"Outer Heaven proven here that they are a force to be reckoned with and have fully transformed into a beast of their own creation," said No Echo contributor Lucas Anderson about the Philadelphia death metal band's forthcoming debut album, Realms of Eternal Decay. Produced by Kevin Bernsten (Integrity, Full of Hell) and mixed and mastered by Arthur Rizk (Cold World, Pissgrave), the record follows their 4-way split with Gatecreeper, Scorched, and Homewrecker. If you love stuff like Incantation and Eviscium, Outer Heaven will satisfy.
Well, it turns out that Outer Heaven's vocalist, Austin Haines, is a passionate vinyl hunter, so he asked me if he could be part of the ongoing Record Collector series, so who am I to say no to a fellow metalhead.
How long have you been collecting records?
I wanna say it was probably about 2008 or 2009 that I started to really become interested in buying records. I had always been interested in collecting, but there is only so much that a 15 or 16-year-old kid can do on a part-time job. We were going to shows almost weekly back then, it seemed. So, I would grab what I could, when I could from a show almost every week.
When I hit my early 20s and got myself a real job, it really opened up a lot of possibilities when it came to my collection. That's when I really started to sink a lot more of my resources into collecting. Alot of people are surprised to find out that vinyl collecting is still very much “a thing." I always enjoyed vinyl over CDs or tapes due to the sheer size that the artist has to work with on a 12” record sleeve. It always seemed to me like the layout and artwork for vinyl releases always far exceeded other mediums.
Where/how do you usually find your records these days?
Luckily, living equidistant to a few major cities affords me the luxury of being close to quite a few killer record stores (Vinyl Altar, Young Ones, MaTones Music, Creep Records). Of course, with the Internet in this modern age it has become very convenient to just snag a copy of almost anything within minutes, new or old. The downside unfortunately, to being a collector of mostly death metal, is that most record stores find it difficult to carry a lot of used death metal vinyl. I always wondered if it was just purely due to a lack of numbers available, or if the true death metal collectors out there just could not let go of their vinyl after all these years.
What is the most you paid for a single record, where/how did you obtain it, and what was it?
There are 3 records in my collection that I splurged on over the last few years. The first being my Celtic Frost — Monotheist from Century Media (white with black marble), this was a record I have just always loved, so when I found a copy in the wild....it was worth the money I spent. The second comes from one of my absolute favorite bands of all time, Morbid Angel, I found an Earache Records first pressing of Altars of Madness at a flea market. Of course, this was impossible to turn down. The third record is actually another one from Celtic Frost, To Mega Therion, the Combat Records press. Just another album that I have dug for a very long time. From the music to the artwork...I just had to own this piece of metal history.
If you had to pick one record label you feel had/has the best track record of quality releases, who would that be and what are some key titles you love?
I'm definitely gonna have to give this one to Earache Records. In the formative years of death metal and its offshoots, they were pushing some seriously important bands. Just to name a few: Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Morbid Angel, Entombed, Carcass, Nocturnus, Terrorizer, Cathedral, Godflesh....the list can go on and on. I feel like you would hard pressed nowadays to find a fan of death metal without atleast a few Earache records in their collection.
Of everything in your current collection, what is your most prized record and why?
Although this may be the stereotypical answer, I would definitely have to say that the most prized records in my collection are any that I have played on in my band, Outer Heaven, or had the chance to work on as an engineer. Its a great feeling to thumb through my collection and see all the amazing bands side by side with my own. Knowing that someone cared enough about my band and our music to put their time and hard earned money into pressing vinyl for us.
Is there anything that frustrates you about the current record collecting scene?
I suppose you can look back to one of my earlier answers for this one. Although I understand, I sometimes find it frustrating how difficult it can be to find used death metal vinyl. I will stumble across a decent collection at a flea market or record store here or there, but most of the time it is just a lot over priced represses. Most of which, come from overseas, making the shelf price in a US record store quite extravagant. I certainly don't like to be a complainer, and I will say that a lot of the record stores I frequent always treat me really well. I think it's more just a problem of supply and demand.
Which records are still on your want list that you've had a tough time tracking down through the years?
The #1 record on my want list right now is an OG Copy of Ripping Corpse — Dreaming with the Dead from 1991. I absolutely love this record and would love to own a copy. Unfortunately, it hasn't had a ton of pressings, so the supply is already low from the start. I expect to see a repress of this sucker any day now. What with the attention its been getting recently in Decibel magazine and other sources as the anniversary of the record just passed. I once spent an entire month in Erik Rutan's studio in Florida, and I feel like I kinda missed my chance there by not asking him if he had any copies lying around from back in the day! If anyone out there is looking to sell or trade a copy, hit me up!