The Five Stages of Grief for Heavy Metal Collectors

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Heavy metal, as a singularly fringe interest, relies on both word of mouth and consumer acquisition for its spread and success. Metal fans are perhaps the most loyal base of any genre of music, and therefore seem to be the most likely to obsessively hoard physical copies of beloved albums. I’ve known many a metalhead who has, over the course of his or her lifetime, slowly metamorphosed into an anthropomorphic dragon sitting atop a treasure trove of limited edition releases and box sets, breathing a noxious fire of hot pocket breath to repel intruders into their dank layers. Even the most miserly among us cannot resist the allure of unique, gimmicky releases, nor can we refuse to put down our sides when there’s an online purchasing battle to be won. Sometimes, though, these battles can end in defeat. How do you cope with the tragedy of being unable to find that rare issue of a long disbanded obscure French death metal band? If you’re anything like me, these five stages of grief should hold no surprises for you.

Last Saturday, our pal Lacertilian tagged me in a post in the Facebook group that he described as a hauntingly melodic fusion of second wave black metal atmosphere and crushing old school death metal riffs. The band in question: France’s Lovecraft-obsessed Catacomb. After pressing play on the video below, a YouTube rip of 1993’s In the Maze of Kadath, I was immediately taken with the stark, ethereal piano intro that acts as the prelude to the otherworldly, draconian death metal and the clammy, foggy tone. This EP, one of only two official releases from the band, is the perfect blend of alien brutality and clever hooks to make this one of the more unique releases in the OSDM grimoire.

After just a bit of listening, I knew that I needed to purchase this album. Unfortunately, though, this EP is no longer pressed, and the 1000 limited copies are extremely difficult to track down. In my search to acquire this rare and most excellent pressing, I came to know a deep distress that each of you has surely felt in your desire to claim some special piece of music.

Denial

 

“Surely I can find this album on Discogs or through a distro like Dark Descent. No way one of those limited 1000 copies isn’t floating around somewhere. I just have to find the right combination of keystrokes. Let’s see. Bandcamp? No. Amazon? No. Dark Descent? No. Discogs? Wait, now we have something. Surely they aren’t just selling cassettes.”

Anger

 

“Are you freaking kidding me? Only cassettes! This is the dumbest thing? Who the hell still buys cassettes. I blame all the crusties and the meme crowd for making an outdated, obsolete piece of media somehow stupidly relevant again. It’s their fault I can’t find this album in a format a vehicle made after 1991 can play. Who still drives vehicles with cassette players anyway? These people are stupid. Everything is stupid. Just sell me this album on a got dang CD or record!”

Bargaining

bargain

 

“Look, I need to have a copy of this. Maybe I can convince Dark Symphonies to reissue. I’ll gladly trade my soul for a rare limited edition vinyl record. SHOOT! I sold my soul last month for a donut. MMMM forbidden donut. Could I sell someone else’s soul for it? I don’t think the lizard is using his. I wonder what the exchange rate for Aussie souls is. They have to be devalued slightly. Uggggh. Maybe I’ll just have to hock this slime-covered Morbid Angel album. At least it isn’t the good Morbid Angel record.”

Depression

“I am never going to own this. I might as well just forget I ever heard it and go post nihilist memes on Facebook. Life is meaningless if I can’t buy overpriced physical media that’s just going to sit on my shelf, collecting dust and slowly driving a wedge between me and my partner, building resentment between us until one day I come home from work to find all of those expensive records I sold Australian souls for thrown out the window next to my replica Aliens flamethrower and badass katana collection. I embrace the void.”

Acceptance

“I am just glad someone ripped this to YouTube. Though I may never be able to actually hold this rare, obscure, and not particularly significant piece of death metal history, I can take solace in the fact that someone with looser morals than I ripped the album to the internet that I might enjoy it. I may never be able to fill this oddly consumerist hole in my heart, but at least I can put this YouTube rip on repeat while I crucify that mf like button on Facebook, pretending I’m working but instead dreaming of all the other albums I want to purchase to somehow validate my own artistic taste and thereby find stature in a niche, inconsequential scene.”

______________

Good news, though. This particular story did not in fact end in tragedy. I was able to locate a new limited pressing of this EP plus The Lurker at the Threshold EP direct from the label for the very reasonable price of $12 plus shipping and handling. My life may continue, nihilist-memeless, and my Australian friend may keep his soul.

