The Damned: The Black Album

Goth-punks’ magnum opus on three discs.

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Well, I don’t know about yours, but my original vinyl is scratched to absolute buggery. Regularly ripped from its sleeve as soundtrack to countless post-pub carouses, its fourth side (recorded before fan club members at Shepperton) crackles and spits with the intensity of a full English breakfast, particularly as it lurches from Love Song to Second Time Around. Unsurprising, when you consider that it still bears various sticky reminders of early 80s Special Brew and Merrydown spillage.

If yours is similarly knackered, you’ll be delighted to learn it can finally be replaced on grey vinyl, with an extra disc of rarities you’ll need to own, whether you play them or not (come on, we’re all adults here, let’s just admit that some of us won’t even crack the shrink wrap let alone encounter side six) and a big old book to stroke, or whatever it is you get up to in the privacy of your own man-cave.

If your copy remains factory fresh then you’ve clearly not been listening to it properly, and if you’ve not got one? Well, you’re more to be pitied than scolded. For while The Black Album carries neither the historical import of their thrice-eponymous debut, nor the career-defining hits of Machine Gun Etiquette (in their studio incarnation), it still stands as The Damned’s psychedelic goth-punk magnum opus.

Sounding for all the world like the best album the late-60s Who never made (with ex-Hot Rods bassist Paul Gray channelling his inner Entwistle), Wait For The Blackout, 13th Floor Vendetta and the side-long Curtain Call are well worth the hefty price of admission alone. Anyway, you’ve read enough already, just go and buy the bastard.


Fantastic plastic… plus

Vanilla Fudge: Spirit Of ’67

Vanilla Fudge’s first album in three decades revisits their old material, and promises to blend “the old school tradition with the production sound of today”. You can hear whether they’ve achieved these lofty aims on limited edition starburst vinyl, although we fear they’ve missed a trick by not making it fudge-coloured.

Replacements: The Twin/Tone Years

Minneapolis’s finest may be gone, but The Mats will live on forever via this numbered, limited edition box set from Rhino’s reissue czars. The payload includes the band’s brilliant first three albums: Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash, Hootenanny and Let It Be, plus the excellent Stink EP.

Teenage Time Killers: Greatest Hits Volume 1

Debut album from ad hoc supergroup featuring Jello Biafra, Corey Taylor, Randy Blythe, Dave Grohl and hundreds more. The limited edition green/yellow/black mixed splatter edition is clearly the one for investors to aim for, but with only 300 copies available, it may already be gone.

Classic Rock 214: Stuff

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 19 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.