsody, seems to release album after album, and E.P. after E.P., and I always pick them up! Didn’t I just buy a new CD from Rhapsody Of Fire recently? The problem with  Rhapsody Of Fire is their distribution to North America is later than Europe and Japan so something released everywhere last year might only see a release in the States this year…..at least FROM CHAOS TO ETERNITY is brand new and released worldwide on Nuclear Blast. What’s crazy now is that I just read today that the band is splitting in two and keyboardist Alex Staropoli and lead guitarist Luca Turilli will be parting ways in a friendly manner. Staropoli retains the Rhapsody Of Fire name and all previous rights and Turilli retains the name “Rhapsody” and will have a new band under that name. Confused yet? At least I bought their last offering on sale, regular price was $16, so I saved $6.

TYR – The Lay Of Thrym (2011) – $12: THE LAY OF THRYM came out months ago but I’ve kept this album on the want list because of the insane amount of copies at every record store I’ve been to. Is TYR that popular? I seem to acquire all the TYR albums and I like their Viking Metal sound but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it, even when it was on sale, knowing that eventually the record stores is going to discount the price further to get rid of overstock…..I was wrong. I went into the store for the new Rhapsody Of Fire and Iced Earth releases and I noticed that all the copies of this album were off sale and at a $16 regular price. Further investigation found a copy of this disc in the Misc T. section still on sale for $12 so I grabbed it right away. When I got to the register the CD rang up at the $16 regular price, of course they price adjusted it so I ended up saving $4 with the sale price.

Iced Earth – Festivals Of The Wicked DVD (2011) – $16: I’ve been an Iced Earth fan since 1997 when I picked up THE DARK SAGA (1996) and the DAYS OF PURGATORY (1997) double disc compilation so I was looking forward to getting this DVD of the latest Iced Earth lineups at some of the biggest European Metal festivals from 2007 and 2008. two DVDs, three concerts, an hour long documentary and some bonus material totalling over foive hours of footage, that’s a bargain for $16 the day of release! Regular price was $24 so I saved $8. Here is where I complain a little…..there’s an audio CD of FESTIVALS OF THE WICKED that was released the same day and I planned on buying that too. The sale price was $13 for the CD so I figured I was going to get a 3 CD set of the concerts kind of like I did when I bought the ALIVE IN ATHENS live set back in 1999. So I grab the CD immeadiately but I never checked it until I got to the register…..the CD version is a compilation of songs from all three concerts and only 12 songs! Absolutely disappointed and I never bought it. I’m not sure who thought of this at Century Media but you’ve got to be kidding! With other bands releasing DVDs with bonus CDs of the music, and vice versa, all the time you would think that Century Media could have easily released a 3 disc audio set of the DVD. I would have put that on my Ipod and enjoyed that like crazy! Somebody dropped the ball at the label!

Twisted Sister – Double Live: North Stage ’82 & New York Steel ’01 DVD (2011) – $18: Here’s another Twisted Sister release that had my oldest daughter going crazy! Nothing beats a good DVD and you can’t miss with Twisted Sister finally releasing both of these concerts on DVD, especially New York Steel 2001 because it was a benefit for the New York Police & Fire Widows & Children Benefit 11 weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I read about New York Steel back in 2001 and it was not only a great cause for the band to unite for but it was also the rebirth of the band as a touring and recording entity. The North Stage show from 1982 is there last club performance before the band flew to engalnd to record their ’82 debut album UNDER THE BLADE. A little vintage footage, some recent footage (although 10 years old!) and you’ve got two solid concerts. Add in the bonus interviews with the band talking about each show and it’s a nice package. There was no audio companion release but I would have bought one had it been listed for release. Regular price was $25, I paid $18, so I saved $7.