Have you ever faced the inescapable grief of an incomplete collection? What rare but actually worthless piece of metal merch are you trying to track down? Let us know in the comments below.

(Photos VIA)

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  • I drive a vehicle with only a cassette player. And yes, I use it and still buy cassettes. Lol.

    • Waynecro

      I use one of those tape-adapter thingies to play my Zune through my car’s tape player.

      • Abradolf Lincler

        i just listen to crazy talk radio all day, for the most part

      • I bluetooth low quality sounds through my car all day.

        • Waynecro

          My first car didn’t have a working stereo, so I hooked up a portable CD player to a couple of computer speakers. I kept the system in a box on the passenger seat.

          • sweetooth0

            My first car didn’t have one either, so we hooked up a discman and lined my glove compartment with carpet underlay. That and the “30 second anti-skip” helped keep it mostly OK listening wise.

          • Pure American creativity.

          • sweetooth0

            Canadian creativity in this case!

          • That is fucking badass – if I could, I’d shake your hand.

          • Waynecro

            *virtual high five*

          • *High Five Noise*

    • Leif Bearikson

      I need to get the rest of these Black Cilice records.

    • bottom right looks like Nathan from South Park

      • Pierre Generic

        MIMSY!

    • Heliocrat

      Fuck I’ve been meaning to check out Black Cilice (specially since they’re from my Country, not that know for its metal apart from shitty Moonspell) and I’m glad I did. This shit is POWERFUL!

  • Leif Bearikson

    I’ve never related to an article so hard

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I’ve faced grief over being unable to find something. I have been looking for the entire Rare Earth discography but the only album they released that is in print is Ma. Nothing after that album has been released on CD or reissued on CD in sone cases. The albums before it are really expensive as well.

  • RJA

    W. Believe it or not I may have an extra of this Catacomb record – I will check when I get home. One of my orders from dark descent was sent twice and they told me to keep them. I just can’t remember which 6 cd’s it was – I will let you know

    • RJA

      I’m an idiot – I just read the final paragraph!

      • Scrimm

        Foiled!

  • Lacertilian

    Shame the delivery was a bit steep for me to indulge as well. Love this EP.
    Still think a label would be wise to gather a bunch of these out of print albums and upload them to a bandcamp page. The cost would be minimal relative to the cost of repressing physical media.
    I would buy so many of them, surely I’m not alone.

  • Super Nintendo Chalmers

    I bitch on Facebook/Disqus for two minutes and then realize I have like a hundred other albums I still need to listen to.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Also Samson needs to put their stuff with Nicky Moore back in print. It’s too expensive.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    you mean like most of the good OGDM from 89-92?

  • I have that Body County CD with the banned “Cop Killer” song on it. Is that worth major coin now or is it cut out bin material?

  • Scrimm

    I still need to listen to more than a minute of this Catacomb

    • Leif Bearikson

      The final song on this EP is some really amazing stuff.

      • Scrimm

        I’ll get on it

  • Warheart

    I don’t obsess over super obscure and rare releases since I know most of them will end sounding generic or boring when I finally listen to them.

    Maybe the only rare thing I’ll look for some day it’s “Ecologia” an album from the Mexican heavy metal band Armagedon, I actually had it but my brother lost it (DAMN IT !!!!). I have some weird cassettes from bands no one knows that maybe their only value it’s as a collector item, because, let’s be honest, most of them are mediocre shit.

  • Not going to lie, as a self-recognized poser, most of the media I purchase is readily available. The hardest thing to get was Fin’s The Furrow of Tradition, which was peasy.

    GL

  • Best place to buy heavy metal cassettes folks. Enjoy.

    http://caligarirecords.storenvy.com/

  • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

    Sadly, I don’t have much in the way of heavy metal collectables. Most of my collectables are old school, long out of print electro and industrial CDs from back in the day (Gridlock, Forma Tadre, Individual Totem, Seven Trees, etc.).

  • Leif Bearikson

    This is one I wish I could own, but that seemingly no longer exists.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5RfAo8PXQc

  • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

    Or you can look at the price tag on this collectable and jump straight to grief.

    http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/381437642505-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

    • Just picked up the repress of this on vinyl. Also, Effigy of the Forgotten & Breeding the Spawn.

      • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

        How much did that set you back? Last I checked, the vinyl went for $100 and up.

