Most re-mastered and re-mixed albums are an evolutionary update on the original sound bringing it up to date with modern mastering methods. They might tweak the mixes of the original tapes/digital tracks a little to suit the taste of the engineer or artist involved. Rarely are they revolutionary, entirely enhancing the aural experience while keeping a sense of the original source material intact.
The last time I remember being thoroughly blown away by such an endeavour was when Jimmy Page, completely pissed off with the original Led Zeppelin CDs, personally remastered and released the Led Zeppelin boxset. Killing is my Business… and Business is Good – The Final Kill is the same – maybe better in terms of sonic improvement – a testament to Producer/Engineer Mark Lewis’s art.
Megadeth’s first album was recorded in 1985 on a shoestring budget and it’s fair to say the production was pretty shitty. Very thin and wimpy it was possible to tell there were some more than decent songs here but they lacked the oomph the material deserved. In 2002 Bill Kennedy remastered and remixed the album for another CD release. He did a decent job and at last the songs – with all their complexity, technical ability and, yes, a touch of naivety – could be heard.
But that was 2002 and what was offered was an evolution – what Mark Lewis has done in 2018 is a revolution. The songs sound fresh, the mix is spacious and – at last – you can hear every instrument clearly. Yet you don’t lose a sense of the original. It’s still a nasty, snarling expression of anger thoroughly gnarly and dirty as only four precocious young adults could be.
Kicking Against the Pricks
There was also a problem with the cover of These Boots – the original songwriter Lee Hazlewood objected to the lyrical changes Dave Mustaine had made – and the unsatisfactory solution with the 2002 remaster was to censor every occasion a lyric was changed. For this version the band have re-recorded the song using the original lyrics. Though I’m sure I can hear Mustaine sneering every time he makes a change it’s still a million miles from the version by Nancy fucking Sinatra.
If you’re a fan of Megadeth or heavy music in general you should give this one a go. It’s such an improvement on the original that old fans will be amazed and new will be able to hear state-of-the-art speed metal as it should have been in 1985. Deluxe versions are available with a smattering of live and demo tracks – but who gives a fuck?
4/5 for the album
5/5 for the remixing
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