The HMO Top 10 Reissues & Compilations of 2014

2014

I’ve already agonised over my favourite new music of the past year but regular readers will know I’m a big fan of reissues and archive releases. And, as usual (or increasingly?) 2014 found plenty of old music being repackaged and resold with the usual bells, whistles and (hopefully) some unheard or rare tracks added.

So I would like to present my Top 10 archive/reissue/compilation releases of 2014. Naturally my personal listening moods and enjoyment played a huge part in my choices but I’ve also weighed up some other crucial factors in deciding these:

  • Bonus tracks – A big factor, especially if I’m re-purchasing albums I’ve bought in the past, so reasonably worthwhile reissues like Hear No Evil’s reissues of Motorhead’s 1916 and Deep Purple’s Slaves and Masters didn’t quite make the cut.
  • Curation and selection – I can forgive a lack of bonus material if the reissued material is relatively rare or interesting in the first place. So, despite me absolutely adoring it, Mayhem’s Grand Declaration of War reissue missed the cut as it was already readily available and not in particular need of a reissue.
  • Sound quality – This is always arguable and I’m no hi-fi purist but extra points are awarded if I feel reissues are sonic improvements on previous versions. Although they narrowly failed the cut its worth mentioning Earache’s “Full Dynamic Range” releases here. They sound excellent and I hope other labels will follow their example.
  • Value for money and packaging – Generally I tend to shy away from expensive “super-deluxe” affairs but I do appreciate it when a particularly plush or expansive release manages to avoid breaking the bank. Bon Jovi’s New Jersey box and the Super Duper Alice Cooper set are good examples of expansive and luxurious, but still affordable, sets that didn’t quite make the cut.

So now that I’ve got all that off my chest…

THE HMO TOP REISSUES AND COMPILATIONS OF 2014

71Gkks5PFPL._SL1181_NUMBER TEN: KISS – Love Gun (Deluxe Edition)

Classic album bolstered with nice packaging, liner notes and an extra disc of bonus tracks. I’ve always banged on about how KISS should be doing more archive releases so I had to include this solid reissue here. If they had pushed the bonus track boat out a bit more it might have placed higher but I still hope there’s more where this came from and if their other albums get this treatment I’ll be a happy bunny.

HT RLOLLAIHNUMBER NINE: Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance – Ooh La La: an Island Harvest

Quality 2CD anthology from the ex-Small Faces/The Faces legend. Many of his solo albums are hard to come by now so this was a welcome release for me. And the inclusion of a BBC session makes it a worthwhile buy for fans of longer standing. This was my first exposure to his post-Faces output and it is charming and heart-warming stuff.

2014-04-06 14.58.15-1NUMBER EIGHT: Pantera – Far Beyond Driven (20th Anniversary Edition)

I’ve been enjoying the previous Pantera reissues and looked forward to this immensely. It’s missing B-Sides from the album’s era which is a shame but it’s still a great sounding reissue with a fantastic live show as a bonus disc. This caught me in the right mood and got heavy rotation.

2014-05-11 14.06.50-1NUMBER SEVEN: Coroner – Death Cult

I’m very excited that this Swiss band’s incredible demo has been given an official band-approved release by the No Remorse label. A couple of bonus tracks sweeten the deal but it’s fantastic to have such a great sounding copy of this that plays at the right speed! Not enough people know how incredible Coroner are and on this demo they are also fronted by no less than Hellhammer/Celtic Frost/Triptykon legend Tom G. Warrior himself.

A1SiG3X7H8L._SL1500_NUMBER SIX: The Allman Brothers Band – The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings (6CD Box Set)

I wavered about this but I’m glad I bought it. It’s absolutely fascinating to hear the many shows and alternate takes that were whittled down to the perfect At Fillmore East album. I wouldn’t replace the original but this is well worth hearing if you’re a fan of it. It’s a very thorough and plush package for the agreeable price. A great follow-up to 2013’s excellent Brothers and Sisters reissue.

2014-05-11 13.55.16-1NUMBER FIVE: Various Artists – Wayfaring Strangers: The Darkscorch Canticles (2LP Set)

This superbly curated labour of love from The Numero Group is the only vinyl release to make my list. It’s a charming and fun set of underground US Zep and Sabbath worship from the 70s. It’s very rare stuff and a must-have for fans of Stoner Rock and proto-Metal. The appeal of the music is further enhanced by the Dungeons and Dragons-inspired greatness of the packaging which you can see and read more about it here… with added Lego!

51P6CB1WE7LNUMBER FOUR: Demilich – 20th Adversary of Emptiness (2CD Deluxe)

Demilich’s only studio album Nespithe is a stunning Death Metal masterpiece and receives a well-deserved reissue here. It comes with a brilliantly designed and entertaining booklet and absolutely tons of bonus tracks. It’s a truly thorough and well-researched release but special mention has to made of the stunning sound quality too. Congratulations to Svart Records for this: it should be the benchmark for all future Metal reissues.

Christ noooo!
Christ noooo!

NUMBER THREE: Various Artists – One and All, Together for Home (2CD Deluxe)

A fascinating compilation with an interesting theme: Metal bands playing their native country’s Folk music. A lot of thought and attention went into this one and it’s a mix of old and new. Some new offerings from the likes of Winterfylleth and Primordial made this a must-buy but it also introduced me to some great bands like Ava Inferi and Haive that I may not have discovered otherwise.

712mqCedbLL._SL1500_NUMBER TWO: Queen – Live at the Rainbow ’74 (2CD Deluxe)

Not one, but two powerful live recordings from Queen’s early years. I love Queen so any live release of theirs is going to be up my street but it’s especially inspiring to hear them at this early stage playing the heavy, epic tracks like Father to Son and Ogre Battle. I love it when the classic bands I love release archive live material and this release enjoyed repeated listens and kicked off a period of full-on Queen worship.