        • Dude, they are represses. So not that much. I think they were like 20 bucks a pop.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Oh! Not too familiar with represses or their prices, really. The stuff I listen to that’s out of print is most likely never going to be pressed again.

    • Sy-Klone

      Lots of copies on Amazon for between $30-$40.

      • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

        Still out of my range, lol. I have Floyd Mayweather tastes and a hobo’s budget.

        • more beer

          So maybe you should learn how to Box.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo
          • more beer

            It’s called the sweet science for a reason you know.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            You box, I’m guessing?

          • more beer

            Fuck no. But I have had my fair share of drunken brawls. But I do like the sport.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Lol, close enough! I have 3 years of Judo, which practically useless in a street fight, and 6 months of half assed karate lessons. I probably learned more about fighting from military school than I ever did from actual lessons. Thankfully I haven’t been in an actual fight since 1996, unless you count me throwing a desk at someone in high school (1998).

          • more beer

            All of my fight knowledge comes fro the school of hard knocks. The last 2 fights I had were with the same drunken asshole. He was extremely belligerent both times. The first time at a NIN show he slapped me a couple of times and I let it go. I was with my girlfriend and I didn’t want to ruin her night. He was my girls friend. But then he he hit my girl. That was it I beat the fuck out of him. The cops wanted to arrest him for hitting her. There were a lot of witnesses so they didn’t bother me. The next time he was bothering my friend. Who was another female. So I asked him to leave. Well he started chest bumping me. This time I didn’t give him a chance to smack me . I just punched hi in the face repeatedly until he was laid out. You would have thought after the first time that would have been enough for him. But no it wasn’t. After I beat his ass that time. He was screaming look what you did to my face at me over and over. He overstepped his bounds both times and got what he deserved.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            (1). Good that you stood up for your girl. My ex-fiance got pushed a few times by the guy that was hosting my best friend’s party. I grabbed him by his shirt, slammed him against the wall and told him “fuck with me, but don’t fuck with her”. Lol, that was our first date. Even my best friend, who is even more passive than me, was about to beat his ass for that. I’m definitely not a jealous tough guy who’s going to start shit with someone because they looked at my gal funny, but I will stick up for them or any friend if called for.
            (2). Chest bumping is so late 90’s. I had a wannabe gangbanger neighbor back in 1996 (when I first moved to Hampton) who did that, and I decked him in front of all his friends. Lol, his friends told me at school I was lucky that they didn’t beat my ass, and I simply told them “anytime you’re ready”. Again, not a tough guy, but I was fresh out of military school and out of Cincinnati, so a lot of aggression in those days and learning to stick up for myself. Lol, not quite that way nowadays!

          • more beer

            I don’t go looking for trouble. But when people do really shitty things to myself or anyone I love. They may end up with a problem on their hands. Lay hands on any of my people especially the females, expect the same in return. You can’t let people walk all over you. Once they think they can it will never stop.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Lol, that was the first thing I was told in military school (that last part). Sadly, I’ve let people walk all over me through the years, especially when I went through what I call The Dark Ages (aka, drinking a fifth a day for 3 years), but that’s no longer a thing. My trust is earned, and this song sums it up perfectly. Probably not your thing, but listen to the lyrics.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFjcbGnK81U

          • more beer

            Come on man, you can’t make me listen to shit like this without offering me mind altering drugs.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Lol!

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            (3). I’d rather be punched than slapped. Slapping someone is practically calling them a man-bitch in the worst way. It’s definitely not recommended in South Side Chicago.

          • more beer

            Me too. The only reason I let it slide that night was for my lady. I had actually just planned on catching him alone somewhere and kicking his ass. But once he hit my girl. The only option left was to pummel him.

        • Sy-Klone

          I feel ya…and I failed to mention that if you want one in pristine condition, it can be yours for the low low price of $200-$300.

  • JWEG

    In my physical collection one album each by Cryptopsy, Gorguts, Minsk and Evoken and two by Thyrfing have been impossible to find (barring inordinadely expensive unreliable Amazon Marketplace sellers) for as long as I’ve been looking. And not on Bandcamp either.

    I have long since moved to acceptance and settled for supporting iTunes as the last resort.

    I grieve a bit each time I go to play one of them and remember that it’s not sitting next to the rest of its ‘family’. But it is what it is, I can’t make it vanish now even if I did find a physical copy (iTunes allowing at most out-of-sight archiving, which isn’t out-of-mind deletion to an obsessive format collector).

