Posts Tagged ‘Udo Dirkschneider’

Finally! Once I post this update for June then I’m all caught up! June was a good month with a ton of new releases so I spent some extra dollars…..

Newbury Comics

Rush – Clockwork Angels (2012) – $13
Meshuggah – Koloss (CD/DVD) (2012) – $12
Kreator – Phantom Antichrist (CD/DVD) (2012) – $14

My first trip of the month to Newbury Comics was pretty uneventful. I went in to pick up the new albums by Rush, Kreator and L.A. Guns but the store never got in the new L.A. Guns. Why? Because they were moving locations and their shipments were minimal. I got the Rush and Kreator albums no problem, and I was willing to wait until the next shipment for the new L.A. Guns rather than go to another store, so I started to browse. With the staff boxing up inventory, some of the selection was a little thin but I did manage to find the deluxe version of the new Meshuggah album, KOLOSS, for a sale price of $12. The other couple of copies were regular price around $18 so I decided to grab this while I could still get it a little cheaper.

L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (2012) – $9.50
Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway (2012) – $10.30
Malice – New Breed Of Godz (CD/DVD) (2012) – $15.20
U.D.O. – Celebrator (2012) – $9.50
Mantas – Death By Metal (2012) – $8

My second trip into the North Attleboro Newbury Comics came as the store started their moving sale — “Everything 20% off”. I immeadiately hit the new release rack for the new L.A. Guns (finally in stock!), the new Lita Ford (I hope it’s better than her last album!) and the new U.D.O. double disc package with all the unreleased/bonus/special material. I had great sale prices of $12, $13 and $12 respectively but knowing an additional 20% off was coming at checkout I knew I could buy more! I read about the new Malice album but never wrote down the release date so I was surprised to see it in the rack, unfortunately it was $19 regular price. A new album on Frontiers Records with a bonus DVD is always going to cost a little more but the 20% discount made it a little more manageable price wise. I calculated that I was going to save about $10 with the extra discount so that meant I could buy another new CD! I decided to buy the Mantas album because it is Chuck Schuldiner’s pre-Death band and I wanted to hear these demo recordings. I’m starting to get into more extreme forms of Metal and I like Death so I figured the extra savings made this CD free in theory.

Venom – Metal Black (2006) – $4.80
Brand New Sin – Recipe For Disaster (2005) – $1.60 used
Eidolon – The Parallel Otherworld (2006) – $3.20 used

Last trip into the old store before they closed the door and the inventory was all but gone. Everything was still an additional 20% off so it was still worth the trip especially since I had been watching the Venom CD and a Superjoint Ritual CD for a while. Unfortunately the Superjoint Ritual album was gone (it was only $4) but I was able to pick up the Venom CD new and two used discs from Brand New Sin and Eidolon. The prices were a cheap $6, $2 and $4 respectively so I was spending under the regular price of a normal CD as it was but getting another 20% off on top was icing on the cake.

Sleep – Dopesmoker (2003/2012 reissue) – $10

Well, the new Newbury Comics store opened in the Emerald Square Mall about a half mile down the road from the original location and they opened a day early. I checked the North Attleboro store’s Facebook page and saw they were open so I went down with the family to check it out. It’s a little smaller than the old store but it’s in a great location in the mall and there seemed to be a ton of foot traffic so maybe this store won’t go the way of other independent chains! I had to make an inaugural purchase so I decided on the DOPESMOKER reissue because it was cheap. I’ve heard the edited version of ‘Dopesmoker’ (titled ‘Jerusalem’) only once but the original 63 minute song continues to be a benchmark of Stoner/Doom Metal. The full album is one song, recorded in 1996, and released four different times without band authorization…..the 1999 release was re-titled JERUSALEM with an alternate cover and an edited song losing about 10 minutes. This new reissue is fully authorized by the band and I’ll bet that the other versions price and collectibility goes down.

Music Box (Newport, RI)

Pop Evil – Lipstick On The Mirror (2009) – $2.50 used

I caught Pop Evil a few years ago opening for Judas Priest so I’ve always had the band name in my head but I never got around to buying any of their albums. My family and I went to Newport for the day and we took a walk through the Brick Marketplace and I had to make my way to the long time Newport record store Music Box. There’s never anything exciting in there because I either own it already or it’s your basic run of the mill inventory but, one thing I’ve learned over the years, there’s always a treasure somewhere and sometime! This time I checked the cut-out/used bin at the very back of the store and found this Pop Evil CD for less than $3. It’s a promotional CD but it’s intact. I compared it to a regularly priced copy that was $15 and it looks exactly the same.

