Welcome to Source of Steel - The Heavy Metal Museum. For the metal head who likes to own or collect physical CDs, Source of Steel is my website dedicated to the love of physical metal on shiny plastic discs. Micro-reviews, thoughts, pics of my own collection and random utterances galore. The site started out purely as a way of sharing my rarities to like-minded fans, but now (for longevity's sake more than anything) it is open to new physical metal music bits I've picked up, including new releases and other random shit.

Thorns of the Carrion - The Gardens of Dead Winter

Here we have the 1994 debut album from Ohio's Thorns of the Carrion. These guys kicked out some rather tasty doom death with a really morose, funereal nature. The crushing riffage embraces acoustic interludes and violin parts closely to its heaving bosom, bringing to mind the likes of early My Dying Bride, coupled with the crushing nature of diSEMBOWELMENT et al. After this, they released a handful of EPs, and more further full length before calling it quits. This an original CD pressing on Wild Rags.

Root - The Temple in the Underworld / Kärgeräs

What more can get you in the Christmas spirit than some pervading Czech brilliance in the form of Root (pronounced 'ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT' to fans - hahah). These are two of my favourite albums from the band, but to be fair, Big Boss and co released so many great albums (especially in the 90s) that it's hard to hold up some over others - however, that's what I've done as these two are harder to find in these particular pressings. These guys really are unique in what they do, taking the standard 2nd wave black metal vibe in their early days and slowly moulding it into their own take of epic, dark heavy metal, compounded by the excellent vocals of Big Boss. 'The Temple in the Underworld' is the original first press on Monitor Records, and 'Kärgeräs' is also a first press on the tiny Black Hole label who disappeared as quickly as they appeared in the mid-nineties (perhaps into a black hole? Sorry...).

Mystic Charm - Shadows of the Unknown

Here we have Mystic Charm's only full length album of remorseless doomy death metal. Hailing from the Netherlands. It seems a lot of people are finding this out for themselves these days judging by the price this goes for on eBay recently. An original pressing on Shiver Records, and well worth tracking down if you can find a copy.

Excrement - Scorched

Here was have the one and only EP released by the beautifully named Finnish 4-piece, Excrement. These guys started out as Apoplexy, releasing a demo before realizing their future was all about the poop. Turns out, their future was about as short lived as a turd as they split shortly after this was released in 1994, never releasing a full length record. Anyhow, fairly decent proficient death metal here, nothing too crazy or standout, but solid enough. An original pressing on Invasion Records.

Troll - Drep de Kristne

Here is the 1996 debut album from Norwegians Troll, 'Drep de Kristne' (or 'Kill the Christians' for English speakers like myself). At this point in the bands career, these 'guys' consisted of pretty much one bloke - Nagash (formally of Dimmu Borgir, and also of The Covenant - who later became The Kovenant after another band shared their name). This features prime black metal, replete with all the hissing bile against Christianity you'd expect, with accompanying keyboards (as has been a trademark of Nagash throughout his career). Don't let the mention of keyboards put you off, as this is far from some floral happy affair as you'll hear if you press play below. This is the original first digipak pressing on Damnation Records (it was later re-issued by Head Not Found with different artwork, but even that press is out of print too). The artwork is by Alex Kurtagic, who also did the art for Dimmu Borgir's Stormblast album, amongst others.

Despair - Decay of Humanity / Beyond All Reason

Here are the 2nd & 3rd albums from German technical thrash/speed metal crew Despair. The bands first album was always one of the many banes of my Metal Collecting life, as I've not yet managed to find an original copy at a decent price (it was released on CD in 1988 and limited to 1,500 copies - thus is ideal moneyspinner on eBay whenever it does appear). There is a re-issue due imminently so I hear, so I look forward to finally having a CD copy at least! Anyhow, these two albums are pretty great, with 1990s 'Decay of Humanity' having the edge over 1992s 'Beyond all Reason' in pure awesomeness stakes. These guys are best know for featuring guitarist Waldemar Sorychta (who later went on to be the main man of boring thrashers Grip Inc. with Slayer's Dave Lombardo in the 90s, and became a popular producer for the likes of Unleashed, Tiamat & Samael) and also vocalist Andreas Henschel was formally the head of Century Media records. Both CDs are original pressings on Century Media, and long since out of print.

