CD Scavenger Hunt – July update

I’m way behind on keeping you updated about my purchases so here’s a long update for July…..

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The Scream – Let It Scream (1991) – $8.50 used
Johnny Lima – Shine On (2004) – $8.50 used
Shok Paris – Go For The Throat (1984/2010 reissue) – $12

Sister Sin – Dance Of The Wicked (2003/2013 reissue) – $10
Queensryche (featuring Todd LaTorre) – s/t (2013  limited edition box) – $14
Oliva – Raise The Curtain (2013) – $11.50
A World With Heroes: A KISS Tribute For Cancer Care (2013) – $25

All the way back to July for this set of purchases! There really wasn’t much I was going to buy this month but I managed to squeeze in a few new releases and some Ebay scores. I started off on a quick Ebay hit by winning both The Scream and Johnny Lima CDs from the same seller for $16 total. I was sure I had The Scream in my collection but I was wrong so I wanted to fill the void quickly and I’ve been on the hunt for any Johnny Lima CDs at a decent price. My third Ebay win was an official reissue from Auburn Records of the first Shok Paris album. I already picked up a copy back in May but it was a bootleg reissue and not officially sanctioned by the band or Auburn Records. I made an Amazon purchase shortly after of some new releases that I hadn’t picked up yet…..Sister Sin, Queensryche and Oliva (Jon Oliva’s solo project, not Jon Oliva’s Pain). I had been watching the sale prices at the local record store but Amazon just beats them out everytime. I’m all about supporting my local record store but it’s actually becoming a hassle going there especially when the selection is always the same and the prices are comparable, if not better, at Amazon. Not to mention that I’m an Amazon Prime member so shipping is free and no sales tax! Looking at my notes, I saved at least $10 by going through Amazon. My last CD for July was a benefit KISS tribute CD for cancer care, organized by major KISS fan and rock writer Mitch LaFon and distributed through Pledge Music. $25 got me a double disc of 40 songs, plus exclusive download and iTunes bonus content and my money went to a great cause. Please follow the link to read more about the project.

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Heaven & Earth – Dig (2013) – $16
Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods (2013 Deluxe Edition) – $16
Whitesnake – Made In Britain (2CD) (2013) – $0
Satan – Life Sentence (2013) – $16
Scorpion Child – s/t (2013) – $13
Sirenia – Perils Of The Deep (2013) – $0
Butcher Babies – Goliath (2013) – $13
The Winery Dogs – s/t (2013) – $13
Seven Witches – Rebirth (2013) – $0
Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Sessions E.P. (2012) – $6
Geezer – Ohnwork (2005) – $0 used

I did make it out to the record store once in July for a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sale on all CDs so I made the 30 minute drive up to the Norwood, MA Newbury Comics to get a different selection from my two local Newbury Comics stores. I decided to get a lot of new releases obviously and I’m really out to stretch every dollar when I hit these type of sales so I went in with a budget of $100 and I spent $99! I got a bunch of great 2013 new releases and some of the free ones were actually on sale so I saved even more compared to the regular prices. My strategy is to group the highest prices together for maximum savings that way the higher priced CDs are free. I picked up the new Heaven & Earth and Amon Amarth albums for $16 each but I got the new Whitesnake live double disc for free saving the $16 sale price ($20 regular price). My next grouping was the new Satan and Scorpion Child albums for $16 and $13 and getting the new Sirenia for free, saving $13 on sale ($18 regular price) with the extra reward being that the Scorpion Child CD was on sale for $13 instead of the $18 regular price. My third grouping was the new Butcher Babies for $13 ($18 regular) and The Winery Dogs debut for another $13 ($16 regular) with the latest from Seven Witches for free and saving a straight $10. My last grouping was the Lynch Mob E.P. for $6, a CD for my daughter that cost $6 and the last Geezer record for free, saving $4 used. I wasn’t going to buy my daughter a CD because I have my own collection to think about it but how can you resist your kids? Plus, with sales tax, I would have gone over my personal budget so going a little over by buying my daughter a CD is OK!

Once I got home I decided to check my actual savings…..I’m a geek, what can I say? I selected every album and put them in an Amazon cart except for the Geezer CD which I found on Ebay and got a grand total of $122. I actually spent $93 on my CDs with $6 sales tax for a total of $99 at the record shop…..so I saved $23 going to the store. The savings continues when you look at the free CDs that totaled $43 and the sale prices that saved another $13. Had I bought all these CDs straight up at the record store it would have totalled $126. Did you get all that?

Total = $182.50

Total (year) = $1629

Average Price (per item) = $10.79

Total CDs (year) = 134

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 4

Total LPs (year) = 6

Total Box Sets (year) =7

CD Scavenger Hunt – April update

April was another big month of finds in the record store and online…..here’s what I got in April…..