Amazon.com

Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder Live: Eagles Over Wacken (2 CD/DVD) (2012) – $18.20
Great White – Elation (2012) – $10
Kill Devil Hill – s/t (2012) – $10

I went into my usual record store looking for the new Saxon limited edition set with the DVD and double CD but they didn’t have it in stock with no idea when they would have it. They did have the regular double CD but I wanted the DVD. As soon as I got home, I went to Amazon and started filling my cart: Saxon for just over $18 and I added the new Great White and Kill Devil Hill albums for $10 each. Both great White and Kill Devil Hill were priced at $17 regular price at the record store so I saved $7 each buying them with Saxon…..unfortunately, the record store stocked the Saxon limited edition a few days later at a $15 sale price but I spent an extra $3 to save an extra $14!

Total = $151.80 ($159 rounded off)

Total (year) = $1171

Average Price (per item) = $8.87

Total CDs (year) = 127

Total DVDs (year) = 4

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(drum roll please…..)

#1

Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011)

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

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

It’s been a slow year so far for buying CDs and collecting but I made up for the last few months with a quality buying spree in June. There were a bunch of new releases on sale, a few hidden bargains in the used CD racks, trips to a few different record stores and the discovery of my childhood record store re-opening in the local flea market! June was definitely a good month for the Hunt…..

Luke’s Record Exchange (@ The Big Flea Market in Cumberland, RI)

Luke’s Record Exchange was my childhood record store that got me started as a record store regular and a CD scavenger hunt expert. Unfortunately, the long time Pawtucket, RI location closed a few months ago for good but a chance trip to The Big Flea Market in a neighboring town provided a link to my record store past…..Luke’s re-opened as a large booth. Prices were pretty good: 50% off the stickered price on all CDs! My oldest daughter loves music and has the record store addiction like her dad and she absolutely loved searching the racks and dark corners that the original Luke’s store had. I’ve tried to teach my oldest daughter as much about Metal and collecting as possible, now it’s up to her to decide what direction to go in.

Hair Of The Dog – Rise (2000) – $7: I started scouring the racks of CDs Luke’s had and I found plenty that used to be at their store and plenty that I already owned but with 50% off you have to buy something. I saw this Hair Of The Dog CD and remembered the name from the late ’90s editions of Metal Edge magazine so I snatched this up to try the band out. When I got home I realized I mixed up Hair Of The Dog with another band, American Dog, but a quick check of my back issues and this purchase was worth making. I’ve read some positive reviews online on Hair Of The Dog, and the band was signed to Spitfire Records back in 2000 (a label with plenty of Hard Rock bands and reissues) so I will definitely check them out when I get around ripping the cellophane off the case! Regular stickered price was $14 so it was really $7 for a brand new sealed copy of RISE. Saved $7.

Vince Neil – Live At The Whiskey: One Night Only (2003) – $6: I always meant to buy this live album when it came out but I had read some bad reviews and I decided against it back then. I did keep it on the want list just in case I came across a used copy somewhere. Over the years I’ve seen this album still at regular price anywhere from $12 to $15 and I’ve passed each time. I’ve seen Vince Neil in concert twice with his solo band and he’s been just OK performance wise and the set is always dominated by the big Motley Crue hits so it’s no surprise to only get one Vince solo song (‘Look In Her Eyes’) on this live record. maybe if there was more from EXPOSED (1993) or CARVED IN STONE (1995) then this would have been a more essential buy. Like I said, you can’t beat 50% off so I finally filled a hole in the Vince Neil solo collection. Another brand new sealed copy stickered at $12, the 50% off making it $6. Saved $6.

Wal-Mart

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball (Live & More) (2011) – $10: I hate going to Wal-Mart! In my life there is no reason to ever set foot in one but some of my favorite bands like KISS, AC/DC, Journey and now Def Leppard have forced me to enter the worst shopping place on earth to buy their exclusive releases! Sure, I could have someone else go in and buy it for me, or maybe buy it online, but sometimes we must sacrifice for the thrill of the Hunt! Definitely an old school move by the Leps with the old bulky multi-disc packaging for their double disc live record with the bonus DVD included. I’ve seen Def Lep on every tour since the 1999 EUPHORIA Tour and I saw them back in the day on the HYSTERIA Tour in 1988 so I know how good these guys are live. It’s a little surprising that it’s taken 31 years to finally get an official live album from Def Leppard but it looks like the band’s last few successful tours have finally given it to us. This was more about the new songs for me and their are three of them on Disc 2. The only positive thing I can say about the Wal-Mart experience is that the price can’t be beat…..$10 is a small price to pay for 21 live tracks, 3 new studio songs and a DVD.

