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Erick Bertin RSS Feed (Santo Domingo, Heredia Costa Rica)
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Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980
Monsters of Rock Live at Donington 1980
DVD ~ Rainbow
Price: $19.98
18 used & new from $11.89

2.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete, Underwhelming, Irrelevant...., June 7, 2016
Yeah I know, I'm being fairly harsh here, and as a big Rainbow fan it pains me to say this, but.... look, I said it before and I'll say it again: you DON'T sit on a release for 30 some odd years and hope for the best, EVER! Chances are content is going to get "sadly lost".... as has been already discussed (here and elsewhere), this release lacks 2 full songs from the actual show, namely "Love's No Friend" and "Man on the Silver Mountain".... what has NOT been discussed up to now is that in addition to those 2 lost songs, this release chops off 10 additional minutes of the latter half of the show.... how do we know this? Because the Japanese edition of this very same CD is actually a 3-disc affair: 2 CD's, one DVD, and by making the comparison, some diligent DP/Rainbow fans picked up on that....

So what do we have here, really: a 30 minute, fairly useless DVD with poorly edited video content, and a heavily edited audio CD of the concert.... I'm sorry, but I think I'm going to pass on this....

I want to believe that the intention behind this release was finally to give the fans one of the most sought after items from the Rainbow catalog, and not simply put together a quick cash-in to benefit from the renewed interest in Rainbow/Ritchie, in light of the upcoming shows in Europe this year....

Anyway.... unless someone, somewhere miraculously comes up with a long lost copy of the master tapes and/or a decent soundboard tape of the show, I'm afraid this is the best we'll ever get.... too bad.... you've been warned....


Casio Men's AW80V-1BV World Time Ana-Digi Data Bank 10-Year-Battery Watch
Casio Men's AW80V-1BV World Time Ana-Digi Data Bank 10-Year-Battery Watch
Price: $19.89
14 used & new from $19.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted/needed/paid for: no more, no less!, February 4, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It is exactly what I needed, exactly what I wanted and perhaps even more importantly (in terms of whomever might be reading this), EXACTLY what I paid for: a plain, simple, functional, inexpensive analog/digital watch. Disclaimer though: I'm a 100% "meat & potatoes", pragmatic kind of guy, completely oblivious and/or indifferent to style and other similar concerns. I just wanted/needed a watch I could use in the dark without the need of pushing a "light" button (the analog hands glow in the dark) and that I could program with an alarm, and that is it. I don't plan on using any of its other features. Added bonus: it's essentially weightless, which I absolutely love! Most of the time I actually forget that I'm wearing it. So there you go, hope that helps!


Down To Earth Tour 1979
Down To Earth Tour 1979
Price: $35.01
57 used & new from $29.64

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One out of three....? not particularly impressive...., September 9, 2015
This review is from: Down To Earth Tour 1979 (Audio CD)
I won't waste your time with a lengthy review, I'll just go straight for the jugular: this set features 3 different shows from the American 1979 'Down to Earth' tour, namely Denver, Long Island and Chicago. Some sources claim that these were radio broadcasts, some say that they are soundboard tapes; it's actually possible that both versions are correct, but so far I've been unable to conclusively determine which is it.

These are relatively short sets (Long Island, which is the longest, clocks in at around an hour), especially if you compare them with the gargantuan sets from the "Rising/Long Live Rn'R" era. And while it is nice to have a live document from this often overlooked era of the band.... the recordings are not really that great....

Denver is the best one by a long shot, and even so, the sound is far from perfect.... on the other end of the spectrum, Chicago is the worst sounding one.... it's essentially a bootleg.... Long Island starts off with similar issues, but the sound slowly but surely improves until it becomes 'acceptable', but no further than that. The performances by the band are fairly solid (Ritchie and Cozy shine throughout), Graham proved to be the perfect successor for RJD, but.... if you're on the fence about the musical merits of this lineup, I honestly doubt that this release will improve matters much for you....

