REBORN IN BLASPHEMY
A Very Brief And Incomplete History Of Re-Recorded Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Albums.
As we hit the 50th anniversary of Heavy Metal this year (2020), as Managing Editor of Metal-Rules.com, one of my goals is to try to add more editorial content and technical information so people can use MR not only as a source of entertainment but reliable information as well. In our 30,000+ pages of content, we have written almost 14,000 CD reviews, 500+ book reviews, 400+ DVD reviews. Over 25 years we have conducted over 2000 interviews, and our international staff have reviewed over 1700 concerts and festivals world-wide.
We are also celebrating our 25th year as a web-site so to add even more value for our readers I would like to add a series of articles about various facets of Heavy Metal. Every year, I am increasingly happy to discover more and more authors, books, on-line publications, scholars and academic studies scouring our massive archives, citing and sharing our work. Therefore, my modest goal is to continue to make Metal-Rules a resource and repository on a variety of (hopefully!) interesting topics and not just a shallow dumping ground of regurgitated press-releases, click-bait, pop-up ads, political posturing, countless lists and rankings of albums, and endless industry gossip. There are plenty of good sites that already do that well and they are all enjoyable in their own way.
Each feature in this series is named after a Metal band, album, song title or lyric. Our first feature was a history of Canadian Metal magazines and then we looked at Supergroups and then Tribute albums. This month I am going to look at the phenomena of bands that re-record albums.
If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas for future articles, please let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
If you want to skip the long article, you can just scroll down and look at the list of bands!
What is a re-recorded album?
It’s pretty self-explanatory. On occasion, a band will at some point decide they want to re-record old songs and reissue them again. This is different than remastering, which is very common, the process of creating a new ‘Master’ source, a hard copy for future duplication. This is also different from remixing, which is even more rare, when a band will go and re-manipulate the original recordings. For a list of honourable mentions of noteworthy remixed albums please see Appendix A.
For our purpose we are discussing albums where the band goes into a studio and actually re-record the songs. In addition, I opted to only focus on complete re-recordings, not the many variations of the concept. (see Exclusions and Appendices below)
History and timeline.
The re-recording phenomena is very rare, far less than one-tenth of a percent of bands have ever done this. The first Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band to do this is, to the best of my knowledge was Bitches Sin in 1989. The phenomena of re-recording songs was extremely rare all through the 90’s and then at the turn of the century more and more bands started to do it.
There does not seem to be any specific geographical trend or pattern of re-recorded albums that emerges. As expected the countries with the most metal bands (America, England, Germany) produce the most number of re-recorded albums. Although not enough of these re-recorded albums exist to consider this a trend, Japanese bands seem to favourite-recording material with several of the bigger bands doing several each. There seems to be quite a few Italian Power Metal bands that seem to like to re-record albums as well.
It seems like an odd or unnecessary thing to do to many music consumers, and I believe that is why re-recorded albums are exceedingly rare. There is little demand for these albums. At times, the public doesn’t see the need and accordingly won’t purchase these products. A common sentiment is that the changes are not usually significant enough to justify a repurchase of something the original fan might already own. Additionally, some fans think that it is blasphemy or altar the original musical creation, hence my chosen title of this article, which is also the name of infamous Death Metal demo.
For the record, I don’t mind re-recordings. I actually really enjoy comparing the nuances between both versions (original vs. remake) and buy them as often as I can. Sometimes I like the original better, sometimes the re-recorded version better, it is a case-by-case basis. Why not support the band I like and buy both versions?
There are five main reasons why an artist/band may choose to re-record their material. There does not seem to be any one reason that is cited more often. Often it is a combination of all three reasons that lead to the decision.
- Artist Satisfaction.
At times the artist just wants to redo their art. Often they didn’t have the available technology at the time to create what they wanted their vision to be. This is a bit more common with older bands who during the days of analog recording used tube amps and were splicing old tape, and now want to take advantage of modern digital programs like QBase or Protools. Now there are new, better more modern amps and effects, to recreate and/or refresh their record. This justification is becoming less common as most recording is done digitally these days and limitations of time, budget and gear are less common. Microphones are better, amps are better and as many musicians are gear heads, any excuse to play with new toys (often provided via endorsements) is a good reason to re-record old stuff. An example of this is the pair of Destruction albums THRASH ANTHEMS and THRASH ANTHEMS II are re-recorded collections to try to achieve the sound the band could not back in 1984 with no time, no budget, inferior gear and not much experience. Schmier is on record saying he wanted to re-record these songs with new technology for many years.
- Fresh Meat.
It’s no secret that at times bands evolve and members come and go. A long-standing band may have mostly all new members and want to rerecord those old songs with the new members. It is as simple as that. An example is the recent (2016) Bonfire double compilation album called PEARLS, a career-spanning selection of tracks re-recorded with the new members for the bands 30thanniversary.
- Show me the money.
Industry reasons can be a powerful factor. If a band records an album and does not own the rights to their songs, they may chose to re-record their old material for their new record label and/or to keep the revenue generated from the sale of those new versions.
