Monday, April 30, 2012

Bridge Nine Mystery Box 2012

 I told myself this year I wasn't going to do it. I had no intention of spending my money on the unknown to potentially score a rare record I most likely already have.
I held out a whole three weeks.

Bridge Nine's annual mystery box is a polarizing event which ends up looking a lot like a lottery. There is a lot of excitement and speculation on what will be thrown in to anyone's box, plus an added random element that no two boxes will be the exact same. Oh and don't forget the carrot B9 dangles with the prospect of scoring a really rare record from the B9 vault.
In the end however, most people end up getting stickers, promo posters and a shit load of cds. Hey I get it. This is a great way to clear out old stock and at least recoup some money for stuff sitting on the shelves. Charge $15 a box and let people think they may possibly score an original American Nightmare 7".

Something happened with last year's event which made me rethink my cynical ways. B9 pressed three limited records to throw in each of the three "fans of" category boxes. The records were limited to 500 a piece and ended up being quite awesome as there were two live from Sound and Fury records from Have Heart and Verse and then also a Polar Bear Club 7" for the more indie crowd.

This year I decided to wait to see what the special 7"s would be before buying. If they were from bands I didn't particularly like, I wouldn't buy. Word started trickling in from the message boards as people received their stuff that one of the three 7"s was from Cruel Hand. I like Cruel Hand so I went for it.

Mystery Box #2 contained the Cruel Hand Live at Sound & Fury 2011 7". For this record alone I was happy with buying a mystery box. Cruel Hand rule.

As for the rest of the box, I didn't get any rarities this year, but I did get a copy of the latest Mother Of Mercy lp, "Symptoms of Existence". That is very cool as it is one of the only records on Bridge Nine that I don't already own. I also got three cds I asked for and three more thrown in as well. A few stickers and a small Ceremony poster I couldn't fit in the picture rounded it out.

I have to say not bad. Not bad at all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Endpoint - In A Time Of Hate RSD 2012

Record Store Day 2012 was not that big a deal for me. I ended up spending maybe $100, almost all of it on metal records. I decided to pass on the obvious hardcore releases this year, like the Revelation color represses, as I never really liked or owned any of the mid 90's originals by Sense Field, Into Another or Farside. I love Ignite though. Maybe I will pick that one some day.
As it turned out, the only remotely hardcore record I walked out of a store with last Saturday was the Doomriders/Sweet Cobra split of Devo covers. I am not positive that was a RSD release anyway.

One of the only Record Store Day releases that I wanted and knew for a fact would not be available locally was the Endpoint - In A Time Of Hate repress on Simba Records. So what does any self respecting collector do for an event that celebrates physically going to brick and mortar record stores to support the scene? I pre-order the record online a month in advance.

The timing wasn't too bad as the record showed up yesterday, only a few days off from RSD.
500 of these were pressed on red vinyl. Apparently the sound is cleaner and louder than the original pressing on Conversion Records. My hearing is kind of shot and it has been at least a decade since I listened to the original record anyway, so to me it sounds like I remember.

The cover is obviously different with this pressing and is printed on a very nicely screened cardboard fold over. Each are hand numbered. I got #63. Maybe the low numbers were held for pre-orders. Whatever.

The only insert is a simple one sided lyric sheet on red paper.

Endpoint were kind of the perfect personification of 90's hardcore. Experimental, incorporating different sounds and being influenced by indie and grunge. Hell, they were even described as emo at one point. They seemed to have a slightly different sound with every record, so to me this was their best as it was the most straight forward hardcore album they made. 
I hold a special place in my heart for Endpoint just because Rob the singer sounds like John Connelly from Nuclear Assault when he goes off. That is a good thing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Black Breath - Sentenced To Life

It's only April and I already have a strong candidate for album of the year. Boy oh boy, do I like Black Breath. Just unrelenting, crushing, loud metal.

There is no doubt. This is metal. It's on Southern Lord. It sounds like d-beat influenced thrash metal. It sounds like dark black metal. It sounds like Swedish death metal or as I like to call it - Entombed.
It's metal. Yet there is a part of me that still considers Black Breath hardcore. It can't just be because Eric Wallace is in ON and was in Go It Alone. It also can't be because Mark Palm has recently joined the band. There are lots of ties to hardcore, but in the end I just have to call it metal.

Southern Lord put a lot of effort and money into the overall package. Super thick vinyl. Let's go with 180 gram. I'm just guessing though.

I picked this up locally and was surprised to see red vinyl. Southern Lord advertised on their webstore that it came in black and red with black splatter. I guess red is retail? I have no idea how many were pressed. I'm sure "lots" is an acceptable answer.

Southern Lord has been doing this retro "tip-on" style of cover manufacturing from Stoughton Printing that screams "style" and "expensive". You can see the foldover seam with the angle I took the picture at. To print it in this style the entire back cover art is actually a sticker! It ends up a very durable, strong cover. No chance of split seams. I have seen some other newer albums with this style cover. I think I have an Earth lp like it. Whatever. I am way out of my element.

Printed inner sleeves aren't my favorite, but this is a good one because it is as thick as a regular outer sleeve.

Damn, I love this album. It just doesn't let up.