After self releasing their fourth studio album, Circa Survive signed with Sumerian Records to release their latest album; Descensus. The pre-order and subsequent handling of future pressings is nothing short of a clusterf*ck.
First, the distros deceptively posted “limited to” numbers with bundles for the new album, and seeing as the record was only available in said bundles, people logically made the conclusion that certain variants were limited to the number advertised with the bundle. But it turned out that number advertised with the bundle was only for the bundle itself, which also included a poster and CD. After a handful, possibly even more people, mailed the label and distro to figure out what was going on, the response received was that there were actually double the amount of records pressed. Initially people were led to believe there were only 500 copies of the band’s exclusive variant, but in reality there were 1,000 copies pressed.
Descensus has three variants for the first pressing, which were all pressed on 180 gram vinyl. The first pressing is not even sold out yet but the label is already selling a second pressing to cash in. The second pressing will get even larger once the rest of the records are made available to the public. For the first pressing there are 1,000 copies on yellow with black splatter, which was a band exclusive and oddly available through two separate distros. This was the variant caught up in the false/deceptive advertising debacle. Next up is, surprise surprise, a Hot Topic exclusive, pressed on clear with blue and white splatter “limited” to 1,000 copies. Last, is a mass retail “exclusive” pressed on black vinyl limited to 3,000 copies. I say “exclusive” because that is what the label calls it, even though the distro handling Circa Survive merch for them is selling copies of it online. Pressing info for the black copies was not announced until after the second pressing went on sale, which happened out of the blue. None of the variants have a sticker on the cover denoted what color the records are, which because majorly important later on if you keep reading.
This album was/is flipper gold, as was expected. The Hot Topic variant sold out online in under a few hours. To be honest, I didn’t monitor it closely or even know exactly when it was intended to go up for sale online, because I was not concerned about buying a record for over $30 when I knew I would be able to snag it for close to $20 elsewhere. What I did see though, were all the cry babies come out of the woodwork after it sold out and copies were put up on ebay with ridiculous BIN’s and starting prices. Face it people, Circa Survive is flipper gold and will always be a target, especially when there is a Hot Topic exclusive involved. Hot Topic is one of the worst when it comes to deterring flippers as they don’t have a purchase limit. You can even argue Hot Topic are flippers themselves seeing as they mark things up at least $5 higher than nearly every other retailer out there.
The second pressing, which as stated above went on sale even before the first pressing sold out, was completely unexpected. The band and label made no hint or mention of it until the records were up for sale. The second pressing has three variants just like the first pressing. Another similarity to the first pressing, is Hot Topic getting the same exact color for their exclusive of the second pressing, which is clear with blue and white splatter, and also “limited” to 1,00 copies. There are plenty of people upset about this and voicing their complaints, and an equal number of people complaining about the people complaining. So typical internet BS. The way I see this dilemma is that it’s clearly a shady move by an already shady company. Is it a problem the record is getting re-pressed? No. What is the problem is choosing the same color. Knowing that the company could have easily requested a different color, knowing that Hot Topic reps work with labels to not only get exclusive variants but what color they will be as well, asking for a new color for the second pressing would have been very easy, and the right thing to do. If the label was just re-pressing all the colors and patterns/schemes they already used, then Sumerian wouldn’t be doing the second pressing on two new colors, as you will read below. Hot Topic chose to go with the some color because it sold out from their website very quickly, and is very likely one of the fastest selling records they ever had. So they wanted to capitalize on the hot selling color by getting more copies of it. With Hot Topic now getting another, at least 1,000 copies of the same color to sell at some point in the future, I foresee lots of people trying to rip people off on the secondary market by listing their second pressing copy of the Hot Topic variant as the first pressing. And there will be absolutely no way of telling them apart so they will get away with it.
The other colors for the second pressing are transparent yellow, limited to an unknown amount and blue limited to 1500 copies. Only 500 of the 1500 blue copies were available through Circa Survive’s distro, a number that was clearly stated this go around. So all seems fine and dandy with the second pressing, until Killer Merch (distro) and Sumerian had a bit of a snafu with shipping.
When the second pressing went up for sale, Sumerian also put up the remaining copies of the yellow with black splatter they had leftover for whatever reason, which was something they hinted at doing but didn’t actually happen for about two months. Some people who ordered those leftover copies of the yellow with black splatter received a copy on transparent yellow vinyl, which up until then was an unannounced variant Sumerian wanted to keep the lid on until later. I believe some people who ordered the blue variant also received the transparent yellow instead as well, but I’m not 100% sure o n that. Apparently there was a filing error and many copies on transparent yellow were stored with the rest of the records. So when orders were being packaged up and shipped, employees were unknowingly sending out the wrong color. KillerMerch’s solution to this; letting almost everyone who received a transparent yellow copy keep it while also still receiving the correct color that they order. They didn’t make people return them in order to receive the correct item that they ordered. But only certain people who received the wrong item, not everyone. If someone ordered more than one copy of the album, of any or both variant(s) they were told to return their order by marking the package as return to sender. They requested this done after sending out replacement orders for the correct items. Now, seeing as 99% of people who ordered multiple copies are flippers, what do you think the odds are of people actually returning their extra copies?