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Sevendust – Black Out The Sun (2013) – $10
Kvelertak – Meir (2013) – $10

First trip of the month was a quick one to my usual record store just to pick up the latest Sevendust and Kvelertak CDs. Nothing really exciting or exotic about this purchase but I got two new albums for $10 each and saved $6 on each one compared to the regular price.

Michael Schenker Group – Temple Of Rock Live In Europe (2CD) (2013) – $13
Michael Schenker Group – Temple Of Rock Live In Europe (DVD) (2013) – $13
Queen – Hungarian Rhapsody (2CD/BluRay) (2013) – $26
Royal Hunt – 20th Anniversary Special Edition (3CD/DVD) (2013) – $14.30

The second trip of the month was for the Newbury Comics 35th Anniversary sale where everything was 35% off. This was where I was going to make some long overdue expensive purchases! I didn’t have a lot of time though so I went to my usual location close to the house and I picked up the latest Michael Schenker live album and DVD ($13 each, saved $7 each) the Queen – Hungarian Rhapsody (2CD/BluRay) ($26, saved $14) and the Royal Hunt 20th Anniversary (3CD/DVD) ($14.30, saved $7.70). I’ve had my eye on these for a while and I knew the sale was coming so I put all of them together on one shelf in the Music DVD/BluRay section and walked in, grabbed them, paid quick and went home.

Dio – Magica (picture disc) (2013) – $22
Skid Row – United World Rebellion Chapter 1 (2013) – $6
Kobra & The Lotus – s/t (2013) – $13
Ghost B.C. – Infestissumam (Deluxe Edition) (2013) – $12
Warbeast – Destroy (2013) – $12

Into Eternity – The Scattering Of Ashes (2006) – $4 used
Rainbow – Down To Earth (1979/1997 reissue) – $8 used
Iced Earth – Live In Ancient Kourion (2CD/DVD) – $17

RECORD STORE DAY!

I never miss Record Store Day and there was a line again this year at the Newbury Comics North Attleboro store. I’m not a big vinyl collector, just select Heavy Metal vinyl, so I only had my eye on one thing…..the Dio Magica picture disc. So, while everyone was going for these limited edition vinyl releases for RSD, I went over to the CDs and got what I needed. Saved $17 on all the new releases by getting them on sale plus I scored an Into Eternity CD I needed for $4 used and the 1999 remaster of Rainbow’s Down To Earth from 1979 (Graham Bonnet on vocals) for $8 used. I browsed around for a bit while the fury of the vinyl frenzy died down, then I walked over and plucked my Dio pic disc from the bin for $22. A little expensive but a limited edition numered copy.

Whitesnake – Made In Japan (2CD/DVD) (2013) – $15
Cauldron – Tomorrow’s Lost (2013) – $14
Tom Keifer – The Way Life Goes (2013) – $10
George Lynch – Legacy E.P. (2012) – $6

Last trip of the month to the record store to grab the new Whitesnake (2CD/DVD), Tom Keifer and Cauldron albums on sale, saving $13 total off the regular sticker price and adding in a George Lynch E.P. for $6 new. Quick, easy and home with new treasures.

Blue Murder – s/t (1989) – $5 used
Faster Pussycat – s/t (1987) – $5 used
Faster Pussycat – Whipped! (1992) – $5 used
HARD – Time Is Waiting For No One (2010) – $10 used

Signal – Loud & Clear (1989) – $10 used
Tygers Of Pan Tang – Ambush (2012) – $9 used

Ebay was a good place in April because I picked up some harder than usual to find CDs. I got the Blue Murder and both Faster Pussycats from the same seller so I saved on shipping as well as price! Everything mint and cheap…..goodbye to those old cassettes! The HARD album replaces a digital promo the label sent me back in 2010, a little pricey but there was $3 shipping added to the $7 winning bid. The same seller sold me the Signal album as well so the shipping was free on that because I bought the HARD disc. I’ve been trying to track down an original copy of Loud & Clear for years but there’s always a bidding war upping the price. There have been a few reissues along the way as well but this copy was original and mint condition so I didn’t mind paying the extra money for it. Last Ebay find was the last Tygers of Pan Tang album, Ambush, from 2012. $9 used instead of $20 import price? A great deal!

Cheap Trick – The Complete Epic Albums Collection Box Set (2012), Live At Budokan (30th Anniversary Box Set) (2008) – $100

I registered at Pop Market.com years ago and there are good deals from time to time. I’ve been eyeing the Cheap Trick box sets for a long time and I was actually watching both on separate auctions on Ebay but this offer of both together for $100 plus free shipping was a great deal. I pulled the trigger immeadiately.

Y&T – Earthshaker (1981), Mean Streak (1983), In Rock We Trust (1984), Down For The Count (1985) (all Japanese imports) – $75

My last deal was for four Japanese imports of Y&T albums that I didn’t have. I was watching these for $25 each (that’s $22 + $3 shipping each disc) on Ebay but I waited because there were no bidders and the listings were flooded with the same CDs. Once the auctions for all four ended, I privately contacted the seller and politely requested a non-Ebay private sale at a lower price. $75 plus free shipping was my offer and the seller took it. I saved $25 off the initial Ebay listings and I can live with that, especially for mint Japanese imports with all the inserts inside!

