Thunder Blackmore

#1001.5: 50 (Or, Thank You!!)

RECORD STORE TALES #1001.5: 50 (part two)

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments about my 50th birthday gone awry.  Jen is feeling better, though besides a fat lip, she now sports a nice black eye.  Could have been worse.

I’m still Covid negative so I’ll take that as a win.  The cold that I do have is not so bad, and though I am back at work, I have not been able to do a full day yet.  But that will improve.

After Jen felt better from her fall, we opened some gifts.  She got me some cool Marvel and Star Wars figures, but the music is the best part.

First up was the new Black Crowes EP, 1972.  This six-song covers EP is getting rave reviews and I cannot wait to hear the Rod Stewart cover “You Wear It Well”.  This EP is in anticipation of new material from the reformed band.  There’s even a photo of the new lineup (including returning bassist Sven Pipien) which is a packaging touch I always appreciate.  I have been skeptical of the Crowes’ current reunion, but putting out new music with this lineup alleviates most of that.  Dig it!

And then we have the massive Black Sabbath Technical Ecstasy box set!  This is one of my favourite Oz Sabbath albums.  Actually one of my first, after Paranoid.  The box includes the full album, the album remixed, some outtakes and a live show from 1977.   The live show looks especially cool, with “Gypsy”, “Dirty Women” and “All Moving Parts” in the setlist.  “Electric Funeral” is even included.  The bizarre cover art has always struck me as Asimovian.  Think The Gods Themselves.

Thank you Jen.  What a day for you.  You sure know how to buy gifts though.

Then I unboxed the massive parcel sent to me by Thor in Denmark.  It was heavy.  I didn’t know what to expect.  It was obviously packed full.  Even so, nothing broke in transit!  Everything arrived in great condition, but there was so much stuff inside, we need to do a complete inventory.

First, there’s Anthem:  Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years Japanese import with obi strip intact.  Thor actually wrote an excellent review of this album with all the details.  Bassist Naoto Shibata played on one of my favourite Loudness albums, so this is a total enhancement for my collection.  It’s a double disc with a different singer on each disc, from two eras of the band.  He rated it 4.95/5!

Then we have Red, Hot and Heavy by Pretty Maids, a band he considers the most underrated in metal.  I don’t know this one, but it’s from 1984 so I think I’m going to like it.

Finally we have a self-titled album by Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, who I had to look up.  This is a 1994 debut album by a critically acclaimed Danish band.  Says a review on the Wikipedia page, “It all heavily oozes Led Zeppelin and Seattle.”  Sounds good to me.

It may take a while for me to get to Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, considering Thor also sent me the motherlode of a band I first heard in the 80s, D-A-D, originally known as Disneyland After Dark.  They too hail from Denmark, and I have praised their 1989 American debut, No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims, with a 4.5/5 star review.

Well, Thor went overboard.  And by that, I mean Overmuch!  Look at all this D-A-D glory!  Thanks to him, I must now be the proud owner of the best D-A-D collection in Canada.  Let’s go through everything one by one.

No Fuel Left For the Pilgrims (1989).  This is the super rare original version of the CD, with the original name, before the change to D-A-D.  Not only is the cover different, but so is the mix on four tracks:  “Sleeping My Day Away”, “Point of View”, “Rim of Hell” and “Girl Nation”.  On the international CD that I have, these four tracks were remixed by Chris Lord-Alge.  You can hear the slight difference, mostly in terms of levels in the mix.

Good Clean Family Entertainment You Can Trust (1995).  A single disc compilation with live and studio cuts, and loads of single artwork inside.

Psychopatico (1998).  Double live.  Their first live release besides a 1990 live Japanese EP.  17 tracks total.

The Early Years (2000).  Double compilation!  Includes their first two studio albums, plus their debut EP called Standin’ On the Never Ever, and 17 rare or previously unreleased bonus tracks.

Scare Yourself Alive (2006).  Another double live!  Two gigs from 2005 included.  Minimal overlap between the two discs.

DIC·NII·LAN·DAFT·ERD·ARK (2011).  Studio album.  Check out that Super Audio CD case!  Looks like I have all their studio albums now, as you shall see.

A Prayer For the Loud (2019).  Their most recent studio album.

And, best of all…

The Overmuch Box:  Twenty Five Years of D-A-D (2009)!  This includes all their studio albums up to 2008, completing my collection!  The albums are:

  • Standin’ On the Never Ever (1985 EP)
  • Call Of the Wild (1986)
  • D-A-D Draws a Circle (1987)
  • No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims (1989 US version)
  • Riskin’ It All (1991)
  • Helpyourselfish (1995)
  • Simpatico (1997)
  • Everything Glows (2000)
  • Soft Dogs (2002)
  • Scare Yourself (2005)
  • Monster Philosophy (2008)
  • Bonus album:  Behind the Seen (Rare, unreleased & B-sides 1984-2009)

There’s still a bit of D-A-D out there to acquire, such as that Japanese EP, but surely not much.  To be honest I never expected to get any more D-A-D beyond the Riskin’ It All album (which is supposedly lethal).  But…holy shit people!  That’s enough D-A-D to take years to digest.

Thor’s generosity cannot be understated! This is awesome stuff.  You never see their music around in Canada, and I simply assumed I’d never have them.  I love the price tags from a store called Moby Disc – great name!  To have this much D-A-D, including the early stuff I only read about, and both versions of No Fuel, I’m just blown away.  Truly overmuch! This is a band that has been special to me for a long time, because I can remember sitting in Bob Schipper’s basement when that music video came on.  He went nuts for it.  Just loved it.  Just like I loved that big guy!  Nothing but great times.

