It's not exactly breaking news anymore that Metallica is finally beginning to remaster their catalogue with the release of their first two albums Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning; both to be released on Record Store Day, April 15th.
What may be surprising is just how in-depth the band have gone while creating these deluxe packages. Sure, you can buy the single disc version of the album, remastered with the best today's technology has to offer. For the most die-hard of fans however, they've really gone to great depths to create something so immersive, you'd have a hard time asking for more.
Beginning with Kill 'Em All, the bands 1983 debut, we'll be treated to a collection that consists of 4 vinyl records, 5 CD's and 1 DVD. The set will feature the remastered studio album on both vinyl and CD, as well as a combination of 3 additional shows between the records and CD's. (Note: all material that is "vinyl only" will also come with a digital download). The audio portion of this set will also include rough mixes, demos and interviews, in addition to a picture disc reissue of their "Jump in the Fire" single. The DVD consists of yet another live show, recorded in 1983. Finally, the set is made complete by what's sure to be a gorgeous hardcover booklet chronicling the Kill 'Em All era.
Next, we jump over to their second album, Ride the Lightning. The media count goes up slightly here to 4 vinyl records, 6 CD's and 1 DVD. The biggest difference between this release and Kill 'Em All (aside from obvious content) is that we get a combination of 4 live performances between the vinyl and CD's included here. This album also includes the vinyl picture disc reissue of "Creeping Death." Additionally, the DVD features an entire concert from 1985 in Germany as well as the only 4 songs that MTV decided to videotape at the Day on the Green in Oakland, CA (featuring one of the most iconic and well known videos of "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
These sets aren't cheap, clocking in at an odd $135.36 currently on Amazon. However, I compare this price point to similar releases in past years by Nirvana, with their Superdeluxe boxed sets of Nevermind and In Utero, as well as Pink Floyds sets for The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon. In both cases, the material paled in comparison to how much is being dispensed here.
Normally, a remastered album or catalog isn't something to go particularly crazy about. In this case, I find the fact that the original studio material is being polished to be secondary to the depth of the live material we're getting from each respective era. We can only hope they continue on this trend and give each of the remaining studio albums the same treatment in years to come.
If you're curious to check this out. Visit the Metallica Club (which is now completely free to join) HERE. There, you'll also find a free sampler download consisting of 4 tracks from the upcoming albums as well as a track by track rundown of the entire collection.