Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 82. 82 days without buying myself anything. As I said last time, that’s a successful double challenge completed and I’m aiming for a full third month. Triple Challenge almost completed! Think of that like having 82 days clean and sober from the narcotic of consumerism. Well in fact, in real life I’ve got more than 82 days actually clean and sober, that’s closer to eight months (I don’t drink that often, and in general, wouldn’t drink willingly apart from being polite).

I’ve almost broke when finding super cheap Batman comics or relatively rare ones, but I’ve held strong. Also, almost daily, I almost buy some Manowar album or other, then back out at the very last minute. I am also tempted by the new Slipknot album and several other assorted musical bits and bobs (like Tygers Of Pan Tang’s second and third album or whatever).

To avoid spending… I’ve been revisiting the stuff I already own.

I’ve been mixing up my listening in a few ways, some days I’ll set up all my Thrash Metal albums (pre ’92 only, natch!) and shuffle songs from only there, catching a nice mix of stuff like Nuclear Assault, Sodom, Overkill, Anthrax, Testament etc.

Some days I’ll set up an individual Glam Metal band’s albums, and shuffle out of that, getting a mixture of Crue or Twisted Sister or WASP tracks from all different albums.

Some days I listen to something in its entirety that’s a newish acquisition for me, like the Hammerfall album or Down EP I got back on my birthday.

I’ve also been picking out things that I really rarely listen to (eg. Slayer’s Live Undead!) and giving them a shot.

The great thing about music is you can still do it when you are working (homework). Or at least traveling to work (job). I am trying to re-read Batman comics in the same way, but I don’t really have time, I can maybe sneak an issue’s worth a day if I’m procrastinating, but damn… my workload is abnormally high. I shouldn’t even be writing this blog… it’ll be a short one… I just wanted you to know I’ve made it 82 days.

I think I’ll buy myself Batman – “Ten Nights Of The Beast” or Manowar’s Louder Than Hell when I finish the third month… you can’t expect someone as hopelessly addicted to material goods as me, to go a full quarter of a year (as in do a fourth month in the challenge) without buying something, can you? Can you!? Don’t be cruel!

Well, maybe… actually. I’m starting to believe maybe I could do it. Could I? Wait and see readers, wait and see.

Just to take the shakes off for definite, I’ve opened this birthday present at long last (been saving it to get me through the challenge). It sorta feels a bit like buying a thing, because its new fodder for my ever-hungry music collection… even if I didn’t technically do the buying myself (thank goodness for kind, generous flatmates):

I’ll let you know how I like it:

Have you heard it? How do YOU like it?

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 68. 68 days without buying myself anything. As I said last time, that’s a successful double challenge. Its a double challenge (Two full months) plus an additional week. I’m aiming for a full third month. Three entire months without buying myself something like a CD or Comic Book or DVD or whatever, will be the longest I’ve ever gone without doing so since I got my first job at 15-16 years old.

Last time around on GITWYPF, I mentioned that I was severely tempted to buy more Manowar albums and to be honest I’ve put Manowar albums in my shopping basket numerous times in the last week and very nearly bought them, only to come to my senses at the very last minute. Yeah, I’m learning restraint alright. I did however, go on Youtube this morning for some try-before-you-buy action, hoping it would “talk me out of” buying those Manowar albums, and nope, just the opposite. Now I feel like I need them. Need them. Like Oxygen and Glucose kinda need them. Yes, I am a big nerd. And spoiled.

Luckily (?) I am flat broke, and couldn’t afford a £2 Manowar album from Amazon if I wanted it, so that has been keeping me from going too far and breaking the challenge. Or indeed Blind Guardian’s Nightfall In Middle Earth for £4… (Stupid temptation!).

Also, due to said lack of cash, it looks like I will definitely not be a first-day-buyer of the new Slipknot or Machine Head albums despite massive curiosity on the former and a certainty-of-love for the latter. And, y’know, Exodus and everybody else with a new album coming will be pushed way back to maybe far into 2015, (like my very late acquisition of Trivium’s Vengeance Falls).

