Archive for Box Set

Box Set Review – Misfits “Coffin Box” 1996

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by Lightning Slim

First Edition.

  What: A four-disc set of Misfits classics from the Danzig years. Over 100 tracks of horror-punk fun.

Selection: With the exception of Walk Among Us (the rights were not available) this set has basically everything they put on wax before 1986, back when they were a punk band and not a New York Yankees-sized logo marketing device. 8 out of 10

Sick of this guy yet? Don’t worry, you can put it all back into the plain coffin and just listen to the music.

Packaging: A coffin-shaped velvet-lined box. The discs are in black slimline jewel cases with the track listing embossed on them. The Static Age disc is in a custom slide-case with the Crimson Ghost logo in relief on the front. Beware later re-issues of the set, as over the years the embossed cases have become ordinary double jewels. There is a thin but well put together lyric booklet. 9 out of 10

Sonic Manipulation: None that I can hear. These are shitty-sounding old punk songs; what needs to be done to them? N/A

Rarities/Extras: The third disc consists mainly of unreleased studio sessions, many of which are interesting. There’s an affectionate band retrospective essay by Eerie Von, and an enamel Fiend Club lapel pin for your kutte jacket. Once again, later editions have downgraded and this pin is now of the standard variety. 8 out of 10 

Later version. Note the regular-style jewel cases with paper inserts.

Overall: If you can get your hands on a first pressing of this set, do not hesitate. It’s a great listen and will distinguish you as an actual fan,  set apart from the Hot Topic trapper-keeper crowd. 9 out of 10

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

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , , on February 1, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  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

Box Set Review – Various Artists “Grind Madness at the BBC” 2009

Posted in Album Reviews, Deals & Steals, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2011 by Lightning Slim

What: Subtitled “The Earache Peel Sessions”, it’s a three disc set of just that.

Selection: 118 tracks from a pile of influential grindcore artists recorded in the 80s and 90s for the John Peel Show. Take a look (click and the res will clear up):

Is it enough? Some might miss the inclusion of Peaceville bands like Prophecy of Doom, but this is Earache’s party, the product of a deal with the BBC to identify and catalogue a bewildering pile of master tapes. It’s plenty! 8 out of 10

Packaging: Bare bones. Two jewel cases in a slip cover. The cover art is identical on the two disc cases – don’t you just hate that? Ah well, I suppose the grind aesthetic was never lavish. The initial pressing was in a gatefold digipack with a bigger booklet; go for that if you see it. In summary, nothing to put on display, but it will slot into a regular storage scheme. 6 out of 10 

Sonic Manipulation: These are Peel Sessions – in many cases the recording is superior to released product by the bands! 9 out of 10

Rarities/Extras: Again, nothing fancy. The booklet is an interview with Napalm Death’s Mick Harris, who shares some old war stories and pays respect to the memory of John Peel. 4 out of 10

Overall: Not a lot of fluff to be had, but if you’re all about the music this compilation is definitely value for money. My copy was $11 CDN from Encore Records, a deal that can’t be beat. A great snapshot of a wild chapter in the history of these artists, the legacy of John Peel and the development of extreme music in general.  8 out of 10

Box Set Review – Fight “Into the Pit” 2008

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , , , on April 19, 2010 by Lightning Slim

What: Four-disc set containing all of Fight’s output.

Selection: No problem for completists. Both studio records are here in their entirety, along with the Mutations EP and a live DVD. An easy feat for a short-lived band. 9 out of 10

Packaging: Nothing to write home about. DVD digipak with a large lyric booklet. Good art by Marc Sasso throughout. 6 out of 10

Sonic Manipulation: Now here’s a conundrum. A typical bottom-heavy revamp by Roy Z works wonders for A Small Deadly Space, a record which I didn’t like before but now listen to regularly. The same treatment does not work for War of Words, which now seems slower, less thrashy and thinner through the middle where room has been cleared for Halford’s vocals. We know the man can sing, but back in the day it was kind of nice to hear him do a noisy thrash record. 7 out of 10

Rarities/Extras: None to speak of. There are a couple of commercials and tour-diary style videos of backstage and day-off shenanigans. 2 out of 10

Overall: An economical and complete look at Halford’s period in the American wilderness. Some interviews on the DVD or some artist-penned bio might have shed more light on the implications and lasting effect of Fight on his solo and Priest careers. 7.5 out of 10

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