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 – February update

February turned out to be a bit of a slow month but I was able to catch a good sale mid-month and I grabbed a couple CDs of Ebay…..no matter how slow it is, there are always bargains to be found!

Newbury Comics, Best Buy & Ebay

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Hammerfall – Gates Of Dalhalla (2CD/DVD) (2013) – $25
Holy Grail – Ride The Void (2013) – $12
Pink Cream 69 – Ceremonial (2013) – $18
Helloween – Straight Out Of Hell (2013 Deluxe Edition) – $17
CrashDiet – Savage Playground (2013) – $0

Dio – Stand Up & Shout (The Anthology) (2003) – $16 used
Christian Mistress – Possession (2012) – $14
Rival Sons – Pressure And Time (Deluxe Edition) (2011) – $0
Circle II Circle – Seasons Will Fall (2013) – $12
T&N – Slave To The Empire (2012) – $10
Rammstein – Sehnsucht (1997) – $0
Lordi – The Monster Show (2005) – $6 used
Lordi – Get Heavy (2002/2008 reissue) – $5 used
Lordi – Deadache (2008) – $0
Buckcherry – Confessions (2013) – $7
Michael Schenker Group – Michael Schenker Group (1980/2009 reissue) – $12
W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children (1989) – $6.50 used
Y&T – Contagious (1987) – $6.50 used

There wasn’t really much action in February, the holiday releases are over and bands are looking to mid-year for new albums so they can promote on tour in the Spring and Summer months. There were a few good new releases that came out and I hit the Newbury Comics in North Attleboro on 2/7 for the new Hammerfall live package and the latest album from Holy Grail. I’ve been a Hammerfall fan since they started in 1997 so I’ll buy every new release they have right away and Gates Of Dalhalla was no exception especially when it’s on sale! This is a cool live double CD with the show also on DVD in one package on sale for $25 (regular $30). I like getting these type of releases where its a package with both the audio and video, nothing is worse than a band releasing each format separately and charging MORE for the CD version (are you reading Iron Maiden?). I also picked up the new Holy Grail album on sale for $3 off the regular $15.

The second trip a week later found me banging on the door of the Newbury Comics Warwick location at 10am. Why? Buy 2, Get 1 Free on all new and used CDs! I will always take advantage of a sale like that so I was first in the door and immeadiately started snapping up some new releases I passed by so far this year. Unfortunately, the store is smart and they take any sale stickers off older new releases (does that sound right?) to make us pay the regular price but I’m slick and scouted the store out the day before. I immeadiately grabbed the new Pink Cream 69, Helloween and CrashDiet albums because they were all high priced. $18 and $17 are high prices for CDs but they are imports and I got the CrashDiet for free when it was also $17 regular price…..that ends up working out to just under $12 per CD. I picked up the Dio anthology used to complete the collection even though I have all the songs already on the proper albums and I was able to pair it with the latest Christian Mistress album and the freebie being the latest Rival Sons album, Pressure And Time, a deluxe edition that was priced for $12. After I bought the new Circle II Circle and the latest from the ex-Dokken members in T&N (Tooth & Nail), I added the only album I know from Rammstein for free instead of dropping the $10 on the used sticker. I also decided to pick up the rest of the Lordi albums to fill out my collection and I got Deadache for free ($4 used).

My last trip on the hunt for the month was to my local Best Buy to use up a $5 off coupon that was about to expire. There’s not much music in Best Buy anymore so it came down to buying the new Buckcherry album and saving the $5 off the $12 regular price. The good thing is that I love Buckcherry so this wasn’t a desperation purchase, I’ve been a fan of the band BEFORE the first album got released and BEFORE everyone got on the ‘Crazy Bitch’ single years later.

Of course, no month would be complete without a couple of Ebay purchases. I ended up scoring the 2009 reissue of the first Michael Schenker Group record with a ton of bonus material for a “better than Amazon” price of $12 (includes shipping). I also picked up original pressings of W.A.S.P. – The Headless Children and Y&T - Contagious for $6.50 each (that’s with shipping included!). The Y&T album was one of those CDs I just kept putting off for a great price but the W.A.S.P. album was a search that had to be fulfilled because I sold all my original pressings of the first six W.A.S.P. albums years ago when the remasters came out. The remasters sound horrible when you compare them to the original (something I didn’t really do back 10 years ago) so I’m on the search for all of them, the problem is that the original pressings are hard to find now.

Total = $167

Total (year) = $378.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.46

Total CDs (year) = 37

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

CD Scavenger Hunt (January update) – The first hunt of 2011!

Better late than never! I realize it’s the middle of February and I’m a couple of weeks late but the hunt is always going!

Taking a quick look back at last year…..I bought 178 different music items totalling $1820, that’s only about $35 a week and I’ve been known to spend a LOT more than that. I’m a little more budget concious now and I’ve come to the realization that I can’t buy everything so this year’s purchases are going to be a little more thought out and a little more of the less expensive side. I may equal or surpass last year’s dollar amount but I want to add more items to my collection. What’s the old saying? “Less is more”? Not in my collecting world…..MORE is more! Xmas came and Santa brought me $100 dollars in Newbury Comics gift cards so I was armed and ready when I walked into the Warwick, RI location…..

One thing to check out…..I’m adding Total Savings per trip and for the year into the stats at the end of the hunt so you can compare what I would have paid had I paid regular prices.

Newbury Comics

Black Sabbath – Mob Rules (2010 Deluxe Edition) – $35 (free with gift card): The top album on my Want List was the deluxe edition of Sabbath’s Mob Rules for one reason and one reason only…..the bonus CD of the Rhino Handmade release of LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ODEON. Back in May 2007, Rhino Records’ custom division released the limited edition numbered CD of LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ODEON for a meager $20 and the 5000 copies sold out immeadiately. There was a pre-order but I never bought in because money was tight at the time. I’ve been kicking myself ever since because that custom CD became a hot collector’s item not only for the music but for the exclusivity of having 1 of 5000 copies. In the years since, this has been one of the hottest bootlegged CDs on the secondary market. I was going to pick up all the Dio-era Sabbath deluxe editions anyway but once I heard what the extra disc was, I had to have it! Unfortunately, the Newbury Comics closer to my house in North Attleboro stocked only one copy and it sold right away. I kept my eye out and, when I saw it in the Warwick location, it was a done deal! There are also two bonus tracks that accompany the album proper: a live version of ‘Die Young’ and the original version of ‘The Mob Rules’ from the Heavy Metal movie soundtrack. Saved $35.

Black Sabbath – Seventh Star (2010 Deluxe Edition) – $35 (free with gift card): I was going to pick up the HEAVEN & HELL Deluxe Edition but there were two copies of it at the store while there was only one copy of the SEVENTH STAR Deluxe Edition. My paranoia that I would miss out on SEVENTH STAR forced my hand! I am a huge fan of all post-Ozzy eras of Black Sabbath and I bought this album back in 1986 when it first came out on cassette. Actually, I almost went to the concert at the Providence Civic Center that tour but my parents wouldn’t let me go, concerts were a new thing for me and them back in 1985/1986. Anyway, the extras here are a remixed version of ‘No Stranger To Love’ on the album CD and the bonus disc is a live recording with Ray Gillen at Hammersmith Odeon 6/2/1986. For the sake of history, the Providence, RI gig was 3/25/1986 and was the next to last show with SEVENTH STAR vocalist Glenn Hughes fronting the band. Saved $35.

The Rolling Stones – Hot Rocks (1964-1971) (2002 remaster) – $30 (free with gift card): When I started to get into music in the early ’80s, The Rolling Stones were billed as “the ultimate Rock ‘n’ Roll band” and they were always on local FM radio. I grew up listening to the radio and I grew up listening to the band’s songs. When I started heading out to record stores, I wanted a Rolling Stones greatest hits cassette…..enter HOT ROCKS. I bought my cassette copy at the old Good Vibrations chain and I remember it was so expensive (probably around $15) because it was considered a double album…..I still have the cassette today. I had $30 left in gift cards and I wanted something special and that’s when I thought of HOT ROCKS. The price has doubled for the remastered single CD compared to my cassette from back in the day but I figured I would never spend the $30 on my own so I decided that it was now or never and I burned the last gift card. Saved $30.

Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia (2010) – $12: Holy Grail is a spin-off band from one of my favorite new bands White Wizzard. I’m not really sure who left to form what band but now I know that there are two solid U.S. Power metal bands out there! I had read a lot of reviews on Holy Grail in Decibel and Revolver magazines, as well as, online so I kept the band and album in mind but I had totally forgotten as I was burning all my gift cards. As I was walking to the checkout counter with my three albums, I saw CRISIS IN UTOPIA sitting in a display so I snatched it up right away. I figured that I wasn’t paying for the three other deluxe CDs so I could spend some of my own money and buy this album. Good thing I grabbed the CD on display because a quick look in the Metal section under ‘H’ and I found another copy at the regular $15.99 price! I’ll take a sale CD anyday! Saved $4.

Electric Wizard – Black Masses (2011) – $10: One of the hardest things about being an obsessive collector is that you want to hear and buy everything but everything is not always available. I had Electric Wizard’s latest, BLACK MASSES, on my list all year long but I wasn’t about to pay the high import prices. I don’t own any Electric Wizard albums but, after reading so many great reviews, I decided to start with the new album. Unfortunately, there was no U.S. release date set! So I waited and then the 2010 year end best of lists started coming out online and in print. Gues what album always seemed to be at or near the top? A couple weeks after my gift card shopping trip, I decided to drop in quickly to the local Newbury Comics closer to home and there’s BLACK MASSES in the new release section for a cool $10…..about $15 less than the import price + shipping! A no-brainer to pick up…..saved $4 off the regular price. Just a note here…..this is the North American release and it’s dated 2011 on the CD even though it was released everywhere else in 2010.

Bret Michaels – Songs Of Life (2003) – $4 used: If you’re going to pop in the local record store quick and immeadiately find an album you want on the new release rack in front of the entrance, then it’s your duty as a collector to make sure that there are no other treasures hiding in plain sight. I took a quick lap through the entire store and guess what album I find staring at my from the Poison section? I know I’ve crucified Bret the last few years for releasing “new” albums that are really repackage deals of his previous solo work but I’ve made it a personal mission to acquire all the Bret solo albums that were released in the mid-2000s on his own label, Poor Boy Records. Slowly but surely, I started to find all the Bret albums but SONGS OF LIFE had eluded me at a fair price, it was going for $25+ on Ebay! I saw the CD and grabbed it right away, then I saw the $4 price tag…..that’s a huge deal! I estimate that this originally went for $15 when it was released so I saved about $11.

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (1985) – $7 used: This was a great find for very personal reasons. About 8 years ago, when my wife and I were expecting our second child, money was a little tight. My wife wasn’t working and my work schedule wasn’t flexible enough for me to get a second job. I turned to my CD collecting hobby for additional income. I started selling used CDs that I found in the record stores on ebay and I started to make a couple extra bucks. When we needed even more extra cash, I turned to my own collection for CDs to sell. One of my big sales was all the original pressings of every W.A.S.P. album from the first to THE CRIMSON IDOL (1992)…..6 CDs and I netted $100! That was a huge help back then and I justified it not only by the situation but by the fact that I had bought the W.A.S.P. remasters back in 1999. Years later, I’m unhappy with the sound on the remasters and I’ve been searching for the original pressings again. W.A.S.P. has always been one of my favorite bands and I was there from before the debut album so these records are special, THE LAST COMMAND being my favorite. An obvious purchase and a great find at what I estimate as half off regular price. Saved $8.

Hardcore Superstar – No Regrets (2003) – $4 used: I found this CD in a bargain bin and I recognized the name but I wasn’t sure what kind of music they played. I remembered seeing reviews on one of the websites I frequent but I had never heard one song from Hardcore Superstar. Thank god for smartphones! First, I checked my collection to see if I already owned it (I’ve seen more than a few copies at a low used price). Second, I got online and looked the band up. Once I found the reviews at some of my favorite websites, I decided to take the $4 risk. Third, I checked Ebay to see what the CD was going for because there was a second copy of NO REGRETS at the same price. It wasn’t selling at auction so I figured I’d leave it for someone else to discover. I’m going to use this as a jumping off point to check out the band because it’s their fourth out of eight albums and, if I like their brand of Sleaze Rock, I will try and get the rest as cheap as possible. I estimate the regular price at $15 when researching online and taking into account Newbury Comics’ prices, so I saved $11.

Damageplan – New Found Power (2004) – $3 used: I found this in the same bargain bin that I found the Hardcore Superstar disc in and I used my smartphone again to make sure I didn’t have it in my collection. I have always been a Pantera fan, maybe not as big as others, but I have all their records in my collection, including the independent ones before COWBOYS FROM HELL. I never bothered to collect all the spin-off bands until I bought both HellYeah albums last year. I had every intention of checking out Damageplan after the untimely death of Dimebag Darrell but I just never got around to it. In fact, I’ve passed on more than a few used copies over the years but none at this price. To make sure I was getting the best deal (and how could $3 not be a great deal!), I went over to the ‘D’ section and noticed that regular price on this disc was $15.99 and the other used price was $7.99. I saved $13 off the regular price.

Rhapsody Of Fire – The Cold Embrace Of Fear E.P. (2010) – $7: As I was picking up the W.A.S.P., Hardcore Superstar and Damageplan CDs on my third trip of the year to the record store, I noticed this new release by Rhapsody Of Fire in the new release rack. I wasn’t really sure what this release was, and Rhapsody does have a pattern of releasing E.P.s and multi-track CD singles between albums, so I got online with my phone for quick research…..my Android phone is my new best tool while on the hunt! Turns out this E.P. was released in Europe in October 2010 and it’s one 35 minute song broken into seven acts. I’m skeptical about these type of releases because what does a 35 minute song sound like? And am I going to get bored? I have almost every Rhapsody release so the completist in me had to have it and, at $7, it wasn’t too much to risk. Saved $3 off regular price.

Online

King Lizard – Viva La Decadence (2010) – $20: I happened to find out about King Lizard through a podcast I listen to and I liked the song so much that I went to their website to buy the album. Of course, I was too late because they were sold out of the first pressing with the uncensored artwork! I didn’t want to wait for a second pressing to become available so I emailed the band direct and inquired on the availability. The band responded and I bought the LAST copy they had with the uncensored artwork AND they autographed it for me! Not a bad deal at all! Sometimes all you have to do is ask and you definitely shall receive, as long as you have a genuine interest and still pay for the item! Thanks to King Lizard for hooking me up so watch for an album review here soon. More info on the band can be found at their official website: http://www.kinglizard.co.uk/

Total = $67

Total (year) = $67 

Average Price (per item) = $6.09

Total Savings (month) = $154

Total Savings (year) = $154

Total CDs (year) = 11

Total DVDs (year) = 0

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 0

Albums I Missed In 2009

It never fails…..every year goes by and there are always a ton of albums I end up missing. There are so many new albums released every year that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Usually I spend the first two months of the new year acquiring all the albums I didn’t buy the previous year before all the new releases start to flood the market. 2009 was no exception as I missed more than a few notable Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums. The following is a list of albums I missed in 2009 that I picked up in 2010…..some of the albums I just didn’t buy until 2010, some I bought but never got around to listening to and some I just forgot about! As many of you collectors know, if you acquire a lot of albums, they tend to pile up, and my pile kept growing! The more the pile grows, the more albums get pushed to the bottom of the pile. With all the submissions coming in and all the albums out there to buy, things can get lost in the shuffle quick. The following list of albums are CDs that were either in a pile on my desk waiting to be listened to but never got around to giving them a proper spin until the new year or albums I picked up in early 2010. Some of these albums might have made my Top 40 Albums of 2009 or at least extended it to a Top 45 or 50!

