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on February 10, 2007
To begin, I'm not going to do a track by track review of this album. I suspect that those considering this already have the original CD release and are considering if this version is worth buying a second time. Let me say emphatically that YES indeed it is worth purchasing again.

First, let's have a brief history lesson. "First and Last and Always" was originally released in 1985 on vinyl and, of course, cassette. A few years later the CD version was released, but it didn't sound exactly the same as the original vinyl. The master tapes were obviously remixed or "enhanced" for CD, so the mix came out with a very up front, forward sound (or more "oomph" as another reviewer called it). This is either a curse or a blessing depending on your listening tastes.

With this re-release, the sound of the original mix is intact! If you've never heard the vinyl version, the sound at first may seem a bit suppressed. Turn the volume up! If you've grown accustomed to the fleshier version of the original CD release, it may take a few listens to appreciate the sound contained herein.

Let's move on to the bonus tracks. "On the Wire" and "Poison Door" were originally featured on the "Walk Away" single. "Bury Me Deep" and "Blood Money" were originally on the "No Time to Cry" single. Until now, they were only available on the original vinyl singles. Ditto for "Long Train." The final track, to the best of my knowledge, was never featured on any official release. Ladies and gentlemen, these six bonus tracks are worth the price of admission in themselves. These are not tedious "B sides" by any means! In fact, I'd venture far enough to declare that the bonus cuts are every bit as good as the singles they accompanied.

Go get this CD! No Sisters collection will be complete without it. I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I get the latest version of "Floodland" and "Vision Thing."
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on December 10, 2013
Louder with the remaster but loses some of the analog balance. It seems like engineers make big compromises in the sound when they try to make noisy low-fi recordings sound like they were recorded in 2013...And I prefer the older balanced volume and lower bass, rather than trying get everything as loud as possible. It kills the dynamics. But that is what younger people are used to hearing. No subtlety at all. If you want to hear F&L&A the way we heard it back in the day, get the old CD for mobile and to rip to iTunes, get the vinyl for the best sound, and for the best song transitions you'll need the cassette--if you can find one. There was something special about the way the songs faded into each other on cassette. Oh well. Nice art and packaging.
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on February 19, 2015
I think it goes without saying that this is one of the bands determined to put the "Rock" in "Goth Rock" and this is a fine example. I can see how the vocals could be off-putting but I think it suits the music. I've never been a fan of drum machines but the programming on this is steady and it doesn't sound synthetic. The sequencing of the tracks is another fine point; it has a nice build and a solid flow. Turn out the lights and dress in black and enjoy life in the Black Planet............
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on August 22, 2013
I bought this album because I grew to love the Sisters of Mercy, especially their older work. Since I could not find First and Last and Always in stores, I searched online and found this Remastered and Expanded edition that was the same price (maybe even cheaper) than the original one. Thus, I bought it. When I got it, I was excited by the packing which included a news article from the era of the Sisters of Mercy and some promo photos. The only disappointment was the lack of lyrics which were printed in the original CD versions of the later two albums (which I own, so I'd know). Also, I had a weird experience with trying to upload the album: in my first several tries, it would play finely on my CD player, but then would slowly upload on iTunes the songs which would then be all fuzzy and muted. I then brought the CD to my friend to try to upload on her computer, so that I could discern if the problem were my computers or the CD. And the CD did the same thing! Just when I was thinking of getting my money back, I tried uploading it one more time on the newest computer I had (which was 2 years old then), and it uploaded the songs quickly and perfectly, and has done so on other computers since. Technically, I would give it 4 and a half stars for that bizarre uploading incident, but since it's worked well ever since and has been much enjoyed, five stars it is!
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on May 12, 2017
got into this band by accident
their music is great
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on February 25, 2013
I will not get into the Goth/Not Goth debate because I don't care. The great jazz pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington once said, "If it sounds good, it IS good". So let's just judge it by that. Fair? Okay. This is a 5-Star CD with a 1-Star drum machine, so I will be generous and give it 4. The songwriting, the musicianship, and the production are really first-rate. I've listened to and enjoyed this record since it came out on vinyl (yup; I have the vinyl version). A friend bought it for me while she was in England; she just thought I'd like it. She was right. The only thing I have trouble getting past is that GAWD-AWFUL drum machine sound (Detractors: yes I misspelled 'God Awful' on purpose. Get over it). I would not be surprised to find that they picked that horrific contraption out of the trash bin behind a Radio Shack store. Yes it is that bad. But, do not let this kill it for you. The other elements are so good that the Hasbro-sounding drums become easy enough to overlook. Heck, let's call the drum sound "quaint" and move on. Whatever. It's a very good record, and if the drum sound hasn't killed me yet, it probably never will.
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on April 1, 2009
If you've ever been downtrodden, all alone in the world; forsaken by friends who were no better than foe; if you've ever been used and abused in love; walking down deserted streets in a decaying and dying city; crying-out for some semblance of dignity and honor, as doors slam shut in your face; of you've ever sat in the gutter as passing cars splash-spray puddles in your face, and you only feel cleansed; if you couldn't even buy empathy; if you've ever sought solace in degradation; "nothing but the knife to live for;" pounding your head any way you can, in order to get rid of the demons within; if you just wanted an answer to the question why, yet couldn't for the life of you find anything satisfactory; if your life was but one big plea, for help, for understanding, for anything else; tired of crying; bored; one big exposed nerve stalking you don't know what for that which you know all too well, well, this album is for you. It won't solve anything, but it will prove catharic, and prove that you're not alone.
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on May 16, 2016
I cannot express how much I love this box set, Brand new and nearly half the original price. unopened and solid, a must for any sisters fan. Is there a difference from the original pressings, I honestly have no clue... I do know compared to the CD's I wore out over the years, the sound is solid. a must buy at the discounted price!
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on October 24, 2015
Sisters of Mercy have always been a favorite of mine. This is the first time since 1990 that I have bought one of their albums, man, have I missed listening to this band. All I can say is Awesome! !!! Highly recommend this album and any other Sisters of Mercy albums. It's like deep warm cinnamon butter for the broken soul.
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on February 10, 2015
I've never been into the more "raw" flavor but this album keeps pulling me back (that said I did kinda maybe get hooked on some girls wander so who knows, maybe I'm coming around). If you're new to the sisters I suppose I would not start here, try floodland. This is great for rounding out your collection or if you really like their earlier stuff.
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