B U Y I N G . M E T A L

Note: Rating are the opinion of the staff writers and are from 1-10 with ten being the pinnacle of greatness and one being pure shit. If you have some beef with your rating, please contact us and we will discuss. (Updated: 03.23.2010)


10 RATINGS


Sentinel Steel
Cheers - Dennis runs Sentinel Steel with a passion for hard rock and heavy metal. This store is the premier online marketplace for power metal, with one of the largest catalogues I have seen yet. This is a perfect place for obscure power and classic metal, as well as a great place for new releases. If you are in the market for an out of print cd, or possibly a good used one, Sentinel Steel has it! Just check out their "deep" used bins and clearance sales. Along with the online store, Sentinel Steel also has their own label, releasing great albums from bands like Gothic Knights, Axehammer, and Attacker. Don't forget that Sentinel Steel welcomes trades too! Payment methods: Paypal *and* money orders. Credit cards are also accepted, but through Paypal. A customer is recommended to confirm stock by email before purchasing.
Jeers - None.

Sonic Age Shop
Cheers - This is an online store in Greece and holds thousands of rare and obscure heavy metal. With a focus on the 80s traditional acts, you can find all kinds of underground metal here. If you are looking for rare titles like Glory Bells, Heretic, Spitfire, and Hexx or rolling up your sleeves to explore NWOBHM, Belgian New Wave or German thrash this is THE PLACE TO BE. If you are looking for those hard to find gems, or simply the new reissues that are coming out, this is the place to turn to. The band's site is well run with plenty of easy to use navigation. It has a shopping cart and also allows you to see the prices in US and Euros, a tool that comes in handy for American shoppers. I had my order within two weeks and they ship from Greece. Also with UPS they charge same shipping for 1 or more items. Great people!
Jeers - I wish they would relocate to the U.S. so the long shipping period wouldn't be so bad.

The End Records
Cheers - Absolutely the best place online for NEW metal releases. They carry almost every new release from labels like Massacre, Century Media, Nuclear Blast, Relapse, and Metal Blade. The store also does a great job in getting most of the re-issues and rare digipaks that are being put out more frequently. The End also has their own label, carrying a lot of "extreme" metal bands. The store carries all genres of heavy metal cds, vinyl, and DVDs. They also do a really good job showing what is in stock and what isn't.
Jeers - None.

NEH Records
Cheers - This is a spectacular metal shop that specializes in hard rock and AOR. You can find discs from all sorts of bands here, ranging from obscure record labels like Point Music to those hard to find indy releases that so many bands are doing now. I believe this store is ran out of a couple's house in Colorado. Great people to deal with! They will even call you to let you know when they receive something you may be interested in. Very thoughtful!
Jeers - Only problem is the shipping can be a bit high when ordering from the US. Not a bad thing though considering the service and the great amount of metal!

iTunes Store
Cheers - This is the future of CD shopping. As the disc dies more each day iTunes is the proverbial one stop shop. Most "albums" are $9.99 instant downloads. Most of the DRM mythos is now defunct as iTunes offers more and more products as iTunes Plus meaning no digital rights management at all. You can feel free to load onto your iPod or zap a CD-R. Bands are releasing more and more digital content as well including .PDF artwork, bonus songs and iTunes exclusive singles and EPs. The ability to place the downloads on multiple computers is a plus and the software's ability to showcase other artists as "recommendations" has led me to discover other great bands in similar style. I also like the preview function which normally showcases 30 second clips of each song.
Jeers - Sometimes the search engine doesn't pick up on keywords very well.


9 RATINGS


CD Japan
Cheers - Probably the only way to purchase import albums here in the US. The selection is fantastic, audio samples are available along with track listings and album covers.
Jeers - Takes about a week and a half to reach the US by airborne mail. Still takes less time than Steve at Impulse Music shipping from Illinois to Virginia.

CD Universe
Cheers - CD Universe is the place to go for more "mainstream" metal bands like Overkill, Queensryche, Saxon, Judas Priest, Savatage, and even material released on Century Media, Metal Blade, Nuclear Blast, Massacre, etc. Lets face it, there isn't anyone out there that offers whole discographys for metal bands like Motley Crue and Thin Lizzy. You can hop on their site and pick up oldie stuff for $9 a pop. Thats a super deal! This store is also really good about track listings, artwork, and sound samples. You can pick up those Japanese imports here too. The store also does a great job explaining what is in stock and what is on backorder.
Jeers - Obviously with a big store like this, you have to deal with a customer service team. If you are a "one on one" kinda shopper, CD Universe isn't for you. If you can deal with order status lookups and those endless "processing your order" emails, then check this place out!