Newbury Comics

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (Special Edition) (2011) – $12: I already own UNDER THE BLADE on CD and on vinyl but I had to pick this up because of all the bonuses included. First, this is the original mix of UNDER THE BLADE as heard on the original Secret Records pressing (the 1985 reissue is remixed) so that saves the vinyl. Second, the RUFF CUTTS E.P. (1982) is the bonus on the CD. The RUFF CUTTS vinyl is easy to find but high in price for a mint copy, it’s nice getting the music on CD. Finally, the bonus DVD is the band’s performance at th 1982 Reading Festival. This is how you do a reissue! Unfortunately, some of the other Twisted Sister reissues on Armoury Records leave a lot to be desired as far as bonus material but this reissue was worth getting even at the regular price of $16. I bought this the day it was released so I got the $12 sale price saving $4.

Black Stone Cherry – Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea (2011) – $10: Black Stone Cherry is one of those newer bands that I’ve followed from their first album to present but I haven’t really gotten totally into them. I have the band’s first two albums, and I enjoy them, but the band hasn’t had the staying power for me to keep coming back. I’m hoping that BETWEEN THE DEVIL & THE DEEP BLUE SEA breaks that cycle and also forces me to revisit the band’s first two records for a fresh listen. Good band and good music but I’m just not completely hooked. This was another day of release purchase to get the sale price of $10 and save $4 but even the $14 regular price seems reasonable. Of course, the day I purchased the album, I get home from the record store and check my email and find a link from Roadrunner Records PR dept for a download of the album so i could review it! I would have bought the album anyway.

Warrant – Rockaholic (2011) – $13: Frontiers Records was kind enough to send me a download of the album for review so I have been enjoying ROCKAHOLIC for a few months prior to it’s U.S. release. In most cases when I receive a promo download for review, I buy the album for my collection if I enjoy it so I caved on buying the new Warrant. For me Warrant has a stigma…..the Jani Lane stigma. Back in the ’80s, I liked Warrant like most Hard Rock fans tuned in to FM radio and MTV but I started to really dislike the band after I got the internet in 1998 and started reading about all the dumb ass things Jani Lane used to do (cancel concert, quit and rejoin, go onstage drunk, etc). Anyway, after seeing the band reunite on the Poison summer tour a few years ago, I had hope but Jani screwed it up again and again. I thought the band’s move to replace Jani with Jaime St. James from Black ‘N Blue for BORN AGAIN (2006) was a great move resulting in a solid record. This time around it’s Robert Mason (formerly of Lynch Mob) replacing Jani (again!) and Jaime (who has a reformed Black ‘N Blue) at the mic and it’s a solid album that actually charted on Billboard’s Top Hard rock Albums Chart at #22! It’s such a good record that I would have easily paid the $17 import price but I saved $4 by waiting for the U.S. release.

Whitesnake – Live At Donington 1990 (Special Edition Box Set 2CD/DVD) (2011) – $16: Again, thanks to Frontiers Records, I was able to preview the CD portion of LIVE AT DONINGTON 1990 for a few weeks before it was released but this special edition wasn’t one I was going to miss adding to my collection. Recorded on 8/18/1990 at the Monsters of Rock Festival at Donington Park, this is Whitesnake at it’s chart-topping best: a live album with mostly all the big hits from 1984 to 1990 and a DVD of the exact performance all packaged it a double gatefold CD digipak with full color graphics and booklet. Remember how big Whitesnake was back then? Well their bands before them were The Quireboys, Thunder, Poison and Aerosmith! Import prices online were around $25 plus shipping at most shops but the U.S. release was a regular $20…..I bought it day of release so I saved $4.

Hammerfall – Infected (2011) – $10: I had no idea that Hammerfall was releasing a new album until about a week before the release date…..and I have been following the band since 1998! It’s no secret that I’m a big Power Metal guy and Hammerfall has been one of my favorites since the Power Metal resurgence of the late ’90s so this was a no-brainer purchase for me. “No-brainer”…..that’s a funny way of putting it because the concept here seems to be zombies and being infected as one. It’s a different direction for Hammerfall but one I’m hoping to enjoy as much as their last few records. I’m a little puzzled by the lack of vibrant graphics and no sign of Hector, the band’s knight mascot that has been on every album cover, but if it’s something different then why not try it? Regular price was $16 so I saved $6 buying the album the day of release but I was lucky to get a copy because there were only two copies available when I hit the new release rack at the shop.