Thank you Jen, thank you Thor, and everyone who wished me a happy birthday.

#1001: 50 (Or, Reading a Post in Real Time)

RECORD STORE TALES #1001: 50

Well, it happened.  After two and a half years of no illnesses whatsoever, this boy finally got sick a couple days before his 50th birthday.  Not Covid, thank fuck.  Just the cold that seems to be going around “like wildfire” according to our pharmacist.  Sunday night it hit like a ton of bricks and I was in bed by 5:30.  Monday I was coughing with a sore throat and spent the entire day in bed, a couple hours here and there aside.  Tuesday I was well enough to go back to work.  Dead tired though.

And so, this 50th birthday that was supposed to be a simple movie night with the parents is now a night at home by ourselves.  Can’t bring this cold into their house.  Additionally, because I didn’t go into work on Monday, I cancelled my planned day off on Friday.  Just not enough time left in the week to get everything done.  We were supposed to do a 50th birthday celebration at the lake but that won’t be happening.

As miserable as I felt, it’s nice to get the birthday messages.  Because I can, I’ll boast a bit about the celebrity birthday wishes.  I’m always a little shellshocked when guys like this wish me a happy birthday:

  • Brent Jensen, the author and podcaster who always makes my skin vibrate
  • Mike Fraser, world-class producer and mixer extraordinaire
  • Brent Doerner, Helix guitarist
  • Greg Fraser, Brighton Rock and Storm Force axe-slinger
  • Michael Willerding, former drummer for Russian Blue and Feel
  • Rik Fox, original W.A.S.P. bassist who messaged all the way from Facebook jail

Even though I feel like I need an extended

[cut]


That is the exact moment while writing this post on a snack break that my cell phone rang.

Same old, same old, same old.  The mall called.  My beautiful wife had a seizure.  This time, she fell flat on her face and cut her lip.  She looks absolutely brutal right now.  It hurts my heart.

Had to leave work early.  I’m exhausted.  She’s pretty sore.

Let’s focus on the good.  Trying to focus on the good.

OK, the good:

  • Happy birthday wishes from all my friends and relatives
  • Surprise birthday pizza and pasta from our pharmacist, Vu
  • Surprise birthday parcel from Thor, aka Thunder Blackmore (it’s just cool getting a text message that says “You have a parcel from Thor”)
  • Jen is safe

I was going to do a big unboxing of Thor’s parcel but I am dead tired now.  I need rest.  And what says “you’re 50 years old now” better than a nap?

It can only get better from here.  Happy 50th, to me.

GUEST REVIEW: Anthem – Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years (2012) by Thunder Blackmore

By Thunder Blackmore

ANTHEM – Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years (2012 King Record Co.)

In the world of metal, there is no short list of underrated bands from every corner and country of the world. Specially with long-standing bands that are still going strong to this day. Would it be bands like E-Z-O from Japan, Pretty Maids from Denmark, Thor from Canada, or Helloween from Germany, everyone regardless of nationality has a favorite band, who did well for themselves, but could’ve, would’ve and should’ve gone big. And while my choice for most underrated metal band ever would go to my fellow countrymen Pretty Maids (national bias has its moments), Japanese metal legends Anthem earns the runner-up spot, easily.

The band, led by bassist Naoto Shibata, who are perhaps more famous for his work with Loudness and Crush 40 in the 90’s, had a tough time in the 80’s with success in their homeland and even a small US tour in ’87, but also with internal struggles which prevented the band to go beyond like their fellow and more successful countrymen, Loudness. Ultimately the band would be disbanded in 1992 until they reunited in 2001 and have been going strong since then. A band considered by many to be part of the big four of Japanese Metal (with X Japan, Loudness and Flatbacker/E-Z-O) with mostly consistent excellent releases throughout the years, who just now are getting released to the west on streaming services and (hopefully) physically by Nuclear Blast. So far, there’s two options for getting into Anthem’s discography, which just so happen to be compilations. For their new era, there is Nucleus, released by the aforementioned Nuclear Blast. But as for their classic period, the import to buy is this one. Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years.

Japanese releases has a reputation of not being a very cheap options, so getting this compilation is definitely a good starter point. It collects songs from the band’s initial 80’s era, starting with the self-titled debut and ending with their final album before their hiatus, Domestic Booty (you’ll be the judge for the supposed meaning of “booty”). Given that the compilation is split into two cd’s, it also reflects the times with the singers Eizo Sakamoto and Yukio Morikawa representing disc 1 and 2, respectively. This decision, coupled with the track list being in chronological order, can be difficult at first listen. Not necessarily with the tracks themselves but more with the unevenness with the production, as the first Anthem albums sound pretty rough. Granted, that’s not a problem exclusive to the band, but that also means that you’ll have to skip to track 13, “Bound to Break”, if you are somewhat put off by the roughness.

If you can hang with it, you are in for 2 hours of kickass catchy melodic metal majesty from glorious Nippon with no noteworthy duds. Even with my nitpicky desire to swap out some tracks for others, I’m still absolutely happy with this purchase. Standouts have to be “Venom Strike”, “Shadow Walk”, “Bound to Break”, “Hunting Time”, “Night After Night” and “Show Must Go On”. The latter being their first original song with English lyrics (courtesy of the late Chris Tsangarides) and being their first to be featured in the Anime OVA, Devilman.

Until Anthem can finally release their back-catalog on physical media for a much more affordable price (CD, vinyl or otherwise), this one will do wonders in the meantime.

4.95/5 stars

Thanks to Thunder Blackmore for this awesome review.