Total = $444.30

Total (year) = $822.80

Average Price (per item) = $11.75

Total CDs (year) = 61

Total DVDs & BluRays (year) = 3

Total LPs (year) = 1

Total Box Sets (year) =5

Press Release: Whitesnake to release Made In Japan (live DVD/CD) April 23, 2013 via Frontiers Records

MULTI-PLATINUM ROCK BAND WHITESNAKE TO RELEASE NEW DVD/LIVE CD PACKAGE: “MADE IN JAPAN” DUE OUT APRIL 23RD IN NORTH AMERICA VIA FRONTIERS RECORDS

Whitesnake - Made In Japan (2013) Whitesnake - Made In Japan (2013) DVD & Blu-Ray

Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the release of legendary rock band Whitesnake’s new DVD/live CD package, MADE IN JAPAN. MADE IN JAPAN is set for release on April 23rd in North America and will be available in several formats: a deluxe 2CD/DVD edition, Blu-ray and a standalone DVD. The performance footage is shot in stunning HD in 5.1 and stereo and is taken from Whitesnake’s co-headlining set at the “Loud Park” festival on October 11th, 2011 held at Saitama Super Arena in Japan during their “Forevermore World Tour.” The performance was initially recorded only for Japanese TV and future Loud Park promotions, but after three songs were broadcasted on a Loud Park highlights program in Japan, Whitesnake received unprecedented requests for this performance to be made available to the general public.

MADE IN JAPAN contains songs from Whitesnake’s most recent studio album, FOREVERMORE, as well as classic hits such as “Is This Love,” “Still Of The Night” and “Here I Go Again.” The bonus CD also includes never-before-heard outtakes and acoustic versions of material from the award-winning FOREVERMORE album that were recorded during soundchecks on the 2011 Japanese tour. Additional DVD content includes various band photo slideshows and fan-shot videos. Please see below for the full content listing.

Formed in 1977, and steered by the legendary David Coverdale, Whitesnake carry a rightful reputation as one of the world’s leading rock bands. Coverdale’s blues roots, combined with a feral sense of rock and roll, have consistently shaped the ‘Snake’s sound along with Coverdale’s love and appreciation of impeccable musicianship. Whitesnake’s ascent to the very top of the rock n’ roll heap was confirmed with 1987′s self-titled mega-platinum album, which saw two massive Top 10 hits, two #1 singles with “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love” and a virtual 24-hour domination of MTV around the world. David Coverdale was recently named one of Revolver’s “100 Greatest Living Rock Stars” and the UK’s Kerrang voted Coverdale the “Last Great Rock Star.” Musicians on MADE IN JAPAN include David Coverdale (vocals), Doug Aldrich (guitars), Reb Beach (guitars), Michael Devin (bass), Briian Tichy (drums) and special guest Brian Ruedy (keyboards).

MADE IN JAPAN track listing:

CD 1

1. Best Years
2. Give Me All Your Love Tonight
3. Love Ain’t No Stranger
4. Is This Love
5. Steal Your Heart Away
6. Forevermore
7. Six String Showdown
8. Love Will Set You Free
9. Drum Solo
10. Fool For Your Loving
11. Here I Go Again
12. Still Of The Night

BONUS CD 2

1. Love Will Set You Free
2. Steal Your Heart Away
3. Fare Thee Well (acoustic)
4. One Of These Days (acoustic)
5. Lay Down Your Love
6. Evil Ways
7. Good To Be Bad (acoustic)
8. Tell Me How (acoustic)

DVD & BLU-RAY: TRACK LISTING

1. Best Years
2. Give Me All Your Love Tonight
3. Love Ain’t No Stranger
4. Is This Love
5. Steal Your Heart Away
6. Forevermore
7. Six String Showdown
8. Love Will Set You Free
9. Drum Solo
10. Fool For Your Loving
11. Here I Go Again
12. Still Of The Night
13. Forevermore (fan video)
14. Steal Your Heart Away (fan video)

For more information, please visit:

www.whitesnake.com

www.facebook.com/Whitesnake.official

www.twitter.com/davidcoverdale

www.frontiers.it

The Top 25 Albums of 2011

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?

The Best Miscellaneaous Releases of 2011

Not every album released is a new studio album…..but it sure seems like they are! Every year there are a ton of live albums, greatest hits packages, reissues, remasters, box sets, special edition and limited edition releases that flood the marketplace. Sometimes there are multiple versions of these releases depending on which part of the world they are released in!

