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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

REVIEW: Angel Witch (UK) - As Above, So Below (2012)


Angel Witch is widely regarded as one of the biggest bands that are credited for forming Nwobhm-genre (or movement, how ever you want to call it). Nwobhm stands for “The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal”, and was first discovered and named in 1979 in The Great Britain, where bands such as Angel Witch, Iron Maiden, Samson, and Saxon were recognized by the media for having their own new authentic style. Geoff Barton of “Sounds” magazine was actually first person to use term Nwobhm. The sound that adapted itself from classic rock and punk rock, taking best of both worlds.

Angel Witch were one of the more epic and instrumentally more skilled bands of the Nwobhm movement, and released their first debut album “Angel Witch" in 1980. The album is much praised epic Nwobhm opus with magical compositions, being same time doomy, melancholic, mysterious, and drawing influences from 70’s progressive rock as well. After this they came out with two more full length releases: “Screamin’ n’ Bleedin’” in 1985 and “Frontal Assault” in 1986. But, at the time of the latter two releases, Angel Witch seemed to have lost some of that special atmosphere that made the debut so epic, so highly praised, and so unique sounding effort. The compositions got more straight-forward, tad more mainstream, heavier, generally more standard sounding heavy metal. Angel Witch kept their “dramatic “ and “melancholic” influences in their melodies and sound, but lost complexity of it.


Now it’s year 2012 and Angel Witch have returned with a brand new “reunion” album called “As Above, So Below”, a first one in 26 years. That’s a damn long time. The band has had some activity throughout the years between actual recordings though.. so I got a feeling that musical compositions have been forming in Kevin Heybourne’s head during the less active years. Heybourne, who’s the only former member left of any of the band's lineups since the 80’s. Not to worry, though, Heybourne has been the driving force behind the Angel Witch’s wheel before. Alongside himself, Heybourne has recruited two newer talents without any mention worthy career achievements previously in their careers in fields of heavy metal.

The new album comes with FANTASTIC cover-art, released by Rise Above Records, and contains a decent amount of tracks (eight), while running respectable 50+ minutes. After a long break between releases, you’re sure to ask two questions about the record: is the album half-hearted release that lacks the original power? And have they stuck with either of the former two styles (debut VS. Screamin'-Frontal-era) or have they modernized their sound? Well I got good news for you. The very core of this album is on the right tracks nodding towards the old-school sound. First of all, this is not half-hearted release. Heybourne is in a good shape as a writer, guitarist, and singer. He shows no signs of tiredness. Secondly, a great thing is that this album is rooted perhaps the most towards their sound from the times of the “self titled debut album”! Well, it’s a mixture of that and some of  “Screamin’ n’ Bleedin’” era in my opinion. It hangs there in between the styles, but is definitely closer to the debut by it's sound and compositions.

The reason to this may well be, that Angel Witch have used several old compositions in "As Above" to re-record some old songs. In fact “Dead Sea Scrolls” and “Witching Hour” are from years 1983-1984 originally, a time between the debut and it’s successor Screamin' n' Bleedin', while “Into The Dark” and “Guillotine” (which was later used in “Frontal Assault” under different name: “Rendezvous With the Blade”) were originally written around the times of the debut or slightly before. Rest of the tracks are new and fresh. This, at least, supports the album’s sound rooted to early Angel Witch times.

So, song compositions sound like mixture of self-titled debut and the second album. How about the general sound of album? The sound itself is very damn good! The rhythm guitars are sort of a very slightly muddy, deep and still sort of crisp with very light distortion - in other words they sound sort of "doomy". While lead guitars themselves are crisp, clean, and very audible. Bass is sort of a dry, fuzzy, not stealing the show, but can be heard well and adds on the doomy atmosphere. Crisp lead guitar melodies combined with doomy rhythm guitars takes you on a trip back to late 70’s / early 80’s for sure. The sound really screams old Angel Witch, and could be compared also to something like Witchfinder General with their “Death Penalty” album – sound wise. They did not overproduce the album, which gives it natural born raw power and roughness to their beautiful compositions. I should also mention that drum playing by Andy Prestridge is top notch. The drummer focuses to complexity more than “straight forward thundering” and his use of the hi-hats and cymbals as “fills” sounds great! It Brings Iain Finlay (ex-Running Wild) from “Death or Glory” album to my mind a bit. Heybourne’s gloomy middle pitched clean vocals are still strong as before. While he may not be the most original vocalist around, with not having those high pitched piercing screams, or cool rough bluesy edge on his voice, he knows how to sing Nwobhm style stuff with loads of emotion.