A classic example is that Twisted Sister does not own the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) rights to their hit album, STAY HUNGRY. Those songs still have value and the owner of that IPR licenses those songs (e.g., “We’re Not Going To Take It’) to other organizations who they pay a fee to use that song in their TV commercial, video game or film soundtrack. Unfortunately perhaps, the band does not see a dime from this practice and the revenue is retained by the holder of the IPR. To circumvent this, Twisted Sister completely re-recorded STAY HUNGRY in 2004 and released it as STILL HUNGRY, which presumably they own the rights to and can see a revenue stream from. It is one small way a band can fight back against punitive contracts that were signed when bands were young and perhaps did not understand the legal implications of the contract they signed.
As an extended example, in 2002, Sharon Osbourne was the subject of controversy when she announced that classic Ozzy solo albums BLIZZARD OF OZ and DIARY OF A MADMAN were being re-recorded to remove the performances of Bob Daisley (bass) and Lee Kerslake (drums). This was done so the Ozzy organization would no longer have to pay them royalties and was publically stated as such. Although the financial details were not made public it is very likely the people who performed the new tracks, Robert Trujillo (bass) and Mike Bordin (drums) were paid a one-time performance fee with no rights to future revenue and/or royalty streams. Some people consider this an industry low-point in terms of justifying re-recording a classic album.
- Happy Birthday.
It is very common for an artist to commemorate an anniversary by re-recording an album. My estimate puts at least 80% of all re-recorded albums tie into a 10th, 15th, 20th(etc) anniversary of the band or a particular album. The rest of the time, they albums are a fun diversion or stop-gap while the band works on the next full, true studio album.
- We’re Back!
On of the least common are bands that have been away for many, many years and then reunite and re-record old catalogue classics as a way to reintroduce the band back into the market and perhaps even assess public demand or interest. For example when Sweden’s Torch reunited in 2009 after a 25-year break, they released an album of re-recorded songs called DARK SINNER. No one noticed and they promptly disappeared again.
How many re-recorded albums are there?
My best estimate puts it at about 200 albums to date. This number is of course increasing very slowly. While many bands re-record a single song and maybe add it as a bonus track to alternate pressings, this phenomena of re-recording an entire album is really quite rare.
Types of re-recorded albums.
There are two basic ways that bands have approached this concept.
- A band will re-record an entire album. Sometime they will rename it or more often alter the album title or art slightly to indicate it is a re-recording of older material.
- A band will re-record selected songs from previous albums and put them into one new album which will be it’s own stand-alone product with a new name and cover art.
At times there will be a double-disc packages with both versions the original and re-recorded version but these are even more rare. Quite often a band will use Roman numerals to distinguish the new version from the old.
Design and layout of this article.
As with most of these articles in this series, I’m listing the albums in chronological then alphabetically by band to demonstrate the evolution of the phenomena. I didn’t list all of them there are too many, but this is a good sample size from some of the bigger bands. Labels and dates are of the re-recorded album, unless otherwise noted.
I’ve included a few personal comments here and there as well as identifying if it is a full album re-record or song compilation style and when possible try to explain the reason why the band redid it. Sometimes the bands are fully on record as to their motivation to re-record old material at times they are more discreet, which to me indicates it may be more of a legal and/or financial decision. I don’t judge, it is the right of the artist!
I’ve also included the original album art just below the picture of re-recorded version just to compare if the art is different, which most of the time it is.
I opted to have some variations and exclusions to keep the size of the article manageable.
I’m not including bands that have re-recorded demos. If you include demos you would have to consider all Metal albums that went through the demo stage to be ‘re-recorded’. There are thousands of demos that got re-recorded, so many as to make the concept obsolete.
The whole concept of a demo (which is also now virtually obsolete anyway) was to provide a brief ‘demonstration’ of what they were capable of, to a record label that would then pay to rent a studio and hire a producer to make (in theory) a superior version. For example, the 2005 Falkenbach album HERALDING THE FIREBLADE is a re-recording of a demo from 1995. Demos are not formally ‘for sale’ until the secondary market so these are excluded from this article.
- Language variations.
I’m also not including too many specialty language re-recordings. Several bands who do not speak/sing in English as their native tongue have recorded two versions of albums, one in their own language and an English version. An early example of this is DISILLUSION by Loudness. Their fourth studio album, recorded in 1984 has two versions, English and Japanese. These are not ‘true’ re-recordings. At the time the singer just sings two sets of lyrics, one in each language and the producer drops the vocals in later in post-production. There are a few of these examples and I mention them in Appendix B.
- Single songs.
Many, many albums have one song redone as a bonus track or whatever, too many to list, so for our criteria, it is full album or at a minimum and EP or MCD, if you prefer.
For these next three categories (below) I debated about including them but these types of album have sort of a different intention and execution. Also there are so many examples, again, our list would so long as to be unmanageable.
I’m not including releases when a band reissues a collection of old songs with the old vocals stripped off and the new singer re-sings the old songs. (See Appendix C) for a few examples.
- Acoustic remakes. (See Appendix D)
- Orchestral remakes (See Appendix E)
As you can see by the number of exceptions and variations the number of types of re-recording is actually quite large but for our purposes we are focusing on the core concept and not all the interesting variations. The appendices will give some of these variations an honourable mention.
