Top positive review
A fantastic reissue. Ticks all the right boxes. Read on...
on 5 August 2017
After the disappointment that was the 20th anniversary of Nevermind (Poor 'loudness war' mastering being a big complaint of many) It is a relief and a delight to report that the 20th anniversary edition of In Utero is great. I would personally award In Utero 4 stars out of 5 if reviewing it based on it's music alone. This 5 star rating is awarded for reasons specific to this edition.
The reasons being:
1. Great remastering. Volume levels are very similar to the original release from 1993, but the improvements in equipment used to master albums since then has managed to reveal a little more detail from the analogue master recordings of these songs. The mastering of this album and its bonus tracks was done at Abbey Road by Steve Rooke, who was involved in the (almost) universally praised 2009 Beatles remasters. It makes Bob Ludwig's remastering of Nevermind look like the work of an amature, a shame; considering Ludwig is a famed mastering engineer responsible for many fantastic sounding albums.
2. All the B-sides to the singles from In Utero and a couple of tracks used on compilation albums from the same era. Some may bemoan the fact these b-sides are 2013 remixes, but they are subtle remixes that don't differ much from their original incarnations. Nice to have all these songs in one place. Furthermore: the original mixes of Heart Shaped Box and All Apologies are included, these songs were given a remix by Scott Litt on the original album as they were earmarked as singles, Geffen records found the original mixes a little 'abrasive' sounding for potential radio play.
3. An alternative mix done by In Utero producer Steve Allbini, with input and approval from Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl by all accounts. An interesting version that to my mind neither improves upon or worsens the original release; its simply a great sounding companion piece. Pre album demos of songs are also included. Demos are of limited interest to me personally, but their inclusion isn't unwelcome.
Many so called 'Deluxe Editions' of famous albums feature only Demos and/or live recordings as bonus content. Some also have questionable sound quality. The remastering and extras here show a concerted effort in creating a value for money re-release, which is only £6.99 at the time of writing. Consider that In Utero on CD would have been in the £12-15 in 1993.
4. Nice looking packaging and graphics, slightly understated and classy. Brief but faintly amusing liner notes from comedian Bob 'Bobcat' Goldthwaite (Most of us Brits only know him as the crazy crimiminal turned cop character from the 'Police Academy' films😁). Proper disc trays on this set too, not tight 'disc scratching' inserts.
In conclusion: A deluxe edition worth purchasing. A single disc edition featuring only the original album remastered and a Super Deluxe edition with a whole host if goodies is also available. This 2cd set however is currently the best value for all but the devout completest.