George Lynch – Kill All Control (2011) – $12: I grew up a Dokken fan so I ended up as a Lynch Mob fan back in the day too. George has such a cool guitar style and I’ve been listening to WICKED SENSATION (1990) a lot lately so I kept this release on my list. The only problem with buying this is that I didn’t get into some of his last few albums I bought like SYZYGY (1998), SMOKE THIS (1999) and the Lynch/Pilson album WICKED UNDERGROUND (2003) and I didn’t want to get burned. You’ve got some guest stars here as this isn’t Lynch Mob but George solo: London LeGrand (Brides Of Destruction) is singing and touring with George right now, Marq Torien from the Bullet Boys, Fred Coury from Cinderella is on there and a few more. I read a few good reviews online so I decided to take a chance. The record store had only one copy so I grabbed it figuring I wouldn’t see it again on sale…..regular price $15, saved $3.

Total = $110

Total (year) = $669

Average Price (per item) = $10.29

Total Savings (month) = $99

Total Savings (year) = $435

Total CDs (year) = 59

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

CD Scavenger Hunt — New Release Tuesday edition 6/2/09

Has it really been over a month since I went out on a Hunt? Sad to say but it has been a month since I went wild in the record store. I’m not sure what was up with May but I made up for things the right way by scooping up a bunch of new releases that came out the last couple weeks, grabbing a CD that I featured in a WANTED! post, and a couple of Ebay purchases. The weird thing was that I walked into my local Newbury Comics and the store was completely changed around! I had no idea where anything was! So let’s get to this week’s finds…..

Online

SAVANNAH - S-TSavannah – s/t (1998) – $15: Once I posted the WANTED column for this CD, I decided to go out and get it right away. I went to Amazon and found the Nightmare Records store where they had a brand new copy for $12 ($3 shipping). The listing stated that it was the U.S. version but it turned out to be the Japanese pressing with the bonus track: ‘Too Young Hearts’ (Soul Version). I was surprised to get the Japanese pressing because it usually goes for $50-$75 in most places…..definitely a bargain!

alyson avenue omegaAlyson Avenue – Omega (2004) – $11: I read online somewhere that both Alyson Avenue albums were going to be re-released but then I couldn’t find the article again. I have the band’s first album PRESENCE OF MIND (2000) and that goes for big bucks at auction now so I figured I might as well find OMEGA and have a complete set of original pressings. This album was easy to find but at inflated prices but I found this auction because the band’s name was misspelled…..I won for $8 + $3 shipping.

JLT - Rescue YouJoe Lynn Turner – Rescue You (1985) – $12: I love Joe Lynn Turner, he has one of the finest voices in Rock and I’ve taken an interest in picking up everything he’s done in the last few years. RESCUE YOU has been on my wishlist for quite some time now and it’s an easy album to find on CD because Wounded Bird Records reissued the album in 2004. I’ve actually seen a copy or two in my record store hunts! I was watching an auction for one of the reissues and I found this one ending soon for a Japanese pressing from ’85. I always prefer an original over a reissue especially when there is nothing extra on the reissue so winning this one for $9 + $3 shipping was a great deal!

Record Store

whitesnake-lovehunter-1979Whitesnake – Lovehunter (1979) – $12 used: I know $12 is a lot of a used CD but I haven’t been able to track down LOVEHUNTER in a few years, once I saw it I grabbed it right away! I posted a WANTED column for this album just over a year ago and I’ve been giving this the weekly search online…..you can’t find this online for less than $10 and, if you do, a bidding war starts! Another hole in the collection filled!

Candlemass_DeathMagicDoomCandlemass – Death Magic Doom (2009) – $12: This album came out last week but I never went to the record store…..I ended up missing the $9.99 sale price and had to settle for the new $12 sale price. I haven’t really paid much attention to Candlemass lately, especially when Messiah Marcolin left again in 2006, but I decided to give the band a fresh listen. This U.S. version has a bonus track ‘Lucifer Rising’ (album outtake).

Stratovarius-PolarisStratovarius – Polaris (2009) – $9.99: Here’s another band that I haven’t paid much attention to in the last few years and another album that came out last week. The good news is I got the special first week $9.99 sale! Power Metal is one of my favorite genres of Metal so Stratovarius should be one of the bands I really enjoy but I haven’t bothered to pay attention to the band since they released INFINITE in 2000. Something about the album cover really interested me this time around and the sale price helped out as well.

