* - Asterisk means I already had a good mp3 copy of this album, but threw up a few words anyway in the name of having an internet-based chronicle of all my legally-purchased, store-bought music


*Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (2015, Stax) - As with many pieces of music lifted from the shelf that seem to be crafted more out of love than forged from hate, this is my wife's CD, and kind of not my thing. But it's interesting, because these dudes are doing some kind old-timey folksy sounding stuff that sounds like it should be on the soundtrack to a Coen Brothers movie, and that sort of music being played by people under the age of ninety sets off every sort of Hipster Bullshit alarm possible, but man, this sounds sincere as hell. Like they're out there, and they're fuckin' doing it, and I'm pretty sure they mean it, and as such, I applaud them. Gives me hope that by the time I'm 113 and almost somewhat near-death, that there'll be a mid-80s thrash metal revival that's not just pop punk kids making joke songs about pizza or Arnold Schwarzenegger or whatever.

*Natur - Head of Death (2012, Earache) - Well obviously, this is one of my CDs, and -  HA HA SYKE, THIS IS CRAZY METAL, AND IT'S MY WIFE'S CD. THIS WAS ALL AN ELABORATE TRICK TO FOOL YOU INTO THINKING MY WIFE WASN'T METAL AS HELL. I FOOLED YOU, I GOT PIG IRON, I GOT ALL PIG IRON. Anyway, aside from the singer seemingly being uninterested in hitting them high notes, this legit sounds like it could've been released on Metal Blade in like 1984, and it's pretty great. Sarah has a t-shirt of theirs that just says "OLD METAL" in evil script letters on the back, and that's pretty much the most perfect thing to put on a shirt, and if there wasn't already a t-shirt in my house that said that, I'd put it on something in iron-on lettering. Now, I just gotta figure out how to pronounce the damn name. Nature? Nay-toor? Someone help.

Nefilim - Zoon (1996, Beggar's Banquet) - This one's kinda weird, because first of all, no one seems to be able to decide whether this is by Fields of the Nephilim or just Nefilim, and even the actual CD itself can't decide if it's Nefilim or THE Nefilim. The internet tells me that Fields of the Nephilim is some sorta goth rock thing I know nothing about, and Nefilim is a more industrial-ish death metal-ish thing they started on the side. Yeah, I dunno. "Penetration" was on a Metal Blade Records label sampler CD (which is weird, because this wasn't released by Metal Blade) and it sounded cool to me, so I Ebayed a cheap copy of the CD (a fancy digipak with a faux-leather slip cover) a few years later, and honestly, I never got into this. I like the weird spookiness of the whole thing, but there's a little too much "here is like a minute and a half of spooky wind before the song starts" nonsense, and I'm not running a goddamned haunted house here, even though that would be kinda cool.

Neil Diamond - The Best of the Movie Album (1998, Columbia) - Full disclosure, from now on, whenever one of my wife's CDs for people with actual taste comes up, I'mma just quietly rip the Cd to the hard drive and skip the typing part, unless I really have something to say about them. I figure this will save me from having to pretend I have an opinion of Rihanna or the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or whatever. That being said, the title of this is great, because it suggests that Neil once did an album called The Movie Album which was some sort of massive, monolithic collection of hours and hours of music that was so vast that it warranted a "best of" compilation of its own. Neil, please.

Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine (1989, TVT) - The weird thing about Trent Reznor is that somehow, in spite of himself, he's always looked like someone's dad. And that sort of Dad Look tends to be the opposite of ol' Trent; like you have to be at least stocky, if not kinda tubby, and either have a mustache or male-pattern baldness typically. Like Manny Fernandez or Arn Anderson. The Raging Bull and The Enforcer have the Ultimate Dad look. But yeah, I dunno, even as a young, thin man with longish hair, covered in mud and screaming about how he wants to copulate with you in a manner befitting the wildlife, he's always looked like a dude who could unironically say "hi hungry, I'm Trent." Anyway, back in 1991 or whaenever, if you didn't have a t-shirt with that little "NIN" logo on it, you weren't cool, and I didn't have one, because I wasn't cool. I literally had seven different Ren & Stimpy shirts, though.