U.D.O. – Rev-Raptor (2011) – $12: Here’s another album that I received a promtional download for so I could review it but I added it to my want list. I’ve been an U.D.O. fan since he formed the band after his time in Accept so I’m going to buy every album that comes out but I really wanted to get the European limited edition with the bonus tracks but the online shops sold out quick and I didn’t really want to drop around $25 for a couple extra songs and a couple videos. I’ll give Udo Dirkschneider credit, he knows how to do it Gene Simmons style because there were four pressings of REV-RAPTOR: the regular jewel case, the limited edition European with 2 bonus tracks & videos, the Japanese with different bonus tracks and the special box set with a t-shirt and other souvenirs. I wish there was an easier way to get all the bonus material instead of having to buy to high price imports but I’m happy with my U.S. version. Regular price was $16, sale price was $12, saved $4.

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (2 CD Limited Edition) (2011) – $14: It’s only been recently that I’ve really gotten into Arch Enemy so this new album is kind of a new start for me. There’s been a lot of press on KHAOS LEGIONS so I’m hoping that it’s as good as the older material I’ve been listening to. What makes this release interesting is that there are 2 versions: the regular jewel case or the limited edition with a 4 track bonus disc and a code for a free t-shirt. I was grabbing the double disc version but what astounded me was the regular prices: $16 for the single, $25 for the double! Good thing I buy the new releases the day they come out because I save a lot of money…..in this case, the single disce was on sale for $11 and the limited edition for $14. How could I not buy the limited edition and save $11? Add in the free t-shirt and it’s a great buy even if I have to pay the shipping for the shirt and then give it to my daughter because I can’t fit in an XL!

Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstacy (2011) – $12: I got into Pagan’s Mind with 2007′s GOD EQUATION but I really haven’t gone back and tried to acquire the band’s previous releases. I like the band and I’m a fan of Progressive Metal but Pagan’s Mind just hasn’t taken hold in my listening rotation, hopefully that will change with this new album. This is another band that I didn’t know was releasing a new album but I was pleasantly surprised to find out in the Newbury Comics weekly newsletter. There are two versions of this album too: the single disc or the limited edition with 2 bonus tracks. When I went to the record store the day of release they only had the limited edition (the version I was buying anyway!) and they had plenty of copies. Regular price was a high $17 for the two extra songs but the sale price was only $12 for a savings of $5. I have been to the record store since I purchased this in the middle of June and I still haven’t seen the standard version but I assume that it’s without the bonus tracks and priced around $15 regular price.

Black Country Communion – 2 (2011) – $13: Black Country Communion is Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham…..now that’s a supergroup! The debut BCC album was awesome and made my list of the Top 30 Albums of 2010 at #5 so I was surprised when I read that the band had a new record ready to go. I waited on buying the first BCC album and ended up paying full price, the sting of that purchase was easier to take because the album was so good, but I wasn’t waiting around this time. Day of release and on sale for $13, I pulled the trigger. I like the old school stadium rock sound BCC has and Glenn Hughes keeps sounding better as he gets older while I am totally into Bonamassa’s guitar sound and now checking out his solo material…..good to see this album get on the U.S. Hot 100 chart with it’s debut. Regular price was an expensive $17 so I was glad to get the sale price and save $4.

Alestorm – Back Through Time (2011) – $13: Alestorm is another band I’ve followed from the beginning and I’ve grown to enjoy their Pirate Metal that’s a continuation of what Running Wild was doing a decade plus before. The thing is that the pirate themes and concepts are going to wear thin on the ultra serious metal fans but it’s all done well and in good fun so I don’t mind dropping a few bucks for good pirate party. I ended up buying the special edition of this album too with the hardbound book packaging and the two bonus tracks that are included. I didn’t see a regular jewel case edition at the record store but I read only that it exists. I actually almost pre-ordered this online through Napalm Records with the free t-shirt but they didn’t have the 2XL I need, the price on that package was $25 with shipping. Regular price for the special edition was $17 at the shop but I bought this on sale for $13 saving myself $4.

AC/DC – Live At River Plate DVD (2011) – $12: I’ve had my eye on this concert DVD for a few weeks but I never picked it up because the local shop had a ton of copies for weeks and the sale price kept going. Usually they take off the sale price after a couple week but they had so many copies of this DVD that the sale price was still there about a month after release. I had a little extra money to burn so I went to go pick up a copy but there was only two left this time! I’m not sure if the shop had a run on them all of a sudden or maybe transferred some to other locations but where there were many stood only two and one copy was regular price $15. Lucky for me the other copy still had the sale sticker on it so I knew that I’d be getting the price I wanted. Sure enough, when I got to the register, the DVD rang regular price but they price adjusted to the $12 sale price and I saved $3. I saw the Black Ice Tour in Foxboro, MA so LIVE AT THE RIVER PLATE will be a nice tour souvenir.

