Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hydra Vein Remasters

I present something that I doubt you will find in any other blog site: Digitally remastered versions of both proper Hydra Vein albums. With these comes a short story. A long time a go a friend of mine named Gene Cook offered to rip an LP by a band named Hydra Vein, citing that "this shit is too rare for CD", and that he thought it would be up my alley, so to speak. Well, I lost contact with him shortly after that, but the name stuck with me until some five years later when I would see the same album appear as a vinyl rip available for download at a blog I frequently visit called "A Reasonable Guide To Horrible Noise". Later I happened upon the second LP that I didn't know existed at another blog site called "Lockjaw". In both cases, the rips were excellent and I had no complaints, but then something happened... They were digitally remastered and re-released onto one CD. I love the sound of a nice clean LP, but there is something about a good remaster done with love and care by engineers whom love the source material that is equally attractive. Many corporate remaster CDs released are lifeless and dull, with just the treble jacked up, the bass neglected, and the tape hiss filtered out to add a false "crispness", but that's not the case here. Like with good band-approved re-issues, these sound close to the production of the analog originals, with enhanced digital clarity, but with one caveat: the cymbals on the debut album sound weird in almost a lossy way similar to 128mp3 (but not that bad). This is hard to believe because these are 320kbps mp3 conversions from original wav files taken from CD. Maybe they were recorded that way all along, but the static found on LPs as you approach the end of a side's playback may have masked it from me on the analog rips I have. Another possibility is that the remastering process may have used a digital noise reduction that accidentally filtered out some of the desired audible frequencies, in a similar fashion to the amateur use of the program "Audacity". Additionally, there are some signs that the original master tapes have decayed, as there are some places where the sound fades or drops out completely in one channel or another during playback, and is most noticeable with headphones. None of these problems apply to the remastered versions of the tracks comprising the second LP. Taken for what it is, it is still a vast improvement to having no re-issue at all. Either way, enjoy these rare Thrash treasures and judge this anomaly for yourself. Here are the links to the first and second album, in that order.
Rather Death Than False of Faith - 1988
After The Dream - 1989


Dan said...

It would be nice if people actualy bought the rerelease so we could recoupe some the lost royalties from the 80's,90's and oo's ;-)

Zealot Crusader said...

Yeah, I'm really wasn't trying to hurt anyone with this, and only posted it because a lot of people actually discover rare music this way. I bought my re-release copies of these, twice in fact, and before that, I had vinyl rips I was listening to that I downloaded from a blog that only offers mp3s taken from old LPs. To be honest, I would have never even discovered half the music I love if it were not for the existence blogs like this one, which I started mainly as a kindred spirit in that effort. This was more to perpetuate knowledge of the music's existence than to rip anybody off. The majority of the time, stuff like this and other stuff I post is out-of-print anyway, and taken from old remaining copies, whether LP or CD, and is the only way fans can even get a hold of this music without being raped by eBay hucksters selling rare music for exorbitant prices. I once payed $100 for an old Hirax CD from 1987, so I know that feeling all too well. Considering how many people have blogs with hundreds of album download links in their archives available to readers of those blogs, I'm really just a little fish anyway, and as you can see by my posting frequency, I'm lucky if I make a post once every couple of months. Last time I checked, these only had around six downloads a piece, but I can still take them down if you like. I'm not implying that you are on a crusade to stop the downloading of your music (like Metallica), but if you were, I am a fan, and would gladly comply with that. Just post back if that's the case, and in any event, stay heavy!!!

Dan said...

I was being totally sarcastic mate :)
We had our first royalty cheque in 25 yrs this year and we are grateful for that.
I'm not against downloading per se but the only way a band will survive and make more music is by having an income of sorts. It's swings and roundabouts ;)

Zealot Crusader said...

Cool. Sarcasm comes off poorly in text for me anyway, because I'm one of those "tone of voice" kind of talkers, meaning I don't "read into" anything I read. In any case, downloading as a main source of getting music is a bad thing, because record stores offer so much more than just the music itself, in the same way theaters just do something for a movie that no amount of HDTV and Blu-Ray whatever can achieve. Kids don't get that, because of the whole "fast-and-easy" mentality of downloading itself, which I think is more to blame than the free nature of the music itself. I've seen torrents containing entire discographies by bands with large catalogs download in minutes. It's like getting 30 years of musical output in the time it takes to use a microwave oven. All the local stores around my way closed up because either a big box chain store put them out of business, or kids using iTunes (or just pirating) found those methods more convenient. All of this smells of the Human race being more drawn towards instant gratification and self-absorption as a whole, and straying away from Human interaction in the real world, but that's another topic altogether. Cheers!

Eddiemetal said...

Dan, first off; congratulations on your first royalty check! I'm not being sarcastic. I would like to take a minute to say thanks to you and your bandmates for releasing these two incredible, and criminally underappreciated albums! I'd also like you to know that I did download them from this site but also bought the physical copies directly afterwards. I'm the type that needs the actual album in my hands if I really like a record. I know a lot of people are not of the same mind, and that's a pity. I've been listening to Metal since it started gaining momentum back in the 80's. My first record was "Killers" by Iron Maiden. I quickly looked to the underground scene for my Metal fix. I remember getting my hands on albums like "Ride The Lightning", "Bonded By Blood" and "Don't Break The Oath" and I never forgot the impact those albums had on me. Your band passed me by the first time around, mostly due to the fact that, as you probably remember, if you wanted an album by a group, you had to find a record store that carried imports, or through mail order companies like Metal Disc, ect; This was always very hard to do because nobody had the money to spend on the extremely expensive import albums And most 'chain' record store didn't carry independantly released albums. Now, because of the internet, people like us can not only browse, but we can listen to it immediately and decide weather we want to fork out our hard earned dollars to buy it. When I was in my teens, I don't know how many times I bought an album without hearing the band, mostly relying on the album cover alone, only to bring it home and find out that the music was horrible! Toronaga "Gods Gift" quickly springs to mind. And I can go on all day about that, but you see my point...