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The 1st "Slave to the Dark" Box Set Review on the Net. Inside

Discussion in 'Iced Earth' started by gorhelper, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. gorhelper

    gorhelper New Metal Member

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    I pondered for some time if I should buy this release or not. When I saw it on the store shelf, and at that price (€85 in Rock City Athens), I knew I was kidding myself. Before I knew it I was home admiring the box and its contents. So this is where I shall begin my review, the aesthetics of the box. The box is wrapped in thin, transparent shrink plastic, upon which a black promotional sticker can be found, containing all the info one would need to take an educated decision about buying the box. The artwork surrounding the hard cardboard box is from some (presumably) Russian guy named Leo Hao (www.leohao.ru), and, I must say, it is pretty pleasing to the eye. It depicts Spawn, a demon-like figure (on the side depicted in promotion pictures of the box set) and an angel-like figure on the opposite side. Very similar stuff to the “The Blessed and the Damned” pair of artworks, actually. It surrounds the whole outer surface of the box. Logos are limited to the top of the box (IE logo) and the two narrower (lateral) sides (IE logo, CM 20th Anniversary logo, Box Set Logo). The basal surface features the barcode and all the relevant release details, as well as Leo Hao’s credit and website. The inner surface of the Box is black, except from the front and back outer upper surface of the lower half of the box, which feature the IE logo.
    First thing’s first. I DETEST vinyl replicas. They damage the CDs unless they are stored separately and the only reason they caught on is because they’re cheap in production. I would much rather Digipacks. Aside from that, the vinyl replicas are very nicely made, sturdy and durable cardboard. They look like mini gatefolds and are slightly taller (by 1,5cm) than a generic plastic CD case, which makes the artwork really strike out beautifully. By the way, it’s nice to see the original artwork restored, the 2001 versions looked too cartoony. Surprisingly, the cases feature artwork even in the two hard to see areas where the CDs and mini posters / bootlegs are slid in. The CDs themselves (which look like vinyls, as you have seen from promo pics) are housed in hard cardboard sleeves, themselves featuring artwork, lyrics and photos.
    In more detail, here’s what each replica includes:
    1. Iced Earth – mini poster (folded in 6) with original EU artwork on one side and all alternative artworks plus lyrics on the other and a sleeved CD
    2. Night of the Stormrider – mini poster as above, interestingly containing some liner notes from an artwork guy, Axel Herman, where he talks about rejected artwork (which is shown for the first time, albeit in a small pic) and a sleeved CD
    3. Burnt Offerings – 2 sleeved CDs
    4. Days of Purgatory – 2 sleeved CDs
    5. The Dark Saga – 8-page booklet and a sleeved CD
    6. Something Wicked This Way Comes – 12-page booklet and a sleeved CD
    7. Enter The Realm Of The Gods – 2 sleeved CDs
    8. Alive In Athens – (unfolds in 3) 3 sleeved CDs. Sadly, original artwork of CD2 and CD3 is partially obstructed by photos
    9. Horror Show – 14-page booklet and a sleeved CD
    Of course, also included in the box set is the Alive In Athens DVD, sadly poorly housed in a simple cardboard sleeve. Such poor housing… Looks like I’m not going to sell my original DVD release (for more than one reasons, but more on that later). Last but not least, included in the box is a numbered certificate (mine is 4346 out of 5000), which is printed on glossy paper in the size of the replicas.
    Now, to the audio contents. All disks that were remastered and remixed in 2001 feature that mix/mastering. Burnt Offerings is also (needlessly, in my opinion) included in a “previously unreleased rough mix”, which sounds more compressed than the original. The rest are featured in their original mix/mastering.
    The live version of Stormrider on Night Of The Storm Rider features its original vocalist, so it’s pretty old but it sounds great.
    The 2 bonus songs on The Dark Saga are just different mixes of I Died for You, in which mainly the keyboard sound levels are different to the original.
    The order of the CDs in the box set is not correct. Days Of Purgatory was released in 1997, yet is placed before 1996’s The Dark Saga. Similarly, Tribute To The Gods was released in 2000, a year after Alive In Athens, yet is placed before it in the Box. It’s not just the order of placing in the box, it’s the ascending catalogue number of each release in the box which reveals this erroneous order. I also believe that Shooting Star, Electric Funeral and The Ripper have no place on Something Wicked This Way Comes, they should have been included as bonus tracks on Tribute To The Gods.
    There are 2 MAJOR flaws in the contents: 1. There is no track #9 on either Burnt Offerings CD, as stated. The CD still clocks at 52 minutes, finishing off after Dante’s Inferno, as it always did. 2. Remember how the Alive In Athens DVD featured out of sync 5.1 Sound and one had to send in the original DVD to get a fixed copy from Century Media?? Weeeell, they did it again!! Same flaw. Now, before anyone gets naughty ideas, like I did, it’s a different pressing, as the catalogue number on the disk itself is different. In other words, they didn’t get rid of the flawed DVDs they received by pushing them in the Box Set, they just repressed the flawed pressing! Needless to say I have emailed Century Media about it and am waiting for a reply.
    Looks – 9.5/10
    Packaging – 6.5/10
    Bonus Material – 4/10
    Pressing – 4/10 (due to flaws mentioned above)
    Must buy? Judge for yourself!

    (This is my personal review, which has also been submitted on encyclopedia metallum as well)
     
  2. Oddity_13

    Oddity_13 Member

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    Thanks for posting man, depending on wether I can find it in AUS and how much it is I may buy it. I seems (sort of) worth the purchase.
     

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