October 2020 Music Collection Update, Part 1

October was an excellent month for adding new tunes to the collection!  I’ve been doing very well selling off video games and squirreling away the profits, but I allowed myself to spend some of the earnings on discs with music on them.  The month was so good, I decided to break them up into TWO parts!

Also, I need some time to listen to this stuff, hence the mid-November post.  It is what it is.

For part one, these are all albums I grabbed from eBay, amazon, and a online order from The Beat Goes On.  Some is new, some is used.  All were in the $10 -$15 range except for the box sets.  So, here we go:

I wanted to full some holes in my Anthrax collection and I did:

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Worship Music is from 2011 and For All Kings is from 2016.  Anthem is an EP collection of cover tunes that does include Rush’s Anthem among others. Chile On Hell is a live CD/DVD box set of a show they did in 2014, which has a crowd that is WAY in Anthrax.  A fun watch, for sure.

Fistful of Metal is their debut with their first vocalist, Neil Turbin.  Neil’s voice is not as melodic Belladonna’s, but he has a great rocks voice and wrote some solid lyrics.  I’m happy with all of these. 

Continuing with the thrash metal, I got Testament’s Titans of Creation which came out earlier this year in March.  

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I want to do a full review before the year is up as I’m sure it will make my best of 2020 list. 

I also grabbed the last Black Sabbath album I’ll need with Ozzy:

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The End is an EP of extra material from the last studio album, 13 that was originally only available to those who attended their final tour.  But it must have been reissued at some point because it wasn’t very expensive on eBay and it seems legit.

For some reason during one of my purge sessions I got rid of my Pantera CDs.  Well, I corrected that error this month: 

20201108_202330 When it comes to Pantera, the first three albums are my jam.  Although, I have turned the corner on Reinventing the Steel and may have a deluxe edition soon heading my way. 

I got three Alice Cooper albums:

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The early Greatest Hits collection has different mixes that what is on the album.  Plus, it is the one I had on cassette during my teens. 

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Deep Purple’s In Rock is staple in influencing heavy metal bands that followed it.  Just listen to it back to back with Iron Maiden’s first album for proof.  People seem to be mixed on The Who’s The Who By Numbers but I like it.  Squeeze Box is the tune causal fans will know but it has quite a few solid album tracks on it. 

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I have both of Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door and Presence on vinyl already, but they’re not in the best shape.  I bought them in the ’90s when they were more for wall art.  These were dirt cheap and in nice shape, so I though why not? 

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For some reason I stopped buying Sloan albums at some point.  Another correction needed to make.  Peppermint is an early EP with some tunes that ended up on their debut album but with different mixes, so you’ll need this if you want the OGs.  I don’t have too much experience yet with Never Hear The End Of It but Parallel Play is a gem of an album.  Doesn’t get the respect it has earned! 

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Jimi Hendrix Blues was an album one of my college roommates had and I always had wanted and People, Hell & Angels is a collection of rare tracks all remastered by Eddie Kramer.  And… oops, Stone Free is a $2 mission thrift pickup that slipped in here.  Well, the tribute album is mostly “meh” but there are some gems. 

And finally, 

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I already wrote about Tom Petty’s Wildflowers & All The Rest right here.   Just thought I’d mention it again to remind people of how good it is. 

So, that is all.  That would have been enough but I had a good day at my local mission thrift last month.  So, Part Deux will feature some Paul Simon, The Beatles, and a rare Beach Boys set!  All $2 grabs  You don’t want to miss it!

[Album Review] Anthrax |Stomp 442

Hey now, everybody!  I haven’t written about music for a while and I thought I’d get back into the groove by talking about some of my favourite metal/hard rock albums from the ’90s.  No, not that Nü Metal stuff.  You know, METAL.  I got back to listening to the soundtrack of my teen years when I started “Major Scores”.  (Bonus points to anyone who remembers that series.)  Now, that my nostalgia trip has carried over into the sounds of Summer 2020, I thought it is as good a time as any to share my thoughts on these albums.  So, here we go…

I might be a complete nut for liking Anthrax’s Stomp 422 so much.  The album flopped commercially.  The band blamed the label, Electra, for its lack of promotion, and a few outlets like Walmart refused to carry it because of the bum on the cover.  Most critics gave it a negative review too.   Here is Stephen Thomas Erlewine in his allmusic.com review:

Anthrax continued their downward spiral with Stomp 442, a generic collection of speed metal bombast. Previously, the band had been able to save their weakest material by the sheer force of their personality, but by the time they recorded Stomp 442, they had lost a number of their key members. Instead of recharging the band, the new members make Anthrax seem somewhat unsure of where to go next — they pull out their old bag of tricks, but none of their blistering riffs, thundering drums, or hip-hop experiments carry any excitement any more. A handful of tracks suggest that the band could save itself, but Stomp 442 is a disheartening experience for the band’s dedicated followers.

