Dio/Killswitch Engage – “Holy Diver”

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In 2015 I started a project which had me designing jackets and other artwork for 7″ records that had none. In my collection was the Dio/Killswitch Engage “Holy Diver” single from the Side By Side series. This was released for Record Store Day 2013 on “oxblood red” vinyl and it was limited to 2,800 pressings. If you know anything about Classic Rock/Heavy Metal then you already know about “Holy Diver” and all of the unholy awesomeness that it holds. Killswitch Engage covered the song in 2006, originally appearing on a Kerrang! compilation album but it was also later released on the special edition of KsE’s 2006 album As Daylight Dies. The original is amazing, the cover is good in its own right but the artwork for this release was severely lacking. That’s where I came in.

I really wanted to do some cool artwork for this release but for the longest time I was totally stumped on what to create. I had visions of a modern re-imagining of the iconic cover image but it just wasn’t ever good enough when I put the ideas to the computer. In the end I decided it was best not to mess with what is already great and a super detailed die cut was settled upon. In all reality this was the best decision I could have made. It stands out from the rest of my project, looks amazing and adds a level of bitchin’ looks that was missing from the release. The only real decisions I had to make was how to treat the tracklisting, liner notes and logos. I decided on a small flap on the back side so that I wouldn’t take away from the die cut image and also because it just doesn’t require anything larger. Keep it simple, stupid. The only design I really had trouble coming up with for this part was the 45RPM graphic. I went with a design that gives a nod back to the 80s roots of the song with a modern treatment.

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Vinyl Wednesday: Recent Additions & RSD 2016

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*Note: I wrote this post last week but never got around to clicking “Publish” so now there will be two vinyl posts today. Whoops.

Nancy and I aren’t real big fans of Record Store Day. Well, I enjoy any day at the record store but one where all the creeps and hustlers come out of the woodwork to buy inferior releases at jacked-up prices really brings me down. Honestly though, my biggest gripe with RSD is more about the lack of Heavy Metal releases lately. A few years ago there were plenty of Metal albums being put out on RSD. I got Pantera, Jungle Rot, Machine Head, Slipknot and Gojira all in one year. ONE YEAR! Now, I understand that each year will have it’s own agenda and there may or may not be much Metal to choose from. I get it. I really do. But honestly, all these random reissues that end up in bargain bins and soundtracks to movies are beginning to clog up the vinyl production process for the whole world. It is also making it harder for the smaller labels and bands to get their stuff made for RSD or a regular album release. That’s a bummer to me. Couple that with the nutty prices that are set for these records and it is starting to just be no fun at all to be a part of. Regular vinyl releases are getting expensive. Let’s not make it so they are cost prohibitive on the one day that is supposed to be fun and extra supportive of the scene as a whole.

With all that being said, Naners and I ventured out a few days after RSD to see what scraps we could find left over. We really only wanted the Deftones record (kind of), Left Lane Cruiser and maybe the Atreyu best-of compilation. *I have a soft-spot for Atreyu, don’t judge. We hit up a couple stores and eventually stumbled upon Left Lane Cruiser and promptly snatched it up. We are both fans of this band and their down-and-dirty approach to the blues. The album is a compilation featuring old songs and a few unreleased that all feature their old drummer. Good stuff. I definitely recommend them for anyone who likes Scott H. Biram, RL Burnside or Junior Kimbrough.

We also received two albums in the mail this week. CKY’s Carver City and the “Familiar Realm” single. I saw someone selling them on Facebook and I made it happen. I love Carver City and I haven’t seen a copy for sale in a long time, especially not for under $100. Naners tried to get the “Familiar Realm” single a few months ago but she was denied when we moved a little too slowly for it. That song comes off of the CKY album An Answer Can Be Found. It’s a good song and the B-Side is “Deceit Is Striking Gold”, also a good track to jam to.