This albums has it’s share of those progressive rock elements in it's sound, that were present in very early Angel Witch material. Those elements can be especially heard in songs like “Into The Dark”, which is a mind trip itself. It’s one of the best songs in the album. The song starts as laid back progressive/doomy track mixing mellow melodies with melancholic and mysterious ones, while lead guitars build labyrinth-like patterns taking listener to a journey to the other side, and then ending with aggression and speed. Nicely build and quite memorable track! Another my favorite would be melancholic and epic “Dead Sea Scrolls” with crisp Nwobhm style rhythm riffage at it’s finest, and soaring lead guitars crying on top of that. “Brainwashed” would be a third favorite to mention with that gruesome and eerie lead guitar prelude, leading into early era Megadeth-like rhythm guitar lines, while chorus is definitely as Angel Witch as it gets, and the track features some nice progressive-like shredding parts. On the other hand “Gebura” could be straight off the Screamin’ n’ Bleedin’ album, and “Guillotine” sounds like Frontal Assault-material, where it was later on used (surprised?).

Lyrics are sort of a poetic, riddling, mysterious and epic on other songs, while there's certainly more philosophical and meaningful side the the lyrics too like in "Brainwashed":

"Maybe the story's true for believers
A victim's story of deception
A god alone, and we start with soldiers, a simple man
A lie to be made for the power of control

To scare them for the guilt
Wash yourself, start with their blood
To wear the symbol to what made the pain
To what made the death

Look into your own eyes
Your reflection shows you' re brainwashed
Restrain yourself inside
Stop yourself from being brainwashed"

Lyrics such as above makes us think - sort of lyrics that makes us recognize things in ourselves and around us - are always cool.


There's not many real downsides in this album. Dramatic, melancholic, and gloomy atmosphere - with those eerie moments - that I love in old Angel Witch records, is to be found in “As Above, So Below” as well! That, with surprisingly old school rooted sound mix that has it’s rough edges, but with slightly updated quality. While this album honors classic Angel Witch, it fails to capture quite the same greatness and atmosphere than the debut. Still, the core of the album is well on the right tracks. The debut's progressive / doomy style influenced compositions are partly there, with some of the bit newer sounding more straight forward mid-80’s material combined to it. In my opinion, Angel Witch are at their best when wandering into progressive / doomy waters, seen in bit more complex and unique tracks such as “Into The Dark”, which guarantees to take your mind into an adventure.

Perhaps this record still isn't overall as complex, vibrant, and varying, as the debut album was. It feels tad watered down in comparison. Not that much, but a bit, just enough to not reach classic status. Too much comparison to the classic debut album would be a bit unfair though. I don't think anyone expected Angel Witch to come out with another quite as memorable record after so long break. It’s hard to recognize the actual faults here.. perhaps “The Horla”, “Upon This Cord”, and “Guillotine” as songs drag a bit. “As Above, So Below” lacks perhaps a bit of a “finesse”, although it has several great songs. Compositions just fail to match the debut – but they’re good nevertheless! It’s nice to see this album honor the band’s original roots and sound.

I’d say that Angel Witch runs here with energy level on 7.5/10 and material is perhaps about the same, some great, some decently good, but the overall presentation of album – this album sounding perhaps as close to the early 80’s as possible – deserves 9/10. "As Above"'s greatness will grow slowly on you with additional listens. As Above, So Below is very welcomed comeback that leaves you wanting more.. perhaps next time they manage to crank out eight quality songs that are even more epic! Recommended bargain for anyone loving heavy metal from early 70’s to the 80’s – but even more essential for the Nwobhm fanatics and fans of the band.