Night Ranger – Somewhere In California (2011) – $14: This is another album that I’ve had the promotional download for through Frontiers Records but I decided to pick the album up for the collection. I remember when DAWN PATROL came out back in 1982 and I was a fan of the band straight through to the break-up and reformation in the late ’90s…..this is another no-brainer purchase for me. I didn’t really get into the band’s last album, HOLE IN THE SUN (2008), right away because of the more modern sound the band used but it was still Night Ranger and it grew on me. From what I’ve read and my initial spin, SOMEWHERE IN CALIFORNIA sounds like classic ’80s Night Ranger. I caught the band’s tour last year in Connecticut and it was a high energy show and the band sounded great, maybe taking that energy into the studio proved successful? Regular price here was $17 because it’s technically an import but I got it on sale for $14 and saved $3.

Symphony X – Iconoclast (2 CD Special Edition) (2011) – $13: I haven’t really listened to Symphony X since 2002′s THE ODYSSEY and I had no idea that they were releasing a new album (I’ve got to keep up on my Metal news!) so I was a little hesitant when i saw this album in the new release rack at the record store. Do I take a chance on a band that has released only two records since 2002? I noticed that there were two versions of this CD also (a trend for June I think!): the single disc and the special edition digipak that’s two CDs and has extra songs. I’m a sucker for bonus tracks and the sale price for this version was only $2 more than the regular so I snatched it up! I also noticed that there were a lot of copies of both versions of the album, a lot of which are still unsold and still onsale in mid-July. Regular price for the special edition was $19 so I saved $6 on the day of release. I’m hoping ICONOCLAST is a surprise record for me this year.

Queensryche – Dedicated To Chaos (Deluxe Edition) (2011) – $16: Another deluxe/special/limited edition for June’s hunt! Things with Queensryche have been hit or miss since 1994′s PROMISED LAND but I really enjoyed AMERICAN SOLDIER (2009) and I’m hoping that DEDICATED TO CHAOS is a continuation of the quality material I know the band is capable of. The wild card here is Geoff Tate and the direction his writing and leadership takes the band, one look at the back cover and seeing a bald Tate could either be a bad sign of he’s channelling his friend Rob Halford. Either way, I’ve been a fan of the band since the QUEENSRYCHE E.P. (1982) and THE WARNING (1984) so I’m always going to support the band. I bought the deluxe version for the three extra songs for only $3 more than the standard version. If you’re going to spend $13, why not just spend the $16 and get the whole package? Regular price for the deluxe version was a scary $22 so there was no way I was going to let a sale price pass me by with an opportunity to save $6 on an album I would easily buy.

Zebra – No Tellin’ Lies (1984) – $6 used: This was easily my bargain of the month and well worth the time spent digging through the used sections. I had gone to a different Newbury Comics location that had better selection than my usual store with my daughter and niece so I gave them each some money to shop so I could dive into the used bins. Unfortunately, I own most of the discs I found but NO TELLIN’ LIES, Zebra’s second album, was sitting there at a perfect price at $6 used! I’m not passing that up especially since all the Zebra records are on my want list so I can replace my cassettes. I was particularly psyched about finding a Zebra album because they had just played a local club in Massachusetts back in May (that I missed!) and the band’s hit from the first album, ‘Tell Me What You Want’, has been all over the local rock stations. My online research tells me that an original Atlantic Records pressing of this CD retails at about $15 if you can find it and the double disc reissue with the band’s third album, 3.V (1986), goes for around the same price and is easier to find. My digging saved me about $9.

Zebra – 3.V (1986) – $10 used: When out on a CD hunt always be mindful that where there’s one Zebra CD, there could be another! Zebras travels in herds don’t they? Seeing that I had good luck finding NO TELLIN’ LIES in the used bins, I decided to take the hunt over to the “Misc. Z” section of the Rock/Pop bins and there it was…..bargain #2 of June…..Zebra’s thierd album, 3.V from 1986! Here’s another pristine original pressing that goes for the same $15 alone or in the latest reissue with NO TELLIN’ LIES so I wasn’t about to pass it up! I haven’t seen original pressings of these Zebra albums in local record stores in at least ten years so I’m hoping that the recent concert at Showcase Live made some people clean out their collections. I’m not saying Zebra is a bad band, quite the contrary, but you would be surprised how many people dump their collections after a concert comes through town or the extra used stock the stores have in back makes it to the sales floor. Either way, it pads my collection and gets the want list a little shorter. Spending $10 for a used CD is a little high but I was sure I wouldn’t see it again and I still saved $5 off what would be a $15 regular price.