So, in conclusion: if you're a Rainbow diehard and/or a fan of this specific era (I'm guilty of both charges), you'll probably want this, even in the face of its obvious shortcomings. If you're more of a casual fan.... I'm not sure you'll find enough to enjoy here.... you might be better served by just buying the individual Denver show, which is also available.... cherry picking, I know, but... one good show out of three....? I don't know about you, but that's not exactly the sort of statistic I myself find encouraging.... now could someone, ANYONE (Candice....?) try and talk some sense into Ritchie and get him to FINALLY allow the release of the 1980 Monsters of Rock show at Castle Donington, PLEASE....? I mean c'mon Ritchie, it's been 35 years, let bygones be bygones already.... if you OKed this release, flawed as it is, why not give us, the fans, what we want and have begged for all these years....? anyway, you've been warned: buyer beware!!!


Frequency
Frequency
Price: $0.00

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars try it only if you feel adventurous and/or curious...., June 8, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Frequency (App)
what can I add to the 3 star rating? nothing, really: 'it's OK' is essentially all I can say about it, really.... not specially good/useful, but not particularly bad, either.... try it if you feel adventurous and/or curious....


Dailymotion
Dailymotion
Price: $0.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars poorly written, poorly working app.... avoid it, June 8, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dailymotion (App)
Not much to say, really: poorly written, poorly working app, that's all there is to it: it frequently freezes (at first I thought it could be an internet provider issue, but I've tried other apps, such as Youtube for instance, and ZERO issues....), its 'functionality' is really aggravating.... I'm getting all riled up just writing about it, for Pete's sake! steer clear from this one unless you absolutely must.... and even so....


Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $19.84
62 used & new from $14.25

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Up to Snuff..., November 6, 2012
This review is from: Sacred Heart (Audio CD)
Since I don't want to make you waste your time and I certainly don't like wasting mine, I'm gonna go straight for it. In this review I'm not gonna talk about the relevance of the record and/or its songs (there are a gazillion such reviews floating out there), but simply concentrate on the worthiness of this new re-release at hand. So, is this release worth the cash? Not for me.

And I'll tell you why, plain and simple: if you already have the "The Very Beast of Dio" compilation and enjoy its sound, then you're going to find this release (as well as the other two deluxe editions, "The Last in Line" and "Holy Diver" lacking punch.

So let me say it again: I'm not saying this is horrible, I'm not saying it's bad, and not saying that the album stinks, I'm not trashing Ronnie James Dio's legacy. I'm simply giving you an extremely objective opinion based on an extremely objective reference point, so the choice if 100% up to you: If you liked Bill Inglot's remastering work on Rhino Records' "The Very Beast of Dio", chances are you will be disappointed with Andy Pearce's work for this new Universal release.

The package in and by itself is pretty nice and a good idea in principle, but I can't help but feel disappointed with the execution of the idea. This record (and other remastered Dio records) definitely deserved better than this, IMO.

Perhaps Rhino will eventually make its own release to correct this? Maybe, so if at all possible, I'd advise you to wait a couple of years for it.

In short: good (not great) record (oddly enough, the band seems to have passed their peak just 3 records in, at least in its original lineup), some great songs (the title song is one of my all-time Dio favorites), some lesser material ("Hungry for Heaven" anyone?), great idea for a deluxe, remastered edition, but ultimately inadequately executed.

Long Live Rock n' Roll, Long Live Dio
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2014 12:04 AM PST


Last in Line
Last in Line
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $21.83
55 used & new from $14.44

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to Snuff..., November 6, 2012
This review is from: Last in Line (Audio CD)
Since I don't want to make you waste your time and I certainly don't like wasting mine, I'm gonna go straight for it. In this review I'm not gonna talk about the relevance of the record and/or its songs (there are a gazillion such reviews floating out there), but simply concentrate on the worthiness of this new re-release at hand. So, is this release worth the cash? Not for me.

And I'll tell you why, plain and simple: if you already have the "The Very Beast of Dio" compilation and enjoy its sound, then you're going to find this release (as well as the other two deluxe editions, "Sacred Heart" and "Holy Diver" lacking punch.

So let me say it again: I'm not saying this is horrible, I'm not saying it's bad, and not saying that the album stinks, I'm not trashing Ronnie James Dio's legacy. I'm simply giving you an extremely objective opinion based on an extremely objective reference point, so the choice if 100% up to you: If you liked Bill Inglot's remastering work on Rhino Records' "The Very Beast of Dio", chances are you will be disappointed with Andy Pearce's work for this new Universal release.

The package in and by itself is pretty nice and a good idea in principle, but I can't help but feel disappointed with the execution of the idea. This record (and other remastered Dio records) definitely deserved better than this, IMO.