Amazon
Cheers - Amazon has really become very good at just about everything, from vacuum cleaners to books to music the site has just about everything. The great features here is the fact that Amazon is available in just about every country (Germany www.amazon.de, England www.amazon.co.uk, etc). The store houses mostly all of your metal label merchandise (Century Media, Candlelight, Nuclear Blast, SPV, etc.) but also has a Used section that is just fantastic to pick up out of print items or cheaper deals on newer releases. You can also utilize their instant downloads at about $10 an album. The download engine is very easy to use. I was able to purchase and download an album at about the same speed as iTunes.
Jeers - You have to be careful because shipping can kill you if you start purchasing multiple items from multiple sellers.


8 RATINGS


Power Play Records
Cheers - This is a store that works as a record label as well. On the label side of things Power Play's roster consists of new and up and coming bands as well as classics from the past. Power Play has reissued gems from the likes of Damien and 220 Volt, as well as hot new releases from powerful bands like Cradle To Grave, Kigh, and Further Lo. Working as a store Power Play offers a lot of different stuff. You won't find tons of new releases but you could track down some obscure stuff here. Along with offering new titles they also have plenty of used CDs to browse through. Great service, great store, great label, and a super nice guy!
Jeers - Nothing really to complain about here other than just the lack of new releases. The End pretty much has that covered anyway so this is a great place to pick up obscure stuff and of course the Power Play label items.

CD Baby
Cheers - This is the only store I have found online where they will call you for an order. CD Baby is a "one on one" kinda store, small and friendly, but not alot of stuff to offer. The good thing about this store is that they support indy metal. Most of the metal bands they offer are completely label free and independent. Also the site has a good selection of audio clips, and good recommendations. I highly recommend ordering from them at least once. Also, they report all of their transactions to the bands themselves. I have received promos and emails from bands after purchasing cds from CD Baby. Pretty cool!
Jeers - Not alot of metal to choose from here. Some real gems, but not overwhelming.

Blast Beats
Cheers - This is your one stop source for christian heavy metal. They carry all genres of christian metal, ranging from black to power and death to thrash. This is a good place for older christian metal gems, as most of them have been re-issued with bonus cuts. The really good thing about the store's site is it will give you accurate, up to the minute stock status. Very handy when trying to decide on those spur of the moment purchases. Very fast service and great order checkout. The site also caters to the modern Christian metal-core bands such as The Showdown, Devil Wears Prada, Stonefuze, etc. Definitely a great place for older fans into 80s acts like Stryper to the high school kids jamming out to Rise Up.
Jeers - They only carry Christian metal. I wish they would expand their horizons.

AOR Heaven
Cheers - This is a one of a kind German online store. When I say one of a kind, I mean it. This store is located in Germany, but unlike most German stores, everything on this site is in English! It is owned by an American couple and they really do a fantastic job with hard rock and melodic power metal releases. They carry mostly just newer titles, but their back catalogue isn't barren by any means. AOR Heaven is the perfect place to get newer European and Japanese releases, with great online ordering and service. I swear, I receive my cds in less than a week, shipped from Germany to America. This guy has a rare sense of urgency, and I really like that!
Jeers - This fits the same mold as Blast Beats. AOR Heaven only carries hard rock and melodic power, so don't go looking for a wide selction of genres here.

Century Media
Cheers - This label offers an online store for fans as well. The good thing about this is the extensive catalogue they offer, ranging from all major metal labels to indy stuff worldwide. The store has improved greatly over the years and really has become a great site for online ordering. The catalogue is extremely deep and sometimes the label will carry deluxe and exclusive editions that just can't be bought anywhere else.
Jeers - This is one of the few places online that can take up to 90 days to process and ship your order.

Black Metal
Cheers - Great selection of Black metal. Site looks impressive and has a Top 200, updated New Arrivals page and generally tons of obscure and hard to find extreme metal.
Jeers - None to mention.

Dark Symphonies
Cheers - Great prices, great selection, and they specialize in avant-garde metal. Site has a makeover.
Jeers - None to mention.


7 RATINGS


CD Europe
Cheers - Specalizes in imports.
Jeers - Not the best prices but then again they are imports.

fye
Cheers - Owns Wherehouse Music as well as Second Spin now. Large retailer that is buying up a lot of metal stores. Free shipping if you spend over $25, a lot better bargain than going into the physical store. If your preference is used CDs then check out www.wherehouse.com.
Jeers - Prices could be better and customer service blows.

