Released: 2011, Steamhammer
Early in the year can be a bit of a slower time for releases and I’m going to take the time to get through a bit of a backlog of five releases that in my estimation are not quite as important, but still worth discussing for the fans. I’m speaking specifically of a batch of five, double-disc compilations (Collections, Greatest Hits, Best of’s, contractual obligation albums, whatever you want to call them) by some veteran Metal bands; specifically Angra, Circle II Circle, Evergrey, Fair Warning and Royal Hunt. I’ll be blunt, I only have the digital copies of these collections. Everyone knows the true value of these types of collections is found in the presentation (packaging, essays, liner notes, photos etc) and of course, the amount of rare or unreleased material such has new songs, live songs, rare songs, bonus videos or even DVD’s. So, in one sense, these quick reviews are incomplete, public service announcements because I’m only basing these reviews on the digital copies. Please enjoy all the five reviews in this mini-feature but take into account my rating is not necessarily just for the music but the execution of what is essentially re-releasing old songs.
It’s always seemed odd to me when these anniversary collections come out that are not released at a logical point in a bands timeline. Eg. 10th anniversary, 20th anniversary etc. As the title implies A DECADE AND A HALF covers the bands first 15 years and eight studio albums (sort of) and their magnificent live album. It seems their current label, Steamhammer was unable acquire the right to issues the bands music from the first album which means this collection is a bit incomplete. What they have done is include the songs from the first album they could not get the right too and used live tracks from A NIGHT TO REMEMBER to represent THE DARK DISCOVERY. The cover artwork is awesome, a collage of the previous album covers. The double-disc set is about two hours long and has 24 songs. There are a pair of live unplugged songs from the torn album that I can’t figure out where they are from so they could be legitimate unreleased but for the most part there is nothing new or rare on this collection.
The track breakdown is as follows.
THE DARK DISCOVERY (0 songs)
SOLITUDE DOMINANCE TRAGEDY (2 songs)
IN SEARCH OF TRUTH (2 SONGS)
RECREATION DAY (3 songs)
THE INNER CIRCLE (3 songs)
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (4 songs)
MONDAY MORNING APOCALYPSE (2 songs)
TORN (3 songs)
GLORIOUS COLLISION (3 songs)
This collection seems a bit premature and is lacking in execution. Six live versions of songs already released? That seems a bit weak. The songs are all over the map in terms of track sequence. I suspect the band had very little to do with A DECADE AND A HALF.