If you never really listened to Megadeth or Atheist before the year 2004, there’s a fair chance that you’ve never really heard these bands as they originally sounded on their albums. Since 2000, both of these bands have undergone a serious remastering treatment (for better or worse). Capitol records released seven of the eight Megadeth records that started the band’s career—all of which sounded drastically different— though most would say the remasters were rubbish, falling prey to the loudness war like so many others.
Why exactly someone (or an entire group of people) felt the desire to remix and remaster those seven Megadeth albums is an odd question. The recordings didn’t sound all that bad before, but with that being said, they did sound a bit dated. Lots of mids, not a lot of high or low end and it wasn’t very loud (certainly not up to “modern standards”). Perhaps the decision was made from a marketing standpoint, as 2004 was the year Megadeth reformed after a two-year hiatus.
The first three Atheist records, however, didn’t sound very good at all. They were super dry, nothing really had room to breathe (even though the records were pretty quiet). Most of the albums featured a really flat EQ with almost no low end and only noise in the highs. Purists might disagree that the old albums sounded bad, but then again, purists usually do. When remastered, all the instruments were given room to breath and the records were equalized to sound more full.
Death is another band that desperately needed the remix and remaster treatment, and lately they’ve been getting it. While The Sound Of Perseverance was released this year, 2008 saw the remixing and remastering of the band’s previous six albums–all of which were drastically improved by the treatment (even though some would argue The Sound Of Perseverance didn’t need that treatment and, frankly, I agree).
Regardless of what you think about past remasters, and whether or not the changes were warranted, there’s not a thing that you can do to change the fact that they were done. With that said, you can have some input about what albums you think could seriously use the remaster treatment (even if it’ll fall on deaf ears), or state your claim about how some albums should never be remastered due to their classic nature. There are a handful of bands that have become incredibly famous, and even legendary in some respects, who have some less-than-ideal original recordings—recordings with loads of well written and performed material. Who are these bands? Well, here’s a few examples:
A Celebration of Guilt by Arsis
Focus by Cynic
Breeding The Spawn by Suffocation
Extreme Aggression by Kreator
Contradictions Collapse by Meshuggah
Follow The Blind by Blind Guardian
The Red Sky Is Ours by At The Gates
Morbid Visions by Sepultura
Every single Metal Church album
Now, what are some albums you’d love to hear properly remastered? Think that some of the suggested remasters above are sacred songs and shouldn’t be touched? Voice your opinions in the common section!