3 Inches Of Blood – Here Waits Thy Doom (2009): Here’s a case of an album being bought and getting lost in the shuffle! I picked up this new album by 3 Inches Of Blood back between September 2009 and mid-October 2009 for $10. If I’m not msitaken, I picked this album up around the release date because the price I paid reflects what would be the sale price at the record store. I’ve been a fan of 3 Inches Of Blood since their second album FIRE UP THE BLADES (2007) and I’ve gone backward and picked up their previous two releases but I completely ignored HERE WAITS THY DOOM. I know exactly what happened: I bought it, put it in the “BOUGHT” pile and other CDs got put on top of it as my CD hunts continued. I think I may have listened to it once before the year ended! I even forgot about it as this year started and I went back and started to listen to it around the Spring. HERE WAITS THY DOOM is a pretty good record and I kind of wasted time by not getting to it sooner!

Cage – Science Of Annihilation (2009): Here’s another album that I picked up in 2009 but never got around to listening. I’m a big Power Metal fan and Cage has been on my radar since 2003’s DARKER THAN BLACK, I own that album and 2007’s HELL DESTROYER. Back in mid-2009, I was sent a digital download of the album for review purposes so I didn’t plan on picking it up right away. I had the album download link but it didn’t work so I started looking for the CD…..nothing in the record stores and the prices online were way too high so I waited. I ended up picking this album up through an online store that was having a sale about five months after it was released. By then I had deep piles on my desk, SCIENCE OF ANNIHILATION got added in and lost in the shuffle. I did get a the album uploaded to my iPod so I gave it a couple late night spins but not nearly enough for a review or to be eligible for my year end awards.

Charm City Devils – Let’s Rock ‘N’ Roll (2009): I had no intention of buying this album because of all the hype. First, the singer, John Allen, was the drummer in the punk band SR-71. Second, the band signed to Nikki Sixx’s Eleven Seven label. Third, there were all the comparisons saying that the band was a combination of AC/DC and Jet. Now I like AC/DC but I think Jet sucks, I didn’t like SR-71 and most of the bands on Nikki Sixx’s label aren’t for me…..with that stacked against them, there was no buying Charm City Devils’ debut. Then I started reading all these positive reviews and seeing decent sale prices at the record shops…..but I still passed. It wasn’t until early January 2010 that I found this CD used for half price and I finally decided to pick it up. It went in the pile and stayed there because I just couldn’t get over the initial reasons NOT to buy it. I ended up playing this a few times early in 2010 but not revisiting it until August and September. Definitely an AC/DC clone and I can hear the modern similarities to Jet. Overall, not a bad record, I just never gave it a fresh chance.

Epica – Design Your Universe (2009): I bought this album on the same trip as Charm City Devils in January. DESIGN YOUR UNIVERSE came out in mid-October 2009 and I passed on it even with the good sale price. I’m not sure what I was thinking about because I’ve been an Epica fan since 2007’s THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY, going backwards to explore their previous releases. Obviously, Simone Simons has a beautiful voice but a lot of people I’ve spoken with seem to think that’s all Epica is about. Actually, the band’s music is aggressive and orchestrated at the same time and Simons isn’t the only singer because Mark Jansen provides the more aggressive vocals. Definitely Power Metal and the selling point is Simone Simons especially in the seemingly endless sea of female-fronted Metal bands. I ended up grabbing this album early in 2010 and I have been listening to it on and off for the entire year…..had I just picked it up when it was released, it would have easily made the 2009 Top 40.

House Of Lords – Cartesian Dreams (2009): That first shopping trip of 2010 was a good one because this CD by House Of Lords is the third record of five on this list that came from that trip. I was a fan of House Of Lords back in the ’80s because of the Gene Simmons connection and the Giuffria connection but you couldn’t escape the singles ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ and the cover of ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ on FM radio in 1988 and 1990. I had those first two albums (HOUSE OF LORDS and SAHARA) on cassette back in the day but I lost touch with the band as the ’90s closed in and I missed a whole bunch of albums. I rediscovered the band in 2006 when they released WORLD UPSIDE DOWN  and 2008’s COME TO MY KINGDOM but this new record wasn’t high on my priority list when it came out in October 2009. I ended up buying CARTESIAN DREAMS on the basis of seeing the it end up in a lot of Best of 2009 lists and, well, name recognition. I’ve played it a few times over the course of 2010 and I liked what I heard…..time to revisit the House Of Lords back catalogue!

GWAR – Lust In Space (2009): With all the copycat bands out there like Mushroomhead and Lordi, the originators of taking Shock Rock to the ultimate level is undeniably GWAR. I’ve been listening to GWAR since my last year of high school when SCUMDOGS OF THE UNIVERSE (1990) was released and I’ve been picking up their albums here and there over the years. When the band announce the August 2009 release of LUST IN SPACE, I started to go back and listen to a lot of GWAR and then I picked this album up. Maybe it was too much GWAR at one time or too many new albums to go through but I ended up losing this one to the growing pile. I pulled this album back out when I heard that the band was releasing their new album, BLODDY PIT OF HORROR. Usually there’s a couple of years between GWAR records so getting a new one before I really got into the previous one put me in a bind because I hate missing out on music and I like to listen to bands I’ve followed in order. Seeing that I’m missing more than few GWAR albums, that idea goes out the window, but it’s cool to at least hear the last record before the new one. I enjoyed LUST IN SPACE and I see it easliy bouncing an album out of last year’s Top 40.

W.A.S.P. – Babylon (2009): Here’s the fourth album from the first shopping trip of 2010! I have been a W.A.S.P. fan since the first album and I have picked up, and enjoyed, every W.A.S.P. album through HELLDORADO (1999). Actually, I didn’t like HELLDORADO, it sucked and that album has made me delay buying every new W.A.S.P. record since. I picked up both UNHOLY TERROR (2001) and DYING FOR THE WORLD (2002) years after they were released but they were good records. This is W.A.S.P.’s second time on a list like this because they made the Albums I Missed in 2007 list with DOMINATOR (2007). DOMINATOR made the list because of the bad hangover I had from both NEON GOD albums released in 2004, they were awful and DOMINATOR suffered from that and no proper U.S. distribution until late in the year. BABYLON suffered the same fate but I played it a lot in 2010 and it easily would have made last year’s Top 40.

W.E.T. – self-titled (2009): Jeff Scott Soto is involved? I’m buying! The problem is that the import prices both in store and online were way too much for me so I waited until January of this year. The W.E.T. debut is the fifth album from the first shopping trip of the year and I ended up still paying a high price ($17) but all was good because I had gift cards to burn! Couldn’t go wrong with the value here with the bonus DVD of videos included. Seriously, Jeff Scott Soto could sing the alphabet and I would buy it but add in Robert Sall from Work Of Art and Erik Martensson from Eclipse and you have a solid group of musicians. This debut is an extremely great melodic rock album and I can definitely hear why it made a lot of top album lists for 2009…..if I had bought this right away and given this proper listening time, it would have easily cracked last year’s Top 40.

White Wizzard – High Speed G.T.O. (2009): This is more of an E.P. than a full-length album with only seven songs but it’s a solid seven songs! HIGH SPEED G.T.O. was released in July 2009 but I waited a few months to pick it up. I grew up with the NWOBHM and traditional Heavy Metal so White Wizzard sounded like a band I would get into but it seemed like everyone was giving them high praise. When that happens, I get skeptical. I picked this up, gave it a couple introductory spins and put it in the pile. Big mistake on my part because this ended up being one of my favorite albums of 2009. I revisited this album because White Wizzard’s second release, and first full-length, OVER THE TOP, was released in February and I quickly got attached to it. I would have put this in last year’s Top 40…..or by this point, extended it to a Top 45 or 50! Traditional, old school Heavy Metal is alive and well coming from the U.S. with bands like White Wizzard around.

Winger – Karma (2009): Winger has had a stigma attached to them since the Beavis & Butthead cartoons aired on MTV back in the ’90s but they have released some of their best music in the ’90s and beyond. The first two Winger albums were huge during Hard Rock’s heyday in the ’80s and early ’90s but PULL was released in 1993 and that was a solid album. I didn’t get into Winger’s last album, IV (2006), but it got them back on my radar so, when my friend bought the album and recommended it, I decided to grab it on my last CD Scavenger Hunt of 2009. This album really surprised me because it’s not the ’80s Hard Rock Winger is well-known for, it’s grittier and heavier, but it also retains that ’80s sound. Make sense? KARMA is a pretty good album but I still haven’t given it enough listening time because of the backlog of CDs to listen to but it’s been cool to revisit this album over the last few weeks.