*Nirvana - Nevermind (1991, DGC - 2010 2CD Deluxe version) - On one hand, this album pretty much single-handedly killed off the sort of stuff I enjoy in any real commercial capacity, and once you get on the internet, you're supposed to denounce anything wildly popular, lest you be labeled False.™ But good god, y'all, this freaking thing is undeniable. There's a reason so many people heard this and then immediately decided that they no longer needed to hear a new Metal Church record. This shit blew people's minds, and it still holds up. Pretty much everything on here could've been a hit single, and I'm reasonably certain that at least half of it actually did consist of hit singles. Jesus, man. Anyway, I got a super good deal on one of the fancy anniversary versions, (not the super-fancy one that's like 98 disks or whatever, just the double) and it's got a whole bunch of extra crap. (hence two disks) It's got all the time-appropriate single b-sides, a whole mess of live stuff and alternate versions, plus a bunch of boombox-recorded rehearsal tracks that sound like poop, but are at least historically neat.

*N.W.A. (N-Words With Attitudes) - Straight Outta Compton (1988, Ruthless - 2002 bonus tracks version) - And on a similar level of undeniability is this. Like for real, you guys, I don't even like rap that much. I enjoy certain stuff twenty-five years (oh god) after the fact for nostalgia reasons, but if you found me the baddest underground rapper from 1994, on the level of a Snoop/Dre collaboration and beyond, if I didn't have memories of his video on TV at someone's house after school or a hit single providing background noise for a Gamma World session, (it was like Dungeons & Dragons, but about post-nuclear mutant stuff) I will feel nothing. But somehow, this manages to break through at times, and I'm like "yes, certainly, I would love to witness the strength of street knowledge." Also, this will probably be my only opportunity to mention this, but even as a young dude whose only interest in recorded sounds was either stuff with loud guitars or comedy albums, I somehow mysteriously ended up a really strict West Coast Gangsta Rap loyalist. Like the powers of adolescent nostalgia cause me to turn that shit up anytime someone like Mack 10 or M.C. Eiht comes on the radio, but pretty much anything from out East sounds terrible to me.

Oberon - Through Space, We Ride (2012, self-released) - This is a local (down the road a bit in Ada, Oklahoma) band that has a dude in it that my wife went to school with, and that we've never seen them live before, but almost have multiple times. We got the Cd and some shirts though, so local music has done been supported. Anyway, this is neat, like a cleaned-up version of Voivod that grew up reading Douglas Adams instead of Bram Stoker and sprang into existence fully-formed as a band that did trippy Pink Floyd metal about planets, skipping over the early 80s phase where they tried to be Venom Junior. Actually, I might be onto something by mentioning Voivod, because they did an album called Phobos, and that's the title of the third track on this. Or it could just be that Phobos is a famous moon. Anywho, these dudes play live wearing space suits, and this sounds like something that should be played by dudes in space suits.

Obituary - Back From the Dead (1997, Roadrunner) - It's really hard for me to ever think about this record without thinking about the last track on here. So like the second song is called "By the Light" and it's kinda of a slower, kinda groovy thing by death metal standards, and it's really good. So good, in fact, that they decided to put it on here a second time, retitled "Bullituary" and remixed with dudes rapping over it. Look, it was 1997, and it was a simpler time, and people still did stuff like that. Anyway, they got a couple dudes called the Bully Boys to drop bars over it, and they were apparently a skinhead rap group, best known for this song and not much else. Also, what little info I've managed to scrape up on them seems to hint that they were doing the whole explicitly anti-racist SHARP thing, which makes it really unfortunate that they called themselves the Bully Boys, because if you Google "Bully Boys Skinheads," it turns up a lot of stuff about an older Oi band who actually were intensely racist. I mean, I guess they formed the group before search engines, but damn, someone coulda said something before they got their big break shoehorned onto the end of a death metal album. Anyway, that fucking remix is terrible, and they still manage to fully drop an N-bomb, so if they really were anti-racist skinheads, they were doing a super-shitty job of it. That being said, "By the Light" is a song that would lend itself perfectly to a rap remix, and if someone with skills at that sort of thing could mash it up with "Still" by the Geto Boys, (seriously, I've gone over this in my head, and it's perfect) I'd PayPal them like a full eight dollars or so. (I'm broke)

