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Fortunately not a victim of the "loudness wars"
on January 15, 2012
So many newer albums and reissues of old albums unfortunately have suffered as a result of the so-called loudness wars. This is especially true for bands that use loud/quiet dynamics to such great effect, like the Pumpkins. On the recent Nevermind remaster, for example, the beginning, quiet parts of the songs are loud, then when the loud parts kick in, there's no difference in volume at all, taking much of the bite out of certain songs.
Thankfully, the new Bob Ludwig-produced Siamese Dream remaster sounds absolutely amazing, especially on a decent stereo. Jimmy Chamberlin's drums have a little more "oomph" to them, and when Billy's (and James,' if he even played on the album) multi-layered guitars kick into overdrive, it's as devastatingly intense as if the Pumpkins were playing live right in front of you, if not more so. Soma, in particular, has never sounded better, and when Billy's epic solo takes over, it's almost too much to handle.
There's plenty of reviews here that talk about how timeless this album is, but I just wanted to alleviate any fears people may be having about the new remaster. Siamese Dream (and Gish) sounds better than ever, and the bonus disc of mostly unreleased material, along with the live DVD, makes the deluxe version well worth spending the extra cash. Tracks like STP, Moleasskiss, and Hello Kitty Kat (different arrangement from the Pisces version) would have been grade-A material for most bands, but for SP, they're just three in a mountain of very good songs deemed "not quite a fit" for their albums, hence relegated to B-Sides and outtakes collections such as this, Pisces, the Aeroplane box set, and Judas O. The DVD captures a 1993 show at Chicago's Metro Cabaret, and its definitely cool to have a high-quality document showcasing the original band at or near its absolute peak, with some old-school moshing and crowd-surfing thrown in for good measure.
Overall, whether you're a hardcore SP fan or a casual fan wanting to go deeper than their Greatest Hits, you can't go wrong with either version of this reissue. Now, if Corgan and Ludwig do as good of a job with Mellon Collie as they did with Siamese Dream and Gish, I will be a very happy man indeed. All I know is that, between these reissues and the upcoming new album, it's a good time to be Pumpkins fan.