Favorite tracks: Dead Sea Scrolls, Into The Dark, Brainwashed

Rating: 80 / 100
(A welcomed comeback straight to the roots, great general presentation for what the band has always stood for, but slight inconsistency and lack of final finesse drops few points)

- (all rights reserved)

Buy this album


  • Kevin Heybourne - Guitars, Vocals( 1978-1982, 1984-1998, 2000-present)
    • See also: ex-Deep Machine, ex-Blind Fury
  • Will Palmer - Bass (2009-present)
  • Andy Prestridge - Drums (2009-present)
    • See also: Winters


  • 1. Dead Sea Scrolls 05:59
  • 2. Into the Dark 05:11
  • 3. Gebura 05:24
  • 4. The Horla 07:29
  • 5. Witching Hour 05:49
  • 6. Upon This Cord 06:33
  • 7. Guillotine 06:53
  • 8. Brainwashed 07:10
    • Playing time 50:28

Monday, June 18, 2012

Heavymetal year 2012 - Ten important albums that have been released this far + upcoming

So the year 2012 is on halfway done. How does it look on the part of heavy metal, and especially for us who like the heavy metal, or any of it's 80's sub-genres such as speed, power, thrash, doom metal, and nwobhm?

At the end of this post is listing of most ten most important 80's rooted heavy metal albums released up to this date in 2012, plus in addition much more this far released records and few upcoming ones as well! Please feel free to share any release not included here and discuss about the ones mentioned.

(Quicknote: See the actual listings at the end of the post!)

But first i'd like to talk shortly about "new old school bands" and the veterans in heavy metal that still release albums. I'd like to divide the presentation into three types of bands who these days release albums based on the roots of 80's sound.

First category: old bands reunite!

There has been tons of reunions in past years on the part of those bands originally formed in the 80's and you have probably noticed the same thing. They had a long break and now they're back in business trying their luck. Developing technology with computers and audio equipment as well as recording software have made it possible for many bands to record more independently than ever before. Bands such as Heathen, Angel Witch, Exumer, Death Mask, Hell (with their great "Human Remains"!), Bulldozer, and Oz have returned recently. The reunions have been raising in several genres, though one that I've noticed has been thrash metal resurrection by original 80's bands.

(Italian Bulldozer made a great comeback with "Unexpected Fate" in 2009)

Second category: new fresh bands basing their sound to the 80's

In addition there also has been a movement called "NWOTHM" (new wave of traditional heavy metal), what ever it's actually legit name or not, you know the drill. Bands like In Solitude, Skull Fist, RAM, White Wizzard, Enforcer, Portrait, Armour, and Helvetets Port have been raising with new young talents who honor the 80's original traditional heavy metal sound in their compositions.

You could also see several new thrash bands being formed releasing old-school type of a trash metal in veins of bay area thrash and german trash metal such as "Destruction". Bands such as Vektor, Violator, Warbringer, Lich King, or finnish minors Devastracktor who deserve a mention for sure.

(Swedish Portrait paid homage to bands like Mercyful Fate with their great self-titled debut in 2008)

Third category: old bands in the long-run

Some old bands which were formed in 80's but never had very long inactive period, or didn't have such at all, have been pushing albums out year after another. They were there in the 80's, they were there in the 90's and are still running.. some more strong, some less strong, and a few have wandered a bit away from their 80's roots also. Few bands pushing record after another out year after another include Iron Maiden, Venom, Manilla Road, Overkill, Rage (GER), Running Wild (I really cannot consider their new album "reunion" as split-up lasted so short time), Sinner, and Saxon.

(While german long-runners Rage may not be considered first tier-band, they've released solid album after another starting their career out as "Avenger" debuting in 1985. "21" is their twenty-first album up to date if counting the one under "Avenger" name.)