Last time around, I also mentioned that I’d open my birthday gift of the new Judas Priest album, Redeemer Of Souls a month late to extend the feeling of having new stuff. (Also, two months late for similar Trivium, Ozzy and Soundgarden gifts). Well, its been more than a month since my birthday and I have indeed finally opened that generous Judas Priest gift from my flatmates. I don’t know how I feel about the album actually… Its sort of stylistically on to a good thing, but I’m not sure if I can remember any of the songs when the music has stopped. Its not like the old albums where you’d get tracks in your head forever on the very first listen. Its not even like 2005’s Angel Of Retribution which has 3-5 absolute bangers. Nothing had me thinking “wow, this is brilliant.” Nothing at all had me thinking anything negative… but just, I don’t know… its good, but not speaking to me right now?

It made me go back and listen to Angel Of Retribution again. I really enjoyed that. It has some serious jams!

Otherwise, I’ve been mostly listening to 2013-2014 purchases to get my money’s worth. More Poison, Dokken, WASP, Motely Crue and Twisted Sister. That or NWOBHM like Motorhead, Saxon, Angel Witch, Diamond Head and Tygers Of Pan Tang. Which in turn has made me brake out more Priest and Maiden to fit the theme.

I’ve also broken out Kiss’ Monster, BMTH’s Sempiternal and Killswitch Engange’s Disarm The Dissent which I slayed last year but seemed to be taking an unintentional break from over the summer.

Other than that, its been a lot of the recent birthday acquisitions. Helloween, Fratellis, Manowar, Sick Of It All, Minor Threat etc.

What else, other than a ton of work and fitness stuff?
– I’ve watched Batman Begins again… which is better than I remember.
– I saw an episode of Gotham, which I’m unsure about so far.
– I’ve been to see the movie Pride on a date. (Doesn’t count towards challenge due to the non-selfsih nature). Pride is an excellent film. Go see it!

Can’t think of much else to say. (Other than “please send me free Manowar albums” of course, if you are some sort of Label Executive with random spares on the go.) 68 days, aiming for 90. Wish me luck.

Down - Down IV Part II

Down – Down IV Part II

Down IV Part 2 is the American Metal super-group Down’s 2014 release. As its title suggests, it is the second in a series of EPs released under the Down IV title, following up 2012’s “Down IV Part I – The Purple EP.” It was produced by Michael Thompson along with the band themselves and released independently.

This was the band’s first official release without longtime member Kirk Weinstein of Crowbar fame, who is replaced here by Bobby Landgraf. Ironically, this EP is probably closer in sound to Crowbar than to Pantera, Eyehategod or Corrosion Of Conformity (the other groups besides Crowbar that the band are usually associated with).

First up, for an EP, this is actually pretty substantial, a total running time of almost 37 minutes leaves it longer than many albums anyway.

The focus of songwriting this time around seems to focus on the heavier, mid-paced side of the band’s repertoire. I don’t think the distinction between EPs 1 & 2 is all that strict, as in, its not a clear cut case of one has all the fast songs, one has all the slow songs, or one has all the basic songs and the other has all the progressive songs. This EP is essentially more of the Down mid-ground. Its not the most “instant” release in their catalogue, and may take a few spins to really get to grips with, but if you give it the time it asks for, you’ll get the rewards it promises.

Highlights include the brief “Hogshead/Dogshead,” and “Sufferer’s Years,” which is particularly catchy with its “I hate this time of year” sing-along, and the fat ‘60s/’70s sounding riffs in the pre-chorus. It is a nice mixture of the band’s Doom, Sludge & Stoner sides, approaching vintage Hard Rock in 2014 from multiple angles. This is perhaps the most definitively “Down” track on the album, and hopefully it will become a concert staple.

