I find it hard to drive down Bloor Street and not stop to look at records. Today I checked out Hits & Misses and came away with a few new things:
THE JONESES "Keeping Up With The Joneses" LP: Read about these guys on Sons Of The Dolls and I thought I'd check 'em out - was pretty happy to find this reissue.
BLACK WIDOW "Sacrifice" LP: Another reissue... I'll probably hate this one, cuz I think it's kinda hippy-dippy, but "Come To The Sabbat" is a fun song.
SARCASM "Crematory" LP: Nuclear War Now has put out some really cool records... hopefully this is one of 'em.
I find it hard to drive down Bloor Street and not stop to look at records. Today I checked out Hits & Misses and came away with a few new things:
EMI Records 1980
You have no idea how much I wanna love this record... it's Brian Robertson for Christ sake! He's played in the two greatest rock bands of all time: THIN LIZZY and MOTORHEAD... and probably played on 10 of my "10 All-Time Favourite Songs" (that list doesn't exist, but if it did I'd make damn sure that Robertson played on all of 'em). The guy rules... but unfortunately this album kinda sucks. Robbo's playing is of course beyond reproach, but that can't save these songs from their utter mediocrity. The ties between WILD HORSES and THIN LIZZY were strong, and WILD HORSES tried their damnedest to duplicate LIZZY's winning formula, but they always seem to fall just short. Alright... as I write this, the bottle of wine is starting to kick in, and this record is starting to sound really good. Drunkenly this album sounds great, but that prolly explains a lot, as Robertson himself was a notorious drunk... he probably thought it sounded great at the time too. "Reservation" is a decent rocker, but "Face Down" and "Dealer" are better, and "Blackmail" fucking rules (the LIZZY version from the "Man & His Music" bootleg series is far superior... but lending Phil's voice to any song would have that effect). Just for the fuck of it I'm gonna add the THIN LIZZY version to the .rar so you can compare 'em yourself. Side 2 is generally weak, at times reminding me of the J. GEILS BAND, or THE EAGLES, or something similarly awful (see: "Nights On The Town"). Just when I say something sucks, Robbo tears into one of his phenomenally, rippingly distinct solos, making me second guess myself... but no, a great guitar player does not a great album make... sorry Robbo. If nothing else, WILD HORSES looked cool as fuck!
DOWNLOAD: WildHorses-WildHorses.rar (71.71 MB)
Planet Records 1984
Saw this one at Discovery Records and thought it looked cool, but it was a bit pricey, so I did a little investigating. Turns out this is kinda rare, and highly sought after, so the record collector nerd in me had to have it. Good thing too, cuz this is a really good record. Again, I'm no Glam Rock/Metal expert, but if I was gonna compare this to other notable bands, I'd say: GBR are more solid than HANOI ROCKS, and their singer can stay in key (I love HR, but it's true), but they're far less inventive and wacked-out than HR. GBR lack the nastiness, and are not nearly as sleazy or "street" as the first GUNS N ROSES album, and they're musically less raucous too. The first thing that jumped out at me was the SEX PISTOLS influence... in particular a Jones/Cook "Silly Thing" kinda vibe. A cover of "Did You No Wrong" mighta helped with this - but they musta really made it their own, cuz it's barely recognizable to me (but then again, I haven't heard the song in at least 15 years, so it could be spot on for all I know). A couple of songs on the B-Side contain some riffs that would have fit perfect on an early AC/DC record. The guitar player is very good, his solos are well crafted and über-Rock N Roll. The singer's voice is much higher than I expected - it took me a few songs to get used to it, but he's very good and a natural (ie he's not forcing it at all). This is a very solid Rock N Roll record, if any of the aforementioned bands appeal to you, then I'm sure you'll enjoy this... I certainly did. Oh yeah... according to the liner notes, the song "Too Much" might (and I quote) make you poop in your pants... you've been warned!
DOWNLOAD: GloriousBankrobbers-GloriousBankrobbers.rar (57.46 MB)
Zipped by Sonic Boom on my way into work and grabbed a couple of records that I passed up on last time:
DAMASCUS STEEL "Cry Of The Swords" LP: Never heard these guys, and I know nothing about them, but I bought it cuz it's a limited pressing of 500 on Hidden Metal Gems Records.
DEAD END "Shambara" LP: Another band I know nothing about, but their picture on Encyclopaedia Metallum is pretty wacky, so I decided to give 'em a shot.
Yesterday I got the new SYPHILITIC VAGINAS "Black Motor Covenant" 7" in the mail from the Hardcore Holocaust Records eBay store... it rules of course!