Perhaps Rhino will eventually make its own release to correct this? Maybe, so if at all possible, I'd advise you to wait a couple of years for it.

In short: great record (not PHENOMENAL like "Holy Diver", but worthy of 3 ½ stars AT LEAST), great songs (again, perhaps not to the level of previous songs, but pretty cool nevertheless), great idea for a deluxe, remastered edition, but ultimately inadequately executed.

Long Live Rock n' Roll, Long Live Dio


Scream
Scream
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $16.75
17 used & new from $9.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Scream-ing for more...money..., June 14, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Scream (Audio CD)
Ok, so just as I anticipated in my review of "Black Rain Special Tour Edition" back in 2007, Epic/Sony and Sharon simply can't seem to get enough dough out of Ozzy and they'll just keep re-issuing the same thing over and over again in bogus "tour edition" packages and such... oh well, with that rant out of the way, let's get down to business, then, and review Ozzy's latest release, Scream.

But before I go into the individual songs themselves, let me say this: if you liked Ozzy's last 2 or 3 releases then you can rest assured, I promise you will like this one as well: in fact, you could put all of those albums on a multi-tray CD player (multi-what, CD what, you might be thinking?? Sorry, I'm a bit of a dinosaur... ok, let's say upload them all in your Ipod/Iphone) and hit the "Randomize" button, you would be hard pressed to find the difference and you wouldn't be able to tell which song belongs where. They all feature the same glossy, totally sanitized sound that has become the norm in rock in the last decade.

The "big" difference (and the quotation marks are not gratuitous...) this time around is that Ozzy has recruited a new guitar player: gone are Zakk Wylde's guitar squeals and screams, only to be replaced by... well, Gus G's guitar squeals and screams ... again, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't find much difference between their respective inputs. Sure, Gus' European/neo-classical style of playing does show here and there but overall, producer Kevin Churko made sure that the guitar sound remained consistent and never strayed too much from the tried and true.

The difference is more evident in the soloing: as most of you probably know, Zakk frequently indulged in the countrified, southern rock infused, blues-on-steroids sounds reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers (among others). Gus G's style, on the other hand, owes a great debt to guitarists such as Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Micheal Schenker and Gary Moore. Obviously, they have common influences, such as Tony Iommi and Randy Rhoads, but even there they are different, with Gus openly admitting in interviews that he is more of a Sabbath fan than an Ozzy fan.

I personally feel that we've been shortchanged by this "consistent" approach to production: I mean, really, wasn't the desire to shake things up the whole point behind Zakk's booting in the first place? If so, then why on earth would you choose to purposely make his replacement sound the same? what a shame, it's "Down to Earth" all over again, when Oz got rid of Joe Holmes only to bring back Zakk to play on a bunch of mediocre songs that he didn't even write... and just as was the case with "Down to Earth", the end results are a bit underwhelming on "Scream".

"Scream" is not a terrible record by any means, but it ain't particularly great, either. It sounds current, modern, and that's a good thing, I believe. Its true problem is that its consistency in the production is not matched with a consistency in the quality of material: there are some really cool songs and a bunch of mediocre ones, and again, the problem is not the playing or the production, but simply the songs not being strong enough.

Opener "Let it Die" is an ok (but not great) rocker that sounds somewhat reminiscent of "Can you Hear Them" from "Down to Earth": some chunky riffing and guitar playing, but ultimately a bit dull; first single "Let me Hear You Scream" is way better, a really good heavy rocker with a pounding beat, some really cool playing from Gus, and a fine performance from Oz, definitely the right choice for the single; "Soul Sucker", the would-be title song (as "Soul Sucka") of the album before being rejected by Ozzy's fan base is a slow, downtuned, boring excursion that only picks up slightly during a mid-song break that literally breaks its monotony; second single "Life Won't Wait" is a real surprise, a true departure from the typical Ozzy song and a welcome addition to the album, daring to enter a somewhat "poppier" terrain that Ozzy has seldom ventured into, with great results.

"Diggin' Me Down" features a cool, ominous classical guitar intro that will probably send shivers down your spine, only to slam you with some heavy riffing and then surprise you even more with another quiet interlude; "Crucify" finds Ozzy once again in fine form, delivering some very catchy melodies that are supported by a more laid back approach from the band, that takes the backseat in order to showcase the vocals to great effect; unfortunately, "Fearless" takes us back into "by the numbers metal" territory: it is really generic and neither the playing, nor the singing are particularly memorable. I'm sorry to say this, but my "quality" test is simple: if I can't remember the melody or the guitar riffs of any given song after a few listens, then they are not worth remembering, and such is the case here.