The Future of re-recorded albums
I personally feel we will see a steady pattern or perhaps even a slight decline in the number of re-recorded albums coming onto the market, despite an increase in the total number of studio albums being created. The reason is simple. Some of the reasons (listed above) to re-record an album are all become less relevant in today’s musical industry and environment. Modern digital technology has all but eliminated the need to re-record an album due to poor analog sound quality and/or gear.
Secondly, very few, if any bands these days sign punitive contracts to big record labels. Bands have learned from the past and now are more knowledgeable in protecting their intellectual property rights. Beside most Metal bands on the planet are at the indie-level or on specialty Metal record labels that are more artist friendly. There hasn’t been any discernable year-to-year increase in the number of these albums over the past 25 years.
In conclusion, the merit and/or justification for re-recording an album or collection of songs is a personal decision made by the band as is the consumers decision to support these releases or not.
Please enjoy this list of re-recorded Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums.
-June 1st, 2020 Added Baron Rojo to Appendix B (Thanks to R. Singer for this addition)
-June 1st, 2020 Added Great White to Appendix E
-June 1st, 2020 Added Doro to Appendix D
-June 9th, 2020 Added L.A. Guns-Cocked and Reloaded and Black Beauties. (Thanks to Christopher Hilton)
-June 13, 2020 Added Grave Digger and FM
-June 23, 2020 Added Mantic Ritual, Bang Tango, Bon Jovi, Firehouse Pretty Boy Floyd, Warrant
(1989, GI Records)
I believe this is the very first Heavy Metal example of a band re-recording an album. Originally released in 1986 the band had line-up changes. In 1989 they released a re-recorded version for the UK market with alternate cover art.
LOUDNESS-On The Prowl (1991, Atco)
Seven of the ten tracks are re-recorded versions of old tracks with new singer Mike Vescara in attempt to appeal to the North America audience. It didn’t work, Vescara departed shortly after and the band roared back in 1992 with a new self-titled, Japanese-only, album with a new bassist and singer. Even though it the 10thanniversary of the band, this album was not advertised or promoted as such, neither was the fact that it was mostly old songs re-recorded.
RUNNING WILD-The First Years Of Piracy
An early example of a selection of tracks being re-recorded. The band had new members and wanted to redo some old classics from the first three studio albums. 10thanniversary of the band since the first demo in 1981.
WARFARE- A Crescendo Of Reflections
A 10thanniversary re-recording of old tracks. This was also reissued again in 1993 as Decade of Decibels with alternate art.
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES-Still Cyco After All These Years
To commemorate the 10thanniversary of the first self-titled Suicidal Tendencies album (Frontier Records, 1983) it was re-recorded with the new members. The first re-recorded album on a major label. Note the new album art pays tribute to the original. (below)
CYCLONE TEMPLE-My Friend Lonely
The band got a new singer and new label and re-recorded the six song EP BUILDING ERRORS IN THE MACHINE with a new singer.
SABER TIGER-Paragraph II
(1994, Future Force)
Saber Tiger, along with Anthem, Bow Wow and Loudness, stands among the ‘Big Four’ of the first wave of Japanese Metal. Founded in 1981, the 10thanniversary record PARAGRAPH was a collection of rarities. It was followed up four years later with this collection of re-recorded songs. Followed by PARAGRAPH III and PARAGRAPH IV both collections of re-recorded songs.
(1996, Radiation Records)
Incubus have a long confusing history with the band changing their name to Opprobrium and at least four reissues of this record over the years.
ICED EARTH-Days Of Purgatory
(1997, Century Media)
This one is a bit of an honourable mention. With the line-up solidified and the vocalist (Matt Barlow) he always wanted, Jon Schaffer released this cool double disc remake album of tracks from the first four albums. Not completely re-recorded from scratch but heavily retooled. Almost acts as a 10thanniversary release at 9.5 years into the bands career.
VENOM-Cast In Stone
The original line-up reunited and recorded a new album. Some versions included a bonus disc of re-recorded tracks from the first three albums.
FASTWAY-On Target Reworked
(1998, Receiver Records)
The band returned after eight years of inactivity with a re-recording of their fifth album. It was the last thing they ever did.
OPHTHALAMIA-A Long Journey
A re-recording of their debut album, A JOURNEY IN DARKNESS released on another label (Avante-garde) only four years prior.
SABER TIGER-Paragraph III-Museum
(1998, Fandango Records)
More re-recorded tracks.
BANG TANO-Greatest Tricks
A simple re-recording of songs fro the first three albums, mostly the major label stuff.
L.A. GUNS-Black Beauties and Greatest hits
Standard re-recording of old cuts done in the bands more modern style.
LEFAY-Symphony Of The Damned-Resymphonized
Originally released on vinyl in 1990, on an indie label, in extremely small quantities, under the Morgana Lefay banner. In 1997 the band split into two groups one becoming Lefay and one Morgana Lefay. This version of the band (Lefay) dusted off this old gem and re-recorded it.
PRETTY BOY FLOYD-Porn Stars
Pretty much the major label debut album re-recorded.
WARRANT-Latest & Greatest
1999 was a busy year for Deadline Records as they scooped up Warrant and a bunch of other bands (Bang Tango, L.A. Guns, Pretty Boy Floyd) that were pretty much dead in the water, gave them some CPR, and had them re-record older hits. This one had some new songs and remixes.