Mausoleum Records 1984
A couple of weeks ago I hit up Sonic Boom and came away with 6 or 7 great finds... EXPECT NO MERCY being one of 'em. I honestly wasn't expecting much cuz the artwork didn't give any indication of what I was in store for... and I found the Puma logo on the back cover both perplexing and intriguing. I guess these guys were getting hooked up with free sneakers... Adidas had RUN D.M.C. and Puma had EXPECT NO MERCY - doesn't seem fair does it? All footwear aside, this is an excellent German Metal record that teeters on the edge of Speed Metal at times. It's the kinda stuff that makes it hard for me to contain my smile - just an all around fun record. Nothing at all serious... no evil, no scary, no politics - just a buncha cool riffs, good songs, and catchy vocal lines haphazardly delivered for your enjoyment. "Heavy Traffic" is the only Metal song I've heard to employ the "Lust For Life" drum beat... replete with tambourine (and an odd slap bass intro). I'm generally not a fan of cover songs, especially when that song is "Paint It Black", but I gotta say that EXPECT NO MERCY's version is not only the best song on this record, but the best rendition of the song period. Yeah that includes the STONES' version (never been a fan). I'm tired of bands that take (and took) themselves too seriously, so I'm really diggin' on this record right now.
(For a good time) DOWNLOAD: ExpectNoMercy-Steelbreed.rar (55.74 MB)
155 Main Street
If you've read some of my Record Shops posts, you'll know that I think highly Ric's Collectibles - my first time there I was pretty much gobsmacked. The Metal section is large, and full of the kind of records you don't normally see, or have never seen, and won't likely ever see again. I've come across some fantastic finds, but after 3 visits it's become apparent that there's not a lot of turn around. Each time I return, I'm sorting through the same records that I passed up on my previous visits. That's not necessarily a bad thing - if you can't afford everything you want, there's a pretty good chance it'll still be there when you return. This brings up the issue of price: the guy behind the counter insists on pricing records by consulting that Martin Popoff price guide, which leads to some interesting, and kinda random sticker prices. To add to the pricing woes, each time I've been there they've offered seemingly arbitrary discounts: first time it was 30% off, second time was 50% off, and most recently it was 25% off if spending more than $50... WTF! I never know what I can afford 'til I belly up to the cash register. Since the Metal selection is so good, I can only assume that the same goes for the rest of the store... but seriously, who has the time to sort through that many records? Despite some minor gripes, Ric's gets my vote for being the best used record shop in Toronto.
Shades Records 1985
Would ya look at that album cover. Holy shit! It doesn't get any better than this - easily one of the most ridiculous cover shots ever... the chick is wearing a 99¢ Halloween costume fer chrissakes! Pure genius. SINFUL's music is equally as fun as the album cover: commercial yet meaty Metal with high pitched vocals and maybe just a bit too much keyboard. The A side of this record is full-on Metal, while the B side disappoints with 2 overly commercial and keyboard heavy rockers. I think that album opener "Burn Your Eyes" is about what will happen if you stare at a picture of lead singer Dana Albert for too long. Great song though... and cowbell right off the bat - how can you go wrong? The keyboards are cheesy as hell, but then again, this isn't the kinda record that should be taken too seriously. The main riff in "Midnite Sun" is excellent and kinda reminiscent of Randy Rhoads. Side 2 starts with the anthemic "You Gotta Rock" and at times the vocals sound uncannily similar to the guy in AXEWITCH. "Teenage Overdose" finishes things off on a bad note - it's grossly commercial and second rate (at best)... too bad really, cuz the rest of the record is quite good. Here's a couple of useless factoids: SINFUL guitar player Jimmy Ambrose played on THOR's 1984 "Unchained" EP, and Kelv Hellrazer (Metal Forces journalist) touted these guys as being the next big thing... always knew he had bad judgement.
DOWNLOAD: Sinful-GonnaRaiseHell.rar (31.8 MB)
Mag Wheel Records 1995
There was a time when I'd buy any record that was even remotely Doom... quality was not a issue. I was a sucker for anything slow and Sabbathy, regardless of the band's musical ability or song writing skill. Needless to say, I bought a lot of shitty records (most of the Hellhound Records catalogue) until one day I woke up and decided to stop wasting my money. I'm not sure exactly when this happened, but it's possible that SHEAVY's 1998 album "The Electric Sleep" was the impetus. By that time I'd bought both of their albums, and their first 7", and I could no longer justify buying their stuff... hoping that one day they'd get it right and not release boring-ass, sloppy, unimaginitive shite. So it was with this in mind that I dug out the aforementioned 7"... "Dalas Tar". Much to my surprise, I didn't totally hate it. Yeah the drummer is crap, the songs are simplistic and unoriginal, the SABBATH cover is shameful, and the whole thing sounds terribly amateurish, but it's not without it's merits. For instance: the singer does the best Ozzy imitation I've ever heard... well that's it really... the Ozzy imitiation. An entire SHEAVY record would be unconscionably monotonous, but these 2 songs (I'm choosing to ignore the SABS cover) are just enough that you don't lose interest by the time they're done. This is fucked... even when I'm trying to say a record doesn't completely suck, it still comes across that way. This is an enjoyable listen, and I'm pleasantly surprised by it... but I still don't wanna ever hear those crappy SHEAVY CDs I bought.