"Time" takes yet another left turn in the vein of "Life Won't Wait", and while I do believe that the latter is the superior song (at least from a rocking point of view), I have to admit that I've come to take a shine to "Time" and I truly respect Ozzy for taking a chance doing something a bit more risky every once in a while, even if some might accuse him of trying to be pop. There really isn't much for me to say about the next 2 songs: "I Want it More" and "Latimer's Mercy" are subpar, failed attempts at coming up with a good rocking song: chockfull of heavy playing and hard hitting to be sure, but ultimately derivative and essentially interchangeable. Again, I wouldn't blame you if you couldn't tell where one song finishes and the next begins... and "I Love You All" is a short, pointless "encore" song that may work as a joke, but nothing more.

This "tour edition" features a second CD with some bonus tracks originally available as iTunes exclusives and on international pressings of the album, along with 4 live cuts recorded during the first leg of the "Scream" tour. Disc 2 opens with "Hand of the Enemy", yet another boring, interchangeable song that would have been right at home along with "I Want it More" and "Latimer's Mercy"; "One More Time" is much better, with a faster tempo, cool groove and some really kickass playing; and "Jump the Moon" is another fast, heavy, aggressive song that would have improved the overall quality of the original release had it been included. I'll never understand how was it that the decision was made to leave these last 2 songs out in favor of some of the aforementioned generic material.

Finally, the live tracks: "Bark At the Moon", "Let me Hear You Scream", "No More Tears" and the Sabbath goodie "Fairies Wear Boots". All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of these tracks, which feature some excellent playing from the band in general and from Gus more specifically, so for those of you who had doubts about the guy's chops, rest assured: not only can he shred with the best of them, he can faithfully recreate the original sound of the songs we all have grown to know and love (although it would have been interesting to hear him play some of the signature Randy songs...). But the biggest surprise, at least for me, was listening to Ozzy "sing" reasonably well throughout: I mean, it's not as if he's gonna win any "metal vocalist of the year" awards, but following some of his more recent live releases, I must say in all honesty: Ozz, I'm impressed!

The bottom line:"Scream" is at least a 3-star album. It may not be one of Ozzy's greatest works, but I honestly believe that it does carry his musical flag with enough dignity for the old man to be able to look at his audience in the eye without feeling that he's cheating on them. And out Ozzy's last 2 or three records ("Down to Earth", "Black Rain" and, at least for me, "Undercover", which all sound pretty much the same...), "Scream" is definitely the strongest one. So needless to say if you, like me, didn't buy "Scream" upon its original release, then this is the right time to do so and this is the version to get. You'll get more bang for your buck and you might even find a surprise or two that might be truly worth the price of admission.


Backtracks (2CD+DVD)
Backtracks (2CD+DVD)
Offered by Bridge_Media
Price: $20.51
63 used & new from $12.95

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the words of Darth Vader: "The circle is now complete..." At last!!!, February 2, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Backtracks (2CD+DVD) (Audio CD)
Ok, alright, I admit it: I WAS going to use this review as an opportunity to moan and complain and whine but ultimately...ouuuff... (very long exhale and sigh...) I changed my mind...I decided that, other than relieving myself, such a review wouldn't end up being much more useful. And so, instead of writing the review immediately after getting this box, I waited a couple of months in order to chill, make most of my whining privately, and THEN write something a bit more objective. But before digging into the actual review, I still feel compelled to give you all a bit of the thoughts I have entertained in the back of my head for the past couple of months, so please bear with me.

As you probably know by now, there are 2 versions of "Backtracks": a 2 CD + 1 DVD "standard" one, available pretty much anyplace where CD's are still sold (fewer and fewer of those every day...), and a limited, super-duper, "there go the keys to Angus' car" Deluxe version that comes in a guitar amplifier-shaped box that ACTUALLY WORKS as amplifier!!! At 200 bucks, it's hardly a bargain! Needless to say, most people are sticking to the budget version.

