Beaster. A Beast at Easter. The Dark Side of Copper Blue. All of these subtitles and more came alongside the second offering from Sugar. Recorded at the same time as Copper Blue the darker and much more religious album came out the following March. It could probably be summed up in one word. Brutal. This extended edition contains the original CD release, a set of liner notes covering the album and where the band were at during the time of releasing the album and a DVD (of which more later).
The album itself is short (six tracks including an instrumental). Its bookended by two beautifully sweet pieces of music which would lull you into a false sense of security. However, the four tracks in the middle are full of anger, heavy riffs and quite exhilarating music. Tilted is thrashy and is a full on thrill ride of a track. Judas Cradle (yes those religious references start here) slows down proceedings with a dirty, grungey almost dirge like quality that just screams at you. Then we go into the maelstrom. JC Auto - yes JC stands for that religious figure and yes its that blatant in its religious references. If you were in any doubt from the album cover of blood stained rope you won't be after hearing this. Its so cathartic a track that you can feel the demons being exorcised. It can only be followed by Feeling Better - a track of great melody and noise that is the redemption of the piece - except it really isn't if you listen to the lyrics. The remastering has enhanced it and I love the feel of this version. Its as raw as ever.
The accompanying liner notes are not quite as detailed as the Copper Blue ones but they do give some of the info behind this album. The DVD is an odd one however. The live tracks from the Great Expectations gig don't include any of the Beaster numbers. Dave Barbe comments on this show being a stinker. I was there and it wasn't a pretty sight (Bob Mould had to avoid flying melons and the start of the footage is the tail end of his rant). However, its better here than it was on the day (although I still haven't found myself in the crowd). The Tilted video is also there - but is far from their best promo.
Overall this is a great album, well remastered with a half decent DVD. It's an album that has really grown on me over the years and as a piece its really up there. Its just too brutal and cathartic that its painful to listen to at times.