Presentation to the listing

Next thing is get to the point and present the lists for you about the year 2012 heavy metal releases from bands that hone the roots of the 80's, but additional styles like doom and early death may be featured in some cases. Some big releases that I do not credit for being that important for old school heavy metal fan are dropped off from top 10 list but mentioned in "additional releases" list below the top 10 (without belittling them at all, they just don't fit the topic!). Such an example could be Kreator's "Phantom Antichrist" which to my ears sound tad too modernized but the band itself has grown from the 80's so the release should be worth a mention anyway. Re-releases are not included. Only brand new full lenght releases.

The "top 10-list of so far released" include most important 80's rooted releases of 2012 since this date (18.6.2012) which are already available. In addition I'm going to also include "additional releases" which have been, or will be released within the year 2012!

Ten noteworthy albums that have already been released in the first half of 2012:

1.ANGEL WITCH (UK) - As Above, So Below (Mar 12th by Rise Above Records)

2.ACCEPT (GER) - Stalingrad (Apr 6th by Nuclear Blast)

3.CANDLEMASS (SWE) - Psalms for The Dead (Jun 8th by Napalm Records)

4.TANK (UK) - War Nation (Jun 4th by Metal Mind Productions)

5.MASTER'S HAMMER (CZE) - Vracejte Konve Na Místo (Feb 8th by "independent")

6.CRYSTAL VIPER (POL) - Crimen Excepta (Apr 24th by AFM Records)

7.OVERKILL (US) - The Electric Age (Mar 27th by Nuclear Blast)

8.TRIAL (SWE) - The Primordial Temple (Jan 12th by The Coffins Slave) *debut!

9.DEATHHAMMER (NOR) - Onward to the Pits (May 9th by Hells Headbangers Records)

10.WITCH MOUNTAIN (US) - Cauldron of The Wild (Jun 12th by Profound Lore Records)

Additional albums that have already been released in the first half of 2012:

ADRAMELCH (ITA) - Lights From Oblivion (Apr 27th by Pure Prog Records)
BURZUM (NOR) - Umskiptar (May 21st by Byelobog Productions)
EXUMER (GER) - Fire & Damnation (Apr 6th by Metal Blade)
FORTE (US) - Unholy War (Jun 12th by Tribunal Records)
GRAND MAGUS (SWE) - The Hunt (May 25th by Nuclear Blast)
HALLOWEEN (US) - Terrortory (Feb 25th by Motor City Metal Records)
HEXEN (US) - Being and Nothingness (May 28th by Pulverised Records)
HOUR OF 13 - 333 (May 29th by Earache Records)
LONEWOLF (FRA) - Army of the Damned (Mar 30th by Napalm Records)
MALICE (US) - New Breed of Gods (May 22nd by Steamhammer)
NIGHTMARE (FRA) - The Burden of God (May 18th by AFM Records)
KATANA (SWE) - Storms of War (May 12th by Listenable Records)
KREATOR (GER) - Phantom Antichrist (Jun 1st by Nuclear Blast)
MAD MAX (GER) - Another Night of Passion (Mar 26th by Steamhammer)
MANOWAR (US) - The Lord of Steel (Jun 16th by Magic Circle Music)
NECRONOMICON (GER) - Invictus (Jan 27th by Massacre Records)
PHARAOH (US) - Bury The Light (Feb 24th by Cruz Del Sur Music)
PICTURE (HOL) - Warhorse (Feb 22nd by Arist Station Records)
PRIMAL FEAR (GER) - Unbreakable (Jan 20th by Frontiers Records)
RAGE (GER) - 21 (Feb 24th by Nuclear Blast)
RAM (SWE) - Death (Jan 30th by Metal Blade)
RAVENSTHORN (US) - Horrors of the Black Mass (Feb 25th by "independent)
RUSH (CAN) - Clockwork Angels (Jun 8th by Anthem Records)
SACRED GATE (GER) - When Eternity Ends (Apr 27th by Metal On Metal Records) *debut!
SATAN'S SATYR'S (US) - Wild Beyond Belief! (May by Trash King Productions) *debut!
SAVAGE (UK) - Sons of Malice (Apr 2nd by Sanctuary Records)
WARHEAD (US) - The End is Here (Mar 16th by Dead Center Productions) *debut!
WHITE SKULL (ITA) - Under This Flag (May 14th by Dragonheart Records)
WITCHTRAP (COL) - Vengeance is Mine (May 22nd by Dirty Sound Records)
WRATHBLADE (GRE) - Into the Netherworld's Realm (Mar 1st by Eat Metal Records)