On paper, this is a fantastic idea: after decades (literally!) of lurking in obscurity, releasing some of the rarest, most sought after AC/DC material is a dream come true for diehards. Indeed, for years AC/DC's catalog was consistently butchered, starting with the questionable decision of creating a "compilation" out of the band's first 2 Australian releases for international release, changing the running order and song lineup of albums, throwing together quick cash-ins ('74 Jailbreak), using shorter length edits of songs and so forth.

The 1997 "Bonfire" 5 disc box marked an opportunity to clear the decks of ALL Bon Scott-related goodies, but alas, that didn't happen. Then with the turn of the millennium AC/DC announced that they were switching labels to Columbia and taking their entire catalog with them. This move represented the shiniest chance to right all those wrongs, completely revamping the entire AC/DC catalog, restoring all the missing songs to their rightful place and maybe even issuing the first 2 Australian albums as they were intended. Once again, no such luck.

So in all honesty, being a huge AC/DC fan myself, I had mixed feelings when this release was announced: I wasn't too crazy about the prohibitive price tag for the deluxe edition, or the fact that it was going to have so much more material than the regular one (3 CD's, 2 DVD's, a 180 gram vinyl LP, among many other goodies) but still, my inner, rocking self got the best of me and I decided to order it anyway.

Unfortunately, there was still some more disappointment to come, when I double checked the song lineup of the "Rarities" CD and confirmed that, instead of 18 songs as on the deluxe version, the regular version would only have 12 songs, skipping the longer "Australian album versions" of several songs. I find this fact to be really hard to justify, considering that the omission has absolutely nothing to do with running time/song length issues (the Rarities CD is barely 46 minutes long). Oh well...

Enough nitpicking: all things considered, "Backtracks" still packs quite a punch, and it will be a great addition to any AC/DC fan's collection. Although some of the tracks here had been previously available as b-sides and/or international album releases, Disc 1 is obviously the biggest treat here, finally unearthing for the world at large 7 obscure tracks from the Bon Scott era and 5 from the Brian Johnson years. "Stick Around" and "Love Song", originally from the Australian "High Voltage" album, are the opening salvos (finally making available ALL of the tracks that appeared on their debut), and they show a contrast that is quite unique: the former is a nice, slow burning rocker that can probably remind you a bit of "Rn'R Damnation", while the latter is the ONLY "ballad" in AC/DC's entire career, and while it is not one of my favorites tunes here, it is not the terrible, throwaway track that some reviewers are making it out to be either; "Fling Thing" is a quick, mostly instrumental take on a traditional folk song that had previously surfaced as "Bonny" on 1992's "Live".

"R.I.P (Rock in Peace)" and "Carry me Home" are another pair of mid-tempo rockers that really cook, and the lyrics of the latter are prretty funny, although a bit ironic in retrospect, considering Bon's untimely demise due to alcohol abuse related causes; "Crabsody in Blue" is the slowest, blusiest of the bunch, and to be honest, not one if my favorites...I'm not quite sure why...it may have something to do with the fact the vocals follow the exact same melody of the guitar (or is it the other way around? and the same applies to "Love Song", come to think about it)... Anyway, it's not bad, but it doesn't really do it for me; "Cold Hearted Man" on the other hand, the final Bon Scott track, is another terrific song with great lyrics and performance from Bon, one of personal favorites of the pack along with "Carry me home".

The "Brian Johnson section" consists of 3 outtakes from the "Blow Up Your Video" sessions, a soundtrack tune and a "Stiff Upper Lip" leftover. The nasty "Big Gun", recorded with Rick Rubin for the soundtrack of the infamous 1993 non-blockbuster "Last Action Hero" flick is, in my humble opinion,another one of the highlights of this release: it features a slick, crystal clear production that's unlike anything else in AC/DC's catalog (before AND after), and the sonic contrast is immediately apparent to anyone familiar with the band, but still manages to rock your socks off big time! It's funny, `cos I really don't remember ever noticing that before, but I also have to admit that I hadn't really listened to the tune in ages...the thing that amazes me the most is that its sound isn't even close to that of "Ballbreaker", which was also produced by Rubin only a couple of years later.

The "Blow Up Your Video" tunes are really cool, and I can't help but wonder what criteria could they possibly have followed to leave them out and use songs like "Go Zone" and/or "Mean Streak" instead...don't get me wrong, those aren't bad songs either, but I firmly believe that, had these 3 tracks been used instead, "Blow Up Your Video" would've been a much stronger album and it would be held in much higher esteem on the AC/DC pantheon as a result. "Snake Eye" and "Borrowed Time" are great rockers, with powerful, driving riffs and great beats, while "Down on the Borderline" slows down the pace somewhat but still rocks along nicely; "Cyberspace", from the "Stiff Upper Lip", is a short and fast burst of energy that closes disc 1 on a high note. All in all, 5 stars for this one.

