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The Scrounger's Report

Dec. 23, 2001

The Merry Effin' Christmas Scounger's Report

Yeah, I got yer Yule log right here! This year I'm actually taking a few
extra days off. 13 straight days without having to go to the office! How
to spend the time... hmmm... could it be?...

In the first 2 days off I drove 450+ miles and did some *serious* scrounging.
The only downside is that I'm now broke (maybe I'll actually sit down and
put some of these CDs on their respective web sites). I guess I'm doing my
part to stimulate the economy. :)

First, 2 CDs that arrived in the mail:

White Diamond - The Lost Demos (1988-1990). 2001. Lemmon Records.
  Despite all the hubbub off and on over at the MelodicRock.Com message
board as to whether this is/was a legit group or not (for all I know it
might be the AOR version of Fozzy), I gotta say this is some pretty damned
decent melodic rock. Good hooks and choruses.

Iced Earth - Dark Genesis (Boxed Set). 2001. Century Media.
   Good schtuff!! Even though I already had their first 3 discs, and the
rerecorded versions in "Days of Purgatory", I simply had to pick this up.
There's no excuse not to: a 5-CD boxed set for less than $35. The set
includes the first 3 Iced Earth albums remastered, their original "Enter
the Realm" demo, and "Tribute to the Gods" a disc full of cover songs.
The booklet contains a history of the band, and is chock full of photos.
Nice packaging! TheEndRecords.Com has it for $33 including shipping. Get
yours now.

An Xmas gift for a friend:

Shy - Welcome to the Madhouse. 1994.
   I know this was just recently reissued, but this was still an odd used
find for the midwest. Harder-edged than the material with Tony Mills at the
helm, but quite good!

One CD single:

Dillinger - Can it Be Love. 1991. JRS Records. Promo.
   Ok, splain this to me, since I've seen a couple of bands do this on their
singles: 3 tracks. All the *EXACT* same cut. No difference as far as mixes
or edits is concerned. Is this supposed to be humourous???

The full-length CDs:

Einherjer - Odin Owns Ye All. 1998. Century Media.
   Viking metal anyone? I dig these guys. Very melodic stuff!

Flotsam and Jetsam - High. 1997. Metal Blade.
   I can't believe I don't own any Flotsam and Jetsam discs (despite their
being complete and utter DICKS and fucking over Ultrasound thsi year.
Bastards. *ahem*). Being a self-respecting metalhead, I owe it to myself
to put together a representative sampling of their works... but they're
*still* losers. :)

Bengal Tigers - Sampler '98. SM Records (Australia).
   Ehh??? These poseurs still around? 4-track sampler of some sort. It
was cheap.

Glenn Hughes - Return of Crystal Karma. 2000. Steamhammer.
   I'm glad this was cheap. Quite simply *THE* mose overrated performer in
music short of Geri Halliwell, and at least she has tits going for her.
What do people hear in this putz? "God of Ego", err... umm... "God of Voice".
Yeah. Right. And I'm the next Tom Cruise. No wait, I can speak a coherent
sentence; guess that count's me out. This album does not belong on a metal
or hard rock label. There is nothing here even remotely resembling AOR or
melodic rock. Period. This is a white guy wishing he'd been born black. You
might categorize it in "Soul" or "R&B", but AOR? Puh-leaze. All he ends up
being is a poor excuse for a Robert Cray wannabe. And at least Cray can play
a mean guitar, so that's *TWO* things has has on Hughes. Avoid at all costs.

Romantics - Rhythm Romance. 1985. CBS/Nemperor.
   Hey, I'm a child of the '80s (plus it was $1.99 still sealed). Worth a
gamble. Haven't listened to it yet.

Styx - Boat on the River. 1987. A&M (West Germany).
   Hrmm... appears to be the exact same compilation as "Classics Volume 15"
(down to same cover art and track order) with 2 exceptions: (1) the
background color is dark blue instead of purple, and (2) the track "Boat
on the River" (one of my favorite Styx tracks) has been added. Nothing
unique, but what the hell, I'm a completist. :)

Bride - Live Vol. II - Acoustic. 2000. Millenium Eight Records.
   I'll be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of Bride, especially the "stuff"
they've done in the '90s, but being the CCM competist I am, I had to pick
it up, especially since it was only $2.99.