CD Scavenger Hunt (November update)

In an attempt to not only keep track of my purchases, and to also keep this post from being two months late, I am actually going to add to this post throughout the month! A genius of an idea…..not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before. The added bonus is that I can clear up some desk space. I should really take an updated picture of my desk because I have a pile of purchases, a pile of promos, the pile of press releases and then my own notes…..and that’s just on the left side! Then there’s the pile of CDs that I want to upload into iTunes on the right…..don’t get me started on that. So here’s November’s buying update……

Ebay

Johnny Crash – Neighborhood Threat (1990) – $18 used: I have been on the search for this CD for about 8 years…..for a decent price. I used to go to this record store from around 1997 to 2002 when it finally closed and I used to get a ton of great used CDs every weekend. This was back in the day when the Internet, Ebay, Napster, and trading in used CDs for cash were all really a new thing (at least here in Rhode Island!). Anyway, I used to scrounge the used racks and I could come away with about 20 used CDs for $100 and they were all Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. You don’t know how many times I debated buying this CD and how many times I put off grabbing it because I found something else “more important”. Once that specific store closed it’s doors, I never saw another Johnny Crash CD. You can get one online through various outlets but Ebay has always seemed the easiest but I never bothered to pick one up because I thought that $20+ for it was too much, especially when I had seen it for $5 used in person. As the years have gone by, the amount of copies on Ebay have dwindled and the price has gone up. I have had this album on my Saved Searches for at least a couple of years and, one day last week, a notification came via email of a new listing with a BUY IT NOW price of $15 + $3 shipping. I jumped on it immeadiately!

Newbury Comics

The Big Four (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) – Live From Sofia, Bulgaria (2010) box set – $55: Nothing would be better than to see the Big 4 of Thrash on tour in the U.S. but, for now, this live set from the 2010 European Tour will have to be enough. I grew up listening to all four bands so this was a no-brainer purchase for me, the only thing that bothered me was the price because $55 is expensive. I could have settled for the 2 DVD set for $20 but I wanted the audio as well so the 4 CD/2 DVD box set was the only option. Also included in the box set besides the CDs, DVDs and the box is a set of four photo cards (one for each band), a full color booklet and a guitar pick. The price really had me debating the purchase because I can get three or four different new releases for that amount but I reasoned that I was get more bang for the buck with one set. Plus, the regular price was $75 and waiting to use gift cards I will eventually get for the holidays would technically make it free…..but also $20 more expensive. I ended up saving $20.

Kiske/Somerville – s/t (2010) – $18: I have been wanting to pick this album up since it was announced first, because of Michael Kiske’s involvement (I’m a Helloween fan from way back in the ’80s) and second because Amanda Somerville jumped on my radar with her beautiful voice. I thought the concept was interesting in pairing the two singers and then I read a ton of positive reviews…..every once in a while I get an album stuck in my head that I just need to have, this was THAT album. The album came out a few weeks ago and I had been eyeballing it through the usual online stores but the price always floated up around $20 with shipping…..then the CD got a proper U.S. release and was on sale the first week. Unfortunatelt, the record store only stocked one copy the day it came out and someone managed to get to the store before me that Tuesday! This turned out to be one of the more pricey CDs I bought recently because I missed out on the initial sale price but I ended up with a comparable price compared to online and I didn’t have to wait for the mail.

Dio – Dio At Donnington, UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (2010) – $12: It’s been a rough time for me being a big fan of Ronnie James Dio and all the bands he fronted over the years, his death earlier this year affected me greatly because he was a big musical presence in my Metal journey of the last three decades. Besides groing up with the Dio band, I became a HUGE fan of his era in Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell and he led my favorite Rainbow lineup. One of the things I did after news of his passing was to listen to Ronnie’s collective work even more so there was a comfort in the music. This was a must have live set for me, not just because Ronnie is gone, but because I wanted to get my hands on an official release of both these legendary Dio shows at the Monsters Of Rock at Donnington. I hope that Ronnie’s wife Wendy continues to release classic archival material of Ronnie because his music is so great. Regular price was $18 for the 2 CD set so I saved $6 grabbing it on release day.

Helloween – 7 Sinners (2010) – $10: Like I mentioned up above, I started as a Helloween fan back in the ’80s with both KEEPER OF THE SEVEN KEYS albums but somewhere in the early to mid-’90s I lost touch with the band. Some of the best Helloween albums have been released since 1998 when I rediscovered a lot of my old favorite bands when I got my Internet connection: 1998’s BETTER THAN RAW, 2000’s THE DARK RIDE and 2007’s GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL. It just seems like Helloween just keeps pumping out record after record every couple of years, 7 SINNERS is their sixth studio album since 1998. I received a digital promotional copy of the album a couple of weeks prior to the release but there was a problem downloading the album so I never got to hear it! I would have spent the money on the proper CD for my personal collection anyway (this happens a lot!) and getting the CD on the day of release for $9.99 helped out a lot. Regular price was $16 so I saved $6.

GWAR – Bloody Pit Of Horror (2010) – $10: Didn’t GWAR just release an album last year? They did, LUST IN SPACE (2009). Nice to see the band trying to take over the world again as quickly as possible with two new albums and two world tours in two years. GWAR are the originators and bands like Mushroomhead, Lordi and Slipknot are capitalizing on an image that GWAR started all the way back in 1988! This was on my list of new releases to buy but it came out the same day as the new Dio and Helloween albums, then I found the Kiske/Somerville album, and I decided that I was going to spend too much money. Money is never an issue for me as long as the bills are paid and the family is fed but it’s getting close to the holidays and I didn’t want to overdue it…..I bought it anyway! The way I looked at it was that I would come back in a couple of weeks and have to pay the full price ($15) so I would be saving $5 by picking it up now. Plus, spending $10 now or in two weeks still means you’ve spent $10!

W.A.S.P. – s/t (1984) – $10 used: ever since Newbury Comics opened a store about 3 miles from my house, i never go to the Warwick, RI store anymore. True Rhode Islanders hate going anywhere if it takes longer than 15-20 minutes and the ride to Warwick, with traffic, can be 25 minutes. Needless to say, unless there’s other things that need to be done in the area, I don’t go down that way. After pulling a double shift at work, I came home to find that my wife was heading to Warwick to check out some holiday dishes for Thanksgiving…..the bribe for me to join her and the kids was Dunkin Donuts and a stop at the Warwick Newbury. This was a good trip because I found a lot of used bargains and this W.A.S.P. debut started it off. A little backstory here….. Back in 2003 when my wife was pregnant with our second daughter, she was out of work and we were cutting as many corners as possible. One thing I started to do was sell CDs I found on Ebay…..once my inventory was gone, I took a long look at my collection. I had all the original pressings of all the W.A.S.P. albums from the debut through CRIMSON IDOL but I also had the 1999 reissues with bonus tracks (the same reissues they keep re-releasing in different packaging every year!). Needing cash, I put the lot on Ebay and I think I scored $100! Over the years, I have regretted selling my original pressings because I think the reissues sound inferior so I’ve been on the hunt. When I saw this CD in the used bin, it was a definite purchase.

Tipton, Entwistle & Powell – Edge Of The World (2006) – $5 used: Here’s a disc that I passed up on four years ago and I have never seen cheap since the original sale price. Back in 2006, Glenn Tipton re-released his 1997 solo album BAPTIZM OF FIRE with two bonus tracks that were actually the Japanese bonus tracks from the 1997 release. I already had the original album so I didn’t bother but what did get my interest was this album that was released at the same time. So you have Glenn Tipton, The Who’s legendary bassist John Entwistle, legendary drummer Cozy Powell and keyboardist Don Airey working on a bunch of songs that weren’t done for BAPTIZM OF FIRE. Originally, this was supposed to be the band on BAPTIZM but the label got involved and these songs, and the lineup, got shelved. So the tracks finally see the light of day after close to ten years and 8 years after Cozy’s passing and 2 years after John’s. I never picked this up back then because I figured it would always be available, and it was, at $18 regular price. After a couple of years, the album disappeared off store shelves and I forgot about it…..$5 now is a great deal!