DOWNLOAD: Sheavy-DalasTar.rar (20.62 MB)
Restless/Colossal Records 1989
I wasn't planning to post any CDs here, but I started thinking about how much I loved this record when I was a kid, and I had to revisit it. These guys, along with SAVATAGE and MERCYFUL FATE, were one of the few straight up Metal bands I liked when I was younger... I was too into Thrash and Punk/Hardcore to really "get" Heavy Metal. OLIVER MAGNUM, however, were aggressive enough to appeal to me... and their spectacular musicianship and songwriting didn't hurt either. Another part of their appeal was that I never had any idea what the eff they were singing about... the lyrics all seemed to be about some otherworldy nonsense that was way beyond me, but I always liked 'em a lot. Add to all that an outstanding vocalist and you've got the whole package. "Old World Nites" is still one hell of a song!, as are "Sister Cybele" and "Mendes Prey", but there really is no weak song on this album. I waited for a long time for a followed up to this record, but unfortunately it never happened. This is American Metal of the highest order, and downloading is highly recommended.
DOWNLOAD: OliverMagnum-OliverMagnum.rar (72.62 MB)
Elite Special Records 1984
This comp features 5 second rate... wait, make that 1 second rate and 4 third rate German Metal bands from the early 80s. Never heard of any of 'em, and I kinda wish there wasn't yet another band called OVERKILL... and THUNDER too, for that matter. Right, here's a band-by-band break down of 5 bands we could all do without:
THUNDER: Typically Germanic ACCEPT styled Metal with a vocalist who doesn't get it. Lyrics that make you wanna bury your head in embarrassment.
OVERKILL: Best band on the comp by far! "Killers In The Dawn" is a great NWOBHM-ish romp, and "Heavy Metal Forces" is decent too.
BEAST OF PREY: Simplistic and hamfisted - like an unfunny BAD NEWS... 'cept this drummer makes Spider Webb sound like Neil Peart.
VENGEANCE: More poorly executed and amateurish Metal with a NWOBHM bent.
DIVINE VICTIM: It's generally accepted that ANTHRAX are to blame for the Rap/Metal crossover, but that's a dishonour that should be bestowed upon DIVINE VICTIM. Only difference between what ANTHRAX did and DIVINE VICTIM's "Metal Rap" is that you laugh with DIVINE VICTIM... not at 'em. Oh yeah, their real songs are shitty and one's a New Wave/Metal hybrid... yikes!
Most of these half-assed bands eventually released full-lengths, and at least one of 'em is still active, too bad OVERKILL (the only somewhat enjoyable band here) isn't one of 'em.
DOWNLOAD: MIR-StuttgartHeavyMetalSampler.rar (73.13 MB)
Relapse Records 2008
After I bought this record, I had to ask myself: why'd I buy a record by 2 bands that I don't really like? I was caught up in a record buying frenzy, so I guess I have an excuse. TOXIC HOLOCAUST is a band that I like everything about... except the music. The concept is great (combining crusty Punk and Thrash Metal), the aesthetic is great, artwork: great, one-man-band: great, everything: great. Right? Things start to fall apart when you have to listen to their recordings... they're always too clean, no grit, no balls... no thanks. The music is actually really good, but the production let's 'em down every time. The sound on "City Of A Million Graves" is a bit better than Joel Grind's usual output, but it's still too clean, and he's used a fucking drum machine... lame! The song itself is great though, tonnes of excellent riffs, and the vocals sound like they were lifted directly from the ENGLISH DOGS' "Forward Into Battle" record. I take issue with BLÜDWÜLF for one simple reason... they're douchebags. Here's the story: through myspace, one of the guys in this band requested doing a trade: a couple of shirts that I'd printed for some BLÜDWÜLF material. OK cool, I sent him 2 t-shirts and received nothing in return. I sent him many messages asking where his pakage was, and I got no reply. 7 or 8 months later he messaged me and said that he'd found the package that was supposed to be sent to me, and that he would send it straight away. Again, nothing. So this is how I came to the douchebag conclusion... fair right? Musically they're less douchebaggy... like TOXIC HOLOCAUST they combine crusty Punk and Thrash Metal, but their execution is sloppy and loose. The songs are really cool though, and they don't suffer from the lame production that plagues TOXIC HOLOCAUST.