The one important criteria I have each year for the best and worst albums lists is that the albums have to be new studio albums…..or at least promoted as new studio albums. The problem is that some of these live records and greatest hits packages are quality releases and there’s nothing like getting a really good reissue of some long out of print album you’ve been searching years for. That’s why this year I’m creating this new list to recognize some of the quality non-studio, non-original releases that have found their way into my collection. There were a lot of different releases that I picked up that weren’t studio albums so I’m only going to list my ten favorites. So here are my Best Miscellaneous Releases of 2011…..

Bitch – Be My Slave/Damnation Alley E.P. (2011 remaster): I had no idea that this Bitch album was getting the remaster treatment from Metal Blade and I was completely surprised when i saw this in the new release rack back in August. Not only do you get the remastered BE MY SLAVE record from 1983 but also the DAMNATION ALLEY E.P. from 1982 along with a bonus track, ‘Let’s Go’. You can still find the original CDs online but what makes this remaster a top pick is the bonus DVD that runs over 2 hours long! The DVD includes a live performance at the Keep It True XIV Festival in Germany back in April 2011 and a classic performance from L.A. from the early ’80s and a couple of music videos. The DVD alone would have been a solid purchase but it adds so much more to the remaster.

Black Sabbath – Born Again (2011 Deluxe Edition) & Dehumanizer (2011 Deluxe Edition): I’m a huge Black Sabbath fan, especially of the post-Ozzy eras of the band! So far, I’ve collected most of these deluxe editions from the Dio years and the Tony Martin led THE ETERNAL IDOL (1989) but I was waiting for both BORN AGAIN and DEHUMANIZER to get the deluxe treatment. Both editions offer two bonus tracks each, live tracks from each tour and solid packaging but the best detail on these reissues is the sound. BORN AGAIN always had that thick muddy sound to it and this remaster sounds better than my original CD and the DEHUMANIZER CD sounds just as good. Definitely a couple of highlights added to my collection this year, now I’m looking forward to the rest of the Tony Martin era getting the deluxe treatment!

Eric Carr – Unfinished Business (2011): Being a KISS fan, and an Eric Carr fan, I had to list this CD. I ended up getting an advance copy of this new Eric Carr album and I’m honored to have it in my collection. During his tenure, Eric was the most outgoing member of KISS when it came to meeting with the fans…..he loved his fans and the fans loved him. It’s been 20 years since Eric’s passing and his family, specifically his sister Loretta, has compiled this collection of rare recordings that include unreleased songs, live tracks, remixes and interview clips. There are obvious KISS links in most of the songs and I really like hearing was Eric’s audition tape for KISS back in 1980 when he sang ‘Shandi’…..now that’s a rarity! I also think the packaging is top notch: a glossy digipak with plenty of liner notes for each track.

Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More (2011): Hard to believe this is Def Leppard’s first live album but MIRRORBALL captures the band extremely well with a great overall sound. The songs are taken from the last few tours and it’s basically the same hits pack we’ve seen live since 2007 but the sound on all those hits is awesome. Lots of value here being a Wal-Mart release: 2 bonus live tracks, 3 new studio songs and a 45 minute DVD that includes a behind the scenes look at the last tour in 2008/2009, live tracks and music videos. I also like the old school, thick jewel case! Definitely a solid pickup and a solid live album…..it makes you wonder what took the Leps so long to release one.

Doro – 25 years In Rock…..And Still Going Strong (2011): Finally, a proper U.S. release of this 2 DVD & CD set celebrating Doro’s 25th anniversary in Metal. This collection was originally released back in September 2010 around the world but U.S. distribution took a little longer…..surprising considering Nuclear Blast has a U.S. branch. This package includes the 3 hour 25th anniversary concert in Germany with tons of guest stars on the first DVD, a documentary and tons of extra live performances on the second DVD, and a live disc with highlights from the anniversary concert. I spent about $20 on this release and, even though some of the performances are 3 years old, it was definitely worth it. Doro has packed a ton of material in here for a great price, my only complaint being that the live disc isn’t the complete anniversary show…..I would have easily paid the extra money to get the full show on audio.

Grave Digger – The Clans Are Still Marching (Live At Wacken 2010) (2011): It’s always great to see a band and label get it right and release a special package of a live DVD with the bonus live CD. Napalm Records and Grave Digger released THE CLANS ARE STILL MARCHING in both the CD and DVD formats but each version gave you the bonus of the other format. If you bought the DVD styled case, you received the bonus audio CD of the full show and, if you bought the CD version then you got the bonus DVD. Seems a little odd to release the show that way but you get the full experience of the band’s 2010 Wacken show either way. There’s bonus footage on the DVD and the package I bought was the CD hardbook version.