Extol - Undeceived. 2000. Solid State Records.
   White Black Metal? I guess that's what you'd call it. Christian metal
with that "black metal" sound. Very technical and crisp though.

Theatre of Tragedy - S/T. 1998. Century Media.
   Note to self: got more of their discs. Very melodic atmospheric gothic
doom, with that "beauty and the beast" sound (ethereal female vocals
counterpointing male death vocals).

Deliverance - Back in the Day: The First Four Years. 2000. Magdalene Records.
   Early live material from this Christian thrash band.

Mortification - The Silver Chord Is Severed. 2001. Rowe Productions.
   Many people slag on this Christian death-become-thrash band, but I
really dig their stuff, especially after they made the transition from
death metal to thrash.

Kreator - Violent Revolution. 2001. Steamhammer Records.
   Newest effort from these guys. How do you classify them other than
"classic heavy metal"? It's not thrash (their early albums were, but I
don't think I'd call this one "thrash"), it's not power metal, it's not
speed metal. It's...Kreator. Quite solid stuff!

V/A - Rebellion: A Tribute to Queensryche. 2000. Dwell Records.
   Dwell Records usually means "crappy covers by crappy bands" (with the
exception of the 1st Up the Irons disc). This one caught my eye due to the
lead-off band "Black Symphony" since I was able to hear and meet them at
Ultrasound this year. Guess what? This is a pretty darned good tribute disc.
The roster of bands, instead of being loaded down with Dwell's usual pitiful
bunch of death metal wannabe's, contains some bands that can render
Queensryche well. The only 2 bands on the album that I was familiar with
prior to purchasing were the aforementioned "Black Symphony" and "Ion Vein".
Now I'm curious about a couple of them, namely Rewind, Templar, and
Mesmerize. If you like Queensryche, you won't be disappointed by this
tribute. I was quite surprised.

Grateful Dead - From the Mars Hotel. 19??. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab.
   Why would I pick this up? The label. MFSL discs tend to be of great
sound quality, and have very high resale potential, even (and some times
especially) the silver series discs. Even though the label went under,
supposedly they're starting up again with new funding in 2002.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Tarkus. 1971. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab.
   Same as above, but I actually *like* ELP. :) :)

Roulette - Lifeline. 2001. Escape Music (U.K.)
   Hey Escape (and other Euro labels)! Howsabout giving some indication in
yer liner notes as to when these albums were originally recorded and/or
released??? Looking at the band photo in this one, there's *NO WAY* that
pic was taken in the last decade... Very melodic, if somewhat dated.

Gotthard - DFrosted. 1997. BMG Ariola (Germany)
   Live album, mostly semi-acoustic renditions of their material. A harbinger
of things to come with them adopting a more laid-back sound. Quite good though!

Glenn Medeiros - S/T. 1987. Amherst Records.
   Egads, how young is this puppy? Note: this isn't the S/T from 1990 that
you see everywhere, but an earlier one, and he looks like he's 16 years old!

David and the Giants - Giant Hits. 1993. Giant Records.
   The first greatest hits compilation from this CCM lite AOR group.

The Alarm - Electric Folklore Live. 1988. I.R.S. Records.
   Ehh? I've never seen this before. 6-track live EP. I only wish it had
"68 Guns" on it. I saw these guys open for Pat Benetar in Cleveland back
in '86. They put on an excellent show. 42 minutes long. Not bad for an EP.

Slaughter - The Wild Life. 1992. Chrysalis (Japan).
   Why? This is a bargain bin disc, right? Well, this is the Japanese
release in a slipcase with one bonus track. Now the question is, do I
open it or leave it sealed as a collectible since I have the U.S. version.

