When it comes to metal, whether it be heavy, hard, or hairy, the one thing that really hurts my feelings is a poorly mastered recording. While I admit I possess very little knowledge on the subject of mastering (however informative this link should prove) it would seem that time and inevitable technological developments have redefined what a properly mastered record should sound like, nevermind that my reckoning of a ill-mastered metal record has everything to do with volume control. Putting on an exemplary recording like Judas Priest's Screaming For Vengeance only to discover the maximum volume setting worthy of a dental visit is an insult to the ear and the slap to the id; "why can't I make this any louder", you lament. I feel your pain, people. I too am screaming for vengeance!
Which is why I am particularly stoked about the upcoming September third celebratory reissue of Judas Priest's Screaming For Vengeance - the 30th Anniversary Special Edition, containing not only the remastered original album plus six bonus tracks, but also a live DVD from the 1983 US festival show filmed in San Bernadino, CA on May 29, 1983.I know, you're probably thinking, Priest has already seen to the digital remastering of most of their catalog in 2001, no? Sound hounds and intense listens have generated a clash of opinions concerning just how beneficial the overall remaster treatment was. While I don't pretend that my ears are trained to recognize minutiae apparent in the thankfully LOUD 2001 Priest remasters, my favorite complaint directed at the "creepy, crawly knob-twiddling" Jon Astley inflicted upon the reissue of British Steel compares the end result to "Edith Bunker being gang raped by a swarm of castrated locusts" -- an observation that potentially bodes ill for any serious audiophile.
However, run-of-the-gauntlet banger chicks, like me, can get down with the good stuff no matter how it's broken off (*coughs* vinyl, preferably) and I am ever hopeful that this particular 2012 reissue (albeit CD only) signals a trend in reigniting an appreciation for the pioneers, turbo lovers, and defenders of the metal faith, NWOBHM or otherwise, like Halford & co. It must be stated, as a standalone inclusion, the footage of Priest performing at the 1983 US Festival that accompanies this anniversary presentation is amazing! Having only recently enjoyed viewing their live in Dallas circa 1986 Priest...Live! VHS I would be lying if I said I wasn't ready to light my couch on fire while watching this crispy new, almost thirty-year-old footage while spending a quiet night in very soon [see promo below].
Fun fact: the US Festival was intended to be a celebration of evolving technologies; a marriage of music, computers, television and people - organized by Steve Wozniak formerly of Apple Computer. This show was filmed at the second, and what turned out to be last, US Festival in 1983. The Sunday was the "Heavy Metal Day", i.e. "It was the day new wave died and rock n' roll took over". It set the single-day concert attendance record for the US with an estimated 375,000 people - insane!
Judas Priest have this to say about this memorable day in metal history:
'On the day that we performed, we flew in by helicopter - and the first sight we saw was that of thousands of abandoned cars piled up around the crests of the hills that surrounded the festival arena, which as we went over took our breath away. For there below us, spread throughout hundreds of acres was a massive crowd – over three hundred thousand strong! The summer heat was raging and combined with the hot Santa Ana winds made for a scorching metal furnace on stage.'