October 03, 2008


I find it an interesting debate that is forming between fans of Metallica and the spokesperson for the band, Lars Ulrich.  Some fans are proclaiming that the band’s latest album, Death Magnetic, is not up to a perceived audio quality.  Ulrich would like to challenge that assertion.  In fact, he has been defending the audio quality of the album, which is assumed to be less than that of the Guitar Hero version of the songs.  Apparently, the audio compression of the physical CD is assumed to be at least 10 decibels louder then the Guitar Hero version, therefore less clarifying.  Ulrich is claiming, oddly enough, that the way the CD was produced is the way that music is made these days.  Nevertheless, he defends the audio quality of the CD.  (I cannot comment as I have not heard the Guitar Hero version even though comparisons results are readily available on YouTube).

But that is not my issue and the reason for this little bit of writing.  Increasing high compression and loudness has been a thorn in the side of audiophiles for many years.  What I find interesting is that there is an outcry from many of Metallica’s fanbase concerning this.  And my wonderment is this.  Are audiences finally beginning to want a sound standard again, recognizing loud music as being less than desirable?  If so, what might have brought about this change?

LPs are rapidly gaining a foothold, albeit a niche foothold, in our musical sphere we like to call home.  This has been building for some time.  Now that a younger generation is “discovering” the LP, I wonder if there is a growing trend towards better sounding music or is it the ‘cool’ factor.  Regardless, to have fans decry the audio of a popular band, enough to have generated over 10,000 signatures in an attempt to encourage the band to re-release the album with the Guitar Hero tracks, there is likely closer attention being paid.

With the sad pasts of Quad, SACD, and DVD-Audio and the emerging hi-fidelity of Blu-ray Audio, perhaps now we can point out the failed pasts of our hi-res to the younger, hopefully more sonically astute audiences.  This may help Blu-ray Audio albums to take solid hold and to thrive in a market that had no chance in the past.

While we all know that expensive, hi-res music will always be a niche product, we can hope that it gains enough traction that it can become, at the very least, a readily available alternative for fans who seek out the better quality music of their favourite bands.

Keep the fingers crossed.

We have three more reviews for you today that include an update of recorded hits by The Ventures called The Ventures Play Their Greatest Hits. The other reviews are the latest album by Tuck & Patti called I Remember You and a Front Page Review of Make It Worse by Slimfit. Scroll down for the goods.

We'll see you back here on Monday with some fun stuff to open the week with.

If you have missed the last As The Disc Spins (updated), check it out here.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.






Columbia will reissue Home Before Dark from Neil Diamond as a 2LP, 180g album.  The LPs will contain all of the album songs plus two bonus tracks (“Without Her,” “Make You Feel My Love”) as well as a download card for the digital counterparts.  The LP version of Home Before Dark will be issued on November 11.

The new album by Mudvayne will arrive on November 18 from Epic Records and will be called The New Game.  This new album is planned in various forms and formats that include CD (Edited and PA), LP (PA version), and a Limited Edition Deluxe Version CD, which will have special packaging (a file folder replicating an FBI case file).

Shout! Factory will release a DVD from a Parliament/Funkadelic show in 1976.  The DVD is called The Mothership Connection – 1976 Live and contains 14 performance tracks (no “Flashlight” – damn!).  This DVD is scheduled to be released on November 18 and will be in 5.1 Surround.

Legacy will release a 3CD Box called Boots, Buckles & Spurs: 50 Songs Celebrate 50 Years of Cowboy Tradition.  There are lots of favourites including tunes from Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Tanya Tucker, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, and more (WHAT!!?!  No Tex Ritter?). This Various Artists set comes home on November 18.

Fontana International will release Songs in A & E from Spiritualized as an Enhanced CD on October 28Fontana will also release this on LP, same date.

Here’s one to pay close attention to.  Fontana North will reissue Acadie in a Goldtop Edition on November 18Acadie is a spectacular solo work from Brian Eno cohort, Daniel Lanois.

From what I can glean, 4AD has released two versions of Head Over Heels (1983) by Cocteau Twins. These are Limited Edition LP sets, the first being a 180g single LP and the second, the LP and a bonus violet-coloured LP of the EP, Sunburst and Snowblind (1983). Coming soon are LP reissues of Garlands (1982), and Treasure (1984). In surprising news, Robin Guthrie is not at all thrilled with these releases (so it appears). Here is a link to a gnashingly rabid post from Guthrie.




Review - The Ventures - Play their Greatest Hits - CD

The Ventures are a grand remembrance of our past. With Play their Greatest Hits, they revisit the hits that made them famous - and pleased us to no end - with an album of re-recorded hits. It's not a bad collection but will only interest ultra-fans. All others would be better served to locate one of their literally dozens of 'best of' collections that contain the original hits.





Review - Tuck & Patti - I Remember You - CD

Tuck & Patti has a large catalogue of albums that represent their jazz and standards style. This latest album, I Remember You, is a good addition to that growing library and should find fans with a smile on their face.





Front Page Review - Slimfit - Make It Worse - CD

Slimfit, an Alt-Country band from PA, has all of the earmarks of The Eagles from their earlier, pre-Walsh years.  The music that emanates from their debut album, Make It Worse, is pure middle America stuff that makes no bones about their preoccupation – Country with all the complementary music factored in to make appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

With bits of intertwining bluegrass (“Make It Worse”), ballads (“Old Song”) and some energetic Rock ‘n’ Roll to even out the flow of the album, these 5 country-rockers from the East Coast can electrify the air with their predominant Eagles-like music to make this album an entertaining one.







Copyright 2002-2008 Matthew Rowe.
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212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
"...you best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)