707 (featuring Kevin Russell) – Trip To Heaven (2000) – $4 used: I have this rule that if you’re going to rummage through the bargain bins, go through all of them thoroughly…..you never know what you might find. I’m an old school record store guy so I recognize a lot of obscure bands from my days as a kid flipping through racks of vinyl and cassettes, I recognized 707 right away. You may remember 707 from the early ’80s with their single ‘Mega Force’ but I remember them as being on Casablanca Records (KISS’ label). The band also got some publicity when Tod Howarth joined Frehley’s Comet and you may remember  singer Kevin Chalfant being a part of the band too. I wasn’t sure what kind of release this was but at $4 used, I figured that I could take a chance. Turns out Kevin Russell and 707 have been putting out some new material and re-releasing the old stuff.

Kotipelto – Waiting For The Dawn (2002) – $3 used: Bargain of the day! How can you pass up any Metal CD for $3? I recognized the band name as Timo Kotipelto from Stratovarius so I new that this was going to be some sort of Power Metal album. The album was released in 2002 on Century Media Records so I knew it had a regular release a few years ago but I didn’t remember Timo being solo. I grabbed this anyway, taking a chance again, but there was a second copy at the same price. Now the wheels are turning in my head…..could I sell this on Ebay? Good thing for cell phones! Turns out that this album sells for around$5 at auction so there wasn’t much upside to buying both copies but at least I got a great bargain! Perfect CD, as if it had never been played. No cut-outs, no wrinkles on the booklet, even the jewel case was in mint condition.

Sharon – Edge Of Time (1999) – $5 used: Another bargain! I’ve seen this album before back when it first came out in 1999 and I was a twice a week regular at 2 Guys Music in Warwick. That was a great place to get an education about what was coming out on European labels like Frontiers, SPV, Limb, Escape, Z Records etc. This CD came out in 1999 on Limb Music and distributed by SPV so I knew that I had at least found a Metal CD. What sold me right away, aside from the low price, was the gold sticker on the front of the jewel case that described the album as “sharp and timeless Melodic Rock & Metal”. That’s enough for me! From what I can tell, this was Sharon’s only release and the sound is a little dated from what the reviews say. I took the chance figuring that Melodic Metal from Germany, on a good label, can’t be all that bad. Plus, I checked Ebay on my phone and there weren’t any copies available for less than $9!

Domain – Stardawn (2006) – $9 used: Another awesome bargain! I would probably have to put this ahead of the Kotipelto CD as “bargain of the day” because this is a 3 disc set! STARDAWN was released in 2006 on Limb Music/SPV and it’s a 3 disc set including the STARDAWN album, a 16 song best of CD from 1988-2005 and a 9 song DVD titled SEVEN DAYS IN KOREA (LIVE 2005). I never let a nice set like this go: a 5 panel digipak, full color booklets, full color packaging, 2 CDs, a DVD and it’s a limited edition for Domain’s 20th Anniversary limited to 4000 copies worldwide. I didn’t see a serial number to designate which number out of 4000 I own but this STARDAWN collection isn’t something I’ve seen in local stores before.  Taking a quick look at my collection, it looks like I’ve picked up two or three Domain albums over the years but I don’t think I really have given the band much listening time.

Black Country Communion – s/t (2010) – $18: I ended up paying full price for this one because I passed on it the first couple of weeks after the album’s official release and, when I went to buy it on this trip, the sale price was gone. The sale price when this CD came out was $12.88 so I ended up paying $5 extra but I still felt OK about the higher price because I’ve heard such good things about this record. You’ve got Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian…..that’s as solid a lineup for a band as I’ve ever seen. Supergroup? Yeah, I’d say so…..it’s safe to say each musician is at the top of the list among their peers. I had this on my list just for Glenn Hughes, one of the greatest Rock singers of all time! The added bonus here is that the CD came with a bonus DVD that includes a video, interviews, behind the scenes in the studio and a photo gallery. If the album is as good as I’ve read, I’ll forget all about the high price.

Halford – Crucible (Remixed & Remastered) (2010) – $11: I picked this up to complete the Halford collection of remasters and because there were two copies, this one on sale and the other at regular price of $15. The sticker on the CD promotes the CRUCIBLE album remixed and remastered including four new tracks but, if you look closely, the four new tracks are really the two bonus tracks for the limited edition of the original pressing and the two bonus tracks for the Japanese import of the original pressing. This was one of those purchases that could have waited because I already have all the bonus tracks but, I was looking for something to buy and the sale sticker was calling my name. All the Halford remasters/reissues are top quality so I assume this one is more of the same. I haven’t opened it yet but when ido I will sit there and compare this to the original. Saved $4.

Halford – Live in Anaheim DVD (2010) – $15: For some reason, this DVD wasn’t released at the same time as the CD. I picked up the live album when it came out but this DVD came out a few weeks later and really flew under the radar. I could have pre-ordered this through the Halford website but I figured there would be a sale price and I could save a few bucks. The release date came and went and there was no mention in my weekly e-newsletter from the record store and there were no copies stocked in the store. About a month ago, I noticed that three brand new copies were in stock but regular priced. I decided to wait because there were three copies and there was no need to rush for it. A week later there were two copies…..two weeks after that I notice that there is only one Halford DVD left. I wasn’t going to risk another week, who knows who would buy it? This DVD includes the Anaheim concert obviously but also a documentary that includes four songs performed in Japan.

Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol (Deluxe Edition) (2010) – $35: OK, the price on this may stagger you but this is the standard price for this UK import. I’m not usually sucked into buying these “deluxe editions” that seem to be coming out for every single band now but I do have a few but there were some serious bonuses and the new editions were released in the U.S. I already own THE ETERNAL IDOL (1987), and I’m a big Sabbath fan, especially post-Ozzy, but there was one reason why this deluxe edition way high on my want list…..the sessions with Ray Gillen on vocals. Back in ’87, Ray Gillen (ex-Badlands) was the singer for Black Sabbath having taken over for Glenn Hughes during the tour for THE SEVENTH STAR (1986). The band hit the studio after the tour but for some reason it wasn’t working out with Ray Gillen on vocals…..Tony Martin eventually came in to replace Ray (who went to Badlands with Jake E. Lee) and just re-cut the vocals. The Ray Gillen sessions have been widely circulated in bootleg form but this is the first time Tony Iommi has allowed these recordings to be officially released. Another cool bonus is the two B-sides from the proper album: ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Some Kind Of Woman’. I was so worried about having to order this online that I bit the bullet and bought this right away…..and this was the only CD I bought on this specific shopping trip.

Issa – Sign Of Angels (2010) – $16: This is one of those albums where I heard a track and had to have it. Issa is a new artist on Frontiers Records and, obviously, it’s female-fronted melodic Hard Rock. I had a digital promo of the album, downloaded it to iTunes, listened to it once and accidently deleted it! So I checked out the video for the second track on the album, ‘I’m Alive’, and I just had this idea in my head that I had to have this album! The problem was I saw only one copy in the record store when the album was released and I hadn’t seen it since. I didn’t want to pay the high import price online for a new artist that I only really new by a video but I ended up paying the same price when I found a fresh copy about a month later. I’m a sucker for female-fronted bands but this is an impressive album, push this back 20 years and it’s a major hit.

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe (2010) – $10: This is the live CD of Heaven & Hell’s performance at the 2009 Wacken Open Air festival on the tour for THE DEVIL YOU KNOW (2009). My favorite Black Sabbath lineup is the one with Ronnie James Dio so I would have snapped this live album up anyway but, with Ronnie’s passing still fresh, it was even more important to me to buy it. There’s just something about Ronnie James Dio that has really hit home with me over the last ten or twelve years and he has crept up into my Top 10 favorite artists/bands. Doesn’t matter if it’s Sabbath, Rainbow, solo, Elf or gueat appearances, I just have had a need over the last decade or so to collect all things Dio. Now that he’s gone, I want even more Dio music. Anyway, I saw this tour in Boston the same summer so it’s a nice way to re-live a great show. Saved $5 on the CD…..there was also a DVD released the same day.

