Friday, 27 December 2013

Best of 2013

Before I start I'd just like to note that this site now also has a Facebook page so you can stay up to date and all that jazz. Feel free to jump over to it with the button on the right hand side.

The year is very quickly wrapping up, and thus it is the time that everyone starts putting up their best albums of the year. I did do this last year, so thought I would keep up the tradition once more.
It has been a great year with lots of stellar releases, but these are what have stood out for me. Bare in mind that these were not all necessarily released this year, they have just been featured on the blog sometime in 2013.

Best Cassette Tape

I have been picking up a few tapes here and there again this year. A few honourable mentions include Rot in Hell's demo tape and the three tape Negromancy set, but my favourite above all is "Fonograms of Violence and Terror" by Brazil's Shade of Mankind.
The release was handled by Stirvve Recordings, so was of course top notch. The whole thing came inside a biohazard bag and came with badges, a massive poster and all kinds of other goodies. The tracks are also brutal as hell, with an incredibly wicked Integrity cover. 
These guys are on the cusp of releasing a new LP, check out the released tracks so far right here.

Best 7" EP

Last year this category was the toughest, because I definitely get more 7"s than anything else. There were still a lot to choose from this year, but there was one that stood out so far beyond everything else that the choice was actually quite easy. This was of course Studies in Emerald by Rot in Hell.
The tracks were actually released a while ago, on two separate CDs, but this year saw the band release them on 7" vinyl. RIH have always been known for their incredible packaging, but they really stepped up their game with this release. First of the vinyl had a transparent x-ray image of a fly which looked utterly fantastic. There was also a book, an x-ray insert (that appears to be different for every one of the 30 or so that were produced), stickers, a stencil which was all put together in a green hard slip-case. It just blew me away.
Funnily enough Studies in Emerald appeared on my list last year as well, it must show how great the tracks and the band really are.

Best split 7"

This is an other category that was relatively easy to choose as well. Of all the splits I acquired this year, I think I was most excited and pleased with the Cape of Bats and AVM split released around September. Ever since I heard the split AVM did with Integrity I have been trying to find more about this obscure band, desperately trying to find any more tracks. When I heard news of this split I was more than ecstatic and ordered it as soon as it was available.
I still listen to Devil's Last Dance much more than most other tracks in my library, I really just can't get enough. I'm hoping 2014 will see the group release even more..

Best 12" LP

Finally, we have my favourite 12" LP. This has to go to Kromosom's Nuclear Reich. For a release that went by relatively unheard of, this thing is fantastic. With this release they seemed to shake of the slightly darker tone to the music released on Holy Terror records and get back to the rawness from their original demo.
The energy captured in this recording is incredibly immense, I'm surprised the recording equipment was able to handle it all, just amazing.

That wraps up 2013. I must confess that things have slowed down here a bit in the last few months, but hopefully the new year can see it pick up a bit of steam once again. See you in 2014.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Parasite - Proof Of The Existence 7"

This release seems to have gone by relatively unannounced. It was only through a chance look on Facebook that I saw this announced, but other than that I have heard very little. It's a shame, it is Parasite which means it is bloody awesome.
This EP is released by the almighty Holy Terror records, and contains two new Japanese metal punk tracks. Both are perfect examples of just how great this under appreciated band is, with the whole EP totalling just over 9 minutes. The first 10 seconds were enough to make me jump straight over to the HT store and pick up my copy.

Several copies exist, but although I only purchased a very short time ago I cannot remember exactly what they are. I know there is a green version with a red cover that is limited to 100 copies, and a few other colours in the same boat. What I also know if that mine is featuring a white cover, that I think was limited to just 100 copies on both red and yellow. It doesn't make much of a difference, but it is nice to have something just that little bit more limited.
To be entirely honest, the packaging isn't all that spectacular, although the caliber of the tracks does more than make up for it. The cover artwork is most similar to the hand-drawn artwork from their earlier Sin 7". One thing about Parasite is that they currently don't seem to have any kind of consistent artwork, but perhaps that will change from now.
The cover folds out to show the band logo printed thrice, as well as a band photo and some info/thanks you notes.
The entire EP isn't available to stream online, but the first track is online with the "name your price" deal. Listen and spread the news of Parasite.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Rot in Hell - Boxset I