Obituary - Two From the Vault: The End Complete / World Demise (2004, Roadrunner - originally released in 1992 and 1994) - Man, that Roadrunner Two From the Vault thing was such a good idea, and I'm so dumb for only having this and the Exhorder one, and Roadrunner is so dumb for letting all this stuff go back out of print. I've mentioned at least thrice by now that I've never been super into death metal, but I like how Obituary is one of the few bands that actually manages to not sound exactly like all the others. Like how 99% of all death metal can be described as "like Cannibal Corpse, but with (insert minute detail that's usually sonically irrelevant)." It's mostly because of the singer, and the best description I ever read somewhere was that John Tardy just sounds like he's absolutely grossed out by every word he's saying. If you know what he sounds like, just picture in your mind, him going "EEEWWWWWWW, EH-BRUSSELL SPROUTS AGAAAAAAAIN" and you'll see how accurate that is. AAH-BLUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH THIS CAT BOX SMELLLLLSSS, UUURRRRRRGGGGHHHH.

The Offspring - Smash (1994, Epitaph) - This is another one that kind of defined its era, even if it's not quite on the level of Nevermind or Straight Outta Compton, and 1994 was pretty much felt like the entire world consisted of the Offspring, Beavis and Butthead, Clerks, Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle, and a bunch of less-important things floating around them. Even my mom was rocking this one not long after it came out. This thing is absolutely solid from start to finish, and it's one of those albums were there are certain songs you don't like as much as the others that you kinda skip over, and then you go back and listen to them and go "ohhhh daaaang," and wonder why those weren't the ones you put on a mixed tape a year earlier. Man, I miss mixed tapes. Stupid technological advances.

The Offspring - Americana (1998, Columbia) - So Smash was awesome, and Ixnay on the Hombre was similarly good, (need to actually get that one someday) but when this came out, all the big singles on TV and theoretically radio (Mississippi radio in 1998 was a place where Greenday was considered too Satanic for airplay) were all these goofy novelty songs, and it just rubbed me the wrong way, and I kinda wrote the Offspring off as dead after that. Eventually, I kinda skimmed over my wife's Cd of this, and my heart still hasn't fully warmed to "Pretty Fly for a White Guy," this is way better than I assumed it would be, and it makes me wonder if it's been a mistake to have assumed this band had been broken up for at least five to ten years by now.

Old Skull - Get Outta School (1989, Restless) - Oh man, Old Skull. This was a band (such as it was) that consisted of three little kids playing punk rock, despite the fact that as far as I can tell, none of them actually knew how to play any instruments. It's long been suspected that the dad of two of the kids actually wrote some of the lyrics, which makes sense, when some of it is "die James, kill James, James is a home boy," and then there will be a song breaking down how Ronald Reagan caused the homelessness problem. The weird part is that this seems like some sort of fully fake gimmickry, but it turns out that that the Toulons were pretty much a family of crust punks, to such a point where pretty much the entire family eventually descended into drug addiction and homelessness, and half the members of Old Skull are dead now. "Hot Dog Hell," though, am I right? Ha ha, oh god the world is .

Old Skull - C.I.A. Drug Fest (1992, Restless) - This is really weird, because between the passage of time and some lineup changes, the Old Skull kids actually kinda learned how to play by the time this came out. I mean, it's not fuckin' Malmsteen or anything, but you at least get the feeling that the sounds the guitars make on this are somewhat close to the sounds that they were hoping to make, and there are fewer lyrics that just sound like kids yelling about weird shit. Basically, if you ever wanted to hear what Flipper would sounds like if they were all like eleven and were into politics on a disturbing level.