Metallica - One. 1989. CBS/Sony (Japan).
   It was fairly cheap, so I decided to snag it for completist purposes.
5-track EP.

Monster Magnet - Power Trip (2CD Tour Edition). 1999 (1998). A&M (EU).
   I'd intended to pick this up for quite some time, despite it being
somewhat on the alternamodern side of hard rock, but hadn't given it much
thought until I was confronted by this 2-CD version. It was fairly cheap
($9.99 new), so I figured "What the Heck?" It's decent, but nothing all
that great. I guess I don't remember them being as modern-sounding as they
sound now to my ear.

V/A - Best of Wacken Open-Air. 1999. Steamhammer/SPV (Germany).
   This is one hell of a compilation, made all that much better by the
fact that it's a 2-CD set bargain priced (I picked mine up new for $10.99).
A collection of studio and live tracks from bands that have graced the
stage of the Wacken Open-Air Festival. The listings are as follows:

 1. Motorhead - Bomber (live)
 2. Savatage - 24 Hours Ago (live)
 3. Dimmu Borgir - The Blazing Monoliths of Defiance
 4. Pretty Maids - Future World (live)
 5. Gamma Ray - Ride the Sky (live)
 6. Blind Guardian - The Wizard
 7. Tank - Shellshock (live)
 8. Grave Digger - Rebellion
 9. Sodom - Ausgebombt (live)
10. Fates Warning - At Fates Hand (live)
11. Primal Fear - Chainbreaker
12. Anvil - Metal on Metal (live)
13. Riot - Thundersteel (live)
14. Warrior - Tear it Down
15. Doro - Terrorvision
16. Metal Church - Beyond the Black (live)
17. The Bullheadz - W.O.A.

 1. Saxon - Princess of the Night (live)
 2. Virgin Steele - We Rule the Night
 3. Mercyful Fate - Come to the Sabbath (live)
 4. Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry (live)
 5. Angra - Carry On (live)
 6. Raven - Live at the Inferno (live)
 7. Stratovarius - Blackout
 8. Randalica - Tote Auffe Tanzflaeche
 9. Iced Earth - Melancholy
10. Overkill - Black Line
11. Axel Rudi Pell - Nasty Reputation (live)
12. Hammerfall - Legacy of Kings
13. D.A.D. - Bad Craziness (live)
14. Tiamat - Cold Seed
15. Nevermore - Beyond Within
16. Rage - Paint it Black
17. The Bullheadz - Harder Faster Louder

Diamond Head - Am I Evil. 1994 (1987). Heavy Metal Records (U.K.)
   This is interesting. I'd not seen this before. 8 tracks, recorded in 1987.
Very dated and NWOBHM-sounding for 1987. Not knowing any different, I would
have assumed this was recorded in 1980 instead. It's musically quite solid.
What's humorous is that while this was considered "heavy metal" at the time,
by today's standards it would be nothing more than hard rock; the very
definition of what heavy metal is (depending on what the meaning of the
word "is" is :) has shifted radically over the last 2 decades. This comes
in a nice slipcase.

Michael Sweet - Truth. 1998. Michael Sweet Productions.
   Wait a sec! I aready have this. No I don't. Ehh??? The artwork looked
*WAY* different from the copy I already had. When I got home I had to do
some research on this: The version I already had was the major-label release
from 2000. This one is the first version that Michael Sweet sold only
through his web site. The versions of the songs are completely different
(they were re-recorded for the major label release), and there are 2 tracks
on this version that didn't make it onto the final version. Apparently this
version is commonly referred to as the "Truth Demos". Not bad musically,
but still nothing compared to his first solo effort.

Melodica - Lovemetal. 2001. Frontiers (Somewhere overseas).
   Musically, this is excellent melodic rock. The production is a little
suspect in places, but overall it's a good listen. Ted Poley is in fine form.

Krystal - Plug This. 1994. Self-released (Canada).
   Interesting find. Bar rock/glam ala Tesla. Quite melodic, a lot of
acoustic stuff thrown in. One of the better indie finds I've come across
as of late.