EDGUY-The Savage Poetry
Coming quite early in the bands career (only five years in) this is a re-recording of the bands indie debut. Some pressings of the new version come with both versions. An original 1995 pressing commands hundreds of dollars.
GAMMA RAY-Blast from The Past
Neat double disc 10thanniversary set with many re-recorded tunes with the new line-up.
L.A. GUNS-Cocked And Re-Loaded (Millennium Edition)
Right on the heels of their other, early album of re-recordings in 1999.
HYPOCRISY-10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion
(2001, Nuclear Blast)
A bit of an hounorable mention here as this 14 track, 10thanniversary set had six re-recorded tracks.
SAXON-Killing Ground (bonus disc)
Some versions of KILLING GROUND came with a bonus disc of tracks from 1979-1984, re-recorded with the new line-up for the new label. It was reissued on it’s own in 2002 with a few more tracks and retitled HEAVY METAL THUNDER.
TESTAMENT-First Strike Still Deadly
The first thrash band to re-record. This is a collection of tracks from the first two albums. The title is a play on words from a song on their 1987 debut album, ‘First Strike Is Deadly’.
KOVENANT, THE-In Times Before The Light
Originally the band was a Black Metal band known as Covenant and released this album in 1997. They switched genres (and the name slightly) to an industrial-Metal style and then remixed and re-recorded their debut album.
MORTICIAN-Final Bloodbath Session
(Primitive Records, 2002)
Re-recorded songs with a real drummer instead of their usual drum machine.
OZZY-Blizzard Of Oz & Diary Of A Madman
See the intro (above) for further detail. The cover art stayed the same but on some pressings some mention was made of the re-recorded version.
SKYCLAD-No Daylights Nor Heeltaps
A two-disc collection of old tunes re-recorded with the new vocalist.
VIRGIN STEELE-The Book Of Burning
(2002, T&T/ Noise)
To commemorate the 20thanniversary of the band they released this which was (mostly) re-recorded tracks from the first two albums.
BON JOVI-This Left Feels Right
Even mighty Bon Jovi tried to rework some of his biggest hits.
JAG PANZER-Decade Of The Nail-Spiked Bat
(2003, Century Media)
A double disc, 10thanniversary re-recording of older material.
A re-recording of old Dokken and early Lynch Mob material. Seemed a bit premature for a band with only three albums under it’s belt.
ANTHRAX-The Greater Of Two Evils
(2004, Nuclear Blast)
The 20thanniversary since the debut album, sees new versions of tracks from the first five albums, now with Bush on vocals.
Straight up re-recording of the bands second album from 1996.
CROWN, THE-Crowned Unholy
(2004, Metal Blade)
A re-recording of the bands fifth album, CROWNED IN TERROR from just a couple of years prior.
Standard re-recording of tracks from the bands first several albums.
(2004, Tokuma Japan)
More re-recordings from Loudness focusing on the first four albums, done in a heavier, more modern style.
TWISTED SISTER-Still Hungry
The 20thanniversary re-recording of the immortal STAY HUNGRY. The band claimed that they were not happy with the original big label, production by Tom Werman.
WINDWRAITH-The Fortune Tellers Gaze (Re-recorded)
(2004, Iron Glory)
Pretty obscure to begin with, the band wanted to redo their debut album of the same name from just three years prior.
DESTINY-Beyond All Sense 2005
New cover art and a complete 20thanniversary re-recording of the Swedish bands debut album.
DIMMU BORGIR-Stormblast MMV
(2005, Nuclear Blast)
New cover art, new lyrics in places and a re-recording of the bands second album.
The whole dungeon/Lord discography is confusing to say the least. This is a re-recording of the bands 1999 indie debut.
EVEMASTER-MMIV Lacrimae Mundi
A re-recording of the bands second album.
(2005, Black Mark)
A collection of re-recorded songs from the bands first four albums.
SACRED OATH-A Crystal Revision
Sacred Oath produced just one admittedly underground, but well-received album in 1987 called A CRYSTAL VISION and then faded away. They came roaring back ten years later with a re-recording of the band to reintroduce themselves and have been active and prolific ever since.
TEN-The Essential Collection 1995-2005
As you might surmise from the title, the 10thanniversary collection is huge. Disc 1 is ‘Rockers’ and Disc 2 is ‘Ballads’ and the 19 tracks are drawn from the previous seven studio albums.
VICTORY-Fuel To The Fire
A collection of re-recorded hits.
A 10thanniversary re-recording of their second album with the original cover art restored.
Standard collection of re-recorded songs. It is a neat coincidence that three of the ‘Big Four’ of German thrash bands all released re-recorded collections in 2007. THRASH ANTHEMS II came out 10 years later.
HELSTAR-Sins Of The Past
Re-recorded songs from the first four albums.
Jorn signed over to Frontiers from AFM and re-recorded some older songs.
This very cool collection deserves an honourable mention. The title refers to a re-release combination of the ANNO SATANAE demo and a re-recording of the UNDER THE MOONSPELL debut EP. While not every track is a total re-recording, the debut EP is re-recorded and the cover arts pays tribute as well.