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade (Special Edition CD/DVD) (2011): Twisted Sister’s back catalogue got the reissue treatment in 2011 but this special edition of UNDER THE BLADE stands out as the best. First is the original Secret Records mix of the album with bonus tracks coming from the 1982 RUFF CUTTS E.P. Remember, there are two versions of UNDER THE BLADE: the original record from 1982 and the remixed album from 1985 on Atlantic Records (with an alternate album cover). That’s enough right there to make a solid reissue but there’s a bonus DVD included of the band’s appearance at the 1983 Reading Festival along with bonus interviews. Twisted Sister has been releasing a lot of archival material lately but getting the original version of UNDER THE BLADE out there was a must, as was getting RUFF CUTTS into circulation.

UFO – The Chrysalis Years (1973-1979) (2011): This is one of my favorite releases of the year and it’s not just because I’m a HUGE UFO fan but because this is a perfect collection to introduce a new fan to classic UFO. I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this 5 CD set and I was able to get a lot of time comparing it to other remasters that I own. This set includes UFO’s first five albums with Chrysalis Records (PHENOMENON, FORCE IT, NO HEAVY PETTING, LIGHTS OUT & OBSESSION), as well as, the classic live record STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT. Each album is remastered and sequenced in order of release with non-album singles, B-sides, bonus tracks and previously unreleased live performances all mixed in the timeline properly. Basically, you’re getting the classic Michael Schenker era UFO in all it’s glory complete with an extensive booklet that includes a new 2011 interview with lead singer/founder Phil Mogg and extensive song credits. I could have used some extra pictures and proper photos of each individual album’s cover art but that’s a small complaint. This collection is retailing for around $20-$25 depending where you buy your music so it’s a heck of a buy and a great way to get started into a great band, I hope there’s another collection like this with the rest of the UFO catalog.

Whitesnake – Live At Donington 1990 (Special edition 2CD/DVD) (2011): Another solid live package from a classic band that’s had a major resurgence in the last few years. Whitesnake is as relevant as ever by releasing two awesome studio albums in the last few years and having some great anniversary reissues of the band’s best selling albums from the ’80s but this new live set is something fans like myself want to have. 1990 was probably Whitesnake’s peak of success and this Donington perofrmance on the Slip Of The Tongue tour is a great way to re-live some of the glory days. The package includes the full live show on DVD and CDs (a huge plus for me!) and it’s got great glossy digipak packaging with plenty of pictures and great disc artwork. I love live releases like this! Both formats, full shows and a lot of care put into the package.

.

CD Scavenger Hunt (June update)

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

 

Whitesnake – Forevermore (2011)

Whitesnake – Forevermore (2011, Frontiers)

  1. Steal Your Heart Away
  2. All Out Of Luck
  3. Love Will Set You Free
  4. Easier Said Than Done
  5. Tell Me How
  6. I Need You (Shine A Light)
  7. One Of These Days
  8. Love & Treat Me Right
  9. Dogs In The Street
  10. Fare Thee Well
  11. Whipping Boy Blues
  12. My Evil Ways
  13. Forevermore
  14. Love Will Set You Free (alternate mix)*
  15. Forevermore (acoustic version)*
  16. My Evil Ways (My Evil drums mix)*

* (bonus tracks)

Bonus DVD

  1. Making of Forevermore
  2. Forevermore: Track By Track
  3. ‘Love Will Set You Free’ video
  4. Making of ‘Love Will Set You Free’

Band Lineup:
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Doug Aldrich – Guitars
Reb Beach – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Michael Devin – Bass
Brian Tichy – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Timothy Drury – Keyboards
Jasper Coverdale – Vocals

Producers: David Coverdale, Doug Aldrich, Michael McIntyre

Country: United Kingdom/USA

Total Time = 1:17:12

Whitesnake
Whitesnake MySpace page
Whitesnake Facebook page
Frontiers Records

Whitesnake is back again with a brand new studio album, FOREVERMORE, one of the most anticipated albums of 2011. It’s been three years since Whitesnake mainman David Coverdale and his formidable lineup delivered the excellent GOOD TO BE BAD (2008) but the band hasn’t been out of the spotlight. Quite the contrary with shows played worldwide, including a U.S. tour with Judas Priest in support of GOOD TO BE BAD. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Coverdale had vocal problems on the tour and had to cancel certain dates giving critics, and some fans, reason to write the band off but Coverdale and company have returned again with a vengeance. Joining David again is the excellent guitar duo of Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach (members since 2002) and keyboardist Timothy Drury but there are new faces in the rhythm section with former Ozzy, Billy Idol and Lynch Mob drummer Brian Tichy and former Lynch Mob bassist Michael Devin. Despite this round of lineup changes,and David Coverdale pushing 60, Whitesnake sound as powerful as ever.