Upcoming noteworthy albums to be released in 2012:

BONDED BY BLOOD (US) - The Aftermath (Jul 2nd by Earache Records)
EMERALD (SWI) - Unleashed (Aug 24th by Pure Steel Records)
GASKIN (UK) - Edge of Madness (Aug 24th by High Roller Records)
HERMAN FRANK (GER) - Right in The Guts (Jun 22th by Metal Heaven)
OMEN (US) - Hammer Damage (Jun 29th by Karthago Records)
PARADOX (GER) - Tales of The Weird (Dec 14th by AFM Records)
STRIKER (CAN) - Armed To The Teeth (Jul 7th by Napalm Records)
TANKARD (GER) - A Girl Called Cerveza (Jul 27th by Nuclear Blast)
TESTAMENT (US) - Dark Roots of Earth (Jul 27th by Nuclear Blast)
SPARTAN WARRIOR (UK) - yet untitled (2012 or 2013)
AXEMASTER (US) - yet untitled (2012 or 2013) (all rights reserved)

REVIEW: Accept (GER) - Stalingrad (2012)

Accept since the return

Accept returned few years back with a new album, first full length after "Predator" (1996), the last Accept album featuring original mastermind behind the vocal duty, Udo Dirkschneider. The new album was called "Blood of The Nations" and was released in 2010 with new vocalist Mark Tornillo. The album received rather surprisingly positive feedback and reviews, taking into the account that perhaps biggest trademark Udo was gone from the band. Even if there was little controversy about that, it was inevitable after a big change like that. The album was Accept/Udo worship at it's.. well almost.. best.

Stalingrad continues in the same roots than it's predecessor with lyrics influenced by Soviet Union, war, hell, social issues, and rebellious attitude. Pretty typical stuff that holds it's own. The sound here definitely worships 80's Accept, but as equally 90's-2000's Udo's solo career. Well those two are quite close to each other anyway. Mix some of the Metal Heart-Russian Roulette era Accept with Udo's Holy-Thunderball era and you come quite close.

The album itself

Technically album is great, with crystal clear production, strong guitars, audible biting bass, and generally well sound mix. The controversy that always exist is Tornillo's vocals. They are pretty much the Udo imitation at it's finest and fit obviously well to the atmosphere of the album. He sounds so damn close to Udo! Perhaps slightly more focused, less gruff voice.. but it's almost there. Now there's always those fans who will complain that Tornillo is "just an imitator" even if a good one. Then there's those who would complain it totally different kind of a singer would had taken Udo's place. So to some it's always lose-lose situation. But in my opinion Tornillo handles his vocal duties well with decently powerful, rough/screaming style vocals which are like a dedication to a great ex-Accept singer Udo. Nothing wrong with that. After all this is Accept and should still sound like Accept (in my opinion) - and that it does.

It's like "retro"-Accept with updated sound, that has quite good energy level, biting power-chords that are usually simple yet tight and effective. Typical for the sound are also melodic 80's Accept'esque leads a'la "Metal Heart", and fine guitar solos that really add their own to the sound. The cleaner and softer guitar parts really bring recent Udo to my mind. Guitarist duo Wolf Hoffmann and Herman Frank know how to handle their guitars since both are veterans on the business, and can throw a cool licks here and there when necessary. And testosterone-laden backing vocals on choruses's are there just like the always were on Accept's career. But the downside of this album is, that despite it's fine energy level and beautiful lead melodies that occasionally appear (could be used even more), other parts sink bit into the safe-zone that will please heavy metallers, but in the same time lack some authenticity. There's definitely that "it's good, headbangable stuff, but I've heard this before"-feeling.