  • None of this would happen in you all live in Venezuela.

    Srs.

    No records, no videogames, no books, no movies, no fun.

    Srs.

    Just be happy that someone “with looser morals than I ripped the album to the internet that I might enjoy it”, jajajaja.

    I lol’d a lot during this, Dubs. MMMM, la rosca prohibida… MMMMM, sacrilegioooso.

    • tigeraid

      In other words: first world problems.

      • Not at all. There’s people from every country that is having a rough time or need to save their incomings. I laughed a lot during the article!

    • tertius_decimus

      Again, who’ll understand you better if not fellow inhabitant of third world country? However, methinks, we’re in better position than you in Venezuela. Though, you wouldn’t notice at first glance if ever you’ll come here: there are very few metalheads on the streets who looks like a metalhead to be seen, but that’s deluded. Most of them are hiding behind casual clothing and normal look. You wouldn’t believe the sheer amount of metal listeners in Ukraine. It’s one of the most metal countries in the world, no kidding. So, this being said, we have, at least had a luxury of owning what we want. I remember the time when I could enter the music store and order whatever album that could be born in the whole Universe. No forms to fill, no names to be named, no personal data to be shared that’s being placed on a black market next day you left the shop. And they could bring that! I’ve ordered many albums that way when the Internet was slow and expensive. How it’s now I don’t know, because I’m anti-social hikki-nerd and have no money to spend on records anymore. And no room left to store CDs.

      • I was trying to be tongue-in-cheek with my joke, to be honest. Not trying to diss or compare situations.

        But, hey, at least we got the internetz in which we can listen those sounds and share our opinions and arguments about it, right? 🙂

        • tertius_decimus

          Ah, didn’t get the irony behind the words, sorry. Internet is a great invention, bar none.

          • Indeed, my friend. It’s my gateway to encounter new melodies like all of us 😀

    • Pagliacci is Kvlt
  • Pentagram Sam

    In quest for demos of fav bands.

    Of course an original Soundhouse Tapes would be nice to have.

    Mainly looking for Lucifer’s Heritage demos, The Legacy tapes, No Life Til Leather (will buy on cd if it gets released and def be cool with that), Tricky Means / Beans, Edguy’s demo tapes.

    As far as “collectables” the only real pains in the asses are Steel Prophets Continuum EP that I got into a huge bidding war on ebay with and an original version of Edguy’s Savage Poetry.

    I coulda got the 2000 reissue that had the original recordings as a bonus disc, but nay! NAY! Had to splurge my overtime money on the orig. Plus it was cool to get it signed and have the band members freak out. I remember Dirk signed it first and was like, “Have the other guys seen this? Have you shown Tobi?”

  • JWEG

    Tangentially related note: there’s a nearly-local doom metal band with only two EPs to their name. Both are on bandcamp.

    One is NYOP. The other, intentionally, is for-superfan-and-rich-collectors only: $666.

  • sweetooth0

    I just never give up. Eventually someone will end up selling a copy somewhere. You just gotta keep checking and checking and checking. It took me years to collect all of Lymphatic Phlegm’s stuff which was basically all long out of print by the time I actually wanted to buy it all. So I just checked ebay, discogs and GEMM every day until I could track them all down.

  • Coincidentally I’m having this problem with Black Cilice’s Mysteries.

  • Fucking cassettes man. I just don’t get it. I get vinyl and why it’s popular, but cassettes man, what the fuck.

    • I don’t know man, I have two or three around and it is fun. Fast forwarding/etc is a super pain, so you just end up listening from start to finish. Which, is a lost art. Which is why I think it is fun.

      • more beer

        I still like to listen to things start to finish.

        • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

          Kinda rare that I do that. Because ADD and stuff. :-p

      • Yea that’s true I rarely listen from start to finish these days. I mostly just shuffle everything unless it’s a band I really like like ARCHSPIRE. ARCHSPIRE ANNOUCNED A NEW ALBUM BTW OMG OMG OMG

      • Leif Bearikson

        Full album experience or bust, imo.

