Thursday, 24 July 2014

Integrity - Den of Iniquity 2x LP

The final piece in what has been one of my most exciting packages to receive this year was Integrity's Den of Iniquity. Along with Piss Off You Bloody Wankers and Ruined Empire, this formed a new OCR Holy Terror Package. As one of the first 100 people to place an order for this, I was lucky enough to receive some unexpected bonuses with my records. 
The secret material came inside a large yellow envelope, hand stamped and numbered. Mine was number 4/100, so close to #1! Inside the envelope (which I do appreciate as it was easy to open and re-close, without some sort of seal that rips the envelope when you try to open it) was a thank you note from Clint and OCR, always appreciated. On the back of this, and the other sheets were various Integrity flyers from over the years, a great bonus to get.
But onto the record, a double LP re-release of an album containing many of Integrity's early and rare recordings. A lot is covered here, from the early recordings such as Harder they Fall, through to tracks around the Seasons era, and even a few live recordings. A lot of these I have in one form or another, but there were a few gems I hadn't heard before, especially the live versions of 18, and a different recording of Diehard to what was on Palm Sunday.
The whole package is really outstanding, with a lot of effort put into the detail throughout. The cover artwork is incredibly intricate, and of course has the usual invisible ink trimmings. The inside has some rather violent artwork on the left hand side, and an early picture of the band on the right. Inside the sleeve is an insert written by A2, giving information and history behind each of the tracks on the compilation.
What also came as a surprise was the immense poster that was also lurking inside the sleeve. This thing is seriously huge, and folded into sixths just to fit into the sleeve.
There is then of course the vinyl, which are things of beauty. The come inside white sleeves, that have been stamped with the classic Integrity logos. On the first we also have a hand written number, mine being 163/201. Like Ruined Empire, this was originally released for RSD, with this particular version being limited to 201 copies. This version is on nice white vinyl, which is incredibly clean. Not a trace of other colours have made their way into the mix, and they look fantastic.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Integrity - Piss Off You Bloody Wankers 7" Flexi

Alongside the previously mentioned Rot in Hell 12', Organized Crime Records have also released a new Integrity 7" flexi, "Piss Off You Bloody Wankers", limited to a mere 250 copies. An original recording from 1992, it's quite a different Integrity, even for the time. It is really more punk oriented than the rest of their recordings, with their trademark blend of metallic hardcore hardly noticeable at all.
Many people are against the flexi format. Yes the sound quality is usually a bit inferior than it's wax brethren, but the idea is so cool that it outweighs that in my opinion. I love how the music is able to be reproduced on such at a material at all, that it is such a delight to be able to get another one. This time around it is no different, with the 1:30 track being on nice clear flexi plastic.
As you can clearly see, the record comes in a black and white folded outer sleeve with a very young looking Dwid on the front. There is also Integrity skulls galore on the front, and the back of the sleeve. The inside has some early photos of the band too, you shouldn't need telling who that is above.
Of course, Holy Terror has the track online for free listening. At just $1 to purchase, why would you not get your hands on this (if not physically of course). This (and the RIH record) were part of a special pack, so stay tuned for part III which will be arriving soon...

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Rot in Hell - Ruined Empire 12"

This record is something I've been excited about for a long time now. After the compilation record, Hallways of the Always, was released the band has always mentioned releasing a part two. Packed with all the great tracks from RIH in the last few years, Ruined Empire is finally here on a glorious 12".
As is the norm with Organized Crime Records, the packaging is superb, with another great cover artwork by Give Up. This opens up to a gatefold jacket with a very detailed image of a stone tunnel. Sitting just inside the right side of the jacket is an insert with the now infamous "Four-R" band logo. The reverse side has the lyrics to every track, which only just about all fit on the one page.
This was actually released a few months ago, as part of OCR's contribution to record store day. A part of me thought I might miss out because of this, but luckily they decided to continue releasing this record to the public. The version released as part of RSD was limited (not sure to how many), and was on grey and black marbled vinyl. This time around, OCR decided to release a more limited verison on a grey and black smoke vinyl, which looks outstanding. Only 111 copies were produced all together, mine is #34.
Of course no record can really be that good if all the good points are in the packaging, it has to have some great tracks too. Luckily, this has it in bucket-loads. Granted there are no new tracks on here, but every single one is brilliant in my books. Containing the tracks from the split VVegas, Integrity, Moloch and Wayfarer, the No Peace/War compilation, The Studies in Emerald 7" and the ever elusive Úlfhéðinn 7", the record really packs a punch. In fact the tracks from Úlfhéðinn were of special importance to me on this one, they were the only two I do not own, or have even heard before.
I did have high hopes for these, which were easily met. "A Vicious Joy", is a classic hardcore RIH track that is is perfectly encapsulated by the name. "
Nitsua Namso Eraps" is quite the opposite, a much more experimental track filled with noise samples and spoken words. It is actually quite the perfect bridge between the strikingly contrasted two sides of the record.
Much like they did with the first compilation album, a pre-release of a special edition set of all the records contained in the record was made. I was a tad too slow to get my hands on this, but maybe one day it will work it's way into my possession much like the first one did.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Broken Cross - Secret Destruction Tape

This tape counts as the second release of the latest EP by Broken Cross, Secret Destruction. Originally released as a superb 7", the latest work from the one-man metal hardcore unit has been reborn as a cassette. Instead of a self-release, this has been released by the recently prolific Bezerker records. These guys have been putting out a lot of great cassettes lately, and I'm glad to see Broken Cross join the mix.
Of course the packaging has been toned down a bit from the 7", it is always harder to add quite the same flare. The same faded image of a city has been used for the artwork, and has also been somewhat extended to the tape itself. 
Perhaps what is most exciting about this release is an exclusive track, a cover of GISM's, "Death, Agonies and Screams". It was enough for me pick up this second version of the release and it was definitely worth it, the cover is awesome. Unfortunately, the track is not yet available online anywhere, so for all those dying to hear it you will have to head over to the Bezerker webstore and pick up your own copy.
Broken Cross has put the rest of the EP online for free streaming, so that should at least tide you over.