Disc 2 features "Live Rarities"...eeeh... not exactly my cup of tea...first, only 4 songs are from the Bon Scott years, and while they are great, I can't help but feeling that they could have/should have given us some more; second, many of these songs (8 out of 15) had already been released in a live format on "Live", so they could (should?) have included some other choices of songs not available in live format, such as "Hell ain't a bad place to be", "Ballbreaker", "Hard as a rock" and/or "Hail Caesar", all available on the pricier version of the box; third: (and I know I'm going to take a lot of heat over this one...) I personally am not a big fan of Brian's early 80's, "screeching" falsetto voice...I happen to believe that Brian didn't truly find his voice until the late 80's, and I'd take his performances on "Live" over these ones any day of the week (but again, that's just me...); and last but certainly not least, I'm not too crazy about the final mix of these tracks: don't get me wrong, they don't sound bad at all, but if you compare them (and I have...) with the tracks on "Live", these ones sound tiny and distant, whereas "Live" had a roaring, in your face quality that really made you feel like you were there. So in this case, I'd say "nice, but not great"...3 out 5 stars.

And finally, the DVD..."Family Jewels 3"...again, not exactly up my alley...I'm not a big fan of DVD's, music or otherwise (my "library" consists of the Star Wars DVD's and that's it...), so I wasn't particularly looking forward to this one, either...but hey, that's just me, and I'll be the first one to admit that I'm a total freak from another world, so don't rely on my opinion alone to judge this one! If you're a fan of the visual and you enjoyed the first 2 volumes, then this is a must for you: all of the band's videos from 1993 to 2009 are included here, not to mention alternate takes of some older material ("It's a Long Way to the Top if you Wanna Rn'R", "You Shook me All Night Long"...) and a couple of funny "behind the scenes/making of" documentaries. All in all, it makes for an entertaining viewing experience, which I'd rate with 4 out of 5 stars.

Oh, yeah, I always forget to mention: the booklet! It's pretty cool, with lots of funny, candid, outrageous and rocking pics of the boys throughout this 30+ year odyssey. In a world of constant change where it's easy to sometimes feel adrift, it's nice to know (and in this case, SEE!) that some things, (good things, that is) never change. The liner notes provide adequate information about the source of the material herein, except with disc 1, where the information about band lineup is missing. Oh well, no biggie.

The bottom line: all complaints aside, this is a great set, and a must for true AC/DC fans everywhere: 5 stars for disc 1, 3 stars for disc 2, and 4 stars for disc 3, for a average of 4 stars overall. Of course, if you really, really have money to burn, then I'd suggest you give the Deluxe edition a try. If you don't, but you really and truly enjoy AC/DC, you need to get this. Then, and only then, will your AC/DC collection be complete.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 4, 2011 6:02 PM PST


Love (Expanded Edition)
Love (Expanded Edition)
Price: $14.99
62 used & new from $7.99

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars totally opportunistic, yet most welcome re-release of a masterpiece..., August 19, 2009
This review is from: Love (Expanded Edition) (Audio CD)
Indeed, ever since the massive "garage sale" that was 2000's "Rare Cult" boxset that very much cleaned all the shelves from unreleased and/or hard to find material, Beggars Banquet had been sitting on this one. Bearing in mind that the boxset was a limited edition release, it would only have been fitting for the company to re-release all of the band's albums in expanded format with a second CD of extra goodies. But nooo, instead, Beggars decided to wait until a more "marketable" opportunity arose, and so it did, only 9 years later, just as Ian Astbury announces that "There will be no new album. I don't think we'll ever see a Cult album. Albums are dead." (his words, not mine, look it up on the internet if you don't trust me...) and that the band will launch a tour where they will showcase the "Love" album from start to finish live for the first time ever.

And thus we get "Love Expanded Edition". So obviously, as a consumer and record buyer I'm not too crazy about the opportunistic, blood sucking move from Beggars, but as a Cult diehard, this is a total treat and I can't help but salivate and drool all over it! It comes down to this: if you, like me, are a Cult fan who couldn't get a hold of the boxset, this is a must, period. You need to get this now.