Alestorm - Black Sails At Midnight (2009 limited edition)Alestorm – Black Sails At Midnight (2009 limited edition) – $13: Pirate Metal! I’ve been getting into Alestorm a lot lately by listening to their first album, CAPTAIN MORGAN’S REVENGE (2008), online and the LEVIATHAN E.P. (2009) that I picked up a couple months ago. I couldn’t resist picking up this CD when I saw that the limited edition included a DVD of the band’s performance at 2008’s Wacken Open Air festival. Comes in a nice digipak slipcase with the original artwork on the booklet.

doro_fear_no_evil_limited_edition_2009Doro – Fear No Evil (2009 limited edition) – $9.99: The reigning queen of Metal is back with another album and it just seems like she just keeps releasing new albums every year. This album has been out everywhere but the U.S. since January and this version says it’s a limited edition because of the online access to bonus content with the CD. That really makes no difference to me because the digipak version from Europe has 2 bonus tracks AND the online bonuses. A little disappointed brcause I’d want the other 2 songs but the price was good, I’ll keep my eye out for the European version though.

the gathering - the west pole The Gathering – The West Pole (2009) – $12: I got into The gathering back in 1995 when I heard ‘In Motion #1′ from MANDYLION…..after that I became a big fan of the band and vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen. I followed the band closely, buying every new album, until they released IF_THEN_ELSE (2000). By that time I was getting bored with the direction the band was taking into a more atmospheric realm. Now Anneke is gone, having left after the tour for 2006’s HOME, and new singer Silje Wergeland (ex-Octavia Sperati) is on board. I’m interested in how Silje sings and if the music will be different with a new vocalist.

streamofpassion_flameStream Of Passion – The Flame Within (2009 limited edition) – $12: I’m going into this CD blindly because I have never heard a Stream Of Passion song before but I read quite a few positive reviews from some well respected Metal websites so I figured I’d take a chance. Arjen Anthony Lucassen from Ayreon used to be in the band so I figure the music has a Power/Progressive/Ambient quality. The limited edition digipak release for the U.S. has a bonus track called ‘Far And Apart’.

tyr_bythelightTýr – By The Light Of The Northern Star (2009 limited edition) – $12: Well Napalm Records surely got my business this week with Týr, Alestorm and Stream Of Passion all coming out the same day and all U.S. limited editions! Big fan of Týr since I picked up LAND (2008) and I started into their back catalogue. I didn’t realize they had a new record coming out but I know it’s going to be good.

The Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#16-#30)

2008 was another great year for new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums and I was lucky to have heard a great many of them. There were hundreds of new albums released by hundreds of bands over a wide range of Metal genres, it was very hard to keep up especially when I’m spending my hard-earned cash! Unfortunately, I can’t buy every new album so there are more than a few that I have missed. I buy a lot of music but the failing economy took it’s toll on my music budget. I was very lucky to have caught the attention of many labels, PR firms, and bands sending in their CDs for review (to all of them I would like to extend a very grateful THANK YOU), without these promotions I would have never heard some great releases.

The only criteria I followed for my Top 30 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection. The ranking of the Top 30 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 doubled the list this year so I will be splitting it into two posts. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#16 – #30):

#16

motorhead-motorizerMotörhead – Motörizer

The only thing that Motörhead does year in and year out is make really good Heavy Metal albums and this year is no exception. MOTÖRIZER isn’t groundbreaking, it sounds just like all the other Motörhead records before it, but it’s a solid consistent effort from a band that is legendary but never gets the success it deserves. Any year with a new Motörhead album in it is a good one.

#17

acdc-black-iceAC/DC – Black Ice

It only took 8 years but AC/DC finally came roaring back with a really strong album in BLACK ICE. It’s more Blues than in your face Hard Rock but the typical AC/DC punch is still there. Brian Johnson sounds like he turned back the hands of time and the team of Angus & Malcolm Young on guitars still has the fire that burned in the ’70s & ’80s. A great comeback!