Helix – Walkin’ The Razor’s Edge (1984/2009 reissue) – $20: Now this was a big purchase but a necessary one. Ever since I rediscovered Helix back in 2005 when I bought lead singer Brian Vollmer’s autobiography Gimme An R!, I have been snapping up a lot of their back catalogue. Rock Candy Records in the U.K. are a great reissue label that takes great care in releasing high quality reissues of classic albums by working alongside the artist in getting the album back in the stores. In the case of WALKIN’ THE RAZOR’S EDGE, I do have a cassette that is well worn and I have the single ‘Rock You’ on an ’80s Metal compilation CD so I’ve been content to wait out the last couple years and get this reissue at a good price. Depending where you look online, you can get this reissue anywhere between $15 and $25 plus shipping charges, that’s too high. When I saw the record store actually stocked the album, I jumped on it despite the price. I figured I’d pay at least $20 on the low end of the online price so I decided to buy it now instead of having to wait a week or two because of the mail services.

Total = $239

Total (year) = $559

Average Price (per item) = $10.75

Total Savings (month) = $97

Total Savings (year) = $336

Total CDs (year) = 49

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

 

U.D.O. - Dominator (2009)

U.D.O. – Dominator (2009, AFM Records)

  1. The Bogeyman
  2. Dominator
  3. Black And White
  4. Infected
  5. Heavy Metal Heaven
  6. Doom Ride
  7. Stillness Of Time
  8. Devil’s Rendezvous
  9. Speed Demon
  10. Whispers In The Dark

(NOTE — This is the U.S. release. The European digipak has a bonus track titled ‘Pleasure In The Darkroom’ and the Japanese version has a bonus track titled ‘Bleeding Heart’)

udo_main_02

Band Lineup:
Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals
Stefan Kaufmann – Guitars
Igor Gianola – Guitars
Fitty Wienhold – Bass
Francesco Jovino – Drums

Producer: Stefan Kaufmann

Country: Germany

Total Time = 44:48

U.D.O.
U.D.O. MySpace page
AFM Records

Doesn’t it seem like there is a new U.D.O. album every year? It just seems like the band puts out record after solid record and there is never a break! Looking back at all the U.D.O. studio album, DOMINATOR is the band’s 12th studio album and, if you count live albums, their 15th. I could add in all the E.P.s with the excusive tracks but that would get a bit too much. One thing is certain: U.D.O. releases new material consistently and it’s always very good. I have to give Udo Dirkschneider a lot of credit for carrying on the Metal tradition he helped start with Accept back in 1979. His voice was an integral, and unique, part of Accept’s Traditional Metal sound and he has kept that sound alive with U.D.O. There are a lot of metalheads out there that would love to see Accept reunite (again) but U.D.O. is the natural continuation. Like I mentioned, the U.D.O. sound is the same as the Accept sound so, if you know Accept, then you basically know U.D.O. This new album picks up right where 2007′s MASTERCUTOR left off by providing pure heavy Metal of the highest order full of melody, thunderous metallic riffs, and Udo’s unmistakeable growl…..all in trademark German Metal style. If the formula ain’t broke, why fix it? U.D.O. has been giving us the same kind of Metal since 1988′s ANIMAL HOUSE!

DOMINATOR starts out with a short subdued piano intro to ‘The Bogeyman’ but it quickly kicks into the main riff and Udo’s grating vocals. I like the fact that Udo does his own backing vocals because it adds a bit more range when he puts his own scream vocal over his regular growl. ‘The Bogeyman’ doesn’t really surprise, it’s the same traditional style the band usually goes for but the chorus cauhgt me and had me singing along. Another thing U.D.O. does well: they put in enough hooks to grab the listener. The title track is definitely faster than ‘The Bogeyman’ with a more focused twin guitar attack and rhythm. Again, there really isn’t much difference here from other U.D.O. material but the simplicity and straightforward delivery is what makes this so good! It’s kind of like being an AC/DC fan! I like the lower vocal on the chorus (with me singing along again) and the guitars are blazing…..the solo trade-off between Stefan Kaufmann and Igor Gianola are awesome!