The name Rot in Hell is synonymous with two great things. Not only is their music insanely good, but they also take so much care with the packaging of their releases that they really shine above anyone else. One of their more elaborate pieces is now part of my collection; The Cvlt of Khali box set. This contains the work present on the Hallways of the Allways compilation on a special 4 7" set.
The entire package comes tied in a customised cardboard box. The band logo has been cut into the back which reveals a familiar face just poking through.
As mentioned above, this set contains four 7"s. These are the original demo, the split with Brain Dead, the split with The Process and the split with Hordes. I did already have copies of all of these, so this is marking my second copy of each (actually third for the split with Hordes). These are the same as the standard copies of the record, except for the demo, Sins of Malice. The original had a hand sprayed process symbol on the B-Side, whereas this version has an Ouroboros scratched on instead. I think this is the better copy of the two.
There is also a bonus CD that comes tucked alongside the records. This covers the rest of the tracks that were available in the Hallways compilation. It is a bit difficult to see, but this also has the band logo printed very subtly on the topside.
In terms of music that is it for the set, but in terms of everything it is far from over. The first (and probably most special) part of this release is this print on black card.It in insanely detailed and shows just how much effort is put into these releases.
The next is this RIH t-shirt featuring a bird and a lamb head/rib cage, it is even in my size too. In some ways I wish I hadn't taken it out of the box to photo, it was difficult to fold it exactly the way it was to fit perfectly in the box. There was also a RIH badge/patch combo.
Lastly is this huge fold out poster. To get an estimate of the size, one of the square folds is the size of a standard 7", so it it really quite big. On the pack is the spray paint of de Grimston peaking out the front of the box.
Just beneath the giant head is a stamp showing just how limited this is. Only 35 were made all together, with mine being lucky number 7. This actually came out some time ago now, but a while ago I was lucky to be contacted by a fellow blogger who thought this might be of interest to me.
Overall a fantastic package. They have since made a second boxset which I'm sad to say I have missed out on. Perhaps one day I will be fortunate enough to get my hands on it as well....

Thursday, 5 December 2013

A389 Friday 13th Tote Mystery Bag

A little while ago, A389 came up with a rather novel idea. Along with a new tote bag design they were releasing, you could choose to buy a surprise package. For just $13 (US) the tote bag would come with an LP, a 7" and a CD chosen at random, which was too good an offer to resist, even if you weren't sure just what you would get. As an added bonus, they also did a Charlie and the Chocolate factory style prize, with one lucky bag receiving the golden ticket, a free pass to the A389 anniversary bash!
The 12" I received was the self released title by Cyanrae. The vinyl looks quite interesting, and according to the store is bark/bone vinyl, part of the first press. The LP is ridiculously heavy, and even features a track in reverse. It came with a black and white insert, with photos of the band resembling something fomr Francis Bacon.
Although only one 7" was promised upon purchase, my bag actually came with two. The first is this entirely unknown EP by a band called Diablero. I haven't heard of this band before, and the only information I could find online is that it was released by a label known as Dysphoria distro back in 2010.
The vinyl is mostly black, but does have a hint of red splattered around the centre label. The EP isn't even on the distro part of the web-store, so I'm not sure just exactly where this came from..
Next up is the CD, Guillotine from Frightener. I did receive this as a free LP a while back, but never really got that into it. I should really give this one another listen when I find the time.
The CD has the artwork printed on the top, but overall I don't find CD packaging particularly interesting..
My second 7" was was Vigilante Saint from Wisdom in Chains. This is quite an old 7" in the scheme of things, originally being released back in 2006. To be honest it doesn't blow me away, and doesn't seem to be anything particularly different from a lot of the hardcore out there. It does have some cool artwork, and came on a marbled purple vinyl, so it isn't all bad.
There is then of course the matter of the golden ticket. Sadly I wasn't a chosen winner, but I still did receive this print of a certain FAN declaring I did not receive my free pass.
But that still isn't all. Alongside the 12", 2 7"s and CD I also received a handful of stickers and a flyer for the upcoming show. All that for $13? Not bad....