Most helpful critical review
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Oatmeal Anyone? aka Remaster Disaster
on July 13, 2008
This is a good selection of songs. For once the "geniuses" at the record company almost got it right as far as selecting the best songs to put on a Greatest Hits compilation. My complaints about the song selection are relatively minor to my complaints about the rmeastering job and sound quality, but more about that later. I would have substituted the far superior "live" version of Catch the Rainbow for the studio version, I would add Temple of The King, Self Portrait and Dream Chaser and delete Desperate Heart and Power. Also, this is not the best Rainbow version of Mistreated; I prefer the version from Live In Munich. I would also subsitute Maybe Next Time for Weiss Heim, because Maybe Next Time is a true microcosm of most of Blackmore's techniques and styles all rolled into one beautiful instrumental. He plays fast, he plays slow, he plays some notes straight, he bends some notes, he plays slide, he plays with tremendous feeling. Therefore, Maybe Next Time is a much better representation of all that Blackmore has to offer. whereas Weiss Heim only showcases a very narrow range of Blackmore's abilities. Weiss Heim is a good instrumental but Maybe Next Time is a great one and is a better choice for a Greatest Hits compilation. Finally, why were no songs from the very underrated Stranger In Us All album not included? Wolf To The Moon, Black Masqerade, Ariel and Hall of the Mountain King would have made fine additions here... Now to the really disturbing part about this CD: the remastering job was very poorly done. Imagine what a CD would sound like if the during recording the microphones were placed inside a cardboard oatmeal box filled with dry oatmeal. This is what this sounds like: the high end is muffled rather than crisp and all the instruments have been compressed into a lifeless midrange muddle. Thinking this may be an anomaly to my home stereo system, and knowing that some CDs sound better on some stereo sytems than on others, I played the entire CD on my fancy car stereo system also, and it sounded just as bad. What has been done to Difficult to Cure is a crime against humanity. The only time you can hear the guitar is in the introduction to the song. As soon as all the other instruments join in, the guitar is lost in a muddy sea of bass and strings for the rest of the song. This is a real shame because this song features some of Blackmore's best officially released "live" playing. I have the vinyl version of this song on Finyl Vinyl and it is far superior. On vinyl, the guitar cuts through the night like a knife and soars above the other instruments, sounding, powerful, rich, explosive and leading the way. Do yourself a favor and try to find a copy of Finyl Vinyl on vinyl and you will see what I mean. It will be worth it for Difficult To Cure alone. I have all the songs from this Anthology on vinyl and I have most of them on the NONREMASTERED versions of the CDs, and both the vinyl and nonremastered stuff sound far better than this. Even the nonremastered version of the Very Best of Rainbow sounds far better. Hopefully they will get it right with the next generation of Rainbow's Greatest Hits (have someone who hasn't lost his/her upper range of hearing do the remastering!) but for now I have to chop off one star for the song selection being not quite right and one star for the wretched remastering job.