One Reason - Closing Our Chapters (1998, self-released) - Going from 12 year olds playing punk rock to 17 year olds doing it, here's the first full-length from One Reason. My copy of this Cd exists as a testament to how bad I am as a punk rocker, because it originally came in a plastic sleeve with a little cardboard slip cover, and because I had decided that THIS JUST WILL NOT DO~, I ended up scanning the cover, printing it out, and putting it in a jewel case. I have no idea where the original cover/bag is, and it's really bothering me now. I'm suspicious that it's in that plastic tote in the garage with all my flyers and assorted nonsense from that period, but the garage is hot and full of fleas, so I may never know. The song "Boba Fett" has this big intro part that sounds like something more suited for arena rock than punk rock being played in a Cleveland, MS alleyway, and people loved it, and it was the most popular song at the shows, but the band themselves seemed to act like they hated it, for some reason. (Perhaps many reaons, but perhaps also... One reason? I am hilarious.) They still played it for the people, even if they had constructed a hell of their own design, though.

Only Living Witness - Prone Mortal Form (1993, Century Media - I have the regular and the European digipak versions) - Apparently, there's a thing now called "post-metal," and based on what little I've heard of it, it just seems to be 2000s style black metal, but with lyrics about feelings and emotions and trees, instead of about Satan and Jew-killing and and trees? But for some reason, when I hear the term, I imagine something more like this. To bury things within extra layers of confusing and mostly meaningless jargon, like post-hardcore, but metal. These dudes were on some next-level shit in 1993, and how this flew under the radar of literally everyone blows my mind. The opening of the title track is pretty much the heaviest 20 seconds ever put to tape, and "December" is ridiculous. It has that kind of huge, epic feeling that most bands fail to reach with a fifteen-minute song with five guitar solos and the backing of an orchestra, and it's just being done by four guys with one guitar that never attempts a solo, no extraneous bulshit, and a runtime of less than five minutes. This band was so good that it freaks me out, you guys. The fancy European version of this is weird, though, because it has the "Complex Man" 7" from 1989 on here, and half the lineup is different, and it legit just sounds like a regular thrash metal band, complete with rippin' solos and whatnot. It's not super-great, but it's crazy-interesting.

Only Living Witness - Innocents (1996, Century Media) - This is along the same lines as Prone Mortal Form, except maybe toned down a little on the metal end of things, and while it doesn't have anything as huge as "December," it's probably my favorite of the two overall. And I always thought that these guys could have been huge, I'm not being an Internet Metal Dipshit from 1999 who thinks that the kids are only listening to Crazy Town because they've never been exposed to Borknagar or whatever. Like there is literally nothing about this band that suggests that it might freak out the normals, and while I guess there aren't a whole lot of Big Pop Music HOOKS~!, there are a couple catchy choruses to justify a single, and stuff like that never hurt Tool or Radiohead, you know? Anyway, Only Living Witness was the greatest and the best, and the fact that they only managed to put out two albums before just kinda shrugging and giving up to start other bands instead of taking over the world is our greatest failure as a nation. I need to see if I can find that Miltown CD someday or check out Raw Radar War.

Only Living Witness - Prone Mortal Form/Innocents (2006, Century Media) - As you might have guessed, this is a reissue of the two OLW albums, and at the time, it seemed kinda weird, becuase both were out of print, but due to the poorness of global taste levels, you could still get them on Ebay for maybe ten bucks, total. (I don't even think the import of Prone Mortal Form cost me more than maybe twelve, after shipping) But goddammit, there are like a dozen demo tracks tacked on to the end of these, and when I nerd out, I do it hard, and that's how I have two copies of Innocents and three of Prone Mortal Form now. What I didn't know is that they did the whole digital remastering thing to these, and it's a rare case of having it actually work. Usually, you get a CD that's just impossibly loud to the point of losing parts of the music under speaker-rattle, but this is louder AND clearer somehow. Someone needs to find a legal way to get Century Media to go back over all those old Megadeth albums.

*Operation Ivy - Operation Ivy (1991, Lookout - includes Energy LP from 89, Hectic EP from 88 and tracks from the 87 Turn it Around compilation) -  The late 90s was a strange and frightening time, and young white people got really into ska-punk for some reason. IT WAS A SIMPLER TIME. Anyway, this band was pretty much the source of origin for that sort of thing, so you if you were the one kid who got really into the Suicide Machines and Against All Authority but somehow never heard Operation Ivy, just know that it all kinda sounds like them. They were the type species, kinda like how Tarbosaurus and Daspletosaurus both pretty much just looked like Tyrannosauruses. Despite occasional forays into ska-related stuff, I never really got into this, which makes me hopeful that I'm not quite as white as I thought I was.