#18

Gypsy Pistoleros - Para Siempre (2008)Gypsy Pistoleros – Para Siempre

Technically, PARA SIEMPRE is a reissue of the Gypsy Pistoleros’ debut, WILD, BEAUTIFUL, DAMNED (2007), remastered with two additional songs added in. I wasn’t sold on taking traditional music from Spain and mixing it into a Hard Rock blender but the Pistoleros do a great job of channelling the Crue, GNR, and Hanoi Rocks mixed with flamenco and Spanish music. I’m half Colombian so I dig the Spanish influences and I really like the mix of English & Spanish (the band calls it “Spanglish”) to give it an added dimension.

#19

jorn-lonely-are-the-brave-2008Jorn – Lonely Are The Brave

Jorn Lande continues to make some of the best Metal records of the last decade and LONELY ARE THE BRAVE is no exception. Jorn is a monster vocally and the surrounding cast is as solid as they come. Unfortunately, I bought this very late in the year so I haven’t had much time to enjoy it.

#20

Brainstorm - Downburst (2008)Brainstorm – Downburst

Another great album from one of the most underrated bands in Heavy Metal. Brainstorm plays great epic Power Metal but DOWNBURST shows a band that is willing to evolve it’s sound and becoming more dynamic. It’s not a groundbreaking album but the band follows the path laid down by Primal Fear and Kamelot.

#21

dokken-lightning-strikes-again-2008Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again

Dokken’s best album since 1999’s ERASE THE SLATE, the band continues to play melodic Hard Rock with a great musicianship and songwriting. Jon Levin adds some George Lynch style playing back into the overall Dokken sound and the rhythm section of Barry Sparks and Mick Brown is as solid as ever. Don Dokken’s vocals are a little underwhelming because he doesn’t hit the highs he used to and there really isn’t a solid backing track. Still a very good album.

#22

nightranger-holeinthesun-usa coverNight Ranger – Hole In The Sun

HOLE IN THE SUN is a more modern sounding Night Ranger but there is still the trademark melodic sound that made them a big success back in their ’80s heyday. Best performance on the album goes to drummer/singer Kelly Keagy because his vocals were excellent. This album didn’t really get me at first but it grew on me as I played it more.

#23

temujin-1000-tears-2008Temujin – 1000 Tears

I’m a big fan of female-fronted Gothic/Ambient Metal and Temujin debuts with an album that has the guitars leading the way and the vocals keeping the listener entranced. Temujin vocalist Kelly has a beautiful voice that reminds me of The Gathering’s Anneke Van Giersbergen in that her performance is powerful without going over the top. A solid debut.

#24

tyr-landTýr – Land

LAND was my first experience listening to Týr and I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the terms Pagan Metal or Viking Metal throws fans off but what really is happening is Metal mixed with Nordic influences. Týr blends traditional folk to their Metal and uses their native language, as well as choir style backing vocals, to enhance their sound. This album got me into a whole new genre of Metal.

#25

Pharaoh - Be Gone (2008)Pharaoh – Be Gone

Pharaoh creates gool old traditional U.S. Metal based on good guitars, a solid rhythm section and good vocals. The band puts the power forward but you get the general idea after the first few songs. The album gets better as it continues and the band stretches out a little.

#26

the-sword-gods-of-the-earth (2008)The Sword – Gods Of The Earth

I didn’t get into The Sword’s first album but, when I put on this new album, I immeadiately heard what I was missing. GODS OF THE EARTH has an early Thrash and NWOBHM element added to a sludgy Doom Metal groove. It’s a very heavy record that’s grown on me all year long.

#27

Griffen - Linked In Eternity (2008)Griffen – Linked In Eternity

I found out about Griffen because of my obsession with ’80s Swedish metallers Torch: two current members of Torch are in Griffen. Technically, LINKED IN ETERNITY is a promo demo E.P. but it’s done so well I’m throwing it in the countdown. The band plays a really good blend of Traditional Metal and melodic Hard Rock so I have no idea how these guys aren’t signed to a label.

#28

uli-jon-roth-under-a-dark-skyUli Jon Roth – Under A Dark Sky

Anytime guitar maestro Uli Jon Roth releases a new album it’s a good year! How can you deny the talent of a man that was so unsatisfied with regular guitars that he went out and invented one (the Sky Guitar) that suited his ability? I gues you could call this a true Rock opera with all the classical elements and orchestral movements but the underlying focus is Roth’s playing.