Hellion - Screams in the Night. 1987. New Renaissance Records.
   Every time I've listened to Hellion before, I've pretty much come to the
conclusion that it sucked rocks. The whole goth-metal thing that Ann Boleyn
and company did just wasn't worth listening to, IMO. I looked at this disc
(their first effort) and since it looked considerably out-of-print, I owed
it at least a listen. Surprise, surprise, surprise! I still can't recommend
any of their other albums, but this particular one is a straight-ahead hard
rock album, perhaps ala Leather (Leather Leone from Chastain). Female-fronted
hard rock/melodic metal, on par with, but perhaps a notch above Bitch/Betsy.

V/A - Superstars in Concert (The Prince's Trust). 1996. L&D Records (EEC).
   This was kind of an afterthought purchase. I normally don't spend a lot
of time in the compilation sections, but the multiple-musician shot on the
front cover caught my eye. This is a 3-CD set of tracks from the various
Prince's Trust concerts held over the years. Unfortunately there are no
liner notes to let you know *when* each of the cuts was recorded. Since it
was only $13.99 for the set, I had to snag it. Some excellent Brit
pop/classic rock performances:

 1. Mark Knopfler and Sting - Money for Nothing
 2. Tina Turner - Better Be Good to Me
 3. Elton John - Your Song
 4. Phil Collins - In the Air Tonight
 5. Big Country - In a Big Country
 6. Level 42 - Hot Water
 7. Paul Young and George Michael - Every Time You Go Away
 8. Tina Turner and Eric Clapton - Tearing Us Apart
 9. Elton John - I'm Still Standing
10. Rod Stewart - Sailing
11. Suzanne Vega - Marlene on the Wall
12. Paul McCartney - I Saw Her Standing There
13. Paul McCartney - Long Tall Sally
14. Paul McCartney - Get Back

 1. Eric Clapton - Behind the Mask
 2. Bryan Adams - Hearts on Fire
 3. Ben E King - Stand By Me
 4. Midge Ure - If I Was
 5. George Harrison - Wile My Guitar Gently Weeps
 6. Mark King - Running in the Family
 7. Elton John - Saturday Night's All Right
 8. Dave Edmunds and Bryan Adams - The Wanderer
 9. Spandau Ballet - Through the Barricades
10. Go West - Don't Look Down
11. Alison Moyet - Invisible
12. Phil Collins and Paul Young - Medley: Reach Out I'll Be There/
       I Can't Help Myself/Same Old Song

 1. Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
 2. Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
 3. Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
 4. Swing Out Sister - Breakout
 5. Bee Gees - You Win Again
 6. Mike and the Mechanics - The Living Years
 7. Bryan Adams - Run to You
 8. Andy Bell - A Little Respect
 9. Howard Jones - No One Is to Blame
10. Phil Collins and Paul Young - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
11. John Farnham - You're the Voice
12. George Harrison - Here Comes the Sun
13. All Star Band - With a Little Help From My Friends

Knight Crawler - Second Nature. 2001. Warmer Brothers Music Group.
   Last month I'd stumbled across their first album, which I found quite
enjoyable, and now I find this one. I didn't know they'd released an album
recently. Quite a step up, especially in production. EXCELLENT melodic rock!
They vary stylistically from good 'ole boy bar rock to traditional vintage
AOR with layered keys and good strong choruses. Both of their albums are
self-released. They *really* need some national/international exposure (I
think A2 records just released their 1996 album in Europe this past year,
but no one's doing anything here in the states). I think they've got enough
hooks to do quite well on the AOR scene.

and lastly:

Russell Hitchcock - S/T. 1988. Arista Records.
   Ok, I'll admit it. I'm an Air Supply fan. This solo album from one of
their front men is top notch! Very melodic AOR. I believe this is quite
OOP now, at least this is the first time I've seen it. Excellent production,
good use of keyboards and orchestration, and excellent vocals. Any
self-respecting AOR/westcoast fan should own it.



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