The best way to describe FOREVERMORE is that it’s the natural continuation of GOOD TO BE BAD. The band leans toward the original Blues based Whitesnake sound of the late ’70s/early ’80s with a nod to the mega-platinum success of the late ’80s, the songs all thick with heavy guitars, plenty of melody and groove and, of course, excellent vocals from Coverdale. If you listen to the album in it’s entirety you immeadiately notice the thick, rich sound and that’s due to the top of the line production but you also hear layers of guitars. There’s no doubt that Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach are the perfect compliment to David Coverdale, both guitarists are experienced and at the top of the Hard Rock heap with a combined resumé that includes: Dio, Winger, Dokken, Lion, Burning Rain, Hurricane and Bad Moon Rising. Devin and Tichy have proven they are a solid rhythm section and Drury compliments the sound with his keyboards but the obvious question mark is Coverdale himself…..has he recovered from the throat issues that plagued him a couple of years ago? I’m happy to say that Coverdale puts in another excellent performance at the mic and at almost 60 years old! After so many years of consistent vocal performances from Deep Purple through to Whitesnake in 2011, Coverdale is one of the best in the business and there seems to be no effects from the previous years’ issues. He prefers to use the more bluesy side of his voice, the early Whitesnake sound, rather than the high pitched screams of the late ’80s and you can tell that he stays in the lower register but David Coverdale’s lower register is better than 90% of younger current day singers! You can easily drift back to older Whitesnake albums like LOVEHUNTER (1979), READY AN’ WILLING (1980) and SAINTS AND SINNERS (1982) just by listening to the vocals. Add Reb Beach and Jasper Coverdale on backing vocals and it’s the perfect compliment to get that thick full vocal sound. The same basic themes are back again in the songwriting: love, love lost, love gained, love in general. There’s nothing wrong about writing about love, seduction, break-ups, etc and Coverdale is one of the best, he’s made a career out of it, so you know the album is well-written.

Opening the album is the hard Blues based rocker ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ with plenty of guitars and big hooky chorus. You can hear the slide guitar mixed into the riff trading from Aldrich and Beach and the solo break signals that this isn’t going to be a relaxed record, this is going to be a rocker! ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ kind of reminds me a little of ‘Shake My Tree’ from the Coverdale/Page album from 1993 in some of the bluesier parts but this is Hard Rock at it’s best. You can hear that Country influence with that slide guitar, a slight honky-tonk sound that adds a layer to the song. Continuing the Blues Hard Rock sound is another guitar grooved rocker ‘All Out Of Luck’ and the first single from FOREVERMORE, ‘Love Will Set You Free’. You can hear Coverdale start to go for the higher register and notes while maintaining that seductive groove in ‘All Out Of Luck’ and he shows flashes in ‘Love Will Set You Free’. Being the first single, it’s easy to say that ‘Love Will Set You Free’ sounds a bit more commercial compared to the first two opening tracks, and it’s true to a point drawing comparisons to late ’80s Snake, but the heaviness is there and the thick sound still gives it than dirtier, less polished sound.

After three solid rockers to open the album, the first proper ballad is ‘Easier Said Than Done’ and it reminds me of the WHITESNAKE (1987) and SLIP OF THE TONGUE (1989) era, it has that ‘Is This Love’ & ‘The Deeper The Love’ emotion that could easily propel it to a hit if radio played bands like Whitesnake. Same thing with the uptempo ‘Tell Me How’, it reminds me of those two classic albums’ sound much like the title track from GOOD TO BE BAD a few years ago. Another song that has that melodic commercial hook is ‘I Need You (Shine A Light)’, another song that could easily be a radio single. After listening to this song once, you instantly pick it up right away and start singing along but, as you hit repeat, you can hear a Boston influence. Listen closely to the guitar tone and the vocal harmonies, there’s a touch of Boston in there, probably because it’s such a melodic track.

Moving into the second half of the album you get the acoustic mid-tempo/ballad ‘One Of These Days’. It’s a pretty simple song with the focus on David’s solid vocal and the guitars, a perfect song if the band was ever going to perform unplugged, listen for the harmonies on the chorus…..superb. It almost doesn’t sound like Whitesnake! A song like ‘One Of These Days’ is perfect for a Rock album like FOREVERMORE because it breaks up all the heavier fast songs and adds a different layer to the album. The Hard Rock continues with ‘Love & Treat Me Right’ and the all out Metal of ‘Dogs In The Street’, a song that immeadiately reminds me of ‘Bad Boys’ from the 1987 s/t album. Talk about going back in time! It’s like Whitesnake recorded this sometime between 1987 and 1989, put it in a vault and released it 20+ years later. Forget the Blues base here, this is Metal! Following the assault of ‘Dogs In The Street’ is another good acoustic ballad ‘Fare the Well’ that’s very similar to ‘One Of These Days’ but slower. That’s three ballads through ten tracks, it may be a bit excessive but Coverdale’s track record can’t be denied, he’s had plenty of big hits with mid-tempo songs and ballads. The band continues to keep us guessing by giving us another rocker that sounds influenced from the COVERDALE/PAGE record from 1993 and mixed with GOOD TO BE BAD. It’s a very riff heavy song and Coverdale keeps his voice in that higher register from back in his younger days. Brian Tichy gets his quick solo moment with the opening drum intro to ‘My Evil Ways’, another guitar driven blues rocker that borders on ’80s Metalwith the trademark Coverdale screams and trade-off guitarwork fron Aldrich and Beach. There’s a Thin Lizzy meets the George Thorogood vibe here if you listen: Thin Lizzy with that twin axe attack and Thorogood with that honky-tonk Blues groove…..definitely a cool fast song. Ending the album is the fourth ballad, and third acoustic ballad in a row, ‘Forevermore’. I can’t fault Coverdale for going to what he does best, writing love songs, and he does this throughout the entire record. The title track is in the same style as ‘Easier Said Than Done’ but slower and more gentle until the solo break where the band kicks in and everything sounds lush with the big power ballad sound. Any doubts about David’s voice should be cast away after this song, after this album, because he sings with plenty of power, emotion and ability as he ever has.