In my humble opinion, "Love" is THE quintessential Cult album. If I were ever forced to choose one and only one album from The Cult to include in my solar powered coconut MP3 player in a desert island, this would be it. Sure, they went on to become rich and famous with other releases (namely "Electric" and "Sonic Temple"), but this, my friends, is The Cult at their most unique and their most inspired. In the midst of the 80's music scene, dominated by hair metal, synth-pop and new wave, no other band sounded like The Cult, who boldly spat on the face of the music biz and made exactly the album they wanted to make.

A perfect collusion of neo-hippy sensibility, Zeppelinesque guitar riffery and punk attitude, "Love" was "alternative rock" before it was cool to be alternative and remains a true masterpiece 24 odd years later. Songs such as "Rain" (one of my all time favorite songs!), "Hollow Man", "Big Neon Glitter" or "Nirvana", while retaining faint hints of their post-punk/goth roots, resonate with a power and confidence that's awe-inspiring. The core of the band at the time, formed by singer Ian Astbury, guitarist Billy Duffy, bassist Jamie Stewart shine throughout as a true unit, perfectly complemented for this recording by session drummer Mark Brzezicki who replaced original drummer Nigel Preston after the recording and release of the single "She Sells Sanctuary". And while this feels like a group effort through and through, especial praise must go to producer Steve Brown and to Billy for creating such a shimmering, powerful and kicking wall of guitars.

Other songs, such as "Love", "The Phoenix" already point at heavier things to come from a band that refused to stagnate and repeat itself. And of course, "She Sells Sanctuary", their first big hit, remains as vital today as it did back then, its eastern-flavored riff perfectly setting the tone of the album as a whole. The album never lacks intensity, even during the softer/slower numbers, and every song is a classic, including the haunting "Brother Wolf, Sister Moon", the contradictorily titled "Revolution" (with such a title, wouldn't you be expecting a total blast in face? and yet...) and the dark and beautiful "Black Angel". Not a weak link to be found here, and the clarity of the sound of the original album is only enhanced by this release.

Disc 2 of this release is filled with b-sides and remixes. Most were used as single b-sides, and unless I'm mistaken, they were all included on the boxset. This is a great opportunity to get all of this in one convenient package, especially since some of this material is absolutely gorgeous: songs such as "Judith", "Sunrise" and "All Souls Avenue" were all worthy on inclusion on the album, but they had to be sacrificed at the time due to time constraints. I'm not a particularly big fan of remixes, especially of remixes of my favorite tunes, and the "Here Comes the Rain" remix is a good example of why: while the song is too good to be ruined by a remix, I'm not particularly fond of this extended version. That being said, some of the other remixes are interesting enough to warrant the purchase of this release.

Only one more question remains: will Beggars continue this trend and re-release all of the band's albums in expanded format? They certainly could, since there is no shortage of additional material to make such releases and it is readily available in light of the work done for the boxset. But will they? I would definitely go for expanded editions of "Dreamtime" (including the extra songs "Resurrection Joe" and "Bonebag", in addition to the ultra rare "Dreamtime Live at the Lyceum"), "Electric" (including the entire "Peace" album), "Sonic Temple", "Ceremony" and "Black Sheep" (all of which had tons of outtakes, remixes, demos and so forth), but I'm not sure the company will do that. Perhaps they'll just wait until the band decides to showcase each of those albums live in order to cash in...? or maybe, just maybe, they are testing the waters with this release before going any further? Oh well, I guess we'll see...

Anyway, the bottom line: this is a 5 star CD (I just took a star off as a protest at Beggars' opportunism), and if you're a Cult-head (such as myself), you have to have this, and if you didn't buy the boxset back in 2000, even more so. If you are more of a casual fan, this might be a little too "complete" and a little too much for you, but I honestly believe that you'd enjoy it a great deal if you give it a shot. And finally, for the uninitiated, this is THE ALBUM: if you have to buy one and only one album by this band, let "Love" be the one. It is a timeless testament to Billy's, Ian's and Jamie's talents. This is The Cult at their most unique, and no rock fan should do without this album. And if you definitely, absolutely, most assuredly have to have it all, then wait a bit longer and save a bit more and purchase the 4CD, "Omnibus" edition coming out on September 2009. Peace!
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