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Making up for some lost time the last 2 months, so this update is a little long...

  • Candlemass: Candlemass/Lucifer Rising- two nice little reissues from a partnership between Metal Mind & Nuclear Blast. No extras to speak of but both of these little doom classics come in cool digipacks with all the original release trimmings.

  • REO Speedwagon: Nine Lives/You Can Tune a Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish/Live, You Get What You Play For-three kick ass REO albums that I've loved for many years, but lately I think I have to dig back even further in their catalog...

  • ZZ Top: Mescalero/XXX/Antenna- grooving to some later period ZZ Top, and though these certainly don't compare to their classic '70s output, there are still plenty of raunchy, heavy, blues rockers here just dripping with Billy Gibbons' slashing guitar riffs.

  • Fleetwood Mac: Penguin/Bare Trees/Future Games/Heroes are Hard to FindMystery to Me-never had any of the Bob Welch era Mac stuff, but have always heard great things about those years. Really decent stuff, very varied, with a mix of the old blues style and the more laid back, poppy California rock they would soon employ. Even some prog rock mixed in here as well.

  • AC/DC: Rock or Bust- opinions are somewhat mixed from many on this one, but I'm certainly loving this back to basics approach from the Australian legends. It's catchy, it's heavy, it's familiar...just what we want from AC/DC, at at 35 minutes long there's barely any filler.

  • Sorcery: Stunt Rock/Sorcery 2/Live!- here's one of those bands that somehow escaped me all these years. Somewhere between hard rock & metal, with some hints of Deep Purple/Uriah Heep and lots of lyrical imagery dealing with sci-fi and fantasy, these are a fun listen.

  • Pink Floyd: The Endless River- if this is their swan song, they've gone out in style.

  • Led Zeppelin: I/II/III/IV/Houses of the Holy- have really dived into these recent remasters, which Jimmy Page has done a great job on. Though it's like the 3rd or 4th time I've purchased these over the years, the improved sound, bonus tracks, and packaging made it all worthwhile.

  • Gypsy: Gypsy/In the Garden- underground prog band from the '70s that I've just stumbled upon. Bits of folk as well as Deep Purple inspired Hammond organ led hard rock makes for an intriguing listen.

  • Stillwater: Stillwater/I Reserve the Right- little known Southern Rock act from the late '70s/early '80s that had some really strong tunes and should appeal to any fan of Atlanta Rhythm Section or .38 Special.

  • Judas Priest: Redeemer of Souls- this one is easily going to wind up in my top 5 here in 2014...exactly where remains to be seen.

  • Jethro Tull: Warchild- an underrated classic!

  • Sanctuary: The Year the Sun Died- call it Sanctuary or Nevermore, the results are basically the same...a kick ass album!

  • Scar Symmetry: The Singularity- always really dug this band, as their mix of progressive & death metal really does it for me. This latest one (first part in what is to be a trilogy I believe) is just so well done, with dueling death metal growls and soaring melodic vocals over shredding guitars, pounding riffs & rampaging rhythms.

  • Exodus: Blood In Blood Out- another winner from the Bay Area bashers, once again with Steve 'Zetro' Souza in tow.

  • Genesis: Seconds Out- the first live album with Phil Collins as frontman is a real winner. So many classic tunes on this great double live set.

  • Opeth: Pale Communion-another one destined for my top 5 of the year. Opeth are officially a prog band now.

  • Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian: Hamburg '72- sensational archival live album from these jazz legends. ECM once again delivers!

  • The Rolling Stones: From the Vault-LA Forum, Live 1975-really good archival show from the Eagle Rock folks documenting Ron Woods first official tour with the band. Sloppy, sweaty...hey, it's the Stones!

  • Black Sabbath: 13- still really enjoying this one, well over a year after its release. Word is the band are going to do another one, which is great news!

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