Overkill - Feel the Fire (1985, Megaforce) - The more I think about it, Overkill and Exodus were kind of like opposite coast versions of the same thing. They were never the biggest band in their local scene (Anthrax was bigger than Overkill, and Metallica was *slightly* bigger than Exodus) but they seemed to be way more respected in the underground and had way more of a "blarrrggh fuck you" vibe. And when a thrash metal band would put out their first album, it would always end up even blaaarghier and fuck-youier than all the stuff that followed. Which is not to say that Overkill ever put out an EP of ballads or whatever, but you know what I mean. Anyway, if I ever travel through a time warp where I go back in time to 1995 and become a shitty, t-shirt wearing deathmatch wrestler, I'm using "Rotten to the Core" as my entrance music.

Overkill - The Years of Decay (1989, Atlantic) - Man, we need to talk about Overkill's whole dang aesthetic for a second. More bands need a color scheme, and the whole black and lime green thing works like a mofo. Like even though they weren't really lyrically into a bunch of demons-and-devils stuff, they just feel like a band that should be on the soundtrack for every straight-to-video slasher movie, and I have to wonder if the neat color scheme has something to do with that. It only makes sense that the look has since been stolen by wrestling's Degeneration X faction and roughly 85% of all late-90s Geocities web pages. If Overkill ever found a way to put a gas mask on Chaly, they'd have a metal aesthetic that could never be equaled. Anyway, "Elimination" is the best.

Overkill - Horrorscope (1991, Atlantic) - This is the Overkill tape of my youth, so it's got that same special warm feeling of being associated with rides to school, D&D, and shooting shitty orange foam basketballs (and tennis balls once the foam tore up) into our Ohio Art Michael Jordan closet door basketball hoops. The cover of this CD pisses me off, though, because the album and tape have a really cool cover, with all this spooky looking stuff around Chaly gazing into a horrifying crystal ball, but the CD has just a generic, boring cover. The real cover is folded up inside the booklet, but when you get it to where that's pointing out, it's all bowed-up and doesn't fit in the case right. I DEMAND REPARATIONS FROM ATLANTIC RECORDS.

Overkill - I Hear Black (1993, Atlantic) - That early 90s "thrash band who made too much money to be angry and just wants to groove" sound can be really, really good when done right, and even though there's nothing particularly bad about this, I never really got into it, either. Maybe I'm not into early 90s post-thrash groove metal as much as I thought I was? What if my tastes have always been a lie? What if, deep down, I just want to jam out to Slipknot and Shinedown all day? Ha ha no, really, this just isn't very good.

Overkill - Fuck You and Then Some (1996, Megaforce - Overkill EP and !!!Fuck You!!! EP originally released in 1985 and 87) - This consists of two EPs that were released as the bread that besandwiched the Feel the Fire album, and it's all got that "raw first album" feeling that the kids love so much. Plus you get not one, but TWO different versions of "Rotten to the Core," which is like getting a box of one of the more decadent Chex mixes, and ending up with twice the standard amount of fake M&Ms. Now that I think about it, Sarah has this as the two-CD set with Feel the Fire, so it was kind of like a "Best of Overkill Stuff That Includes Rotten to the Core" boxed set. It is... the most rotten.

Overkill - Extended Versions (2002, BMG Special Products) - Here's another Extended Versions cheapo CD that's just a shortened version of a preexisting live album. But hey, I own no other live Overkill CDs, so I didn't get ripped off. I can't really think of anything to say about this, other than Overkill is a really good live band, so this is a good CD. I figure no further information is necessary.

Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz (1980, Epic) - Ozzy Osbourne as a solo artist has always been a weird thing for me, because I've never really been a super huge Ozzy fan, like I've never felt the urge to buy an Ozzy t-shirt or anything, but I never could ignore him, either. Anyway, this is the first and best Ozzy album by a wide-ass margin, and one of the only albums of his that I ever seem to bother with beyond just the big single type songs. Its historical significance as a cassette who inspired many a teen pregnancy initiated inside an airbrushed and/or rusty van should not be disregarded. Also, there's a song on here called "No Bone Movies" that seems to be about Ozzy having a porn addiction in 1979, and that's just wild as hell. I bet once the internet happened, Ozzy turned into a complete fuckin degenerate, like I bet he got tennis elbow something fierce. Now, you have to live with that image.