What to hear a trademark Accept style “balls to the wall” style riff? Listen to the opening of ‘Black & White’. Heavy but slower than the first two songs with that cool Udo drawl over subdued guitars before everything kicks into high gear. The only problem with this song is the repetitve chorus, I would have liked and different line or two. I did detect a melodic Scorpions-like quality to the guitar solo…..definitely a Teutonic Metal flavor. I know ‘Infected’ from the INFECTED E.P. (2009) that preceded DOMINATOR, the song is a speedy metal attack that sounds like METAL HEART (1985) era Accept. Listen to that pounding drum sound too, Francesco Jovino and Fitty Weinhold (bass) keep everything heavy. One thing you will always find on an U.D.O. album is one of those Manowar-esque “we love Heavy Metal” sounding songs…..that’s ‘Heavy Metal Heaven’. It’s a heavy mid-tempo track with melodic guitars and a gang chorus that really sticks in your head. A bit simple though but I could see this song getting played live to get the crowd involved in a sing-a-long. Moving along for a ‘Doom Ride’, the band uses another Accept styled riff for another heavy tune that gets the headbanging right away, the only drawback being the overly simple chorus.

You could probably call ‘Stillness Of Time’ the album’s ballad but it’s more of a guitar driven mid-tempo than pure ballad. It’s a melodic song and Udo sings in a very subdued melodic style. It’s hard to really call this a ballad but the opening piano, keyboard textures and pace of the song really grab hold. It’s definitely the most commercial song on the record, dare I say “radio-friendly”, with an ’80s Whitesnake style. I like the song, it’s something different among the straight forward Metal assault. U.D.O. always has a novelty song on their albums and ‘Devil’s Rendezvous’ sounds like something off Queen’s A NIGHT AT THE OPERA but metallic…..I keep thinking of ‘Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon’ and Freddie Mercury camping it up! Can you imagine Udo camping it up. The song is like a metallic showtune…..a throwaway for me. Things get back on track with the heavy as hell, pedal to the metal ‘Speed Demon’. Traditional Power Metal with blazing guitars, change vocalists and this could be a Primal Fear, Judas Priest or Hammerfall song…..the deulling guitars on this track are worth the price of the CD! The last song on DOMINATOR is ‘Whispers In the Dark’ and it starts with that ballad feel like ‘Stillness Of Time’ does. The song opens with a soft piano, melodic singing from Udo with soft background vocals and acoustics. Then the electric guitars kick in to bolster the sound but the song still has that sense of balladry…..I would call this a ballad more than I would ‘Stillness Of Time’. An odd way to close a heavy album.

Bottom Line:
You can always count on U.D.O. to deliver the goods and the band does it again with DOMINATOR. It’s another solid album in a long line of solid records made in the same style…..Udo Dirkschneider has been doing this for 30 years and he has stayed true to his sound. That’s what I like most about U.D.O., and DOMINATOR: you know exactly what you are going to get and the music is expertly done with high quality musicianship and songwriting. If you want solid Traditional Metal then this is the album to pick up. I followed Udo after the Accept breakup and I have been an U.D.O. fan since 1988, I always look forward to a new U.D.O. album and I rarely get disappointed. My only complaint is with the album cover (it’s terrible!) and the bonus tracks for Japan and Europe. Usually U.D.O. will include these bonus tracks on a preceding E.P. to give all the fans a chance to hear them. My copy is the U.S. version: no bonuses. No matter, DOMINATOR is easily one of my favorite releases this year.

Favorite Songs:
‘The Bogeyman’, ‘Speed Demon’, ‘Stillness Of Time’, ‘Infected’, ‘Heavy Metal Heaven’

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow Flash players so the best thing I can do here is post the link for the new U.D.O. video, ‘Black & White’, from the upcoming DOMINATOR album.

Check it out on RockTube.us — http://tinyurl.com/l7fcfv

udo infected

U.D.O. – Infected E.P. (2009, AFM Records)

  1. Infected
  2. Systematic Madness (non-album track)
  3. Bodyworld (non-album track)
  4. Plachet Soldat (non-album track/remix version in Russian)
  5. Poezd Po Rossii (non-album track/live in 2008)

Band Lineup:
Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals
Igor Gianola – Guitars
Stefan Kaufmann – Guitars
Fitty Wienhold – Bass
Francesco Jovino – Drums

Producer: Stefan Kaufmann

Country: Germany

Total Time = 24:18

U.D.O.
U.D.O. MySpace page
AFM Records

In the last five years, U.D.O. has released three EPs to announce the coming of the band’s new full-length album. MISSION NO. X (2005) had the 24/7 E.P., MASTERCUTOR (2007) had THE WRONG SIDE OF MIDNIGHT E.P. and now the new DOMINATOR (2009) has INFECTED. The cool thing about all these EPs is that there are a lot of non-album tracks, remixes and/or bonus tracks from previous releases…..this makes the CD special for collectors and diehard fans. Now the last couple of albums I bought but I missed out on the EPs, especially THE WRONG SIDE OF MIDNIGHT, an E.P. I am still trying to track down for all the non-album tracks. INFECTED became a top priority especially when AFM Records announced that the release would be limited to 2,222 copies worldwide!