#29

Black Tide - Light From Above (2008)Black Tide – Light From Above

A strong debut from a band whose members are only a couple years removed from high school. I was surprised with all the old school Metal influences in the music from such a young band. What the band lacks in experience they more than make up for in attitude and energy. A solid debut.

#30

metallica-death-magneticMetallica – Death Magnetic

See what happens when a band goes back and listens to their previous records, they make a Heavy Metal album! This is the album that Metallica needed to make to prove that they can still play Metal. Some of the songs are a little long but that’s a small complaint, the songs are really good…..better than I expected. Hopefully Metallica continues in this direction.

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Please check out the Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#1-#15) for the other half of my Top 30 list.

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In case my list wasn’t enough, or you simply don’t agree, some other great Music blogs have listed their Top Albums of 2008:

All Metal Resource
Bring Back Glam
Hair Metal Mansion

Hard Rock Hideout
Heavy Metal Time Machine

Imagine Echoes
Layla’s Classic Rock
Metal Excess

The Metal Minute
The Ripple Effect
Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense

Rock Of Ages

CD Scavenger Hunt – 6/24/08

Yes! It’s time for another Hunt!

The main reason I went out on the hunt was the new Motley Crue album, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES, but I also wanted to cross off a few albums on the list of 2008 releases I’ve missed. Of course, I took my two daughters with me and, in the chaos of getting them out the door, I left my list on the kitchen table! Here’s what I grabbed…..

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008) – $9.99: The new Crue was the main reason I left the house at 9:45am Tuesday to wait outside my local Newbury Comics. I had a coupon in had to get the album for $9.99 and I was more than happy to get the album on sale. Looking online today, I noticed that Best Buy had a limited exclusive with a bonus DVD for the same price! Ugh! Well, I’m not going out and buying the Best Buy version too because I don’t need the ‘Saints Of L.A.’ video, the press conference, and the two live tunes they did. I guarantee the band releases a new live DVD after this tour and this will be included.

Týr – Land (2008) limited edition – $12.88: I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of LAND from Napalm Records (thanks Napalm!) to review. I listened to LAND for weeks and posted a review but I wasn’t satisfied with owning the promo. The promo came in a cardboard slipcase (no booklet, etc.) and the music is watermarked with a few voiceovers on some of the songs saying, “You are listening to the new Týr album…Land.” Now I can’t have that! The limited edition is a double CD digipak with a bonus DVD of Týr’s performance at Wacken 2007 and a full color booklet of course.

Annihilator – Metal (2007) – $11.88: I have been waiting almost two years to pick this album up! METAL was available thru the official Annihilator website in late 2006 as a web-only purchase and then it got a proper worldwide release (except North America) on SPV in early 2007. Of course, the album finally got a U.S. release earlier this year but it was still around $18! There has been one copy floating around the local record store since last year and they just put a sale tag on it now…..bought! Saved myself $6 by waiting, I hope it was worth it because Annihilator is one of those bands I always look forward to hearing new material from.

Brimstone – Carving A Crimson Career (1999) – $10: This was actually a recent Ebay purchase. I recently got a press release from Metal Mind about their reissue of this album in the upcoming months, they have a licence to a lot of the Nuclear Blast back catalogue from the ’90s. Anyway, the cover art struck me as goofy so I wanted to hear the album. Picked this up for $6 plus $4 shipping…..now I don’t need the reissue…..I still haven’t given this a spin.

Heavy Metal In Baghdad DVD (2008) – $14.99: This was on my list for last week’s Judas Priest hunt but the local shop only stocked two and they were sold out when I got there. I always like hearing Metal from different parts of the world so this documentary on Iraq’s Acrassicauda was a must have. I bought the limited edition with 90 mins of bonus material.