Ouch.  Fair enough if you don’t like the album.  To each his own and all that metal, I guess.  But we have a bit to unpack here because, with all due respect,  I don’t know what this guy is talking about.

No hip hop experiments?  Geez, Bring the Noise was some fun they had with Public Enemy in ’91, I’m the Man was ’87.  It’s like complaining when The Beatles came out with Abbey Road that they don’t do songs like “Love Me Do” anymore.

While it is true, founding member and lead guitarist Dan Splitz… split, that was really the only line-up change.  Drummer Charlie Benante played a majority of the guitar solos, Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell guested on one tune, and journeyman/session guitarist Paul Crook did the rest.  So I’m not sure who these new members are who are going to recharge the band.  He might be referring to John Bush who replaced lead vocalist Joey Belladonna on the previous album, Sound of White Noise.  So he was relatively new, I guess.

Getting away from this guy though, one of the more consistent complaints about this album is how all of the songs sound the same.  Well, since both AC/DC and Motorhead share space on my top three bands of all time, I guess that wouldn’t bother me very much.  I actually enjoy how the album is stripped of the hip hop and novelty bits.  This is straight-up working’s man’s metal for the ’90s.  Tough, punchy, and crunchy.  Anthrax’s very own Flick of the Switch if you will.

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The first six tracks are a non-stop jackhammer of intensity.   Even though Benante did most of the writing, every tune is anchored by rhythm guitarist Scott Ian’s groove.  Throw this one into the anti-skip Discman when on the treadmill and you won’t want to leave.  Random Acts of Senseless Violence and Fueled are a terrific one-two punch at the top.  Then King Size (featuring Dimebag Darrell), Riding Shotgun, Perpetual Motion, and In A Zone do not let up.

The next three tunes are slightly weaker.  Slight-ly.  Bush seems to strain a bit during Nothing, American Pompeii is the best out of the three, and Drop The Ball ain’t bad.  Heck, all three have their moments.  Really good, just not great.

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But then Tester comes next.  My favourite track of the bunch.  This is the tune that put the stomp into Stomp 422.  Literally.  The boys stomp on boards as part of the percussion.  It is good times.

The final tune is Bare, an acoustic number that gets “acoustic heavy” before it is done.  It is a good track but it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album.  So, I can see why it is placed at the end.

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There is an extended version of the album that came out in 2003, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  The extra tunes drag it out to 15 tracks and they’re not really worth owning, IMHO.

I know a lot of folks have a nostalgic tie with the Belladonna years from the ’80s, and I love that stuff too.  Especially Among the Living which I can agree with most how it is their best album.  But personally, I connect more with John Bush’s down to earth lyrics and style.  Stomp 442 has never left my collection since I bought it in ’95.  Not once have I ever considered giving it up. 

5/5

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[Album Review] The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience

I promise not all of my Major Scores will be compilation discs, but there will be a few!  They played an important part in my mission to explore new bands, and The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience was no exception.  At the time, my exposure to the TV show was a VHS tape’s worth when visiting an acquaintance who had access to the MTV via one of those big Satellite TV dishes.  I was an instant fan.

I remember finding this album new with a deep price cut of $9.99.  Perhaps it didn’t sell well in Sudbury considering you had to go out of your way to see the show, or maybe it was always meant to be a budget release.  Regardless, this was a Major Score for me!  It featured some bands I had heard a lot (Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith) and several others I was itching to hear more from (Anthrax, White Zombie, Primus, Jackyl).  Plus, I got to show off my editing skills to Frank by taking the comedy bits on here and splice them together with Pantera or Sabbath on my mixtapes.

Just a few overall thoughts on The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience before we get into the tunes:  Beavis and Butt-Head are complimentary to all of the bands on here.  The only ones they have some fun with is Postive K, who I’m sure was hired to write a slow jam that Mike Judge (show creator and voice actor for both Beavis and Butt-Head. Just in case you didn’t know) could riff on.  The Cher song on here is in the same boat. So, I’m skipping on commenting on them in detail.  I’ll just say, they are well done and still funny.

The album features music from a few different genres including metal, grunge, hard rock, and hip hop.  Overall, it doesn’t make for the most balanced of listening experiences, but they find a way for all of them to fit into Beavis and Butt-Head’s wheelhouse.  On the show, they are a couple of metalheads who mock or scoff at any artist that wasn’t metal or hard rock.  But they would like Sir Mix-A-Lot’s lyrics.  Cher isn’t their flavor, but her ass tattoos and “experiences” are.  So it does work on that level.

Now, let’s see how this compilation helped to shaped my collection over the years.