DOWNLOAD: SpeedNSpikesVol1.rar (22.11 MB)
Hardcore Holocaust Records 2008
This record rules... plain and simple. I'd never heard of these guys, but I saw it on the wall at Hits & Misses, and had to ask: did it actually sound like G.I.S.M.? Pete was nice enough to put the record on for me and I thought it was strange... slow, sludgy, and kinda gross sounding - I was sold, but it didn't sound much like G.I.S.M.. When I got the record home, I slapped it on and soon started to wonder... was it supposed to be this slow? So I tried it out on 45 RPM instead of 33 1/3 (which is what I'd heard at H&M) and it seemed plausible that it coulda been played at either speed. If it was supposed be played at 33 1/3 it woulda been kinda like COFFINS or some shit, and at 45 RPM more like G.I.S.M.. Thankfully it turns out it's supposed to be spun at 45, cuz I don't like COFFINS. Musically this is a cross between G.I.S.M. (duh!) and MOTORHEAD, and it's absolutely ripping. There's tonnes of effects on the vocals, the delayed uhhhh's and Tom G. Warrior style "death grunts" are killer, and they almost replicate the effects from "(Tear Their) Syphilitic Vaginas To Pieces" exactly on one track. "In Satanic Service" starts off with a guitar bit that's clearly inspired by something from the first BULLDOZER record... "Mad Man" maybe. Just phenomenal! I can't say enough good about this record... it's renewed my faith in new music. Stop reading this nonsense and download it!
DOWNLOAD: SyphiliticVaginas-SyphiliticVaginas.rar (32.52 MB)
860 Bloor Street West
http://www.hitsandmisses.ca (not much there yet)
Hits & Misses Blog
On Saturday I was searching the internet for record shops in Toronto, and read about this new (to me) store on Bloor Street called Hits & Misses. I came across it on a couple of Toronto Hardcore forums, and within 15 minutes was in the car and on my way to check it out. To say that Hits & Misses is a good store is a huge understatement... it fucking rules! Hands down the best place in the city for Punk, Hardcore, Crust, Metal, etc. As soon as you walk up to the place, you know they mean business... Punk business! The windows are plastered with old Punk Rock records and patches, and once inside the door there's hundreds of back patches... crazy shit too: RIISTEYT, OI POLLOI, KURO, MAU MAUS... you get the idea. Then there's tonnes of Punk, Hardcore and Crust 7"s, then a shitload more 12"s, and Metal vinyl, Garage... fucking everything. I haven't been that excited in a record store in years... and I spent way too much $. The owner is friendly and more than willing to put on a record if you wanna hear it, and talk about Punk Rock or buying vinyl, or whatever. Easily the best store in Toronto if you're looking for any of the aforementioned genres, and the prices are reasonable. Collectible records are fairly priced (ie well below the inflated eBay prices), and very impressive! There's CDs too, but of course I didn't even glance at them... I was there for 2 hours and didn't look through a fraction of what's in the store. I can't wait to go back, but my wallet's dreading it.
The file hosting service I use (Mediafire) has been experiencing some problems, and it's affecting the albums I've posted for download. If you download something and the filename is incorrect (too short, and without the .rar file extension at the end), simply add the .rar to the filename, and it will work fine. Mediafire is aware of the problem, and they're working to fix it... sorry about any inconvenience.
Roadrunner Records 1986
I have a feeling that these guys fancied themselves the American MERCYFUL FATE. If they did, they kinda pulled it off, cuz that's the first thing that came to mind when I put this record on. Of course no one can replicate the greatness of early MERCYFUL FATE (even MF themselves), but I think that's what they were aiming for. Plus, the singer's name is Justin Fate - a less than subtle nod to the great Danes? With song titles like "Hell's Reign" and "The Ritual", DAMIEN THORNE were trying their damnedest to appear evil and scary, and that's a good thing, cuz shamefully that kinda spooky lyrical nonsense was lost on most of their American counterparts. Unfortunately the production is too "soft" for a Metal record - there's lots of reverb, nothing sounds sharp or in your face, and as a result the record doesn't achieve total heaviosity. The songs, however, are full of great riffs, top notch performances (the drummer's excellent and the guitar solos are phenomenal), vocals that range from piercingly high to kinda gritty, and some really interesting parts. The intro to "The Ritual" is very cool (as is the rest of the song), and "Grim Reaper" is hard as nails too. In addition to MERCYFUL FATE, this record kinda reminds me of ABBATOIR's first album, and maybe fellow Chicagans (is that the right word?) THRUST, but that might just be cuz they're from the same city. All in all, an excellent US Metal record... downloading is recommended - not leaving a comment is not!
DOWNLOAD: Damien Thorne - The Sign Of The Jackal.rar (61.65 MB)