SODOM-The Final Sign Of Evil
Tracks from the debut EP re-recorded with a bunch of bonus stuff and original members contributing. The second of three of the ‘Big Four’ of German thrash to put out a re-recorded piece that year.
TANKARD-Best Case Scenario-25 Years In Beers
And lastly the third of the ‘Big Four’ of German thrash do their 25thanniversary re-recording.
Another honourable mention for this semi-acoustic remake album of old cuts.
EXODUS-Let There Be Blood
This is one of the more well known re-recorded albums on the market, but known for the wrong reasons. This self released, re-recording of the classic debut BONDED BY BLOOD was not at all well-received. I like it. It sounds deadly to me.
As simple as you can get, XXV is a 25thanniversary re-recording of tracks from the first seven (pre-Regain-era) albums.
ARCH ENEMY-The Root Of All Evil.
(2009, Century Media)
This one was well-received and made sense as the band has had many line-up changes and a significant change in style. These are tracks from the first three (pre-Angela) albums re-done.
LARS ERIC MATTSSON-No Surrender + Live
Prolific guitar hero and founder of guitar specialty label, Lion music, re-recorded his sophomore album on it’s 20thanniversary.
(2009, Nuclear Blast)
An interesting scenario. The indie band Meltdown recorded their debut album EXECUTIONER in 2007. They got singed to Nuclear Blast, changed the band name and re-recorded the whole thing. They also redid the cover art but kept the album title and motif. Both versions are excellent.
The aforementioned comeback CD by Torch.
AMORPHIS-Magic & Mayhem-Tales From The Early Years
(2010, Nuclear Blast)
A solid 20th anniversary collection of re-recorded songs from the first three albums. Not too many Metal albums have a fish on the cover.
ANACRUSIS-Hindsight: Suffering Hour & Reason Revisited
The title gives it away. Very cool, self-produced, two-disc set is a treasure trove for fans of this cult band. Each was released separately six years later.
Dokken has always had pretty solid sound quality and this re-recording of songs from the first four albums seemed a bit unnecessary, with at least eight other ‘Greatest Hits’ style Dokken compilations on the market. Boring title too.
In the liner notes the band said they did not want to do a standard 25thanniversary package so they re-recorded old songs in very different, not-Metal styles; jazz, classical, swing, lounge, acoustic, piano, ballads etc. Maybe people didn’t get the joke or the German sense of humour but virtually no one liked it.
MANOWAR-Battle Hymns MMXI
(2010, Magic Circle Music)
Ever since Manowar built their own studio and started their own record label, they have been remixing, re-mastering, re-recording and reissuing all sorts of stuff. This one is a bit of a mess. Intended to be a 30thanniversary album it says MMXI (2011) on the cover but it actually came out in MMX (2010) but the actual 30thanniversary of BATTLE HYMNS is MMXII (2012)!
SKYLARK- Zenbu (All)
The definition of ‘big in Japan’, this lesser known, Italian Power Metal band released this 15th anniversary, two-disc set intended for the Asian market. Disc 1 is re-recorded material.
BURZUM-From The Depths Of Darkness
20 years into the bands career Varg re-recorded cuts from the first two Burzum albums.
Standard re-recording of the major label stuff.
GIRL SCHOOL-Hit And Run Revisited
On the 20thanniversary of their second album the band re-recorded it. Clever continuation of the idea on the cover art.
KINGDOM COME-Rendered Waters
Re-recorded cuts from the first three Kingdom Come albums.
SABER TIGER-Paragraph IV
30thanniversary, two-disc re-recording of old tracks. I believe Saber Tiger has more re-recorded releases than any other metal band to date.
CATAMENIA-The Rewritten Chapters
The last thing this prolific and under-rated band released before disbanding was a re-recording of old songs.
HOLY MOSES-30th Anniversary:In The Power Of Now
This self-explanatory collection of re-recorded songs has 22 tracks.
MALICE-New Breed Of Godz
This short-lived, but respected US Power Metal band retuned after a 23 year absence with an album made of mostly re-recorded songs and a few new tracks as well.
25th Anniversary collection with re-recorded songs pulled from the first six albums.
VISION DIVINE-Destination Set to Nowhere
Some versions of this album came with a bonus disc of nine re-recorded songs. It was issued to tie in with bands early roots and 15th anniversary. The bonus disc was later issued as a stand-alone title called BEST OF with alternate artwork in 2017 for the 20th anniversary.
A new singer precipitated a re-recording of old tunes from the first four albums.
Some versions of this came with a bonus disc called RE-KILL which had fifteen re-re-recorded songs with Padden on vocals.
FREEDOM CALL-Ages Of Light 1993-2013
This two disc 20thanniversary set had a second disc called ‘Masqueraded’ with six re-recorded tracks done in very unusual (not-Metal) styles such as Reggae and Ska!
GALNERYUS-The Iron Hearted Flag Vol I: Regeneration Side
10thanniversary of the debut album, the band released Part I and 2 simultaneously and Part I is re-recorded versions of old songs with new vocalist Ono.
IMPALED-The Dead Still Dead Remain
This is a re-recording of the bands debut album, THE DEAD SHALL DEAD REMAIN, hence the clever title and new artwork. Death Metal bands don’t seem to do as many re-recordings, but this one is very well done.