Firewind – Days Of Defiance (2010) – $12: With Gus G. touring as Ozzy’s new guitarist, I completely forgot that a new Firewind album was coming out! Newbury Comics didn’t forget because there were at least ten copies available all with nice sale tags. I have a couple of Firewind CDs so I put this on my list and ended up going back and picking this up right away instead of waiting another week. You know what your getting with Firewind…..European Power Metal and excellent guitar work from Gus G. Usually I don’t get too excited over a new Firewind album but I must have had a Gus G. hangover after seeing Ozzfest and re-visiting the Dream Evil album that was released earlier in the year. Gus G. is having a pretty good year in 2010! I’ll tell you what sold me on picking this up right away…..there was something else released the same day that wasn’t in stock when I got to the record store so I spent the money I had on Firewind and still saved $4, regular price was $16. And that item was…..

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: Live In Europe DVD (2010) – $10: The DVD version of the new Heaven & Hell live album was released the same day as Firewind but the store only stocked two copies of the DVD and I got to the store an hour after it opened so I missed out. I got the CD no problem, there were plenty of copies of that available but the DVD is what I really wanted. I wanted to see the show one more time because I had seen the Boston tour stop and it was a great show. I had the guy at the counter check the next delivery date, which was the next day, so I had it reserved. Show up the next day and the DVD didn’t come in, only more live CDs so my pal at the counter took my name and number and promised me a copy ASAP. Another 24 hours and I get a phone call from the store that my DVD is in so i made my third trip to the record store in two days for one DVD…..at least I got it and saved $5 in the process, regular price was $15.

David ‘Rock’ Feinstein – Bitten By The Beast (2010) – $10: And the Ronnie James Dio releated releases keep on coming! David ‘Rock’ Feinstein is Dio’s cousin and was in early Dio bands like Ronnie & The Prophets and Elf with RJD but you might remember Feinstein best from his days with The Rods. I remembered reading a year or so ago that Feinstein was working on two new albums: a solo album and a new Rods album both with performances from Ronnie. The album was going to be released by Ronnie and Wendy Dio’s label, Niji Entertainment, and Ronnie not only performed a song, ‘Metal Will never Die’, he helped Feinstein mix and master the album before his death. I probably would have picked this up eventually but because of Ronnie’s death, the Dio radar is up and I have to have more Dio related music. Picked this up on sale for $10, regular price was $14, so I saved $4.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Relentless (2010) – $12: Can anyone tell me why Yngwie has to release new albums so close to the end of the year? He did the same thing with his last record a couple years ago and I totally missed it! Anyway, I’m a Malmsteen fan all the way back to Steeler and Alcatrazz so I usually buy Yngwie’s new records but I wasn’t going to initially because I was sent a digital promo…..or so I thought. I get a lot of promos, mostly digital downloads and, if I like the band or album, I usually go buy it because I’m a collector. I got an email from Yngwie’s promotional people offering a digital copy of the album for review but, when I followed the links, I got a digital stream that wasn’t downloadable. I like to download this stuff into my iPod and listen to these album’s on the go but I was chained to my computer to hear RELENTLESS. Now I get the whole priacy thing and I don’t question an artist from trying to avoid it but it was just an inconvenience…..so I didn’t bother with it. I even forgot the album was released! I happened to see it when I grabbed the Feinstein CD and noticed the good sale price, regular price was $18. I didn’t want to pay such a high price knowing that I would end up grabbing this eventually so i bought it and saved $6. By the way, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is back on the vocals.

Total = $298

Total (year) = $1758

Average Price (per item) = $10.72

Total CDs (year) = 149

Total DVDs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) = 7

Total LPs (year) = 2

CD Scavenger Hunt – First trip of 2010

I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer…..I finally went out and spent the $90 in gift cards to the local record store that I received for Xmas. Do you know how hard it is to actually NOT go out and spend them right away? Usually, my gift cards are spent within a couple of days but I decided to wait, get my want list together and let the stores’ inventories re-stock.

Being a lifelong Rhode Island native means that any trip longer than 20 mins is a “day out”. There are two local Newbury Comics stores near my house: the one 5 mins up the road in North Attleboro, MA and the one 20 mins away in Warwick, RI. Like I said, for most Rhode Islanders, a 20 minute drive I way too long so I made sure that there were errands to run in that area and my wife and kids came along for the “day out”. I decided to go to the store in Warwick because I know the inventory well in North Attleboro and the Warwick store always seems to have those extra special releases that I’m looking for.

Newbury Comics

W.E.T. – s/t (2009) – $17: Finally! After weeks of waiting and trying desperately to order online, I finally acquired the debut from W.E.T.! I had tried four times to order it from a certain online retailer but the order kept getting cancelled due to the CD selling out. I went straight to the ‘W’ section and found this right away for the same price that was online. I saw this make a bunch of year end lists and MelodicRock.com gave this a perfect 100 score on their review so this was a very important album to pick up. Add in the Jeff Scott Soto factor and it was a must buy!

W.A.S.P. – Babylon (2009) – $16: Another 2009 release that I missed out on because it was out of stock everytime I ordered it online. BABYLON and W.E.T. were always in the same order that kept getting cancelled by my favorite online rock shop. I saw this record make a lot of Top 10 lists at the end of the year and it was definitely a must have. I’ve been a W.A.S.P. fan since the first record, actually before that when I acquired the ‘Animal’ single as an import, and I always look forward to a new W.A.S.P. record. Price wasn’t bad here, only a dollar more from the store I kept trying to order from and $5 less than NEH Records.

House Of Lords – Cartesian Dreams (2009) – $16: I completely missed this album in 2009, I didn’t even realize House Of Lords was releasing a new album! I go back to 1988 & 1990 with the band’s debut and SAHARA but I haven’t really kept up with the band until the last couple of albums. I was impressed with what I heard on WORLD UPSIDE DOWN (2006) and COME TO MY KINGDOM (2008) and this also made a lot of year end lists.

The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off (2009) – $10: Taking a chance on a band that i have never heard before but seems to be on the rise. When I read all the Best of 2009 lists, this CD ended up being on quite a few, and it has been highly recommended to me by more than a few people. Sleaze Glam here so it’s music I like but I hope the band is not the usual L.A. Guns/Guns ‘N Roses/Faster Pussycat clone. This was the last CD I found and the price was right for taking a chance.

Steel Panther – Feel The Steel (2009) – $12: Danger Kitty…..Metal Shop…..Metal Skool…..now it’s Steel Panther! I didn’t bother buying this when it came out because the import price was way too high but I saw this finally got a U.S. release and the price today was more than half than the import. I know there are a few different pressing of this, my copy only has 11 songs…..I’ve seen a 12 song pressing and a 14 track issue.

Epica – Design Your Universe (2009) – $12: Wanted to buy it and should have bought it when it was released but for some reason I passed. I like epica a lot so I’m not sure why I passed on this before but, when I saw the sale sticker still on it, I couldn’t pass it up this time around. The CD rang up regular price ($16) when they scanned it at the register but that old sale tag saved me $4. It always pays to get the sale price…..even if your weeks after the sale!

Charm City Devils – Let’s Rock ‘N Roll (2009) – $7 used: I had $90 in gift cards and I had two CDs in my hand: Saga – The Human Condition (2009) and this one. Both CDs were used and both were $7…..making my overall total $90. I have the Saga album already, I received a promo from the label but it’s not an official pressing and I like the real CD with the booklet and packaging, etc…..but I passed. I found this copy of LET’S ROCK ‘N ROLL and it was the only used one in a bunch of regularly priced copies at $15 each. I couldn’t pass up the price and the new music and I’ve passed on this album so many times that I figured it was finally time to grab it.

