Your Record Store Day 2015 Buyer's Guide

As you probably know, tomorrow (18th April) is Record Store Day and there are a buttload of limited-edition releases on the way from bands big and small around the world. Here we’ve collected ten of the best from the world of heavy that we’re going to queue overnight for.

Metallica – No Life Till Leather cassette

Thanks to Record Store Day, Metallica’s first official remastered reissue of their thrillingly raw 1982 demo is once again available on tape, in an authentically labelled C60 inlay. It’s hard to imagine this gang of scruffy teenage headbangers becoming one of the biggest bands in the world; Hetfield sounds like shy child shrieking with nervous energy, Lars is still getting to grips with his sticks and even Mustaine’s solos are fairly restrained. But the vibe (and the ribbon) crackles with desperate intensity, and songs like Seek And Destroy, The Mechanix and Metal Militia remain some of heavy metal’s all-time finest.

Slayer – When The Stillness Comes 7” picture disc

Released on the ScionAV label – the “lifestyle marketing” division of Toyota’s Scion brand, which recently unveiled an actual Slayer sports car – this poetically-titled ditty will be the second song released from the long-awaited eleventh Slayer album. This time last year they dropped Implode for free on the internet, but When The Stillness Comes (in a limited edition of 5000 worldwide) gets its own lovely dark close-up blood-spattered skull picture disc and a live B-side of ripping occult debut classic Black Magic from Wacken 2014 (shame it’s not from 1982, but you can’t have everything).

Clutch – From Beale Street To Oblivion 2LP

It’s a surprise that arguably the best rock album of the 21st century is only now getting a vinyl release, but it’s worth the wait; the twinkly entrance to the mysterious underground club on the sleeve of Clutch’s all-killer-no-filler 2007 classic has never looked so inviting as it does on a twelve-inch gatefold, housing this deep purple coloured remastered double-vinyl set. Bonus tracks come from contemporary BBC Maida Vale sessions and live material from Clutch’s first tour of Australia.

At The Gates – Gardens Of Grief 12”

With the Swedish legends’ enjoying a new lease of life after a near 20-year gap between releases, this vinyl reissue of their 1991 demo is a timely reminder of the band in their earliest, gnarliest form. Sweden’s death metal underground in 1991 was bursting with talent, hundreds of sullen kids were marauding through Stockholm’s Sunlight Studio making metal of devastatingly cold, cryptic savagery. Yet still the tightly coiled dynamics and belligerent adrenaline of this demo launched ATG to the top of the field; the tape landed with such impact it was reissued on vinyl a few months later.

GWAR – America Must Be Destroyed 2LP

The 45RPM double-vinyl reissue of the Antarctica-based shock rock troupe from space’s momentous third album – a 1994 concept platter about the quest to find Oderus Urungus’ stolen penile appendage, the Cuttlefish Of Cthulhu (quite literally based on a true story) – is reason enough for celebration. Then you notice the fact that the RSD special edition comes with “Pop-Up Album Art” of the band’s tyrannical t-rex mascot Gor-Gor, and immediately every home should have one. With GWAR currently dealing with the death of the frontman behind the Urungus costume Dave Brockie – and a lawsuit from his father – this reissue is a happy reminder of the Scumdogs Of The Universe at the peak of their powers.

Ministry – Trax! Box 7CD + LP

The Chicago industrial institution’s exhaustive leather-bound Trax! Box is more accurately a career retrospective of the various Al Jourgensen projects released on the Wax Trax! label from 1981-91, including Ministry but also incorporating such experimental alternative dance-floor favourites as Revolting Cocks, 1000 Homo DJs, Acid Horse, PTP and Pailhead – Al’s hypnotic collaboration with Fugazi’s Ian McKaye. With a wealth of previously unreleased live tracks, demos, remixes, a six-track bonus vinyl live album (recorded in Chicago in 1982) plus a 64-page full-colour book, Trax! Box is a beautifully-packaged embarrassment of riches (which at £150 is what you’ll need to afford it).

Mastodon – Atlanta 12” picture disc

There are shades of fellow RSD must-haves Slayer and Ministry on this uproarious collaboration between the Georgian prog metal monsters and Butthole Surfers vocalist Gibby Haynes, made available for free online as part of the Adult Swim Singles series last year but now receiving its hard-copy debut as a colourful twelve inch picture disc. Apparently paying tribute to the band’s hometown, Atlanta is a wacky thrashing blast suffused with strange frequencies and Haynes’ wild, diverse vocal stylings, although rather boringly, the B-side is an instrumental version of the A-side, even though this song would be really hard to do as karaoke.

The Prodigy – Ibiza 7”

A collaboration with hip Lincolnshire scallywags Sleaford Mods – taken from the Essex breakbeat veterans’ latest album The Day Is My Enemy – Ibiza archly radiates contempt towards the titular dance resort. Liam Howlett told The Guardian “I’m not a great fan of the place, but it isn’t an attack on the island, it’s an attack on these mindless fucking jokers that arrive in their Learjets, pull a USB stick out of their pockets, plug it in and wave their hands in the air to a pre-programmed mix.” The RSD edition is limited to 1200, and is pressed onto glow in the dark vinyl.

Poison Idea – Just To Get Away 7”

A reissue of the pulverising 1989 single by Portland, Oregon’s sainted hardcore lynchpins, and it’s lost none of its white-knuckle excitement and intensity in the intervening 26 years. Just To Get Away – perhaps the band’s finest song – remains a vital blast of infectious outsider punk metal, backed with a frantic take on the MC5’s perennially incendiary 1969 proto-punk anthem Kick Out The Jams. You’re sure to be flipping over this joyous nugget of bruising belligerence and dropping the needle on it every two-and-a-half minutes.

Swans – Swans 12” EP

The first ever release by New York’s experimentalist art-house godheads – pre-dating the bleak, grinding boiler-room extremity of their full-length 1983 debut Filth by a year – this embryonic eponymous EP is pure guttersnipe no-wave. Michael Gira’s bloody-minded power-trio-plus-a-saxophonist tensely bash together quirky, angular rhythms and American twists on English post-punk ideas by the likes of Joy Division or The Pop Group, this short-lived inaugural line-up finding their feet (even while tripping over them to some extent).

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.