SINNER-A Touch Of Sin 2
No anniversary for this one, but after 17 albums Sinner decided to redo some old songs. Despite a title reference to their 4th album, TOUCH OF SIN in 1985, and very similar cover art, this is not a re-recording of that album, as one might be led to believe.
The bands first album on their new label, Frontiers, is a re-recording of 14 old tracks.
FLOTSAM & JETSAM-No Place for Disgrace 2014
(2014, Metal Blade)
Not sure why the band decided to re-record their second album 24 years later. The cool cover art is a bit of an in-joke for fans.
MANOWAR-Kings Of Metal MMXIV
(2014, Magic Circle)
A pretty massive overhaul of their iconic album. This two CD set is not only re-recorded but has new versions, new lyrics and so on.
PRETTY MAIDS-Louder Than Ever
A nice 30thanniversary set that focuses on many of the lesser known, mellower songs of the band getting re-recorded much heavier and faster, instead of just redoing the hits. It has four bonus tracks too.
SONATA ARCTICA-Ecliptica Revisited: 15thAnniversary Edition
(2014, Nuclear Blast)
The title says it all. I don’t think needed to be redone myself, the debut is fine the way it is.
VULCAIN-Rock ‘n’ Roll Secours
This one went under many peoples radar. The band reissued their 1984 album debut on the 30thanniversary and it came with a bonus disc of the whole album completely re-recorded and new cover art.
DRAKKAR-Run With The Wolf
(2015, My Kingdom Music)
Another Italian Power Metal band that likes to re-record stuff. This time lesser known’s Drakkar issued this album with a bonus disc called ‘Coming From The Past’ with re-recorded songs from the first three albums.
EXHUMED-Gore Metal: A Necrospective 1998-2015
To me this is a psychological twin-sister to IMPALED’S re-recorded debut a couple of years prior. This time we get the Exhumed debut album with new art, again with a tip of the hat to the original. Nicely done set in a two-disc package with both versions and a big essay.
GRAVE DIGGER-Exhumation (The Early Years)
A re-recording of the songs from the first four albums, the Noise Records era, plus a few bonus tracks.
MAGO DE OZ-Finistera Opera Rock
Possibly Spain’s biggest Metal band, huge in Latin America too, but virtually unknown anywhere else, re-recorded their classic FINISTERRA album from 15 years prior which actually had a bit of distribution at the time in North America on Locomotive.
MAD MAX-Thunder, Storm and Passion
30thanniversary disc with re-recorded songs from their three early albums, ROLLIN’ THUNDER, STORMCHILD and NIGHT OF PASSION, hence the title.
SECRET SPHERE-A Time Never Come: 2105 Edition
Yet another Italian Power Metal bands celebrating a 15thanniversary.
The aforementioned 30thAnniversary album.
CRADLE OF FILTH-Dusk And Her Embrace: The Original Sin
Some very interesting history here. In 1995 the band recorded this album. Due to line-up changes, legal and financial reasons it was never released. It was quickly re-recorded with a new line-up and released on a different record label, Music For Nations, the following year. So now 20 years later, Cacophonous has resurrected and issued this expanded, original version. Technically the 1996 version was the re-recorded version but because it was not available to the public, this gets a honourable mention here.
EINHERJER-Dragons Of The North
(2016, Indie Records)
A straight-up 20thanniversary re-recording of the bands debut.
A re-recording of the 1986 debut with multiple bonus tracks.
A 35thAnniversary re-recording of songs from the first three or four albums. The band’s third stab at re-recording stuff.
BOREALIS-World Of Silence MMXVII
Once the band got on a bigger label they decided to redo their indie, debut album. The cover art, a picture of Toronto, Ontario on an average summer day, didn’t need much changing except the addition of the traditional Roman numerals and new logo.
DESTRUCTION-Thrash Anthems II
(2017, Nuclear Blast)
Part II, this time, 10 years on, commemorating their 30thanniversary.
IRON SAVIOUR-Reforged:Riding On Fire
It was the 20thanniversary of the debut, a new label, a new line-up and as consumers struggled to find the old albums on the market, that made it an easy decision for Iron Saviour to re-record this two-disc set of songs from the Noise Records era.
The incredibly twisted tale of the mighty band that split into three versions with members trading back and forth between the bands is legendary, but that is not the reason for the title. It was 20 years ago that the band legendary first album LEGENDARY TALES was released and this version of the band decided to introduce their new singer with a re-recorded album with songs drawn from the first five, (did I say legendary?) albums on Limb Records.
CORELEONI-The Greatest Hits-Part I
An interesting scenario. Guitarist and founder, Leo Leoni temporarily splits off (on good terms) from his man band the long-running and very successful Swiss act, Gotthard, recruits some guys and re-records some old Gotthard songs. It went so well he did it again in 2019.
Suicidal Tendencies-Still Cyco Punk After All These Years
(2018, Suicidal Records)
Mike Muir takes another shot at re-recording songs from past, this time a redo of his lesser known, 1995 solo album, Lost My Brain (Once Again)
(2019, Ward Records)
Yet another, long-running and prolific Japanese bands re-recording old songs with new members.
