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Friday, December 02, 2005


I just got back from another spree at Virgin. I bought yet another copy of Iron Maiden's 'Killers'. This is the record that caused me to incorrectly blog the word 'penultimate' a few months back. That's what great records do, they promote discourse from which we learn. At the risk of beating this particular issue to death, 'Killers' is the greatest Metal record ever. There are none better, and few even come close. The first Maiden record comes close, but suffers from grainy production. Martin Birch sorted that out. From the cover art that Tony Alva sports on his arm, to the last note of 'Drifter', this album is a gem. There is nothing sub par about it. This new 'Enhanced' version of the classic 1981 LP featured bonus video footage, photo galleries, band bio's, a monster color booklet, and oh yeah, the best fucking Metal ever!

I also picked up a Saxon compilation; 'Heavy Metal Thunder'. It features cuts from their first six LP's; 'Militia Guard', 'Wheels of Steel', 'Strong Arm of the Law', 'Denim and Leather', 'Power & the Glory', and 'Crusader'. The second two, Wheels, and Strong Arm, are great records, the others are spotty, and the last, Crusader, sucks. Fortunately they only included the passable title track from that one. I love Saxon, and frankly it's a passion that is hard to defend. Their riffs are derivative, and Biff Byford's vocals are so echo-dependent it makes one wonder what he really sounds like. They also look frightfully laughable. But that's exactly what I love about them, they look like guys you'd find in pub somewhere in the Midlands of England. Even back in '79 they had an aged biker thing going on, and that ouvre followed into the music. These guys were Hendrix and Tull fans who were not afraid to be just that. English Hard Rock Punters. Mostly what I love about Saxon is the guitar tones. So classic, so crunchy, so satisfying.

Lastly I picked up the new The Darkness CD, "One Way Ticket To Hell....And Back'. The title says it all, these guys have their tongue so firmly planted in cheek, it must be difficult for them to chew their food. The Darkness get it. They understand me, what I want, and that I'm capable of laughing at myself. I know this stuff is silly. In retrospect, post Spinal Tap, how can one not giggle a bit when you listen to Classic Metal. At the end of the day, I'm proud to be a ridiculous metal head, at least these guys could play the instruments credited to them on their records.

What is it about Virgin that you seem to like to shop there? Prices? Selection? Convenience? Something else?
Btw, what's this video footage? I might have to pick it up. I love that album too.
I shop at Virgin because I'm an imuplse buyer, I don't have time to shop around, and I don't care about cost, I care about getting it NOW, and Virgin is a block and half away from my job.

I haven't checked the videos, but I think they are from the Rainbow show in 81 that is also on the DVD I got for my birthday.

81 I was 16. I got a tape of Killers for my 16th birthday... along with my Drivers license. I'll never forget cruising around in my grandmother's LTD cranking Murders in the Rue Morgue - oh hells yeah.

That was almost 26 years ago to the day...

I turn 40 on Sunday - I know what I'm buying myself for my birthday.

Rock on

Thanks for that memory.
Switch out the LTD for an orange Chevy Vega, and since my Dad was a frugal man, I had the boom box on the passenger seat. Soon after the Old Man got himself a new car and I got to drive the Malibu wagon. That thing could haul ass, not much pick up though, but once you were on the highway - look out. When Fred dropped off the Carolla my senior year, Piece of Mind had just come out, and he had a tape deck!
Actually, come to think of it, the first time I heard Killers was around 1983. I can't remember how, but I got a tape of it (the real prerecoreded tape) and a friend of mine on the block and I sat in his kitchen at a sleepover with a boombox listening to it. I can't believe I just remembered that. I was 11 in 1983.

Let the buyer beware. Saxon CD was re-recorded versions of such calssic songs as: ect blah blah, it sucks.
Couldn't agree more with all that has been said here. I still listen to this record fairly regularly and am somewhat glad that it doesn't suck now since I've got the cover art tattooed on my arm (note to anyone who cares: Don't tattoo cover art on your arm where it can't be covered by anything else but long sleaves. Especially when you live in the south where's 100 degrees most summer days).

I'm with Jackson on the Virgin thing too. I love searching CD/record bins. The only way to do it and have fun.

"Wheels Of Steel" is the worst vocal performance EVER. Biff Byford is a very bad singer. Otherwise, I love Saxon.
awww, Biff's not the worst ever. I actually like the performance on that tune.
Headline for negative Saxon review:

"Saxon Gets Their Sux On"
Completely. I want to mail that disc to Biff with your new title etched upon it.
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