“Danse Macabre” remastered deluxe edition
(Saddle Creek Records)
Rating: ★★★ (out of four)
“Danse Macabre” makes me want to dance around my bedroom the exact same way it did back in 2001 when my friend Chris played it for me the first time.
Saddle Creek Records has released a three-disc package of the remastered album that also includes extra goodies (songs and videos).
If you’ve never heard “Danse Macabre” before, get ready for some electro dance punk — rock songs full of enough precision beats and techno-sounding melodies to get you off the couch and grooving.
As before, “Agenda Suicide” and “Glass Danse” are the highlights for me. The album itself sounds great, but I don’t notice anything in the remaster that’s abundantly different from the original.
The stuff on this release you’ll want to shell out money for is the extra material: A cover of Bright Eyes’ “Falling Out of Love at This Volume” and Sonic Youth’s “Mote” as well as remixes of “Glass Danse” and “The Conductor” are fantastic.
A DVD of videos, live footage and some behind-the-scenes sort of stuff is also neat. Some of the best stuff is footage of the band’s wild basement shows.
The album’s booklet has the requisite lyrics sheets, as well as an intro from Marc Hawthorne and pages of handwritten lyrics, Polaroids and other items from the band’s history (including a World-Herald article and police report from when Todd Fink was arrested for indecent exposure while on tour with No Doubt.)
Overall, the rerelease has a lot of great content for the biggest of fans as well as anyone who’s wanted this album before, but never made a purchase.
– Kevin Coffey
“Celebration Day” CD/DVD (Atlantic)
Rating: ★★ (out of four)
When Led Zeppelin came back in 2007, every rock fan was excited. Millions of people tried to snag tickets to the band’s performance celebrating the life of Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records.
Apparently, the band recorded it.
The thing I wonder is why it took the band five years to put this out. Obviously, there has been a market for it. And, that said, when it took five years to release, why is the audio of the recorded performance so bad?
It seems to me that the band recorded it for posterity and someone later decided it might be a good idea to release it. The production of both the audio and video feels like an afterthought.
The audio mix isn’t very good — some elements of the band’s sound are completely lost and others are way too prominent. The editing of the video cuts frenetically between band members without giving you time to focus on anything before cutting away again. Also, someone needs to explain why they occasionally used this Instagram-like filter that just made everything blurry.
While most of this whole thing seems like an afterthought, it’s great to see one of the greatest rock bands of all time back together and back onstage. The mixing and editing problems aren’t their fault, and they play extremely well, especially for a band that hasn’t played much together in decades.
Nobody has lost their chops. Golden-haired Robert Plant still has his golden voice. And Jason Bonham — son of the band’s deceased original drummer, John Bonham — performs flawlessly.
Probably the coolest thing in the two-CD, two-DVD set is a single-camera shot of one of the band’s rehearsals. It’s almost as great as the actual performance. I only wish the band members were miked so we could hear their between-song comments.
– Kevin Coffey