Keith H. (Direnotes)

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This time around we feature the collection of our friend Keith H., the man behind the Canadian-American metal, punk and rock review site, Direnotes.

The first record I ever bought with my own money was…

Believe it or not, it was Celtic Frost’s Into the Pandemonium. I was searching down anything I could find by them in Niagara Falls, I already had Monotheist but it was only on CD. I picked this up, still sealed after all this time, and had no idea whatsoever that record players were even still being built at that point. It was pretty much a gateway drug for me, as I fell in love with the vinyl aesthetic almost instantly. Of course, it also helped that the record was from one of my all-time favorite bands/artists.

The record that made me want to make music was…

Without a doubt, Misfits Static Age – a album that I’ve had many debates over. Seems a lot of people couldn’t really accept that this thing exists, but I honestly felt it was something special. The way everything sounds so drudgy and almost sludge-like, I almost fail to see it as punk -more like Noise rock. It always found it funny how simple the songs were and how Danzig got a point across. It was what inspired me to pick up a guitar and attempt, futily, to make some music. While I wouldn’t call myself a musician at the moment, I’m hoping to get there eventually.

The record I’ve played more than any other is…

I would have to say, without a doubt, Devin Townsend’s Ki. It was both my first colored and double LP. The thing blew me away, I’d never heard a record that could ride between clean and dirty so closely. A lot of people are a fan of this album, for obvious reasons, but I also hold it in high regard as one of the albums that was able to help me through my grief. It also helped that Devin Townsend himself used to be a lot less busy, so if I shot him a question about something on a album – he usually responded. That made me feel a whole lot more connected with the music I listened to. Sadly, I wish I’d bought a second copy as my record player at the time was a Jensen and wore the beginning tracks down a bit on each side.

The record that always makes me feel good is…

I have so many records for this, it isn’t even funny. However, my favorite record is the strange double-sided copy of The Final Countdown by Europe that I managed to snag. It’s a promo copy meant for CBS, weirdly. And, it’s just two sides of The Final Countdown. You can’t go wrong with that.

The record I turn to when I’m feeling down is…

The short lived Devin Townsend Band’s Synchestra, as the album was made with the sole intention of being somewhat positive. It’s an attempt, it’s really odd, and fresh off of Strapping Young Lad’s Alien (in my opinion, SYL’s best album). At the time, Devin Townsend still hadn’t discovered that he had bipolar disorder, so he had a sideways way of expressing things. This album goes from banjos to thoughts on jesus to being upset about people asking about others having kids to polka to sexual frustration to the belief that Africa is some awesome place, or something. I would have to say it’s a very human album, and I love it for that. It makes me think, that is for sure.

The record with my favorite cover art is…

Without a doubt, it’s Triptykon’s Melana Chasmata. I’ve always been a huge Giger fan and Tom Warrior is known for putting a lot of effort into the art and sleeves on releases and whatnot. The thing was packed with several posters and a massive booklet with the meaning and origin of each song, for crying out loud! Anyhow, I was always looking to see more work with Celtic Frost like what happened with To Mega Therion but it never happened, until Triptykon came to be. When Giger died, this was pretty much the last major bit of art he had released. So, besides the music, I had to have it.

The strangest LP I own is…

I have quite a few strange LP’s in all honesty, I scounge all sorts of sales and local shops to see what I can find. And, since I live on the border of two neighboring countries I find a lot of cool little vinyl oddities floating around. For a long time, I had a obsession with collecting the LP’s and 7” singles of bands that were pretty much extinct. Needless to say, I’ve got more then a few cardboard sleeved albums from random dead metalcore bands because of this. I’ve got little 7” singles put together with construction paper, more etched albums then I can ever hope to have, records of almost every color and density, and a few

The rarest LP I own is…

I have a lot of “rare” LPs, I’m not really sure the real worth of any of them. I mean, I have albums that only had 20 copies, hand marked copies, and test pressings. I have some where the bands fizzled out before anyone cared, some of bands that weren’t big at the time and are who are now huge. I have Cryptopsy’s self-titled album signed by Flo Mounier and Matt McGachy. Albums I got while spending time with Liv Kristin (Leaves Eyes) and her ex-husband on tour.

Would I put a price on any of it? No. I wouldn’t sell it either.

The last LP I bought was…

Oddly, Christian Death’s Atrocities. I have a soft-spot for old synthwave and goth albums from back in the day. I always found it sort’ve fascinating how the definitions and staples of the lifestyle have changed so heavily over time – specifically the music.

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Be sure to visit Keiths metal, punk and rock review site, Direnotes, by using the links below.

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