The record ends with the almost nine-minute long “Bacchanalia,” one of the looser and more jam-feeling songs on the record. You imagine it got its title from the drunken party in which it probably spawned (as opposed to a secret love of Batman No Man’s Land). This track in turn ends with a softer acoustic moment, likely foreshadowing Down IV Part 3 as the promised all-acoustic EP originally mentioned when the band come up with splitting the album into different EPs.

Overall; this is not necessarily bold new ground for the band, and the focus on mostly similar direction material may leave some fans feeling an acute lack of variety or excitement, but for what it is, to me personally, Down IV Part II is an entertaining collection of Down songs and a worthy addition to the catalogue. If you’re burned out by the formula, or want something fresh and new from these guys, maybe give it a miss, but if you can’t get enough Down, then by all means jump on board.

Get (Into) What You Paid For: Round 4 – Day 61

Posted: September 30, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 61. 61 days without buying myself anything. That’s a successful double challenge. Two full months. I’m severely tempted to buy more Manowar albums because I’ve just discovered this month that I absolutely love Manowar.

I’m unsure whether today is the last day of the challenge. It was an extra month long already. I could pick up another Manowar album on Amazon for less than £2. …OR I could extend the challenge to an unprecedented three months in duration and see if I can go that long without cracking. I don’t know. I get to unwrap my Redeemer Of Souls birthday gift tomorrow (I stalled its opening by a month to help with the challenge) so maybe that’ll take the urge to buy away… but just… man, they’re selling Manowar albums so cheap… and I am really, really, really digging Manowar at the minute! Tough choice…

Anyway; This is going to be a short one, because I don’t have much time due to work commitments, so I’ll just say that in the last six days since I last posted one of these articles, I did NOT accidentally buy that Batman book. I did however read my Birthday gifts of:
1. Batman Odyssey: which was a bit rubbish if I’m being honest.
2. Ultimate Spiderman Ultimate Collection Volume 1: Which was sensational!
3. Daredevil Born Again: Which was pretty great too!

I’ve also listened to Motely Crue’s Girls Girls Girls an absolute ton of times and it now makes their entire first five albums make sense and I take them seriously as a real band now. In addition to Crue overplaying, I’ve broke the following out of semi-obscurity in the KCP playcount (I haven’t listened to these in a while, so now I have purposely went and listened to them this week so as to get my money’s worth):

Also, I’d just like to add that I’d like to buy the following 2nd hand on Vinyl for under £5 each to add to my wall for use as a poster:

Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
Skid Row – Skid Row
GnR – Appetite’

Saxon – Strong Arm’ & Denim’
Diamond Head – Lightning’ (Black & Purple cover)
Iron Maiden – Number’ & ‘Mind
Judas Priest – Defenders’ & Ram It Down
Accept – Restless’ Balls’ & Metal Heart

Helloween – Keeper Part 2
Manowar – Kings Of Metal & Triumph Of Steel
Stratovarius – Visions

Slayer – Reign’, South’ & Seasons’
Megadeth – SFSGSW & Rust In Peace
Anthrax – Among The Living
Pantera – Cowboys’ & Vulgar’

Van Halen – II
Led Zeppelin – 1&4
Deep Purple – Fireball
Thin Lizzy – Black Rose
Kiss – Love Gun
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Caravan – In The Land Of Grey & Pink
ELP – Brain Salad Surgery

Pink Floyd – Wish’ Animals, & The Wall
Camel – Mirage
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Genesis – Tresspass & Nursery Crime
King Crimson – Court’ Larks Tongues’ Starless’ & Red

Ok. See you later folks. I’ll update you later as to whether or not I’m continuing the challenge!

What I’m Enjoying These Days

Posted: September 25, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 55. 55 days without buying myself anything. (Actually I can’t remember if I bought anything on the exact last day before the challenge, so it might be like, y’know, 60 days or something overall… my memory is fuzzy. 55 for sure though.

