Monday, May 9, 2011

Sight Unseen (and Sound Unheard) - New CDs on the Way

I spend any cash I can spare on new music. I hate to drop a few bucks eating out, die a little inside at the thought of the price of a movie ticket and depend on the local library for most of my reading. That said, I always reserve a nice little stack of bills for a few magazines a month. UK imports Metal Hammer and Classic Rock are two consistent must-buys on my list. They're mainstream enough to be found on the shelves of any respectable newsstand, sensible enough to avoid political and social commentary, and each cover a wide variety of sub-genres with consistently high-quality writing (and each usually come with superb CDs compiling the newest sounds). Each is a pleasure to pore over cover to cover again and again and, within days of picking up a new issue, I have an all-new shopping list with which to burn through the rest of my dough. The May 2011 issue of Metal Hammer hit my bookstore this week and, combined with the previous month's copy still in my satchel from last week's travels, I just placed an order today - especially exciting as it's all new music from bands I have never heard a note from before:

Skindred - Union Black

Union BlackI guess I should be ashamed to say I haven't ever heard of Skindred before.  The magazine first drops the name on page 10 under the Hammer Stereo feature in which three of eight shout-outs go to this new LP. A four-page spread mid-magazine, an 8/10 album review plus a gorgeous back-cover advertisment made my mind up for me. An import copy is on its way from as, out since April 25, this one has yet to hit stateside.

I also saw a used copy of another work from the band, Babylon (2004), at one of my favorite disc-swapping sites,, for a meager $2.08 and snapped it up. We'll see how this one pays off.

Time Is UpHavok - Time is Up
Havok gets a page devoted to Hot Metal and I have to admit the cover sold me. Described as a sophomore thrash offering giving a generous nod to the old-school, the magazine describes Havok as "forward-thinking saviours of speed metal" and ranks the band with Testament and Exodus. I'll admit that the praise seems heaped on a little thick for a band with album #2 just now out but I am more than willing to give it a chance. If nothing else, I can just enjoy the album sleeve.

Miss May I - Monument
MonumentThe April 2011 Metal Hammer had an awesome two-page spread on a band based  less than 15 miles up the road from home. Again, as I was ashamed to have never heard of them before, I had to grab what I learned is Troy, Ohio's Miss May I's second album. I also have to admit for all my reading and listening I still don't really know what "metalcore" is but apparently Miss May I provide the "pure, unadulterated" version.

This is another Hot Metal feature that also describes a new band as "old-school." Is that old-school metalcore?  Will I even be able to tell?

Volbeat - Beyond Hell / Above Heaven
OK, I have to admit, this wasn't from any article or review. This wasn't even from Metal Hammer. A one-page ad in Revolver intrigued me. Then, this morning, sealed the deal with a single tweet:
This added to their recent post on discovering new music along with a succinct description in the ad of "music's unlikeliest crossbreed in their fusion of Metallica's power-groove and Elvis-style rockabilly" was enough to merit a blind - and deaf - purchase.
Beyond Hell / Above Heaven

I'd love to be in a place, both in life and geography, where I could catch live music regularly and chat with in-the-know record-store clerks to feed my music frenzy. Hell, I'd even settle for a decent radio station. But I am also very thankful for the huge variety of magazines, band pages, fansites and blogs out there spreading the good word - keep up the good work and I'll keep listening, loving and singing along - and also singing your praises.

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks for the mention, gogmagog! Diggin' that Skindred album cover, too! Can't wait to hear your reviews (anxious to hear what you think about Havok!). And it probably needs no more repeating, but VOLBEAT is the SH*T. Hands down. 8^) Many cheers and ATB...TTYS! - RT