If you’re an insane collector like me, then you needed to buy the limited edition that included three bonus tracks and a DVD. The three bonus tracks are an alternate mix of ‘Love Will Set You Free’, and acoustic version of the title track and a different drum mix of ‘My Evil Ways’. These songs are very similar to the originals and are a nice bonus for a couple of dollars more. The DVD includes the video for ‘Love Will Set You Free’, the making of the album and the video. Again, a nice bonus tucked into the deluxe glossy digipak packaging for a couple bucks more.

Bottom Line:
Here we go again! Whitesnake has released another great album that mixes the older Whitesnake sound with the late ’80s bombastic style. There’s a great mix of bluesy Hard Rock, ’80s Metal and acoustic ballads that keeps the album fresh with every listen, it’s a great record. The songs are full of melody and hooks that draw you in and gets you singing right along while you fiercly air guitar. The album sounds full and rich thanks to a great production and the musicianship is top notch with Aldrich, Beach, Devin, Tichy and Drury putting on a blazing sonic display. The one question on FOREVERMORE was how good David Coverdale would sound after having vocal issues in 2009 and 2010…..the question is answered in spades with a great vocal performance by one of the masters of Hard Rock. Coverdale sounds as good as he ever has singing with power and emotion proving that talent defies age. Stacking this up against GOOD TO BE BAD is tough because that album had such an impact after 11 years of waiting for new Whitesnake but FOREVERMORE continues where GOOD TO BE BAD left off and even goes beyond it at certain points. Definitely a must have for Whitesnake and Hard Rock fans and a contender for Album of The Year for 2011!

Favorite Songs:
This is going to be a hard one because there isn’t a weak song on the album and I like every one of them. If I had to pick five favorites: ‘Steal Your Heart Away’, ‘Love Will Set You Free’, ‘I Need You (Shine A Light)’, ‘Dogs In The Street’, ‘My Evil Ways’

CD Scavenger Hunt (March update)

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

Newbury Comics

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

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

Ebay

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

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

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

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

Total = $85

Total (year) = $248

Average Price (per item) = $9.92

Total Savings (month) = $20

Total Savings (year) = $215

Total CDs (year) = 23

Total DVDs (year) = 1

Total Box Sets (year) = 0

Total LPs (year) = 1

Metal Mixtape – 3/13/11

Tale of the Tape
Ipod 120
8370 songs (725 albums)

I usually work a double shift Saturday night into Sunday morning so good Metal music is a must on the overnight. I usually listen to a lot of new albums but I have to start the overnight (the 2nd part of my long shift) with some familiar tracks to get the blood pumping. Here’s the first 20 songs (band-song-album-year):

  1. Dio – ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Children’ – Sacred Heart (1985)
  2. Dio – ‘I Could Have Been A Dreamer’ – Dream Evil (1987)
  3. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘I Just Want You’ – Ozzmosis (1995)
  4. Great White – ‘Rock Me’ – Once Bitten (1987)
  5. Guns ‘N Roses – ‘Anything Goes’ – Appetite For Destruction (1987)
  6. Van Halen – ‘I’ll Wait’ – 1984 (1984)
  7. Def Leppard – ‘Armageddon It’ – Hysteria (1987)
  8. Whitesnake – ‘Fool For Your Loving’ – Ready An’ Willing (1980)
  9. Scheepers – ‘Cyberfreak’ – Scheepers (2011)
  10. Quiet Riot – The Wild And The Young’ – QR III (1986)
  11. Scorpions – ‘The Zoo’ – Animal Magnetism (1980)
  12. Firewind – ‘The Ark Of Lies’ – Days Of Defiance (2010)
  13. Helix – ‘Best Mistake I Never Made’ – Vagabond Bones (2009)
  14. Accept – ‘Flash Rockin’ Man’ – Restless & Wild (1982)
  15. Metallica – ‘Holier Than Thou’ – The Black Album (1991)
  16. Cinderella – ‘Winds Of Change’ – Heartbreak Station (1990)
  17. Crazy Lixx – ‘Road To Babylon’ – New Religion (2010)
  18. Yngwie Malmsteen – ‘Death Dealer’ – Perpetual Flame (2008)
  19. Diamond Head – ‘It’s Electric’ – Lightning To The Nations (1980)
  20. Primal Fear – ‘Black Sun’ – Black Sun (2002)