Enthroned - Prophecies of Pagan Fire

Here we have the 1995 debut album from legendary Belgian black metal crew Enthroned. These guys eventually got lumped in with the whole 'Norsecore' or 'Washing Machine Metal' thing which elitist tried to perpetrate to shit on the style, alongside the likes of Dark Funeral and a stack of other decent bands. Each to their own I guess - personally I love this shit. Great artwork as usual by Kris Verwimp too. Original 1st pressing on Evil Omen Records (an old offshoot label for Osmose Records).

Agony - The First Defiance

Another band who released one full length album only to disband, cutting their careers criminally short. Agony were a bunch of thrashing Swedes from the late 80s who knew exactly how to kick out the jams to an excellent level. Really great thrash, do not pass this up if you manage to find this. There are a shit ton of bootlegs of this album too (one I came across just has the matrix code 'The First Defiance', and the artwork was pretty faded and blurry - bad). This is an original Under One Flag first pressing, so again - zoom on the matrix if you're on the look out for a copy to know what to look for. Well worth hunting down.

Mania - Changing Times

Excellent speed metal here from Germany's Mania. These guys only released one full length album, and judging by the quality of it, it's a damn shame. The CD version features their 'Wizard of the Lost Kingdom' EP as bonus tracks, which is also great. There are a lot of bootlegs of this flying around, so tracking down an original copy isn't at all easy these days - I lucked out however in a 2nd hand store where I was able to check the matrix code, so if you're hunting one down zoom in on the matrix as this is 100% legit.

Spasme - Deep Inside

The one and only album from Canadian's Spasme here, featuring Martin Lacroix on vocals - the guy who was in Cryptopsy for a short while and appeared on their live album. This is very much 'Canadian styled' technical death metal, and it's good a really catchy feel about it rather that just being blitzed with a torrent of guitar histrionics! Self released by the band.

Agalloch - Of Stone, Wind & Pillor / Grey E.P / White E.P

These E.Ps went out of print pretty quickly, probably because Agalloch seem to have an insane following these days and there's always a crazy clamour for their limited EP material in particular. The White & Grey EPs were limited to 2,000 units and 1,000 units respectively, but I'm not certain about the limitation of the 'Of Stone, Wind & Pillor' EP - I think it could've been 2,500, but don't quote me on that. The White & Grey EPs feature dreamy, folky music (with the Grey in particular featuring an ambient remix track), whereas 'Of Stone..' features more of their embryonic black metal roots. Original pressings on The End Records, Vendulus and Vendulus respectively.

Abomination - Abomination / Tragedy Strikes

The two full length albums of prime death/thrash from Chicago's very own Abomination, one of the many projects of Paul Speckmann (also of legends Master, Death Strike, Funeral Bitch et al). Personally, I've always considered this to be one of his better projects, especially the self titled debut which is fantastic. Abomination split in 1993, reforming and recording new material in 1999, and they're still an active project to this day. Finger crossed for a new full length if these two are anything to go by. These were re-issued by Polish label Metal Mind, but these are the original Nuclear Blast pressings from 1990 and 1991 respectively.

Pan Thy Monium - Dream II / Dawn of Dreams / Khaooohs

Now, I may just be going a bit senile here, but I'm CERTAIN I posted these up previously. I even remember scanning them before, but somehow - nope they're not on my blog. Anyhow, Gremlins notwithstanding, here they are again in all their glory - the early EP and first two albums from Dan Swano's Pan.Thy.Monium. Just look at all those genres listed below... haha - it's death metal Jim, but not as you know it. Winding, experimental, progressive and doomy - this project covered all bases and pleased most. At first the sound was alien to me, but upon multiple re-visits each of their releases just opened up into a vast mindfuck of listenability. All are original pressings on Avantgarde Music, Osmose & Osmose respectively.

Exmortem - Labyrinths of Horror / Dejected in Obscurity

The first two albums from Denmark's Exmortem here, featuring fast and brutal death metal throughout. These guys had quite the career, starting out as Mordor for one demo, before deciding on Exmortem for their first album - it's just a shame that not so many people have heard their name before. They managed to release 6 albums over their career before sadly calling it a day in 2010. Both these albums showcase some of their best material in my opinion, both released on Euphonious Records (the debut from 1995, and the sophomore album 1998). Both now out of print.