Stalingrad is fine album, which presents good moments and Accept-worship, but same time does not present much new and innovative. It's also an album that will open up fast for being well accessible to any heavy metal fan with simple but strong riffage - galloping rhythms combined with speedier parts and mid-paced heavy power chords - with fair share of nice leads. But there is no those much more complex, challenging songs with melodies that would leave that "safe-zone", and therefore it's possible that this album will lose it's "shine" bit quickly after the first great impressions.

Standout and lackluster songs

Songs are varying from great to average throughout the whole album. There's definitely few standout tracks though. Album opens up with thunder by song called "Hung, Drawn and Quartered" with energetic speedy main riffs, cool leads, and great vocal performance with Tornillo, including some rough high screams that is Udo Dirkschneider worship at it's finest. More epic marching mid-paced "Stalingrad" is also fine, starting with majestic guitar lead intro. It's enjoyable war-lyrics and clean guitar parts that reminds me of the way Saxon has used them in their recent works.

Shadow Soldiers wanders into Udo's solo career's power ballad.. a song that could well have been on Udo's "Faceless World" album. It has those more beautiful sounding wistful guitar leads, galloping guitars, pounding bass and cool atmosphere overall. Otherwise too standard Grave Digger'esque riffage having upbeat song "Against The World" manages to impress with cool shout-along chorus. For speed metal freaks "The Quick and The Dead" and "Flash to Bang Time" feature some mad headbanging moments, although they don't offer anything too fresh.

However some tracks, although nothing particularly bad about them, just fail to impress. Groove laden up-beat rebellious "Revolution", jumpy and pounding "Hellfire" which main riffs could very well be from a standard Grave Digger-album, and mid-paced heavily bass driven "The Galley" just don't do it for me. They are enjoyable on their own right, but lack the final kick. Especially The Galley, which is bit too long groove laden track, that tries to sound mystical same time but fails on it. It just grows a bit tiresome.


Since I feel that this review is getting out of hand with it's length let's just give a short summary about Stalingrad. It's well worth a listen to any 80's heavy metal worshipper and does very good job being "Accept" album even with Tornillo on vocals who tries to fill Udo's shoes the best he can. Even for an old band like this, "Stalingrad" is definitely not a lackluster on energy. It has powerful simple riffage, with cool lead melodies and shreds thrown into the mix to make it bit more melodic, and it works. It's problems are not energy level, or not being Accept like before, as the lads manage to stick to their roots well - but the problems are rather lack of authenticity and bit too "flat" performance.. by this I mean that they stay on "good" side throughout the album, but also on "safe-zone" with song structure and riffs if you know what I mean. You know what to expect from this album, solid gripping headbangable heavy metal with some cool leads, larger than life choruses with testosterone-filled backing vocals, 80's Accept worship with updated sound, and Stalingrad does just that and it does that well. But offers only little on top of that. On the other hand it's one of the better recent releases by old heavy metal veterans, and in my opinion tops recent Udo's solo career releases with rather wide margin. Accessible and very good album, that may wear thin over time for not having too many frills to the usual, but it's well worth your time anyway as performance is rock-solid for everything this album has to offer!

Favorite tracks: Hung, Drawn and Quartered, Stalingrad, Shadow Soldiers

Rating: 81 / 100
(Very good album that offers tight riffing, nice leads, and 80's Accept-worship, but lacks final authenticity to make it "cult") (all rights reserved)

Buy this album

  • Peter Baltes - Bass
  • Wolf Hoffmann - Guitars
  • Herman Frank - Guitars
    • ex-Herman Frank, Poison Sun, Hazzard, Moon Doc, Victory, Sinner
  • Stefan Schwarzmann - Drums
    • ex-Helloween, Herman Frank, Krokus, Paradox, Running Wild, U.D.O., Cronos Titan, Voice, X-Wild
  • Mark Tornillo - Vocals
    • ex-TT Quick


  • 1. Hung, Drawn and Quartered 04:35
  • 2. Stalingrad 05:59
  • 3. Hellfire 06:07
  • 4. Flash to Bang Time 04:06
  • 5. Shadow Soldiers 05:47
  • 6. Revolution 04:08
  • 7. Against the World 03:36
  • 8. Twist of Fate 05:30
  • 9. The Quick and the Dead 04:25
  • 10. The Galley 07:21
    • playtime 51:34

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why are (heavy metal) vinyl records cool?