Total = $90 (- $90 gift cards) = $0

Total (year) = $0

Total CDs (year) = 7

WANTED: W.A.S.P. – Babylon (2009)

WANTED

W.A.S.P. – Babylon (2009)

I’m not sure if it’s W.A.S.P. releasing albums late in the year with no proper U.S. distribution or me not going the extra mile to pick the album up. This is the second W.A.S.P. release in a row that I have missed when it was released and picked up in the next year. I did the same thing with DOMINATOR (2007) and now I’ve missed the boat on BABYLON! Actually, I did try and order this CD, along with Danger Danger & W.E.T., through my favorite online store but I kept getting the emails saying it was sold out. Needless to say, my favorite online CD retailer isn’t my favorite anymore! This came down to price and pressing. On one hand, I could pay the import price of $25 and get the CD from Europe but the place I order from had it for $15. The same thing happened with DOMINATOR and I finally went to Ebay and scored a Russian pressing for cheap money. The problem is that certain Russian Federation labels are legit and some are not so I try to stay away from those kinds of pressings. I would rather get a proper European, Japanese or U.S. pressing if it becomes available. Sounds picky but sometimes the collecotr in me outweighs the fan…..and I have been a W.A.S.P. fan ever since I saw the ad for the ‘Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)’ single in Circus back in 1983 or 1984. I’ve been a fan of the band since the first record straight through to the last one so buying BABYLON is a no-brainer. Again, more great reviews online and this made a few best of lists for 2009 so I’m anticipating another solid album. This is high on my want list so I will be ordering very soon.

2009 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10

KISS pumpkin

(Read the 2010 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10)

My favorite time of year is here again…..Halloween!

A couple of years ago, I did the 2007 Heavy Metal Halloween Top 10. What I was trying to do was pick out some songs that were creepy, spooky and fit into the Halloween mood. Of course I left out a few obvious ones for my own personal picks. Last year I forgot to do one and I got a ton of email to do one for Halloween 2009 so I went through my collection again. I tried not to repeat any songs from the 2007 list, with one obvious exception, so here’s this year’s list (in no particular order except #1)…..

  1. Black Sabbath – ‘Black Sabbath’
  2. Helloween – ‘Halloween’
  3. King Diamond – ‘Halloween’
  4. Alice Cooper – ‘Killer’
  5. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Mr. Crowley’
  6. Fastway – ‘Trick Or Treat’
  7. W.A.S.P. – ‘Scream Until You Like It’
  8. Helloween – ‘Escalation 666′
  9. King Diamond – ‘Voodoo’
  10. Iron Maiden – ’22 Acacia Avenue’

Bonus Track: Alice Cooper – ‘Keepin’ Halloween Alive’ (new song for Halloween 2009)

Vacation playlist

Today starts my last vacation week of 2009. I always take the same vacation weeks every year and it’s that time again…..Halloween week! My family has the graveyard in front of the house and the kids are getting their costumes together and I have zombies to build for the graveyard. So what do I do? Sleep all day and watch football! I had a double shift at work again so I was able to get the iPod fired up and listen to a couple albums…..

Heaven & Hell – Live From Radio City Music Hall (2007): I’ve been on a big post-Ozzy Black Sabbath kick again so I put this Heaven & Hell live record on so I could hear the current Sabbath lineup do what I’ve seen them do four times in concert since the band adopted the Heaven & Hell name. This is becoming one of my favorite live albums.

Black Sabbath – Live Evil (1982): I played this album just so I could compare Sabbath then to Sabbath now. This is still one of my favorite live albums and a classic everyone should have in their collection.

KISS – Sonic Boom (2009): I had to get my daily listen to the new KISS album. It really is a solid record and a great studio comeback for the band.

Ace Frehley – Anomaly (2009): Just like the new KISS album, I had to get my daily listen to the latest Ace Frehley record. Just like the new KISS album, ANOMALY is a solid record and a great comeback for Ace 20 years after his last solo effort.

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008): I wanted to give this a fresh listen because I feel like I didn’t give this enough time last year even though it made my Top 30 for 2008.

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command (1985): This is my favorite W.A.S.P. album and one of those albums that were so important to me when I was growing up and discovering different Metal bands. Great songs all around but I forgot just how good ‘Wild Child’, ‘Fistful Of Diamonds’ and ‘Cries In The Night’ are. The whole album is a classic but I get sick of ‘Blind In Texas’ so I usually skip over it.

CD Scavenger Hunt – Last Week’s purchases

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

Circuit City

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

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

Newbury Comics

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

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

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

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

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

Ebay (prices include shipping)

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

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

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

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

Albums I Missed in 2007

There are so many albums released every year that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Usually I spend the first two months of the new year acquiring all the albums I didn’t buy the previous year before all the new releases start to flood the market. 2007 was no exception, I missed more than a few notable Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums, but I made up for it in 2008. The following is a list of albums I missed in 2007 and picked up at some point in 2008. Some of these records might have cracked my Top 15 Albums of 2007 or at least extended it to a Top 20 or 25.

after-forever-2007After Forever – s/t (2007): I picked up this album January 2nd and it has remained in my playlist pile the entire year. I have always been a fan of female-fronted Gothic/Symphonic Metal bands and bands like The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, and Tristania have made me take a good look around the scene for bands I overlooked. What I like about After Forever is their use of beautiful operatic female vocals courtesy of Floor Jansen mixed with Death Metal growls while keeping everything heavy. This album would have easily made my Top Albums list if I had bought it last year.

anvil-this-is-thirteen-2007Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007): I’m an old school Metal guy and it doesn’t get more old school than Anvil! Independently released and limited to 1000 copies through their website, Anvil created an album that is straight forward Heavy Metal. The band is like AC/DC in that they don’t stray too far from their original sound. Heavy riffs, solid drumming and gritty vocals…..that’s all that’s needed. Like I said in the review, THIS IS THIRTEEN is one of the most underrated albums of 2007!

Armory - The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007)Armory – The Dawn Of Enlightenment (2007): I stumbled on Armory when I was looking up local New England Metal bands on MySpace. I heard the songs on their page and I was hooked! The guys in the band were kind enough to submit their album for review and I got one of the best Metal albums of 2007! I can even tell you that it would easily have made the best of list from last year at #7. Traditional/Power Metal blended with Progressive and Thrash Metal…..Armory is a band that has shot to the top of my list for a band to watch.

Gamma Ray - Land Of The Free II (2007)Gamma Ray – Land Of The Free II (2007): LAND OF THE FREE II was released in 2007 in Europe and Japan, we had to wait until January in the U.S. I picked up the European version in January from a CD sale at the local record store the same day the album was officially released here in the States. Is there really any difference? Nothing bothers me more than when a CD gets released eveywhere else and we have to wait a few weeks, or months, for a proper U.S. release. It’s either that or buy the import! It’s an excellent Power Metal record by one of the best in the genre but it seemed to get lost in my playlist with all the new albums coming out.

Helix - The Power Of Rock And Roll (2007)Helix – The Power Of Rock And Roll (2007): This album is a re-release of the GET UP! promotional disc with four more songs added in for good measure. Helix hasn’t changed their sound over the years, they still play the good time party Hard Rock that made them a success in the ’80s. Another album that would have made my Best of 2007 list.

King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul... Please (2007)King Diamond – Give Me Your Soul…Please (2007): Nothing can beat a new King Diamond album and I passed on this one too many times in 2007. Not sure why because it was on my list all year long and I just kept leaving it the racks. I bought this CD the same day I bought the Gamma Ray disc at a really good price and playing this regularly over the last year got me to fill some of the King Diamond/Mercyful Fate holes in my collection.

Lana Lane - Red Planet Boulevard artworkLana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007): I passed on this album in 2007 because I was disappointed with the last few Lana Lane albums. There are so many live records and covers collections you can take before you need real songs and it had been 5 years since 2002’s PROJECT SHANGRI-LA. The conceptual LADY MACBETH was in there somewhere but I couldn’t get into it at all. This album is exactly what I was hoping for from Lana Lane and it’s another release that would have made my Best of 2007 list.