Anyway; I did a bad thing guys! I placed a bid on Batman Contagion on eBay, so unless someone outbids me, I’ll have broken the challenge tomorrow… woops. Lesson learned: “Don’t go on eBay during these challenges!” Common sense really… I also damn nearly bought a W.A.S.P. vinyl for my wall that I have absolutely no call to be buying in my current financial situation, but I snapped myself out of that pretty quickly. Its just that contagion was on the wishlist for so long (like Batman Cataclysm too) and it always sells for stupidly high prices like £33 or whatever, and seeing it at £4 was exciting. Oh well, it’s a process. Also hopefully I’ll be outbid and dodge this failure-bullet narrowly.

Fingers crossed.

Now here’s what I’ve been distracting myself with recently:

Any one song in isolation is excellent. The intro is even excellent. Russ’ voice sounds better than ever. There are great guitar solos and a decent production sound. There’s even guest appearances from other Bay Area Thrash heroes.

That being said… this album has gone from “Yay, they’re back!” to “Meh” pretty quickly. I’ve more or less ignored it since the year it come out. I think the problem is that there isn’t enough variety, there isn’t enough speed, and that all the songs are about a minute-too-long (Exodus disease).

The title-track is actually really fast at times, and pretty varied, I don’t think I’d noticed before because the album wore me down before that point most times. Anyway, yeah, doesn’t work as an album so much, but any of the songs in a playlist is excellent.

This is a classic. I like it a lot. Its got a good balance between their Slayer-esque side and their more Anthrax-sounding riffs. Its technical but not overwhelming, its aggressive but not just pointless hammering. There’s a surprising depth and more softness and melody than you may remember. Great album.

Another birthday gift. The latest one to be opened. I’ve waited almost a whole month to open it. It’s a pretty damn good album, just as I expected. There’s a lot of AC/DC sounding moments, along with the Speed Metal of “Fast As A Shark” and “Flash Rocking Man.” Also, it has “Demon’s Night” as covered by Cannibal Corpse. I already like “Princess Of The Dawn” and “Neon Nights” from the live Blu Ray that came with Blind Rage.

I read a few people say this album is inconsistent. I don’t hear it. This is all good stuff, and deservedly considered a classic.

Sometimes when I haven’t heard this in a while, I mistakenly think that I don’t like it. While I certainly could live without “You Aint The First” or “Live And Let Die” (or “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” for that matter, and also I always feel cheated by the two “Don’t Cry” versions…one is enough!) and I have to be in the right mood to enjoy “The Garden,” “Bad Obsession” or “Coma,” that still leaves over two-thirds of the album as certified awesome.

The fast heavy material like “Right Next Door To Hell,” “Perfect Crime,” “Don’t Damn Me,” “Garden Of Eden,” “Double Talkin Jive,” and “Back Off Bitch” is all exciting, energetic and enjoyable. They keep that spirit of Appetite’ alive. People often forget this material is on here too. I often forget it myself. They should release a version for Metal fans that starts off with all of these tracks first, and loses the acoustic tracks and covers. That would stop all the Appetite-whinging.

Also, “Dust N Bones” though not heavy, has been one of my all time favourite GnR songs since my very first listen of it. It is excellent.

Also, “November Rain” and “Don’t Cry” are awesome. Its just that I associate them with idiots from my high-school. When they catch me unawares I remember just how good a song they each are. They are fantastic.

Sometimes I think of this album as being 60% acoustic, 30% cover songs and trumpets, and 10% good. This is way, way, way off the mark. Excellent album. Also, as it happens, I indeed was in the mood for “Coma” this time.

I’m really becoming very, very fond of Hammerfall indeed. I just can’t stop cranking this and their debut. It also keeps getting better on new listens. Such a fun, entertaining, easily digestible band! They’re the musical equivalent of popcorn.

Nice Even Number:

Posted: September 23, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Blog Stats/Achievments