Some of us who are more or less "collectors" of heavy metal records, but still buy albums as physical releases, may still be buying only or mainly cd records. I know, I did for a long while. There's pros and cons with both formats. Why are heavy metal vinyls so cool?

While this may come as no news for most collectors, so those who are not familiar with vinyl records be more enticed to read on. If you in any case may feel like you're getting hemorrhage while reading then you may be better read something else instead.

(Two official Ample Destruction releases of which left sells anything between $50-100 - colored vinyls even more)

The sound, looks and nostalgia

Well it's sort of common belief that vinyl records sound better, or at least, different. And it's well true that vinyls have usually that "warmer", more living and breathing sound. Cd records on the other hand may be over-produced to made sound loudest possible. Of course many heavy metal fans want their music to sound loud as hell! But talking about old 80's and late 70's heavy metal there's also cool shredding, interesting melodies, more warm yet ripping guitar sound, and drums are often more than just a blastbeat after another.

This sort of an atmosphere requires sound qualities that at least I think vinyl record may allow to be produced better way than cd. While vinyl is not so over-produced, it allows instruments more space to breath and to my understandment it could be referred better that all instruments have "wider range of frequencies" in use - you can hear cutting treble of guitars and drums better. Hopefully I'm not too off-the-trails here, while trying to explain this in something else than in my native language. Of course you may need decent sound system in order to fully enjoy the great sound of a vinyl.

(Nowadays you can hook vinyl record player with in-built amplifier directly to computer usb if the model is right, but those are considered worse on quality, so you might want to get real turntable like this affordable Rega player right here which runs trough separate amplifier.)

Allright, so we got more vivid sound, then what? Vinyls also have something "nostalgic" that we love, and part of this we create in our own heads? Well maybe so, but in addition to the different kind of a sound, isn't the actual product also way cooler than cd and cassette? The artwork is something I appreciate. It creates the feeling to the album before you listen it. It's part of the albums feel and "look", and if not totally f'ed up, represents the album's values - it's part of it's "statement". Cover artwork in cd is so damn small (and even more in cassette). It's totally different satisfactory level in vinyl record when you view it. Cool heavy metal artwork "feeds" the cult status of a good album, and the records themselves are beautiful as hell as well. It all creates part of that "nostalgia" that we feel about vinyl records and what we appreciate.

(Finnish old heavy metal - 7" vinyl vs. cd record)

The value and piracy

Now there's also another view I'd like to bring up why I nowadays prefer vinyl over cd record at least in older album releases. Well heavy metal vinyls are getting valuable, in fact, several rarities of them already are worth of hundreds of dollars. Rarities like "Salem's Wych-Betrayer of Kings", "Virtue-We Stand To Fight", "Leather Nunn-Take The Night" or say.. "Savatage-Sirens (original cover with blue-vinyl)" to name a few. So the minus side is all used ones of them are not going for a cheap price - but once you get one you learn really to appreciate it. These records are over two decades old (80's and before) - decade or two decades more and some of them will be getting very rare! Now note that also original pressings of rare old cd releases are selling quite high price.

