Released: 2005, Rykodisc
With Death Angel’s recent reunion and subsequent album of new material it was only a matter of time before some sort of reissues were released. So less than a year after THE ART OF DYING was released, here is ARCHIVES & ARTIFACTS. This new boxset consists of the band’s early Restless Records material, that being remastered versions of both, THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE and FROLIC THROUGH THE PARK as well as a variety of extras coming in the form of demos, unreleased tracks, and a DVD.
Disc one of the set is a remastered version of THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE with the original three song KILL AS ONE demo tacked onto the end. This remastered version of the original classic does not carry much of an improvement in the overall sound. The volume is up but that’s about it, which is about what one should have expected seeing as there weren’t any glaring errors in the sound of the original. The music still hits hard and furious with riffs coming from out of nowhere. The KILL AS ONE demo is a nice addition to the album, while not bringing any new material, it does show the band in their early-mid teens, playing, “Thrashers”, “Kill as One”, and “The Ultra-Violence” about as well and with as much vigour as they would for the recording of THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE. The booklet for this disc is, at least to me, rather inadequate only seeing a few old band pictures as well as a few gig posters with a short quote from Kirk Hammet. The lyrics are MIA which isn’t too impressive as the original release had all the lyrics.
Disc two is the remastered FROLIC THROUGH THE PARK. Now before hearing this set I’d never actually sat down and listened to this album through as I’d heard the song “Bored” and was instantly turned off. I found myself somewhat pleased, as what I believed to be a plummet in quality was more like a stumble. I can’t really comment on the sound of the disc compared to the original release but I have a hard time believing that it’s much better than the original, seeing as how THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE only saw a minimal upgrade in sound. With three bonus tracks in “Dehumanization”, “Silent Killer”, “Witches of Knave” the CD is capped off in a rather lacklustre way. All three of these bonus tracks are pretty uninteresting in their own way but generally suffer from having the band hitting into too much uninteresting groove. There’s definitely a reason why they never showed up on a Death Angel album. The booklet for this disc is a bit better than the previous as it includes a nice little write up from a friend of the band but still, no lyrics or much of anything else, could have done with a short write-up about where the bonus tracks came from.
Disc three is entitled RARITIES and consists of mostly demo recordings from the 1982-1989 period. Also included is an unreleased studio recording in “Betrayed” and a garage recording of a song named after their second album, “Frolic Through the Park”. What can one expect from the bonus disc? Not a whole lot and probably not what you were expecting. The songs have a few good riffs here and there but overall they sound like lesser versions of what would come later in the band’s career. There’s a lot more rocking out, basically no thrash, and it’s definitely heavier on the groove. It shows that the band’s later turn in style was something that had been in the works for years. Disc 3 can be tossed away. As with the bonus tracks on FROLIC THROUGH THE PARK, there’s a reason why these songs never saw a proper release.
Disc 4 is a DVD. The DVD includes the original press kit video that was used to promote the band back when THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE was about to come out, a tv interview from around the time THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE was released and the music videos for “Bored”, “Voracious Souls”, and “Guilty of Innocence”. The DVD isn’t really jam-packed. It would have been much better if some old bootlegs or some sort of archived live footage could have been included to round the DVD out as it’s pretty sparse and there’s basically no replay value to it at all.
With one classic album, one so-so album, a CD of toss aways, a DVD you’ll find interesting for one viewing and a few extras that aren’t worth even listening to this box set is rather worthless for most Death Angel fans. I can only say that if you’re a hardcore fan, go out and buy this… otherwise just buy the original version of THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE and, if you’re interested, the original of FROLIC THROUGH THE PARK as they’re cheaper than this box and without all the fluff.