“I Hate Myself and Want to Die”
by Nirvana
Nirvana recorded this during the In Utero sessions.  It didn’t make the album since Kurt Cobain thought it already had enough “noise songs” and was “boring”.   The lyrics have nothing to do with the title and instead was intended to be his ironic statement to the media who labeled him as “angry all of the time”.  OK.  I’m not much of a Nirvana guy but I always thought this one was one of their better tunes.  I still like it.  B

“Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun”
by Anthrax
The first Anthrax tune I had heard was their cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got The Time” on Much Music, and this Beastie Boys cover was the second.  Neither had impressed me.  Anthrax would become one of my favourite bands but it didn’t start here.  C

What I did enjoy was the bit Anthrax did with B&B!  Give it a spin if you have the time:

To summarize if not, The boys stumble upon the band’s trailer, Anthrax lets them in and gives them some girlie mags, Beavis locks himself in the bathroom… it is still hilarious! A++

“99 Ways to Die”
by Megadeth
I remember this being the point where people began turning on Megadeth (At least in my circle of the world).  Tt became the example for everything “wrong with the metal” as many took the lyrics for glorifying gun violence, but it is really about contemplating suicide.  I guess suicide is only cool if you speak of it ironically. *shrugs*  Anyway, listening to it now… it’s not one of Megadeth’s masterpieces o’ thrash from the past, but I think I like it as much as the Nirvana tune on here.  B

“Bounce”
by Run–D.M.C
I’m not much of a hip hop guy and this song wasn’t really isn’t my jam…. so, NA for the tune.  The bit they do with B&B is comedy gold, however. So, A+ for the bit

“Deuces Are Wild”
by Aerosmith
The “now me” enjoys diving into Aerosmith’s old catalog and finding those sweet album tracks.  Back then, Aerosmith was the band on Much Music with the ballads.  At least the girls featured in their videos were not hard to look at.  Deuces are Wild was just another ballad-y ‘smith tune to add onto the pile for me.  Today… meh… it’s still just OK.  Not bad and thankfully not overplayed.  B-

“I Am Hell”
by White Zombie
White Zombie became one of my most listened to bands in the ’90s and this tune didn’t hurt at all.  I remember this coming onto one of my mixtapes and my Mom saying, “When you get older you’re not going to listen to this anymore.  You’re going to look back and be embarrassed that you did.” lol. Moms…  A-

“Poetry and Prose”
by Primus
Ah, I forgot how good this is.  I love how this wasn’t a throwaway from another recording session but was something written specifically for this.  Part of the song does have B&B talking over it… which is funny… but I do wish there was an alternate take buried on the disc somewhere so I can better hear Les Claypool’s brilliance.  I’m glad they did not speak over these lyrics though:

Stone Temple Pearlvana Chains, now there’s a helluva band
They got that original sound that’s been sweepin’ across the land
They ain’t no ZZ Top though, now that’s the band for me
If I had my way MTV’d play just them and AC/DC

Ha, it’s like Claypool was a fly on my wall in 1994!  I really need to take the time to listen to more Primus.   A+

“Monsta Mack”
by Sir Mix-a-Lot
Again, I’m not a hip hop guy.  I don’t know what makes for a good rap song and what doesn’t.  I just find this one to be fun.  Sir Mix-a-Lot makes a-Lot of references to himself while calling out the media and other artists who look down on him.  Sort of doing the Eminem thing a half a decade prior.  Plus, Sir Mix uses a cartoonish crushing sound effect in the procession.  It is good times.  I probably didn’t give this more than one spin back in the day to hear if B&B dropped some comedy gold in it.  But I can appreciate it now.  I would listen to this.  A… I guess

“Search and Destroy” (Originally performed by The Stooges)
by Red Hot Chili Peppers
RHCP was everywhere at the time.  You couldn’t walk a half of a foot without running into Under the Bridge.  When I heard this tune I thought… this is more my speed.  It wasn’t until much, much later in life I discovered who The Stooges were.  The Stooges’ original groove was lightning in a bottle that I don’t think RHCP recaptured, but this is still a solid cover.  Liked it both then and now.  B+

“Mental Masturbation”
by Jackyl
Oh man, this was my favourite tune on the album.  I love the intensity and was getting a strong AC/DC vibe from this band.  I’ll just grade the song now with an A+.

I remember picking up their self titled debut and the follow-up Push Comes to Shove because of it.  I remember on the way home to listen to them, Frank saying “Watch Mental Masturbation be their only good song.”  Not possible, I thought.  Ehhhh… I was kind of wrong…  It turned out that Jackyl was just OK and those two albums got traded away within six months.  I gave them another spin on Spotify for a reminder and I still feel the same.  Keeping up Mental Masturbation‘s intensity for an entire album isn’t easy and Jackyl is not that interesting in the lower gears.  My relationship with Jackyl, D-

And there you have it.  The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience remains to be a fun album to listen to.  It may not have shaped my collection as much a Nativity In Black did, but I do wonder how much that would have changed if I spent more effort searching for Primus instead of Jackyl.   Ah, well… it isn’t too late!  Maybe this sucker has started me down a new path 25 years later!

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