Deathless - Anhedonia

Here is the 1992 debut album from Deathless, a old doomy band with industrial influences from the UK, who actually originated from Australia. These guys have a fair bit of industrial vibe in their sound as mentioned before, with a hypnotic and intense feel that sometimes reminds me of the starkness of Godflesh or very early Pitchshifter. To be honest, I've really got to be in the right mindset and mood for music like this (same goes for when listening to Godflesh actually in my case). When you are feeling it though, you can't beat it. Original pressing on Electrip Records, and long out of print.

Cancer - To The Gory End / Death Shall Rise / The Sins of Mankind

Early English death metal here (with thrashy moments!) from Telford's Cancer. Telford is a shithole, so it's no wonder their death metal is pretty gnarled and angry sounding. James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Testament et al!) joined the band for their 'Death Shall Rise' album, which is generally seen as their pièce de résistance (it's my personal favourite too, along with their wonderfully basic - but brilliant debut). The Sins of Mankind is pretty much the runt of the litter, and saw the band start to spin into a downward spiral - still, it does have its positive points so it isn't all bad. Original early pressings on Vinyl Solution/Restless (1992), Restless (1991) and Restless (1993) respectively.

Macabre - Gloom / Sinister Slaughter

The first two albums from America's comedic sickos Macabre, in their early CD pressings on Vinyl Solution Records and Nuclear Blast respectively, with the debut album featuring their Grim Reality E.P as bonus tracks. Great, sick and funny grinding death metal, in the usual Macabre vein (i.e, grinding nursery rhymes about serial killers!).

Phlebotomized - Preach Eternal Gospels EP / Immense, Intense, Suspense / Skycontact

Phlebotomized are one of those bands who were barely known by most folk until the age of the intarweb helping to beam quality metal into all our homes. Their music started out pretty much standard doom and gloom death metal in their early days, but in their album period there were many more peeks of weird experimentation and oddness (particularly on 'Skycontact' which is a strange beast - they even made their logo more 'readable' - usually a sign of a band selling out, but not in this case). But, when you have an album with a track called "I Lost My Cookies in the Disco" (which I'm pretty certain originated from Sesame Street), you know something has gone seriously wrong in the brain department. All original early pressings, with the 'Preach Eternal Gospels' EP on the wonderfully named Malodorous Mangled Innards Records label, and the two full length albums on Dutch label Cyber Music.

Deranged - Rated X

The debut album from these brutal Swedes here, in an original pressing on Dave Rotten's Repulse Records. A great album to stick on if you're wanting to blow out the cobwebs, mindless musical carnage blowing chunks all over your cowering earlobes. Gotta love it! The re-press on Listenable records does have bonus tracks from their early EPs, but has some shitty photo-shopped cover art that wasn't a patch on the original movie still you see here (the name of the movie escapes me, feel free to let me know!)

Nile - Festivals of Atonement EP

Gotta love these guys, and in my opinion they've barely put a foot wrong in their career. Here is the 1995 EP release from Nile, and the start of the bands move away from their earlier demo sound into more crushing territories that people know and love them for today. An original press, self released by the band on their own Anubis Records label.

Dark Millennium - Ashore The Celestial Burden / Diana Read Peace

German crew Dark Millennium here, with their two full length albums. They never lasted long, forming, putting out these releases, then splitting all over the course of around five years. Personally, I prefer the debut to their sophomore effort, as it seems to have a stronger focus on songwriting in my opinion. Still, fairly decent doomy death metal to be found here, with a progressive edge that's clear to hear in a lot of their material. Both are original pressings on Massacre Records.

Cerebral Fix - Tower of Spite / Bastards / Death Erotica

Here we have the 2nd, 3rd and 4th albums from Brit cross-over thrashers Cerebral Fix. I believe their debut album was never released on CD format, until the band released their 'Products of Disgust' box set which compiled just about all their material (including demo material) in 2007. Out of the three albums here, I'd say 'Tower of Spite' is the freshest and thrashiest, featuring the best material on offer, though 'Bastards' is no slouch either to be honest. Not impossible to find or uber-expensive to buy even to this day, these are original pressings on Roadracer, R/C (both Roadrunner!) and Under One Flag respectively.

Transgressor - Ether for Scapegoat

Japan's Transgressor here, with their one and only album from 1992. Pretty obscure stuff, very dark with odd harmonies and doomy sections aplenty - there's a lot to enjoy here for sure. It's not up there with the very greats, but then - not many are. It has an unwholesome feel of complete wrongness about it that is oh so very right, and that's good enough for me. An original pressing on the defunct Dutch label Cyber Music.

