By that I mean I have a big music collection because buying records for me was for so long not only just about obtaining the music for personal enjoyment (or in some rare cases, for playing at a club), but also about experiencing the thrill of acquiring it. Going through the ritual, I’m ashamed to say, was as much a part of the fix as actually owning it. That is to say, I loved my music, but I also loved trawling through online retailer lists, taking bids on other online sites, going through bargains bins in places ranging from op shops to markets, and of course spending hours vigorously going through racks and stands in my favourite music shops.
It’s a completely irrational impulse I know — hell, you could argue that the entire music industry is based on the same principle — but as I neared my 30th birthday I found that something unexpected began to occur. Horror of all horrors, as the years progressed I found that new music, specifically the new kind that really got me excited, seemed to become progressively more difficult to locate.
Surely, it had to be the state of the scene and all those damn downloaders and stuff… it couldn’t possibly be me, could it? I attribute my dislike for dubstep for that very reason. How could it be that my views are becoming rigid and out of touch… after all, dubstep just happens to be the in-thing at the moment. The millions of people who currently pretend to enjoy dubstep at the moment just happen to have it wrong. I’m confident they’ll get over it in the same way everyone got over electro-house and happy hardcore. Yeah, that’s definitely it.
Me and dubstep.
Alas, the day eventually arrived when I begrudgingly had to acknowledge that perhaps I was getting a bit rusty after all. The realisation occurred after I’d visited Heartland Records, my most favourite of favourite record stores, and also the scene of so many of my record buying splurges. I always imagined that I could happily spend eternity rifling through the new and classic material of this store… yet on this fateful day the excitement just didn’t seem to be working for me. For what must have been the first time ever, I walked out of Heartland without buying anything. Seriously, civilisation as we know it was about to end.
As it happens I had also started a Terrorizer magazine subscription at that time after I’d randomly picked up a copy of the magazine’s superb thrash metal special. A reader’s letter in a recent issue pretty much hit the nail on the head when he wrote to say he’d been into metal all his life and found that his views and tastes were getting narrower as he got older; as a result, he reverted to the classics he knew and loved (and Terrorizer kept him in touch with music worth listening to).
Feeling a little dejected about not having any more new music to hunt down, or maybe I was just missing that old thrill and fix, I coincidentally started doing exactly as that reader described, namely picking up a couple of what I consider metal classics. I’ve loved metal for 20 years and there are gaps in there that I’ve never filled. In fact, I imagine that I’d be a big fan of many of these releases if only I’d been young enough to be there at the time. Also, now that I’m so old and conservative and am not far off from living in a retirement village I didn’t want to risk being disappointed by ‘untested’ new music.
So I kind of started rekindling my love (fix?) for acquiring dark and alternative music. Now it just so happens that I recently turned 30 and various relatives had asked me what gifts they should get me for Christmas and / or birthday, given that the close chronological proximity of these two occasions in my case. “Heartland Records vouchers,” I told them.
And so it turns out I received $190 in vouchers to spend at my favourite record shop. In no particular order, here’s my haul from today’s raid.
System Of A Down — Aerials (seven-inch)
An oldie (well 2002 anyway) but a goodie. A killer track from SOAD, even though I never got into this band much. The b-side, a cover of Black Sabbath’s Snowlbind, was kind of disappointing though.
Rammstein — Mein Land (seven-inch, not shown)
New Rammstein single, with an additional new b-side, intended to promote the band’s new Made In Germany best of compilation. Also, watch the video. Seriously.
Black Sabbath — Black Sabbath (deluxe edition album)
The album that started it all. For Sabbath and for heavy metal. More than 40 goddamn years ago! I don’t mind paying a little bit more for the extras. And there’s a nice long booklet telling the story of the album, which I’m looking forward to reading. This, kids (ha, I can totally pepper my phrases with “kids” now and sound legitimate saying it), is a historical album.
Black Sabbath — Vol 4 (album)
Snowblind and Supernaut are unbelievable tracks. The sound of this album is said to define what being a drug addict and an alcoholic during the ’70s was all about.
I also bought the shirt.
Destruction — Best Of (“Doppel CD” i.e. double CD compilation)
Bullet belts, unintentionally funny attempts at English lyrics, more bullet belts, head banging, beer, chainsaws, shotguns, German headbanging thrash metallers, and more bullet belts. I’ve never owned a Destruction album so this compilation ought to be a great place to start. Thank you Terrorizer thrash metal special for getting me into this.
Ministry — The Last Sucker (album)
Another band I got into much too late. Awesome industrial metal. I’ve heard purists curse albums from this Ministry era. Plus, the George W. Bush holograph turning into a reptile on the front is a superb touch.
Manowar — Kings Of Metal (album)
This was released at around the time that the self-proclaimed Kings Of Metal commenced their slow ascent up their own arses. Goddamn I love the absurdly over the top Manowar cheese. Meeetaaaaaaaaaaal!
Butt-ugly, poor, pissed of Mexicans with shoddy studio equipment making some of the best EBM industrial duff duff you’ll ever hear. Dark as hell. These guys smoke the asses off their contemporaries. How many drug cartel wars are currently going on in your country, huh?
Iron Maiden — Flight 666 (live album)
I’m a huge Maiden fan and I promised myself before today’s foray that I’d emerge with a piece of Maiden. I own the DVD so just the live tunes were a bargain at $10. Also, you’ve totally earned your metal stripes if you happen to attend a gig that is subsequently released as a live album... especially if it’s an Iron Maiden live album. In this case I hopefully get one seventeenth of a stripe, as one track on this was recorded at one of the Melbourne dates I went to.
Rammstein — Ich Tu Dier Weh (single)
Lacklustre single from Rammstein’s less than head-explodingly exciting last studio album. Indeed, good Rammstein remixes are notoriously few and far between. However, I bought this for the LOLs that is the Scooter remix. Absurdly cheesy and ridiculously so-bad-it’s-good. Great fun!
It was $1. That’s cheaper than iTunes you know. Yeah, it sounds an awful lot like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Beatles? Yeah, and? Did you know all rock music can be attributed to some black dude working a cotton field in America? Also, the last song on this three-tracker single (originally on the band’s first album apparently) is considerable less family schmaltzy than much of the radio friendly tunes released later in their career.
There's actually quite a bit more to the store than these pics would suggest.
Heartland Records is located at 61 Peel Street, West Melbourne, 3003.
Tel: (03) 9329 9636