Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Morbid Angel - various pressings on vinyl explained.
So, back in 2002, you guys reissued Morbid Angel's Altars of Madness on vinyl. Despite not having a turntable at the time, and being something of a collector at the time, I decided to snag one when I came across it in the store while they were still around.
Fast forward ten years, and I finally got my first record player. I started back on the other collector-type vinyls I had acquired in the intervening period, like Relapse's Atheist collection boxset -- I was blown away at how brilliant they sounded! I eagerly waited for Piece of Time to finish so I could finally unseal my transparent-blue pressing of Altars and finally experience it in its original form... Well, I'm sure you know where this one is going.
Honestly, it sounds like garbage. It's full of scratches and pops and just sounds brittle and harsh. None of that characteristic analog warmth, no phrases popping out that got lost in translation on their journey to digital in the CD pressings, or anything. In fact, it sounds markedly worse than the three or four different CD issues I own.
So, I ask you, my dear Earache representative: What gives? Was the original pressing just truly awful? Did you guys royally screw the re-pressing on this edition? And are the recent vinyl reissues of the other Morbid classics subject to this same treatment?
I'd love to buy them all to support one of my favorite (and, let's be honest: probably one of the single most important bands in death metal history) bands of all time, but that seems a rather tall order after the 2002 edition has left such a foul taste.
Answer: Well first of all thank you for purchasing the vinyl back in 2002 on blue wax- but you were mistaken to think you could " hear the album in its original form". Maybe this blog is too truthful for its own good, but the reality is buying a vinyl is not a ticket for time travel back to the 1980s.
We've sold many thousands but you're the first person to complain to us about the quality - sorry to hear it's not to your liking, but it was never advertised as the definitive audiophile edition or from original analogue tapes. What you have is a USA pressing made by Earache's office/licensee stateside and was part of a series of approx 10 early Earache albums re-issued in 2002, and the motivation was simply to make them available again on wax, with nice big artwork, nothing more.
Trends in vinyl come and go, shaped vinyl was all the rage in the 80s, picture discs abounded, whereas coloured wax was a rarity- you could have any colour so long as it's black. Nowadays coloured wax, swirls and splatter are everywhere, but the fastest growing trend is the audiophile analogue crowd who favour supreme audio quality over gimmicks. Our recent 2012 Napalm Death FDR (Full Dynamic Range) editions of Scum and Feto were made from original era analogue tapes and are audiophile editions with all dynamics preserved, and have been so well received, we'll do more of those soon, and advertise them as such. To be honest the explanation for any unsavoury sound on the 2002 editions was simply because the loudness war was in full swing in that period.
See pics above of the actual original metalwork (mother/ stamper) used to press the Carcass Mosh 18 2002 Uk edition, and the info for Mosh 21 Entombed UK 2002 edition at the plant- Damont Audio.
The audio signal is basically this: 1101011000100101010010110101101010 ( the 01011101001 bit is my fave part) so to pretend its an analogue audiophile edition would be misleading.