It’s Christmas! Well, okay, it’s not, but it will be soon! So you need to be prepared. If you’re reading this we’re guessing you’re a) a heavy metal fan or b) know a heavy metal fan and are stuck for ideas on gifts. Well, allow us to help. We’ve collected some of the best metal box sets from the past 12-months and listed them below for you to scroll through and get mad with jealousy that you don’t actually own them. From Sabbath to Sólstafir, Hammerfall to Metallica, there’s some incredible limited edition goodies here to stick under the tree this Christmas.
You could also treat yourself to a Metal Hammer magazine subscription for next year, there’s 40% for a limited time only! Just sayin’.
Metallica – Master Of Puppets remastered vinyl box set
Metallica’s Master Of Puppets might now be embedded in your DNA, but its rush-inducing power remains undimmed. Three decades after its release, Master… has lost none of its resonance, and now it’s been remastered and reissued in numerous editions depending on your wallet size, but lording it over all is this extensive box set. As well as both the album itself and an unreleased two-disc live album from Chicago, straight from the soundboard – on 180g vinyl, you’ll find 10 CDs worth of the album itself outtakes, demos and a host of also-unreleased and soundboard-sourced live shows.
Inside you’ll also find a cassette featuring a fan-recorded show from Sweden in 1988 and two extras-packing live DVDs. There are other goodies, too – a hardback book full of never-seen-before band pics, a folder containing handwritten lyrics, a Damage Inc lithograph, and six pin badges looking for a beaten-up leather jacket lapel to call home.
Black Sabbath – The Ten Year War vinyl box set
You might think that you don’t need another Black Sabbath box set in your life BUT YOU WOULD BE DEAD WRONG. You can never have enough Sabbath in your life and this is probably the best box set that the Godfathers of all thing heavy have produced. Not only does it include the first eight albums on super-snazzy splatter vinyl (so that’s the self-titled, Paranoid, Vol.4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath etc) but the records have been remastered from the original tapes and sound massive.
But that’s not all! It comes with two rare 7” singles, a reproduction of the extremely rare The Ten Year War brochure, a hardback photo book from the band’s early tours and recording sessions, a reprinted 1978 world tour programme and a reprint of the 1972 Seattle Centre Arena show. And then there’s the piece de resistance, the real reason that this is probably the greatest Sabbath package of all time, it comes with a crucifix USB stick – also known as a Crucistick! D’ya get it? And what’s on that stick, we hear you cry. Well it’s loaded with the first eight Black Sabbath albums in MQA high quality audio – you literally can’t hear Black Sabbath better than this unless you go and stand next to Tony Iommi and bark requests at him (although this is more likely to result in a restraining order).
Hammerfall – The Vinyl Collection
In the 20 years since the release of Glory To The Brave, Hammerfall have reached the heights of power metal, both in terms of their cheese-rich anthemic style and in enduring popularity. Fans of the subgenre are as dedicated as thy come, and they’re about to be rewarded with a gorgeous, 12-disc vinyl box set, collecting every studio album from Glory… through to 2014’s ®Evolution, as well as, for the first time on wax, the double live album, Gates Of Dalhalla. House in an embossed slipcase, complete with a 64-page booklet, and available in both clear and silver vinyl versions, its elegantly restrained aesthetic masks a cornucopia of fist-raising delights within.
Sólstafir – Berdreyminn wood box
Sólstafir’s sixth album, Berdreyminn, was released in May and saw the Icelanders marking out vast new territory. And here, fellow explorers will discover a spellbinding album in both green marbled vinyl and CD form, the latter in an embossed leather pouch, along with a live CD and art book. You’ll also find an exclusive seven-inch, a signed and numbered print and, to guide you back from the emotional hinterlands, a compass. Housed in an embossed wooden box and limited to 500 copies, it’s a roadmap to bliss.
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Saxon – The Solid Book Of Rock
Barnsley’s NWOBHM institution aren’t exactly strangers to the reissue treatment, having released the bulk of their back catalogue over various box sets three years ago. None of these, however, can touch this collection in terms of aesthetics, extras and completist-pleasing thoroughness. House in a glorious-looking tome, these 14 discs cover every studio album, with bonus tracks and CDs and DVDs, where you’ll find live recordings, documentaries and the Spanish short movie, Perceval, featuring Biff Byford as King Arthur. Also included is a lavish, vinyl-shaped booklet teeming with lyrics, credits, band photos and all-new artwork from Paul R Gregory. More than enough to put any Saxon fan on Cloud Nine.
Blind Guardian – Live Beyond The Spheres box set
Germany has long been seen as the hub of power metal, and for three decades Krefeld’s Blind Guardian have been its standard bearers, their 10, Tolkien-obsessed studio opuses building a thorooughly detailed world for their fans to lose themselves in. You can hear a huge swathe of them baying their support here, recorded across 30 shows in Europe and featuring 21 fantasy-enhanced epics. This gorgeous-looking box set features all the tracks etched onto four black vinyl.
Serious Black – Magic limited edition box set
Power metal bands seldom do things by halves, and Serious Black are no exception. Their new album, Magic, is an expansive concept piece surrounding immortality and, just to ensure the bombastic songs are represented with fitting theatricality, it will be released as a lavish box set, limited to 500 copies. Alongside a special two-disc version that includes a full live album, the Magic box also offers an exclusive acoustic CD, plus a spirit-baiting ‘witchboard’ and accompanying planchette (a wooden device commonly used by occult practictioners for automatic writing), 22 tarot cards and a ‘listener’s companion’ explaining the saga. The sumptuous caboodle is capped off with a certificate of authenticity, so when you accidentally conjure Satan, he will at least know you’re not just taking the piss.
Bruce Dickinson – Soloworks: 1990-2005 box set
It’s been a busy year for Bruce. Iron Maiden wrapped up their mammoth Book Of Souls tour, he’s released his autobiography What Does This Button Do?, and has reissued his six solo albums in one vinyl box set. Spanning his 15 year solo career, the set includes Tattooed Millionaire, Balls To Picasso, Skunkworks, Accident Of Birth, The Chemical Wedding and Tyranny Of Souls. In fact, this is the first time The Chemical Wedding and Tyranny Of Souls have ever been release on vinyl, but now all of Bruce’s one-man efforts are available on 180g black vinyl with snazzy artworked sleeves.
30 Years Of Nuclear Blast vinyl box set
This year, the heavy metal titan that is Nuclear Blast celebrated its 30th birthday. That’s three whole decades they have been delivering the biggest, baddest and boldest metal to the world. From Nightwish to Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth to Slayer, Epica to Fear Factory, this seven-vinyl box set showcases a metric fuck-ton of all things heavy in signature slime green. What could be more metal than that?
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