Ozzy Osbourne - Randy Rhoads Tribute (1987, Epic) - This is another one of those tapes my brother would absolutely wear the hell out when we were lads, but only for one song. So we'd be doing whatever idiot crap we were doing, like he'd be swindling me out of football cards whose immeasurable worth often exceeded a full American dollar, and the live version of "Crazy Train" would just keep playing the whole time. Except this was before anybody but Wall Street yuppies could afford Cd players, so it meant getting up and rewinding the cassette manually, and he had it down to such a science that he'd only have to stop once, directly at the final seconds of "I Don't Know." So for many years in my broken mind, "Crazy Train" didn't sound right without "CLICK - I DON'T KNOOOW, KNOW, know know" at the beginning.

Ozzy Osbourne - No Rest for the Wicked (1988, Epic) - Thinking about this album pretty much reminds me of the same time period as the Randy Rhoads tribute album, and maybe I don't listen to Ozzy because I like him so much as I yearn for the simple purity of the late 80s and early 90s. Like I just want to watch Bill & Ted movies and flip through Metal Edge magazines and put on wrestling matches with G.I. Joe toys and be naive enough to think the Bears will win another Super Bowl before I die and not give a single drizzling shit about politics again. Now I'm remembering that The Wonder Years existed back then, and Jesus, this is what happens when you start to get old and aaaaaaahhh I'm gonna be dead someday. Guess there's no harm in eating these cookies.

Ozzy Osbourne - Just Say Ozzy EP (1990, Epic) - My brain goes to a weirdly specific memory when I think about this one, and it freaks me out. This was one of the tapes my brother left behind when he went to college, and I'd occasionally pop it into one of his old, half-broken Walkmans, (Walkmen?) and I forever associate this with listening to tapes while washing a dog now. That's bizarre. Like I can't think of any specific triggering events of a particular dog bath that would burn the sights and sounds into my head, but here we are. But yeah, the first notes of "Shot in the Dark" play and I'm like "oh yeah, scrubbing fleas off Barney's ass." Weird.

Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears (1991, Epic) -  The popular perception of this album is that it's the last great thing Ozzy did, and I take exception with that assessment. This album, the triumphant final album before Ozzy's ill-fated "retirement," well, it... Kinda sucks, you guys. I mean, the title track and "Hellraiser" are good, but this is mostly just boring toilet trash, which served as a thrilling preview for Ozzy's output in the Ozzfest era. I think this was officially the point where Ozzy's myth and legend fully eclipsed his actual music, and the balance has been getting more and more out of whack since then. I'm not sure if this is a hot take or whatever, but dude shoulda stayed retired, probably, if only to save us from his idiot children and unspeakably evil wife from becoming celebrities.

Ozzy Osbourne - Ozzmosis (1995, Epic) - Meanwhile, this is widely considered to be the first bad Ozzy Osbourne album, and the funny thing is that it's actually a lot better than No More Tears, even if it is mostly filler. I guess I just can't completely hate anything that has "My Jeckyll Doesn't Hide" on it. Still, on balance, we'd all be better off if he had fucked off into this good night after No More Tears. This still has a place in my heart as part of the Original Eleven Cds I owned, and many nights of "Perry Mason" as background noise for endless seasons of Tecmo Super Bowl III.

Ozzy Osbourne - The OZZman Cometh (1997, Epic) - This is a "best of" compilation, and it fulfills the accidental secret purpose of such records, which is to help you not have to go buy a bunch of CDs you don't actually want, just for one or two songs. The big selling point of this was that it had a ***BRAND NEW OZZY SONG*** and I'm thankful that they just slapped "Back on Earth" on the end of the disk, because it is some real ear-poison, just a complete rat turd for the shit heap, my god.


<<<<<<<OR GO BACK HOME<<<<<<<<<<