        I’ll very rarely jump around to different songs if I need a specific fix, tho

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          I’m very anal about listening to albums from go to whoa. To the point where each track has to have the same amount of plays in my iTunes library and people getting in my car not being allowed to listen to anything else until the album has finished

    • tertius_decimus
      • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo
        • tertius_decimus

          Wholeheartedly agree. However that video is interesting. I remember cassettes as anyone else: crappy sound quality, hassle with playback but never thought they can be of that fine quality.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            I remember them constantly tearing. I went through several tapes of Iron Maiden and Lush back in the day, but I still have CDs from 21 years ago that still play.

          • tertius_decimus

            At least 1/4 of my CDs were unreadable after few years of storage.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            this is why i hate cds. even when i try to be careful with them they scratch and become unplayable. fickle little things.

          • tertius_decimus

            Yep.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Still got my very first CD from 1995 (Lush ‘Split’) and it plays just fine. A good deal of my CDs though are scratched and chipped, sadly.

          • tertius_decimus
          • Abradolf Lincler

            Wax is more durable but you still need to be careful with them

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Lol, hardly! I went digital a few years ago, so no worries about scratching. My CDs are pretty much collecting dust nowadays.

          • Max

            What, as in commercial, pressed ones (not CD-Rs)? That’s odd.

      • Hans Müller

        Oh, he’s not talking about that kind of Metal Tape. Eh, still interesting.

    • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

      Last cassette I ever got was Nocturnal Emissions’ first one back in 2000, mostly because I couldn’t find it on CD. I switched from cassette to CD way back in 1995, and pretty much tossed all my cassettes outside of mix tapes from friends.

      • tertius_decimus

        The last cassette I’ve listened to was local black metal Mysterion Noctum. IIRC, that was in 2006.

  • Megan Alexandra

    A very bad thing I did once (albeit in times that were both more flush and child-free) was succumbing to the bargaining urge and purchasing a thing which I routinely convince myself I could at least sell if I was in a jam:
    https://youtu.be/EgxxC7DCR2w

  • Hans Müller

    Don’t really care for physical copies these days. They’ve become more of a last resort when something isn’t available digitally. The threshold of how good something has to be for me to get the vinyl/disc seems to get higher, and if it’s unavailable, I probably won’t lose sleep over it.

    That said, I did want to get The Unnatural World but was deterred by ridiculous shipping cost. That was a rare one that irked me.

    Edit: I remember getting some free albums along with stuff I has ordered, which pleased me immensely, so I guess they do still mean something. It’s just not something I hunt for.

  • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

    Digging through my collection, I found my original copy of this from way back when. More than sure there’s not very many copies out there. Not quite sure if I still have the note that came with it (which was along the lines of “Enjoy it, you fucking asshole”).

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjG-L3DmPHNAhVF4D4KHRLeCH8QtwIIHDAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dv5QvkkrJXdA&usg=AFQjCNHMdKgskRNvjuwW4iRFq_pzWUMOUQ&sig2=R0NK8tEVCc85Fa9kzsBF2w&bvm=bv.126993452,d.cWw

  • Would love to get my hands on this Cardinal Sin release. Never gonna happen though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WSwdnl3ptU

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    This is why fucking love this place! I get hooked on obscure older/newer releases I would have never heard elsewhere!

    My grim, frostbitten heart is a little less grim and frostbitten today. Thanks Toilet!

  • Count_Breznak
    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      I have this CD. It’s the only physical Nomeansno album that I do own

  • Ryan Levitation

    I have probably thousands of CDs, having been collecting since the 90s. I had a copy of a rare Edge of Sanity EP, Until Etrnity Ends. One day Abby the basset hound decided to take a chunk out of that disk. I was upset it was no longer in perfect condition, but at least it still played, as she only bit the outer edge where the music didn’t reach to. I don’t know how long, months, maybe years later, but one day Abby found that same CD out of all the thousands in my collection and decided to finish the job. She was a thick woman. I’m gonna stream that EP in her honor.

    • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

      Welcome to the Toilet!

      http://i.imgur.com/na2mhNx.gif

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        My 4 year old saw this GIF and now he wants to watch what it’s actually from. Can you help a brother out?

  • Kyle Reese

    All digital all the time, baby. I’ll even buy a physical copy of the CD to send to a friend if I can download an Mp3 album. I am also not listening to much obscure stuff.

  • Stockhausen

    I enjoyed this sensual journey into your mind. Mmmm, Dubz mind.

  • dan

    Someone should figure out how to 3d print vinyl, even if you can’t get a limited edition version, you’d still have a nice physical copy.