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Avoid the bad CD master - Buy on vinyl if you can!
on 18 May 2013
I'd heard a lot of reviews of this album which repeatedly stated 2 things:
1. It's not as good as 'Opus'.
2. It suffered from a terrible over compressed 'brick wall' mastering process (producing a loud sound but with audible digital distortion and loss of nearly all dynamics)
To the first point, I have to be controversial and say I actual prefer this album to their first!
I guess it depends what you like about Ghost's sound as to which you would prefer. People seem to spend FAR TO MUCH time deciding how 'metal' something is as a level of quality. I personally find that to judge Ghost on how 'metal' they are is to completely miss the point. Ghost are a refreshing escape from the factory line rotation of formulaic metal 'products' around. They exist on their own as a unique and brilliant oddity. (Until, that is all the inevitable clone bands start emerging on the back of their success ;)
Anyway.. Point 2.
It sounds better on vinyl!!!
That sounds like a typically hipster, audiophile bore thing to say, but it's true.
Forget for a minute the constant debate of whether vinyl generally sounds 'warmer' or has more 'soul' than digital, there is in this case another important factor.
It's mentioned in reviews everywhere that this album has suffered what's become known as a 'Death Magnetic' master, where in an effort to make the record sound as loud as possible, all the dynamics and 'life' has been squashed out of it leaving a distorted chunk of a sound.
So why is the vinyl version going to be any better?
Because the physical 'limitations' of vinyl, when done properly, music has to mastered to a completely different standard than digital. Mastering engineers who know what they're doing have to approach a vinyl master in a different way and are forced to leave far more 'headroom' for the intended dynamics of the original recording to shine through. Also because vinyl records are unlikely to be played on radio, tv or online playlists, they don't have the same need to compete in a 'loudness war' with other releases.
So if you are going to buy this album and have a record deck around the place, do yourself a favour and get it on vinyl. Not coz it's cooler (obviously it is though ;) but because it really does sound better!