Second Spin (coupon & deals page)
Cheers - Good place to find out of print stuff. All Items are used, prices are good and orders are shipped in 2 weeks. You can sell to them and a good amount of credit is given or you can get a check sent to you. This store is owned by FYE Entertainment. You can also use some in store FYE computers to order from this site and pay no shipping charges. Good DVD selection as well.
Jeers - Hard to browse catalogue. Best if you know what you are looking for.

Metal Disc
Cheers - Huge selection middle ground pricing and good for locating hard to find items.
Jeers - None to mention.


6 RATINGS


Metal Merchant
Cheers - Sells all types of rock and metal.
Jeers - Based in Germany so dont expect fast shipping if you live in US unless you pay extra. Prices could be better.

Nightmare Records
Cheers - Specializes in power and progressive metal but sells other styles also.
Jeers - Not the greatest selection or prices. Doesn't look updated often. Contact page does not work.


4 RATINGS


Nuclear Hell
Cheers - Not a great selection of metal. Back catalogue is a bit weak. Lots of new releases and pricing is some of the best in the retail market.
Jeers - One customer says the site takes "a Goddamn month" to receive CDs. Not the fastest outlet for your products.


2 RATINGS


CD Inzane
Cheers - Not much to cheer about here. Sure they have tons and tons of power metal and hard rock, but the stuff they have listed on their site as in stock may or may not be in stock. I made my first order with them two months ago and it was absolute nightmare. I called my order in and after a week I had still not received my merchandise. After calling them they hadn't even bothered to charge me or ship anything to me. Terrible service and it will be a long time before I give them another chance.
Jeers - All of the above!


0 RATINGS


Impulse Music
Cheers - Not a damn one.
Jeers - Easily the worst piece of shit music retailer in the universe. Steve runs this store and it is easily the worst customer service ever. Steve will tell you he has no idea of availability of product, when items will be shipped, what your payment method is, what your total is, or generally anything concerning your order. Buyer beware! Selection looks impressive but he has no idea what he actually has in stock. To order from Impulse Music would be the equivalent of ramming your ____ across a barbed wire bat.
Reader says: - I tend to disagree with your comments as I have been dealing with impulse music since they were in Minneapolis and have no trouble at all dealing with steve.every thing I ordered was in stock and shipping service was good. --G. Schaefer

Metal Mayhem
Cheers - Hell No. Nothing positive to even mention about this asshole.
Jeers - Stay away from this prick. Don't ever order from him. Without a shadow of a doubt the worst online shopping experience you will ever have. I ordered a cd from him over the phone with my credit card. A week later, no cd. I called him and he said it was sitting on a table waiting to be taken to the post office. Another week. No cd. I call him again, he says I'm being pushy. Two more days, I email him a nasty message. He calls my house and bans me from ordering from him and says he sent the cd out to me and I should have gotten it. A week later the disc arrives. Metal Mayhem is exactly what the store title suggests. Many people can tell you the same thing. He has a great looking catalogue, and has some good releases on his label. Its a shame he does business this way.


NO RATINGS


Nordic Mission
Cheers - We've never ordered from this site but the store has Christian metal selections. The site looks very hip with tons of new stuff for the Christian metal-core boppers as well as seasoned metal veteran acts like Impelliterri and Saint. Great site and design and the store also offers some shirts and other memorabilia.

E-Music
Cheers - Songs are less than .50 cents. When you join you get 45 free downloads, DRM free music so you can load onto iPod, MP3 player or zap a disc.

Napster
Cheers - 7 day free trial when signing up, 8 million songs online and free steaming for members.

Ebay
Cheers - Good for finding out of print and rare CDs. Being auctioned based can lead to some great deals.
Jeers - Best to know what you are looking for. Being auctioned based can lead to people winning at the last minute and it can result in some bad deals.

GEMM
Cheers - Auction based. Great to use to find specific things you are looking for. Global search engine with a thousand stores. New and used items. All types of music.
Jeers - Auction based problems.

Half
Cheers - Auction based. Great to use to find specific things you are looking for. New and used items. All types of music.
Jeers - Auction based problems.

Big Cartel
Cheers - The site specializes in independent stores for bands and labels to sell their own goods. Bands can create everything from bumper stickers, coffee mugs, mouse pads and shirts to selling their CDs here. It is a great underground resource for both artists and fans.



--EC and 1Evil1



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