Friday, October 21, 2011

ETERNAL RYTE "Anthology"

(c)2007 Roxx Productions
Disc 1

  1. Tightrope Dancer
  2. Requiem
  3. Someone To Love
  4. Say Hello
  5. The Killer
  6. Surrender
  7. On The Line
  8. You And Me
  9. The King
  10. No More Lies
  11. Forever Free *
  12. He's A Killer (Version 2) *
  13. No More Lies *
  14. No Place To Hide *
  15. Stand Up *
  16. King Of Kings *
(* 1987 Anthem demo)

Disc 2

  1. Intro **
  2. Armed For Action **
  3. Fight For The Light **
  4. He's A Killer (Version 1) **
  5. Quiet Times **
  6. Run For Your Life **
  7. Winners Take All **
  8. On The Line (live) ***
  9. Fight For The Light (live) ***
  10. Someone (live) ****
  11. Requiem (live) ****
  12. No More Lies (live) +
  13. King Of Kings (live) +
  14. Tightrope Dancer (live) +
(** 1986 unreleased demo, *** Live Metal Mardi Gras, **** Live 10/28/89, +Live Metal Meltdown)

Limited Edition DVD (only 100 copies made)

  1. Fight For the Light (live)
  2. King Of Kings (live)
  3. No More Lies (live)
  4. On The Line (live)
  5. World Requiem (live)
  6. Someone (live)
  7. Tight Rope Dancer (live)
Phil St. Vincent--Vocals
Bobby Smith--Guitars
Fred Gustavson--Bass
Scott Ernest--Drums

Wow.... If there is ANYTHING out there from this band that is not included on this extremely comprehensive collection, I have no idea what it could be, as here we are treated to the band's 1988 full-length album, World Requiem (remastered, no less!), two different demos, and three sets of live material. Oh...and if you pre-ordered the set, you also got a limited edition DVD called A Long Time Comin'... that was limited to just the first 100 pre-orders! That is a lot of material to sort through, but it is a treasure trove for fans of this gone-too-soon Heavenly hair metal band from Southern California!

Musically, disc one is by far the superior disc of the two, which is understandable since it contains the band's only fully produced release in 1988's World Requiem. However, people who have the original Pure Metal release would likely tell you the production on that effort is very bad, even borderline terrible in places, as it is extremely thin sounding with virtually no bottom end. That problem has been rectified here, as this version has been remastered, giving the songs a much fuller, more complete sound. As a result, songs like "Tightrope Dancer", "The Killer", and "On The Line" are really given a chance to shine like they should have originally, and they rival the quality of much of what was coming out of the Sunset Strip scene at the time. "Surrender" is another top-notch rocker, and "You And Me" sounds somewhat Stryper-esque, especially in their Yellow And Black Attack era style. One of my favorite songs by the band, "Someone To Love", comes off even more powerfully now that the mix has been beefed up, and the gang vocals have even more punch to them. Of course, the fact that Bobby Smith is a top-notch guitar hero stands out even more now that the production and mastering has been cleaned up, and I dare say he was every bit as good as his secular contemporaries on the Strip at this time. St. Vincent's lower-tenor register is strong, but I do wish he had a bit more upper range at times, as some of the songs would have benefitted from some upper range vocals. Do not mistake this for me saying that St. Vincent couldn't scream, however, as that is definitely not the case.

As far as the demo material goes, both demos are of above-average quality for demos. I already owned the Anthem demo, but the source tape for this one was of somewhat better quality than my played-to-death copy, and it is nice to have these songs in a cleaner sounding form. There is not a ton of difference between the demo version of these songs and those that made it onto the World Requiem album, but there are subtle differences. One of the most noticable things is that St. Vincent has a grittier, harsher vocal approach, which I think really works well. "He's A Killer", which of course morphed into "The Killer", is a prime example of where St. Vincent's vocals are actually superior in demo form. There is a bit of a tape problem on "No More Lies" on the demo, but this is the only real demo issue here. On the unreleased demo, the songs are again fairly similar, if a bit crunchier. I had a bootleg version of this demo and it was not in very good shape, but I listened to it because it contained a couple of songs not found elsewhere. "Armed For Action" is my favorite of these, but "Quiet Times" and "Fight For The Light" are pretty good, as is "Run For Your Life", although all are a bit predictable in lyrical content.

The live material is a bit hit-or-miss, basically due to the quality of the source tapes. All show the skill and tightness of the band, but I'll let you sort out your favorites from the seven live cuts here.

As you can see from the picture, my copy is autographed as I had pre-ordered this album from Roxx when it was first being discussed. Additionally, I also received the limited edition DVD (#65/100), which features seven songs taken from a show the band did. The production on the DVD is excellent and the video quality is actually very good considering its age. While I generally am not a huge fan of "watching my music", this was a nice touch, especially for the collectors.

The only thing missing from this collection is the lyrics to the songs, which would have been a nice touch but would have also increased the size of the already-6-page insert considerably. As it stands now, numerous promo photos and poster pictures are included here, as are band thank-you's, a band history, and a write-up from Heaven's Metal writer, Jonathan Swank.

Roxx Productions really outdid themselves here and, in my opinion, set the standard for what a career retrospective should look like. Hopefully other labels that attempt to release smaller bands' material will take note and follow suit, as this is just an awesome collection to have.

Rating: I think it's unfair to rate an entire collection like this based just on sound quality, production, etc., as the history is a huge part of this package. As such, this collector's set is definitely a crankable 10, even if the music contained ranges from a 6 to an 8.5...

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