Týr – Land (2008)

Týr – Land (2008, Napalm Records)

  1. Gandkvaedi Trondar
  2. Sinklars Visa
  3. Gatu Rima
  4. Brennivin
  5. Ocean
  6. Fipan Fagra
  7. Valkyrjan
  8. Lokka Tattur
  9. Land
  10. Hail To The Hammer

Tyr - Land Promo pic 2008

Band Lineup:
Heri Joensen – Vocals, Guitars
Terji Skibenæs – Guitars
Gunnar H. Thomsen – Bass
Kári Streymoy – Drums

Produced by: Týr

Total Time = 1:08:28

Týr official website
Týr MySpace page
Napalm Records

LAND is my first listening experience with Týr. I had heard of the band in 2002 with the release of their debut full-length HOW FAR TO ASGARD but I really began to take notice when the band started to get major media attention following 2006’s RAGNAROK. I started to read up on the band and I saw that they were touring the U.S. on this year’s Paganfest. Not many bands from Europe, especially from the small Faroe Islands, tour the U.S. and generate a major buzz among fans, but Týr has.

Týr’s sound is a combination of traditional Folk and Power Metal mixed with Progressive elements. Some call the music Traditional Folk Metal, some Pagan Metal, but most use the term Viking Metal to best describe the Nordic and Icelandic themes that run through the music and the lyrics. Many, if not most, of the songs are sung in a combination of Faroese, English and Norwegian. For some this may be a turn-off but I find the different languages make the overall sound that much better. Language is a reflection of culture and an influence to the overall musical structures of the songs, using traditional rhythms and language adds a regional flavor and an exotic tone, especially to a listener in the U.S. that only knows English. Musically, Týr is technically sound. The guitars are really great and the rhythm section is tight but the vocals, especially the choir style, are particularly striking.

‘Gandkvaedi Trondar’ opens the album on a grand scale and is mostly instrumental with some vocals mixed in. I’m not really sure how this translates to the rest of the album because I think that opening with an instrumental can be a mistake. If the band is looking to establish a mood/feel to the album, then ‘Gandkvaedi Trondar’ sets it well. A grand Viking choir vocal opens ‘Sinklars Visa’ and it sounds great, it really hooks me in. It’s more of a mid-paced song with the non-English lyrics and the guitars are very heavy. ‘Gatu Rima’ is very similar to ‘Sinklars Visa’ but the song picks up pace a bit and the Viking chorus has a good hook to it, almost like a melodic traditional chant. English lyrics are mixed in to ‘Brennivin’ and the song is another mid-pace affair with a few quick guitar bursts. The are a few interesting drum fills as well as a very good solo section.

The 10 minute ‘Ocean’ is a solid track with excellent instrumental passages and English lyrics. Musically, it’s along the same lines as the rest of the album but I think I identified to it more because I could understand the words. ‘Ocean’ is a perfect example of the Progressive influence on Týr’s traditional folk style. The same goes for the 16+ minute ‘Land’, another Progressive song with English lyrics and exploring musical insturmentals. The Viking and Nordic themes to the band’s music are perfect tools to create musical epics and Týr has succeeded with both of these songs. The three songs between the epics (‘Fipan Fagra’, ‘Valkyrjan’, and ‘Lokka Tattur’) are very similar to the first few songs of the album. Of these three, I enjoyed ‘Valkyrjan’ most because it starts off quietly and slowly builds as the song progresses. ‘Hail to The Hammer’ was first released on the band’s debut HOW FAR TO ASGARD (2002) but it is included on LAND re-recorded by the current lineup. I’m not sure why this is relevant to the proper album but I’ll assume it’s to give fans an idea of what Heri Joesen sounds like on the early material from the first album.

Bottom Line:
For my first Týr experience, I really enjoyed the record. The band is technically sound and the song structures are very interesting but the Viking choir vocals are so powerful that they hooked me in right away. I know it might be a sticking point with some fans but I also liked the use of different languages on the album. When the band uses their native language, it adds that traditional folk element to the music, giving it variety and a uniqueness. I’m not sure how LAND compares to the first three Týr albums but I’m going to track them down because Týr has gained another fan. Now I’m kicking myself for missing the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival last month because the Paganfest played the NEMHF and Týr played live.

Favorite songs: ‘Ocean’, ‘Land’, ‘Sinklars Visa’, ‘Valkyrjan’