Anyway, we ordered the albums from a fella named Austin from Dallas, Texas. He bubbled wrapped them really well, tossed in a few goodies (signed CD booklet, some stickers, a bonus CD) and sent them our way. It cost us $90 but I’m not complaining. We split the price, I’m happy with our purchase and I am happy to help out a fellow fan of the once-mighty CKY.

Click the photo above to see an alternate, cleaner version of the shot.

Vinyl Wednesday: AC/DC – “Rock N Roll Train”

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AC/DC is back on my mind recently. Naners and I were supposed to see them in Cleveland at the Q arena a couple weeks back but they have postponed the remaining 10 dates of their US tour and we are waiting to see what happens before we decide to keep the tickets or not. The rumors are that Axl Rose may end up being the replacement for the 10 dates and that is NOT something I want to see. So, in the spirit of wanting to hear some Brian Johnson-fronted tunes, I give you the 7″ single for the 2008 song “Rock N Roll Train” from the album Black Ice.

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Vinyl Wednesday: Korn – Here To Stay

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Another Wednesday, another record to display. This week’s winner is a 7″ single from Korn entitled “Here To Stay” that was released in 2002. A Hot Topic exclusive pressing of only 5,000 on transparent blue vinyl that I’m sure had no problem selling out as Korn were the biggest thing going in the Nu-Metal scene.

I picked this record because it’s the second record I ever purchased and I was feeling a bit nostalgic. The first record I bought was Back In Black (post about that here) and then came this record a few years later. I think I had a turntable at this time but something was wrong with the wiring and I couldn’t get sound to the speakers. Then, this sat on the shelf for years until I was able to properly give it a spin. I believe it’s a little warped now (from not really knowing how to care for vinyl back in my younger years) and it skips once or twice on the A-Side. No big deal to me. The imagery is taken from the “Here To Stay” music video along with the typeface from the Untouchables album design. Simple and cool. Add in a nice, electric-blue color to the vinyl and you’ve got yourself a winner. Check it out!

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Vinyl Wednesday: Iron Maiden – Wasted Years

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Back in the saddle again and this time I ride with the mighty steed by the name of Iron Maiden. This is one of those random records I got in the collection that I recently purchased. I’m slowly making my way through listening to all of the goodies but this was something I made a point to listen to early on.

Now, I’m not a huge Iron Maiden fan. As a matter of fact, I would almost say I don’t like them at all. The truth is that I love covers of their music but I don’t necessarily love when I hear them play it. It’s a bit goofy but it is what it is. What I DO love about Iron Maiden is all of the fantastic imagery that they’ve utilized throughout their career.The evolution of Eddie is absolutely top-notch and something that any fan of album art can really get lost in.

You may be asking yourself why I was excited to obtain this picture disc and why I made it a priority to listen to this record if I’m not a fan of theirs. Fair enough and the answer is simple: I just really like this song. This is one of the Maiden songs that I don’t care who plays it. It’s just that damned good.

This is a two-song shaped picture disc so there isn’t a lot to really talk about. The shape is unique, the art is on point (as usual) and the photo of the band on the B-side is worth the asking price for this on any day. Check it out!

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Vinyl Wednesday: Terror – Legion of Gore

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TERROR!!!

This is a pretty cool pick for Vinyl Wednesday. Terror, the Cleveland-based death/thrash metal band (not the LA-based hardcore band) comes out with a total rager at the end of 2015. Legion of Gore is a whopping 2 songs but they are totally killer. Re-recorded versions of demos that are 27 years old. Tell me, how can you beat that? I picked this up after seeing a post online from the fella who did backing vocals and I decided to give it a shot. I had heard of them but never listened to any of their tunes. I am now sad it’s taken me so long.

The artwork on the front cover is a painting by Antichrist Kramer entitled “Sanguimantic Heir To The Walachian Throne”. Yeah. How’s that for some weird shit? There is a pretty cool type treatment on the back jacket to check out too.

The vinyl is listed as Red & Black marble but it’s really a “merge” pressing. Not sure why the mix up.

Anyway, give it a look-see and then go out a buy your copy as quick as possible.

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