So to the point. I'd like to view this from point of piracy/bootleg'ery. What's your favorite place to buy those used cd's and lp's? Most likely many of us like to do it easy way and check Ebay, Amazon, and such online auction houses (but the problem persists also in many legal record stores selling new and second hand records! Even in legal record label's own stores). Places such as Ebay are full of bootleg cd's. Most of us own them, and don't even know it. Some of them are badly made yes but many are almost non recognizable as a bootleg unless you really know your way with cd's. You may have that suspicious cd lying out somewhere, which you thought to be rare and luckily found on Ebay for $10 (or if you were really ripped off, closer to $100). You always felt there was something fishy on that cd. "Worn out" or fishy looking print in booklet, spelling mistakes, cheap booklet material, no matrix number or other numbers on the backside of cd, or weird colored flip-side of the cd (may indicate of cd-r). Just some things to mention.

(A nice looking bootleg of never-officially-released-on-cd-album)

The problem is that people are getting very good at making bootlegs and pirate records. Many are almost as complete replicas of the original, sold on Ebay such as "Salem's Wych-Betrayer of Kings original pressing OOP $99!", and without good details on the auctioned album's info, we buy it and get ripped off big time. In some cases even the sellers don't know that they are actually selling "a bootleg / pirate", in which case I feel bad for them also. Be vary what you bid for, check sellers reputation, give negative feedback if ripped off.

On the other hand even though vinyl records are also bootlegged, they are not quite as easy to bootleg as cd's and it just doesn't happen that much (at least yet). This is my knowledge of the situation at least. With vinyl you are not safe but chances to hit pirates or bootlegs is lesser. Usually if vinyl record is used and has marks of wear and tear, it's either old bootleg (less likely) or used legit record (more likely). Your chances getting ripped off when bidding for second hand vinyls are far less likely than bidding on second hand rare cd in Ebay or Amazon.

This is why I buy 99% (well almost) of old used records of rare pressings as vinyls nowadays and if you still don't, I'd suggest to give it a thought. What do I buy some records as cd's? Well, many bit newer records  are usually cheaper, especially those who have been released for some years. I don't give value to newer records generally as much as to the 80's so I don't want to pay as much for them. On the second hand new cd's are perhaps bit less likely to be pirated than old obscure release, when you browse Ebay and find that "a deal that sounds too good - wow I didn't even know this was ever released for cd!". I tend to buy rarer nostalgic releases as vinyl records whereas I'm more likely getting my money's worth. Just remember to take care of your vinyls as they are more prone to the scratches than cd's!

(Another nice looking bootleg, but this time as a vinyl. note that it's "new"!)

One more thing. Is there any sense to buy cassette records other than if you're really die-hard fan who wants to own certain record in any format or weirdo (jokingly) who loves cassette sound? Well actually yes. Very rare amount of the records are pressed only as cassette, in which case you might want to get it. Most common thing of these are "demos". Unofficial self-financed records by the bands which they made in hopes to get record deal some day and make some name for themselves. Material from records like these may never been used in full-lenght record afterwards (it's possible), or the band may be a "demo band" who ever just released a demo or two before splitting up. Wouldn't it be cool to own early "Grim Reaper" demo or such item?

Few links and items you might want to check considering vinyl records:

The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties by Martin Popoff - a really extensive album review book and your guide to 80's heavy metal record from one of the best heavy metal writers around.
Goldmine Heavy Metal Price Guide by Martin Popoff - one of the best vinyl record price guides focusing from early 70's to early 90's, but 95% are from 1980 to 1989 with some exceptions. The book is from year 2000 so price information is bit dated, but this book sure lets you know which are those rarities. Includes additional info like short descriptive comments and quantity of pressings of the album etc.
Nwobhm Encyclopedia by Malc MacMillan - a  great book discovering nwobhm bands, your bible if you like the genre (features over 500 bands that made it to release any official record, 800 pages, each page in two columns)!

Discogs - album information database. Just pure info. Check here what label released which. If the record can be found here it has better chances of being legit, however the database is not perfect..
Metal-Archives - internet's widest album information and review database purely ran by it's community. Tons of useful information of albums with often additional notes, also includes info of record labels, musicians etc.
Popsike - One more source to evaluate price of a vinyl record. Shows recent selling prices of auctioned items in Ebay. Highly useful! It has unfortunately limits for free account/guest how many albums you can search per day. (all rights reserved)