AXXIS-30thAnniversary Best of EMI Years
Dull title, dull cover but it gets the point across as this long-running German band re-records two discs worth of songs from their major label era.
A quick follow up from 2018 (see above)
(2019, Massacre Records)
A clever title. It is said that hindsight is 2020, and although this long-running Swiss band released their two-disc, 20thanniversary album of re-recorded songs in 2019.
In late 1978 Australia’s Rose Tattoo released their self-titled debut album. 40 years later it gets re-recorded with a new title.
SUIDAKRA-Echoes Of Yore
(2019, MDD Records)
A nice 10-track, 25th anniversary collection of re-recorded songs drawn from the first five albums.
This is just some bonus stuff of various categories that I decided to separate out for ease of research and reading. I could have packed all of this into one big list but now these subtle differences in re-recordings each have their own appendix. These lists are not completely comprehensive but give you an overview of the style and the bigger name bands who have done them. All of these types of releases represent less than one-100thof a percent (0.01%) of all Metal releases so that makes them that much more exciting for fans, valuable to collectors and interesting for academics and historians. As with the main article above all of the original album art is pictured below the re-recording.
Appendix A: Remixes
Countless bands have remixed albums, too many to list but there are a handful of notorious albums that got redone. I say notorious because most of these bands were unhappy about the original mix and often quite vocal about it, so much so they wanted to redo the mix. For many re-mixes only audiophiles can hear the difference but for many of these albums there was a significant change in sound.
Dokken reformed and in 1994 released a self-titled album in Japan only. Less than a year later a remixed version was issued for the North American market with alternate title and art. They sound significantly different.
DORO-Machine II Machine: Electric Club mixes
In the mid -90’s like many Metal artists Doro was trying to reinvent herself. In 1995 she released MACHINE II MACHINE which has an industrial sound. There was also the remix version which significantly altered the sound again. These were released almost simultaneously and were more of an experimental and less driven by unhappiness with the production first version. It was probably clever to do both and not risk alienating the fans of her more traditional style of Metal.
HYPOCRISY-Catch 22 V2.0.08
(2008, Nuclear Blast)
The band was pretty unhappy with the original mix so Peter Tagtgren redid his own mix with superior results say most.
NEVERMORE-Enemies Of Reality
(2013, Century Media)
15 years after the release of the original version Nevermore released a remixed version with slightly altered cover art. The band was unhappy with Kelly Gray’s production and hired hot-shot producer Andy Sneap to redo it.
RUSH-Vapour Trails Remixed
Honourable Hard Rock mention here. The band was at an emotional and creative low-point when they recorded the original back in 2002. Legend has it they were victims of ‘the loudness wars’ . Ten years later they rectified it to the approval of most fans.
IRON SAVIOUR-Megatropolis 2.0
The band was pretty unhappy with the original sound of their own production job. I didn’t think it was that bad but they redid it anyway.
An example of the band being unhappy with the sound of the album they put out just seven years before.
KIX-Fuse 30 Reblown – 30th Anniversary Special Edition
On the 30thanniversary (almost to the exact day!) of the release of their best-selling, platinum album, BLOW MY FUSE, Kix hired Beau Hill to remix it. They had worked with Hill on the previous album MIDNITE DYNAMITE and were allegedly unhappy with Tom Werman’s production job.
Appendix B: Multi-language albums
A few bands whose primary language is not English, will record two sets of vocals in two languages. These are a few of the more well-known examples and bands like Trust pioneering the way with several multiple language versions.
BARON ROJO-Volumen Brutal
One of the earliest examples. Spain’s ‘Red Baron’ put out an English version of their second album simultaneously.
LOUDNESS-DISILLUSION (English and Japanese)
An early example of a Japanese band issuing two versions, first the Japanese version then the English one. The band would do this a few more times over the years with albums like HURRICANE EYES and RACING.
SORTILEGE-Metamorphosis (English and French)
Cover art has a very slight change in the spelling in the title.
TURBO-Last Warrior (English and Polish)
Starting with their 4thalbum, Poland’s Turbo released dual language (English/Polish) versions of many of their albums.
RATOS DE PORAO-Brazil (English and Portuguese)
English version of BRASIL released in ’89 on Eldorado.
Appendix C: New Singers
Another very rare occurrence is when a band gets a new signer and they simply strip away the vocal track of the former signer and record the new singer, without altering anything else.
One of the earliest examples. When Bruce Dickinson joined Samson in about 1981, the band has him re-sing most of the album. The new vocal tracks stayed in the can until about 1990 when the album was reissued with the bonus tracks with Bruce singing.
DANGER DANGER –Cockroach
Originally sung by Ted Poley, his version in 1993 got shelved for several years and the new version sung by Paul Laine in 1994 never saw the light of day. It was later reissued in 2001 as a two-disc set with both versions.
LEATHERWOLF-New World Asylum
This new version of WORLD ASYLUM was issued a year later with slightly altered title and album art after Wade Black left and Michael Oliveri joined.
BETHLEHEM-A Sacrificial Offering to the Kingdom of Heaven in a Cracked Dog’s Ear
(2009, Red Stream)
The new version of 1998 album, SARDONISCHER UNTERGANG IM ZEICHEN IRRELIGIOSER DARBIETUNG with new cover art, new label, new logo and new vocalist.
