Box Set Review – Judas Priest “The Remasters Collector Box” 2001

  What: The majority of JP’s output with Columbia Records. The set includes Sin After Sin, Stained Class, Killing Machine and Unleashed in the East. There’s room in the builder-box for everything up to Painkiller, so twelve releases in all. This review assumes you went out and filled up the slots, and will therefore discuss the Remasters as a whole.

   Selection: The albums are all complete and then some, so you’re getting about 25 years of Priest. There are 26 bonus tracks spread around the discs as well. Only untangling the legal issues of including the first two albums would have been better. 9 out of 10

Packaging: The cardboard crate looks like a roadcase, and the albums are put into it in regular jewel cases. When it’s full they all have a nice piece of coordinated spine art. There’s a small booklet with a set overview, but most details are in the individual cases. No feelies or extra kibble included, but that could be a good thing if you want to place it on your regular CD shelf. 7 out of 10

Sonic Manipulation: Lots, and contentious at that. Your standard noise-reduction and volume boost have been applied across the board, although not necessarily evenly. Some older material, such as Sin After Sin, benefits from a little boost. The rawness of Screaming For Vengeance suffers a bit from compression, and Painkiller moves a touch further down the road of sonic “modernity” towards Death Magnetic, but I think accusations of catalogue-wide butchery are a bit extreme. If you’re buying to keep this on a shelf most of the time, or rip it into your Ipod or car, you won’t care. Serious audiophiles will find something to hate, although they may not always agree on what. Considering the personalities of each record and mastering towards that would have helped. 6 out of 10

Rarities/Extras: The nine bonus studio tracks are not much on their own, although many of them are obvious dry runs for songs established later. If this is the pride of the vault, then Priest are economical writers indeed. The seventeen live tracks are nice, if somewhat scattered chronologically in the set (you can see later-era material clumsily glued to early records). The extra songs attached to the two live albums come off best, as they are from the same tour recordings and basically turn Unleashed and Priest Live into expanded editions. Each release has some recording notes and anecdotes from the band, with lots of photos from over the years. 7 out of 10

Overall: An okay mixture of coffee-table brag rights and knockabout playability. If you do not have a Judas Priest discography at your disposal, or if, like my previous set, it consists of small plastic boxes with “Chromium Dioxide” proudly displayed on the side, this may be an elegant solution if the price is right. Be sure to inquire as to whether you’re being offered a full builder-box or just the 4/12 starter set. 7 out of 10

One Response to “Box Set Review – Judas Priest “The Remasters Collector Box” 2001”

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