Nightwish - Dark Passion Play (2007)Nightwish – Dark Passion Play (2007): I have never been a big Nightwish fan because of the Opera style vocals of former vocalist Tarja Turunen but I had a couple of their CDs. Nightwish split with Tarja and the news wasn’t taken lightly by many of the band’s fans. When the band announced that former Alyson Avenue vocalist Anette Olzen would replace Tarja, I knew that it was a great move. I liked Alyson Avenue a lot and Olzen’s style is more to my liking. This is another one of those albums that had an international release in 2007 but a U.S. release in 2008. I ended up grabbing the last sale copy of the collector’s edition that included an expanded booklet and a 2nd CD of orchestral versions of the album.

U.D.O. - Mastercutor (2007)U.D.O. – Mastercutor (2007): I missed the release date on MASTERCUTOR and I was trying to hold out until I could find the European limited edition with the bonus tracks. Unfortunately, that search continues but I picked up a U.S. copy used for $7 and it was one of the best purchases all year. I’ve been an Accept/U.D.O. fan all along and I usually pick up anything these bands put out but I missed out on one of the best releases of the 2007.

Wasp - Dominator (2007)W.A.S.P. – Dominator (2007): I passed on DOMINATOR for the same reasons I passed on Lana Lane’s RED PLANET BOULEVARD, I wasn’t thrilled with W.A.S.P.’s last few albums and I wasn’t going to waste my time with an album that wasn’t good enough to get U.S. distribution. It just had to be bad. W.A.S.P. had released two stinkers with the NEON GOD records and I just figured that this one would follow suit. This album blew me away and ended up becoming one of my 2007 favorites, just like the U.D.O. album.

W.A.S.P. – Dominator (2007)

W.A.S.P. – Dominator (2007, Demolition Records)

  1. Mercy
  2. Long, Long Way To Go
  3. Take Me Up
  4. The Burning Man
  5. Heaven’s Hung In Black
  6. Heaven’s Blessed
  7. Teacher
  8. Heaven’s Hung In Black (Reprise)
  9. Deal With The Devil

Band Lineup:
Blackie Lawless – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Mike Duda – Bass & Backing Vocals
Mike Dupke – Drums
Doug Blair – Lead Guitar
Darrell Roberts – Lead Guitar on ‘Deal With The Devil’

Producer: Blackie Lawless

Total Time = 43:28

W.A.S.P. official website
W.A.S.P. MySpace page
Demolition Records

After twenty three years and twelve studio albums of shock Rock, W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless resurrects his infamous band after a three year abscence to release the politically charged DOMINATOR. A lot of things have happened in the W.A.S.P. camp since we last heard from the band, the most glaring event is another lineup change: Stet Howland is replaced on the kit by Mike Dupke and Doug Blair replaces Darrell Roberts on lead guitar (except for one song). The other major change is the band’s label…..the previous four albums were released under the Metal-Is/Sanctuary label, now a division of SPV. The band’s deal fell through and the independent Demolition Records added W.A.S.P. to their roster.

DOMINATOR is an album written in direct response to the ongoing U.S./Iraq war but Blackie has stated that it’s not a concept album, more like a collection of similar ideas. One look at the cover art and the liner notes and you get the general idea of the album’s direction. The Iraq war and the war on terrorism is a fresh topic for musicians to draw from to make their personal statement…..take a listen to Megadeth’s UNITED ABOMINATIONS that was also released in 2007, I expect these current events to be an influence on metal for a long time to come. One thing you can always expect from Blackie and company is the need and ability to shock the masses. In the early days, the threw raw meat and desecrated a nun prop on stage, now Blackie is using his lyrics and intelligence to get people talking. One thing is for sure, when Blackie Lawless writes a record he always finds a way to play mind games with his audience be it with the music, the lyrics or both! You never know what to expect.

‘Mercy’ starts the album off to a rocking start with a cool guitar intro, that reminds me of 1985’s ‘Wild Child’, that continues throughtout the song. Blackie doesn’t use his high pitched shriek from the early days but he’s found that mid-range vocal that sounds dangerous and evil but is also very melodic. ‘Long, Long Way To Go’ continues the barrage of high intensity Metal with some really solid drumming from the new drummer Mike Dupke and some intense soloing from current lead guitarist Doug Blair. Wonder who has incited Blackie’s venom this time around? ‘Long, Long Way To Go’ is blistering attack on the current state of the Iraq war with references to big Oil, “Burnin’ Bush’s lie” and the “Halliburton war machine”. The final lyrics “Bastard, bloody bastards” is pure rebellious, out spoken Lawless. ‘Take Me Up’ slows down a little and offers a more emotional performance from the band but retains all the power with a steady bassline from Mike Duda (who has basically carried bass duties in W.A.S.P. since ’97) and superb guitar from Blair. Blackie’s vocals are pure melodic emotion with a little hint of the old school singing from the early days of ‘Cries In The Night’ or ‘Widowmaker’. ‘The Burning Man’ is another fast Metal feast that sounds like it could have easily fit on THE HEADLESS CHILDREN (1989). Doug Blair really shreds all over this track and has become the a serious focal point of the entire album. One of the things I expected from this album was to have a good guitar performance, so far I’m blown away! It’s not surprising though because Doug has been a member of the band on and off since 1992 and he knows exactly what Blackie is looking for.

Over the years, Blackie Lawless has been able to write mid-tempo balladeering epics that have emotion and power. ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’ starts off with a subdued portion of the Civil War tune ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ (‘The Ants Go Marching One By One’ to some of you) but kicks into power epic form with crashing drums and plenty of riffs. The vocal is emotionally charged, you can feel the pain that Blackie is trying to push across. At over 7 minutes long, this is the album’s longest track but it is also it’s best. I look at ‘Heaven’s Blessed’ as sort of a faster companion to ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’ but also as a rival. ‘Heaven’s Blessed’ is faster and a straightforward in-your-face beating with more excellent Blair guitar but, lyrically, it comes down as more greedy whereas the previous song was more humble? ‘Teacher’ is another Iraq war themed song that is fast paced and has some similar guitar tones to ‘Mercy’ and ‘Long, Long Way To Go’ but the solo mid-way through is very impressive as is Dupke’s crashing drum kit. Something I’ve noticed 7 songs in, Blackie’s voice seems to get stronger/better with every song.

‘Heaven’s Hung In Black (Reprise)’ is part two of the epic three songs previous but it’s totally out of place and unnecessary. Maybe the idea is to get the listener back into a somber mood? The Reprise cuts out the heavy guitars and focuses on the vocal so it’s definitely toned down. Good news is that things pick up again with an old school styled rocker with ‘Deal With The Devil’. Fast and furious with another solid performance this time from former guitarist Darrell Roberts. Duda and Dupke drive the song underneath that blazing guitar and Mr. Lawless sounds like the clock has turned back 15 years. If you had to pick a representative track for the album, this could be it, ‘Deal With The Devil’ would have made a great single.

Bottom Line:
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from W.A.S.P. The band’s output has been spotty since their resurgence in 1997 — I enjoyed the evil KILL, FUCK, DIE but ’99’s HELLDORADO was a joke! UNHOLY TERROR (2001) was a solid W.A.S.P. album but I never got around to getting the following year’s DYING FOR THE WORLD. Then there are THE NEON GOD concept albums that I thought were both terrible. Add the constant lineup changes, the upheaval with the label, and another “concept”…..let’s just say I was discouraged, I didn’t even pick this album up until early this year and the record had been out since early 2007 and I’ve been a W.A.S.P. fan since the debut. It just goes to show you that you need to give things a listen and not assume what a band is going to do because DOMINATOR is an excellent album and I am a fool for not picking it up when it came out. The song concepts on the war is real that makes it more appealing to me and the performances from the entire band are solid. The standout performance has to go to guitarist Doug Blair, he created some of the best riffs and solos of the W.A.S.P. catalog. I should also mention that Blackie sounds stronger at the mic than he’s ever been and I was surprised to hear him really belt out some of these songs when he’s been more apt to use his mid-range the last few years. One of the best albums of 2007 that I missed out on…..until now.

Favorite songs: ‘Mercy’, ‘Long, Long Way To Go’, ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’, ‘The Burning Man’……I like every song on the album but ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black (Reprise)’ counts as filler.