Runemagick - The Supreme Force of Eternity / Enter the Realm of Death / Resurrection in Blood

Sweden's Runemagick here, with the unholy trilogy of albums which kickstarted their career. For those who haven't ventured near these guys before, definitely do. Some of the finest death metal you'll find, with a really doomy vibe. All original pressings on Century Media. Not impossible to find at a good price by any means, but currently out of print separately (there is however a 2 CD compilation album 'Dark Dead Earth' which compiles all three albums if you're so inclined).

Appalling Spawn - Freedom, Hope & Fury

Appalling Spawn are the band who later went on to become Lykathea Aflame, so understandably have similarities in sound (though, I'd say this is slightly 'heavier' in some ways, an even perhaps more riff-oriented than Lykathea Aflame). This is the release on the Infernal label, who were a tiny Chilean label if memory serves correctly. Great death metal again, and another title that should be on your want lists if you don't already own it (there was a 2011 discography CD that was released if you struggle finding the first press).

Lykathea Aflame - Elvenefris

The amazing Czechs Lykathea Aflame here, with their only album 'Elvenefris'. I'd love to try to describe these guys in detail, but you'd really need to hear their stuff yourself to full appreciate and understand their style. Death metal, progressive, technical, brutal, melodic, ethnic influences - it has touches of everything you could ask for. An original pressing on Obscene Productions - this was given a re-issue as a double disc edition not so long ago.

Sacramentum - Far Away From The Sun

One of the finest mid-90s black metal albums here, the debut album from Sweden's Sacramentum. This is an original pressing on Adipocere Records, but it did get a re-release in 2006 by a tiny Brazilian label, and it due a re-issue in November 2012 on Century Media. Check it out without a 2nd thought, it will blow you away. Their stuff released after this paled in comparison however, but stick with this and you won't go far wrong.

Afflicted - Prodigal Sun

Sweden's Afflicted here, a death metal band who's earlier material was a lot better than their later stuff (their 2nd album had a lot more in common with power metal, moving further and further away from their roots). This was the bands debut, which featured some good stuff (and some particularly average stuff, in comparison to their stellar demo material under the name Afflicted Convulsion). This is the original first pressing on Nuclear Blast (it was re-issued years later in digipak form by stalwart re-issuers Metal Mind Records of Poland).

Demonic - Lead Us Into Darkness / The Empire Of Agony

Norwegian black metal here, though not from one of their most famous exports. Demonic formed in 1992 too (under the moniker Demonic Manifestation), meaning they were around in plenty of time to make a splash for the 2nd wave explosion. But, alas - they failed to make much of an impact. A shame really, as there's some good stuff to be found in their material, featuring that renowned Scandinavian sparkle in abundance. Both releases here (their 1995 EP, and their only full length from 1997) released on US label Necropolis Records, who went tits up around a decade ago now.

Catasexual Urge Motivation - The Encyclopedia of Serial Murders

Japan's Catasexual Urge Motivation (beautifully shortened to C.U.M by many) are certainly a different band to many you might've come across. Touches of Mortician mixed with the grime and sickness of just about any porno-grind band you'd care to mention, but with a dash of brilliance that sets them apart from the pack. Add in some crazy drum programming and insane guitar work, and there you have the long and short of it. This isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're in the mood for blowing your brains out for an hour and a few seconds - this is an ideal candidate. Oh yeah, the artwork. Just what the fuck is going on there? Also, try reading the tracklisting on the back cover art and say goodbye to your retinas. Original 1st pressing on short-lived German label Deliria Records, which was limited to 500 copies. It was re-issued by Razorback Records years later, but with different artwork.

The Spudmonsters - Stop The Madness

Here's the ridiculously named Spudmonsters. Not just any old Spudmonsters, "The Spudmonsters". Well, if you've come across these guys before you'll know that they pull out some fairly decent cross-over thrash. Not world beating, not mind-blowing, but still pretty tasty. This is their debut album and from what I've heard of their works personally, some of their best work (you can't fault song titles such as '10 Lbs. of Shit in a 5 Lb. Bag' can you?). An original pressing on Massacre Records (it was re-issued with bonus tracks from their Ace of Spades E.P).