record review Why Is This Even Collectible?

Why Is This Even Collectible? Vol. 1

Join Devon as he dares to ask:

Why Is This Even Collectible?

Vol. 1

Nokemono_1

Ever feel your heart race as you grab a super-obscure want list record from the cheapy bin only to be left scratching your head upon first spin wondering what the fuss was about? Ever snag a weird looking slab you never heard of that quickly becomes a favorite record in your collection?

In “Why Is This Even collectible” we’ll look at collectible records of all types, from top-shelf items that are worthy of a lofty price tag to those that completely defy logic. We’ll also look at obscure titles that fly under the radar, but are tough to pry off the turntable once you give ‘em a spin.

My first entry falls into the latter category:

Band:                               野獣 (Nokemono) trans. Wild Beast
Title:                                From the Black World (1979)
Label:                              Sound Marketing System, Inc. (SMS)
Vinyl Variations:            Regular label, White label promo

Line-up:
Cherry – BassNokemono_2
Ace – Vocals
Rolla – Guitars
Bunchan – Guitars
Popeye – Drums

Living in Japan for an extended period of time was a record collectors dream. Stuff like this Nokemono LP would just appear in the bins in top shape for next to nothing. Some epic hauls were had during each of my stints there, though the resurgence of vinyl is finally catching on in Japan, too, with prices starting to climb in response. One saving grace is that Japanese shops tend to be super-strict with their grading, so any blemish can result in a massive discount. This is a big advantage to a US record freak who’s used to being charged top dollar for musty, skated on, seam split, and ring worn garbage.

When I picked this up a few years back, I had no idea what it was other than that it looked too cool to leave in the bins. After getting home I discovered this is LP is a pretty important milestone in Japanese metal. With 44 Magnum and Vow Wow, Nokemono formed the first wave of Japanese bands straddling the line between hard rock and heavy metal, with From the Black World widely considered to be Japan’s first true metal record. Apparently, Nokemono were big in Japan, winning the Nagoya Midlands Grand Prix at Yamaha’s battle of the bands in 1978 and opening for Judas Priest at the Nagoya stop on the Stained Class tour that same year, but they only released this one decent LP.

From the Black World actually reminds me a lot of Sin After Sin (1977) -era Priest but with production that’s closer to Point of Entry (1981). You get plenty of metal staples here…some cow bell, a gong, galloping and whinnying guitars, and an air raid siren screams topped off with a dual lead guitar assault of Rolla/Bunchan that’s half Tipton/Downing half early Smith/Murray. The two standout tracks “Runaway” and “From the Black World” that open each side of the LP are both hard drivers and difficult to extract from your brain after a listen, but as is typical with most metal LPs of the era, there are a couple real clunkers on here (most notably Big Wednesday). All-in-all, while it’s not a game-changing debut, From the Black World definitely deserves a spot in any serious metaller’s collection.

Why is this even collectible?

Japan only pressing for Japanese market, so pretty scarce.

Widely accepted as Japan’s first true metal album, so historically important.

Advantage: Buyer! Not many people will even know what this is when it comes up in the bins or for auction, so prices paid are all over the place. That said, you’ll probably still never see this in a dollar bin in the US.

Price range: Though not perfect copies with an obi have gone for over $200, if you’re willing to be patient you can probably pick up a copy without an obi for under $30.

Tracks:

1. Run Away (03:09)
2. Terrible Night (04:37)
3. Tozasareta Machi (03:59)
4. Ushinawareta Ai (04:48)
5. Big Wednesday (04:45)
6. From The Black World (04:05)
7. Back Street (04:22)
8. Hai Ni Kieta Kako (06:13)
9. Ari Jigoku (04:49)
10. Run Away (Part II) (00:25)

(DC)

 

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