The title track is also going to be on DOMINATOR and it is a heavy as hell, speed track that sounds like classic Accept around the METAL HEART era in 1985. The whole U.D.O. sound is classic Accept so you kind of get the idea of what you’re getting. The first of two non-album (and E.P. exclusive) tracks is ‘Systematic Madness’, another song that sounds like classic Accept and/or early U.D.O. Great guitar work here and pounding drums, the song really has that fast and loud Metal sound. The second non-album track is ‘Bodyworld’, another cruncher of a song but the chorus really doesn’t fit the intensity of the music. It’s a solid modern U.D.O. song, if the rest of DOMINATOR follows these first 3 songs then it will be one of the best records of 2009!

‘Plachet Soldat’ is the Russian language version of ‘Cry Soldier Cry’ from MISSION NO. X (2005), it originally appeared in 2007 on THE WRONG SIDE OF MIDNIGHT E.P. and the Russian pressing of MASTERCUTOR but this version is a remix so it’s the 3rd version of the original song. ‘Poezd Po Rossii’ is another Russian language version of a previously recorded song, ‘Train Ride In Russia’ from 2004′s THUNDERBALL, but recorded live. It was recorded live in Russia on the Mastercutor Tour so I wonder if there are more livetracks that didn’t make last year’s live record MASTERCUTOR ALIVE.

Bottom Line:
Udo Dirkscheider decided to stay with U.D.O. rather than do an Accept reunion and I can’t say I blame him. Listening to the three new tracks on INFECTED shows that the sound of Accept is/was Udo and that some of the best Accept-style material is still flowing from U.D.O. Definitely a solid E.P. with 4 cool bonus tracks…..now we need the new record, DOMINATOR, in August to kick everything into high gear!

Favorite Songs:
I like all five songs…..the three new songs are excellent and the Russian remakes are very good.

From U.D.O. & Bravewords:

U.D.O. have announced that their upcoming live set will be titled MASTERCUTOR ALIVE and will be available through ZXY Music on September 26th.

The following formats will be available:
- double DVD including bonus material and double CD
- single DVD without bonus material in digipack
- double CD

As previously reported, material feature on MASTERCUTOR ALIVE was filmed on May 3rd in Tuttlingen, Germany.

The expected tracklist is as follows:

Disc 1: ‘Mastercutor’, ’24/7′, ‘They Want War’, ‘The Bullet And The Bomb’, ‘Midnight Mover’, ‘Vendetta’, ‘Mission No. X’, ‘Midnight Highway’, ‘The Wrong Side Of Midnight’, ‘Breaker’, – guitar solo -, ‘Princess Of The Dawn’, ‘One Lone Voice’, ‘Winterdreams’

Disc 2: ‘Living For Tonite’, ‘Thunderball’, – drum solo -, ‘Man And Machine’, ‘Animal House’, ‘Metal Heart’, ‘Holy’, ‘Balls To The Wall’, ‘Fast As A Shark’, ‘Burning’, – outro -, ‘I’m A Rebel’.

DVD Bonus Material:
- Russian Tour road movie (15 minutes)
- South American Tour road movie (15 minutes)
- Russian concert (30 minutes)

The DVDs will be issued in 5.1 Surround Sound.

A release date for U.D.O.’s new compilation, METALLIZED – 20 YEARS OF METAL, has been confirmed as November 30th through AFM Records. Not sure if this release date is only for Europe or if it’s worldwide, more information as I get it.

For more information on this release, please click here.

From Blabbermouth.net:

U.D.O., the German band led by former ACCEPT frontman Udo Dirkschneider, has set Metallized – 20 Years Of Metal as the title of its upcoming best-of album, due in December via AFM Records. The CD booklet will be filled with photos from the last 20 years and and will include liner notes written by Metal Hammer journalist Andreas Schöwe. The first 12 songs on the collection were chosen by fans via the official U.D.O. web site, while tracks 13 to 16 will consist of two unreleased songs, an acoustic version of the ACCEPT classic Balls to the Wall, and a live version of The Bullet and the Bomb.

UDO - Metallized: 20 Years Of Metal (2007)

Metallized – 20 Years Of Metal track listing:

01. Holy
02. Heart of Gold
03. Animal House
04. Cut Me Out
05. They Want War
06. Cry Soldier Cry
07. In the Darkness
08. Man and Machine
09. 24/7
10. Trainride to Russia
11. Independence Day
12. Thunderball
13. Shadow Maker (prev. unreleased song)
14. Terror in Paradise (prev. unreleased song)
15. Balls to the Wall (acoustic version)
16. Bullet and the Bomb (live from St. Petersburg)