WARLORD-The Hunt For Damien
Old Warlord songs with new vocalist Nicholas Leptos singing.
Appendix D: Orchestral versions.
Most Metal bands have no interest in working with an orchestra. Additionally, re-recording an album with an orchestra is extremely time-consuming to rearrange the songs and very expensive to execute. Accordingly, there are very few examples of this type. Keep in mind this is different than a band doing a live album with an orchestra, that is much more common than a studio orchestral/symphonic re-recording.
While not technically a full album of new songs, Rage was a pioneer of mixing classical and Metal and redoing their songs with an orchestra, especially during Victor Smolski’s tenure with the band. They produced many EP’s and singles or orchestral re-records culminating in the LMO project.
A selection of Warlock and Doro solo songs redone with an orchestra.
MY DYING BRIDE-Evinta
A career spanning selection of re-recorded orchestral versions.
CRADLE OF FILTH-Midnight In The Labyrinth
A fine selection of re-recorded orchestral versions of tracks picked from the first four albums.
NIGHTWISH-Imaginaerum Orchestral Version
(2012, Nuclear Blast)
This was a big album for the band with no less than four versions; the original, an instrumental version, an orchestral version and a film-score version to tie in the with feature length film based on the album.
A collection of various Jorn tracks from over the years redone with a symphony.
SAXON-Unplugged and Strung Up
A mix of acoustic tracks and re-recorded orchestral versions.
EPICA-Consign to Oblivion
The reissue of the band’s second album came a bonus CD of orchestral version of the album.
Appendix E Acoustic versions.
While acoustic albums in Metal are very rare, an acoustic re-recording of studio tracks is even more rare and a complete album re-recorded acoustically is exceedingly rare. When this type of recording is attempted most often it is a collection of songs from several albums, and more often than not they are done by Melodic Metal or Hard rock bands, whose music lends itself to mellower interpretations. Quite often they are just bonus tracks or an EP.
Again, keep in mind this is different than a band doing a live acoustic album that is much more common than a studio acoustic album. The acoustic studio re-recording of songs didn’t become popular until the early 90’s, perhaps popularized in part by the MTV program, Unplugged, and even then very rarely. However, acoustic albums are more common than orchestral albums and here is a list from some of the bigger name bands.
M.S.G.-Nightmare: The Acoustic M.S.G.
This Japanese-only EP is one of the very earliest examples of band re-recording older songs acoustically. Originally a German Maxi-single, it got expanded into a full EP the following year. This successful EP led to a short live unplugged tour and live album later that year.
A five song EP of acoustic versions of songs from the first three albums.
Some of the bands greatest hits done acoustically.
HEAVENS GATE-In The Mood
A five song EP of acoustic versions of songs from the first four albums.
WHITESNAKE-Starkers In Tokyo
An honourable mention here, this was technically performed ‘live’ in front of a very small studio audience at an invitational-only, promo tour in Japan. This cleverly titled EP (starkers means naked i.e., stripped down) was reissued in 2018 as UNZIPPED.
MEGADETH-Cryptic Sounds (No Voices In Your Head)
An interesting little, Japanese-only, five song EP of acoustic versions of songs from CRYPTIC WRITINGS with no vocals.
RAGE-In Vain: Rage In Acoustic
Yet another little Japanese-only acoustic EP.
A four song EP.
AXXIS-Best of Ballads and Acoustic Specials
Two disc set with disc two being acoustic re-recordings.
MAD MAX-In White
(2006, AOR Heaven)
Nice little acoustic EP.
YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN-Angels Of Love
(2009, Rising Force)
Acoustic remake album of several of the ballads from across his caeer.
TONY HARNELL-Round Trip
Ex- TNT singer redoes a bunch of old TNT songs, the ones he sang, in acoustic form.
TESLA-Twisted Wires And The Acoustic Sessions
For a band known for it’s acoustic sound, the band sure took a long time to redo their old songs in acoustic form.
SONATA ARCTICA-Stones Grow Her Name
(2012, Nuclear Blast)
Over the years the band has done a few acoustic concerts. The Japanese ‘tour edition’ came with a bonus CD of four songs from the album done acoustically.
KATATONIA-Dethroned and Uncrowned
The acoustic version of the DEAD END KINGS album. Clever title.
Many of the original versions of this Killer Dwarfs songs lent themselves to an acoustic sound so it is not a surprise that Russ Dwarf redid some old KD classics acoustically.
A rough translation of this Swiss band’s album title is ‘Warrior Songs’. It is an acoustic remake of their older songs.
SAMMY HAGAR-Lite Roast
Sammy always was an acoustic guy at heart and he embraces his inner beach-bum with acoustic remakes of Van Halen and some solo stuff.
One of Spain’s biggest Metal bands decided to celebrate their 10thalbum with a two-disc set. Disc One is re-recorded tracks and disc two is acoustic versions of older songs.
One might guess from the title that this is a three disc set. Disc 2 is called ‘Un-plugged: The Watersound Studios Sessions’ and Waters redoes some songs from the first few albums.
GREAT WHITE-Acoustic Bytes
A solid collection of 80’s hits from Great White.
Thank you reading this feature. I hope you enjoyed it!