71-rKQCjI3L._SL1500_NUMBER ONE: Ulver – Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-97 (5CD Box Set)

Ulver’s first three studios are classics of provocative and adventurous Black Metal and they have been done full justice with this stunning box set by Century Media. The three albums alone are must-haves and personal favourites but there are also some tantalising rarities here too and it’s all wrapped up in a stunning box set with a fantastic hardback book with essays, photos and translated lyrics. One of my more expensive standalone purchases of the year but still great value for five superb discs and a seriously luxurious package. It’s a release that effortlessly satisfies all my criteria for a top-drawer reissue. Buy it while you can.

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49 thoughts on “The HMO Top 10 Reissues & Compilations of 2014”

      1. Thanks man….yeah this is a great rock record period!
        I’m so old school in my tastes it than SUMTHIN will come along and knock my socks off..this was one of em!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Haha man this is a super-cool post. You guys were just talking about doing posts like this – I think maybe even I inspired it with the Zepellin blip on KMA. Well, far better you guys doing it than me. I’m likely to just say THIS WAS AWESOME and let it go at that!

    All of these look so awesome. I’m glad you got the chance to post all of these up. Lots to love there, for sure. I love the looks of the Ronnie Lane, Queen (I want ALL the Queen!) and the Allmans.

    And what’s up with the Uver, is it Limited or something? I checked it out on Amazon and there was only one review and they said the same thing – get it before it’s gone!

    Great post, man! And Happy Hogmanay!

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    1. Yeah, the Ulver set is limited so I wouldn’t hang about if you want that!

      Glad you liked the post. I couldn’t have done the other top ten without doing this too. Reissues are such a huge part of my buying. Lots to love this year and loads of great ones that I had to leave out!

      Happy Hogmanay to you too!

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      1. Why leave them out – make a second 10 List! 🙂

        I am enjoying this layout and format. It’s informative, says what you want it to say and gets it done efficiently. I really like that approach. I’ve been searching for brevity for the KMA too. I wonder about something like this for over there… If I put even 5 in a post, though, it sure wouldn’t be every day posts!

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      2. I do like to aim for brevity with my posts. Even when I do full reviews I keep looking at the word count and trying to trim things down. Your posts are usually pretty short anyway though aren’t they? If it’s not broken!

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      3. I doubt I’ll buy the Ulver, it’s $100! But it is a beautiful thing indeed.

        Our Hogmanay will be real quiet – kids to bed early tonight, they’re exhausted after Christmas, and all the time outside playing in the snow, and we also got them in for an hour+ swim at the pool last night too. They are baked! So, with them in bed it’ll be just us here, nice and quiet. I’m playing Dexter Gordon right now, getting us started on the right foot!

        Oh, and I doubt we’ll have a first foot this year – it’s a fairly good snow storm out there. It’s gorgeous!

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      4. Yeah my posts are usually fairly short, but I think I can be shorter! I’m already working on a draft for tomorrow, will see how it goes!

        Poltergeist! Haha what a way to ring in the new year! The kids are watching Cars 2 (for the zillionth time, our boy loves it) but they’re soon off to bed. My lovely wife may go to bed at the same time, she’s knackered too. I may be ringing in the new year alone, if this keeps up! 🙂

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      1. I daresay that Queen set may be my first 2015 purchase. I love early Queen and live? Oh hells yes!

        How does it compare to the Beeb disc? Or is that not even a comparison worth making?

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      2. Haha – I like that as a personality test. I remember a friend once had the line “if you’re into Jay Leno…we probably won’t get along” – disapproving of Queen live would be a deal-breaker as well!

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  2. Happy New Year Scott!

    I mentioned this earlier; I love the top reissues list. These days I probably re-buy albums that I already own, just as often as I hear new albums.

    The Kiss would have made the bottom of my list too. Pretty good. A good start for what I hope will be a long and detailed reissue program. It is possible that bonus tracks are being held back for use on other deluxe reissues — perhaps an Alive II with bonus tracks for example.

    I got that Queen for Christmas but haven’t opened it yet. I’m listening currently to the new Queen Forever compilation.

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    1. The Queen album is going to blow. You. Away. It’s so mighty.

      Yeah. The KISS was solid. There’s always things folk can gripe about with these kind of things but it’s still a good reissue. And any new KISS is good KISS!

      I think I probably rebuy albums less often now than previously… A lot of reissues I buy are bands or albums I don’t have already. But I do but a lot of reissues that’s for sure!

      Happy New Year!

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      1. It’s really nicely done, the U.S. Remix is great as are all the B-sides and the hefty booklet. The live CD is so-so, more of a document to have rather than something to play over and over.

        The mystery to me is why there’s no DVD as well, I’d have loved that to be included too. The box set for Generation Terrorists has got all manner of visuals and a 10″ of their Friday Rock Show session (they cover Under My Wheels really well !).

        It is really good and was worth my money, but it could have been even better too.

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      2. I think the one I’ve got has got the US version and a few other things. Some demos and some live stuff. Not a full show though. I got it, the Everything Must Go and Generation Terrorists sets for £5 each in Fopp! I was never that into them but I couldn’t pass on them at that price.

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  3. Kick-ass list! I did not know about that Coroner “Death Cult” and I will buy that in a millisecond! I’ve had that Queen in my hands so many times and put it down… ugh! That Ulver box set looks amazing! I need more money!!! LOL!!

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      1. Yup… I will be putting aside $$ cuz I NEED those CD’s!! LOL! Thanks for the ebay and record label heads-up with Coroner… Man, I am so psyched out that I learned about that CD from you. 🙂 \m/\m/

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