Bonus Track: AC/DC – ‘War Machine’ – Black Ice (2008)

Press Release: Whitesnake to release new album, Forevermore, on 3/29/2011 on Frontiers Records

THE ‘SNAKE IS READY TO STRIKE…LEGENDARY ROCK OUTFIT WHITESNAKE TO RELEASE BRAND NEW ALBUM WORLDWIDE VIA FRONTIERS RECORDS

“FOREVERMORE” DUE OUT MARCH 29TH IN NORTH AMERICA

(New York, NY) – It’s time to get charmed again…legendary rock outfit Whitesnake is set to release their 11th studio album, FOREVERMORE, the band’s first in more than two years. Due out on March 29th in North America, FOREVERMORE finds founder/singer/songwriter David Coverdale and company returning to their no-holds-barred, bluesiest, sexiest rock n’ roll roots. This will be Whitesnake’s first release via the Italian-based Frontiers Records label.

FOREVERMORE was recorded, produced and mixed by Los Bros Brutalos (Coverdale, Doug Aldrich and Michael McIntyre) at Snakebyte Studios and Grumblenott Studios & Villas in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with additional work at Casa Dala, Sherman Oaks, CA. With FOREVERMORE, Coverdale has reignited an explosively fruitful vein of creativity with guitarist and co-writer/producer Aldrich, Reb Beach (Winger, Alice Cooper) on guitar, Briian Tichy (Ozzy, Billy Idol, Foreigner) on drums and Michael Devin (Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Lynch Mob) on bass. As with all Whitesnake’s albums, Coverdale (aided so capably by Aldrich) unleashes his incomparable vocal chops with emotional fervour. Please see below for the complete FOREVERMORE track listing.

The first single from FOREVERMORE, “Love Will Set You Free” will impact at radio on February 8th and will be available for sale digitally on February 15th. The FOREVERMORE album will be available in the US on March 29th. Whitesnake will hit the road in North American this May in support of FOREVERMORE. Tour dates to be announced shortly.

Formed in 1977, and steered by the legendary Coverdale, Whitesnake carry a rightful reputation as one of the world’s leading rock n’ roll bands. Coverdale’s blues roots, combined with a feral sense of rockin’ and rollin’, have consistently shaped the ‘Snake’s sound along with Coverdale’s love and appreciation of impeccable musicianship. Whitesnake’s ascent to the very top of the rock n’ roll heap was confirmed with 1987′s self-titled mega-platinum album, which saw two massive Top 10 hits, two #1 singles with “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love” and a virtual 24-hour domination of MTV around the world.

Whitesnake is: David Coverdale (vocals), Doug Aldrich (guitars), Reb Beach (guitars), Michael Devin (bass) and Brian Tichy (drums).

FOREVERMORE track listing:

1. Steal Your Heart Away
2. All Out Of Luck
3. Love Will Set You Free
4. Easier Said Than Done
5. Tell Me How
6. I Need You (Shine A Light)
7. One Of These Days
8. Love And Treat Me Right
9. Dogs In The Street
10. Fare Thee Well
11. Whipping Boy Blues
12. My Evil Ways
13. Forevermore

For more information please visit:

www.whitesnake.com

www.frontiers.it

Start of vacation Mixtape

So I got to listen to a few CDs today but I got lazy and didn’t really want to change discs in the stereo so I plugged in the iPod and hit Shuffle. Here’s the first 20 songs…..

  1. Twisted Sister – ‘Leader Of The Pack’ (1985)
  2. Black ‘N Blue – ‘Action’ (1984)
  3. Saxon – ‘Denim And Leather’ (1981)
  4. D.C. Cooper – ‘Chained’ (1999)
  5. Mogg-Way – ‘Fortune Town’ (1997)
  6. Anvil – ‘Bondage’ (1981)
  7. UFO – ‘A Self-Made Man’ (1995)
  8. Dio – ‘Otherworld’ (2000)
  9. FarCry – ‘Heaven’ (2009)
  10. KISS – ‘Get All You Can Take’ (1984)
  11. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Euthanasia’ (1980)
  12. Balance Of Power – ‘Miracles And Dreams’ (1999)
  13. Lillian Axe – ‘The 2nd Of May’ (2007)
  14. AC/DC – ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ (1977)
  15. Phil Vincent – ‘How Long’ (2008)
  16. Iron Maiden – The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner’ (1986)
  17. KISS – ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ (1987)
  18. Bullet – ‘No Mercy’ (1983)
  19. Black Sabbath – ‘No Stranger To Love’ (1986)
  20. Loudness – ‘Gravity’ (2008)

Bonus Track: Whitesnake – ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’ (1984)