Tales from the Jugular

New Releases in Various Formats: A Rant

By: Eric Compton
Published: Saturday, March 13, 2004
New Releases in Various Formats: A Rant

Let me get something off of my chest here. I have a huge problem right now with heavy metal releases, and their so-called bonus material. My wallet is becoming very irritated and annoyed by the fact that newer releases right now are coming out in various formats. Let me explain further.

Recently I purchased Primal Fear's newest release "Devil's Ground" on its release date, like a loyal metal fan should. I was proud of myself as I walked away from the store, carrying my neat little sack of goodies, which also included the new Hypocrisy disc "The Arrival", which I also purchased on its release date. I even glanced in my rear-view mirror on the way back home, looked at my handsome face, and said "Yeah baby! New metal on its release date, I feel goooood!"

I was still feeling pretty good the next day, driving around in my car with my new found goods. I had a slow day at work so I decided to research next week's offerings, hoping to find someone selling the new Judas Priest album 8 months early. No luck there, but I was still feeling damn good, because I was caught up on releases thus far.

I happened across a few stores online in my Priest browsing and noticed they had the new Primal Fear disc listed for the same price, BUT in a digibook format. Looking at the item more closely shows the Primal Fear digibook format has BONUS tracks. So I compared the two and came up with this assumption. I have been bent over, and rammed up the tailpipe as violently as fresh fish on the C-Floor of the dirtiest correction center. That’s right folks, metal has ripped me off!

 My version of the Primal Fear disc, which was $14, has 12 tracks. Got me? The limited edition digibook version, which is $14, has three bonus cuts, one being a cover tune of Sabbath's godly "Die Young" and 5.1 mixes of "The Healer" and "Metal Is Forever". I have been rammed hard.

 The other disc I had purchased on the same date, Hypocrisy's "The Arrival", had been released also in a luxurious fold-out digipak format, which is also in a limited edition too. Thankfully there are no added bonus tracks, but for the same price I would have rather had the digipak format simply because it is more....well....shiny.

This brings me to this week's disc purchase, the new album from Metalium, "As One-Chapter Four". As a fan of the band, I purchased the first three Metalium discs. I'll be honest with you, I bought the third Metalium album in a used format at a cheaper price. I liked the first album okay, loved the second album, and had to own the third album because I'm a "fan of the band". Well, I walk up to the counter at my local FYE, ask for the new album, and get handed a jewel case box (yeah, one of those old double jewel cases that haven't been around in 10 years!) with the new Metalium disc AND the third Metalium disc packaged as a BONUS DISC! Now what kind of crap is this!?! Looking inside it does in fact have the new Metalium disc neatly tucked away, but it also has the third album with a tray liner and booklet inside of it!

So let’s look at this logically. If you are a fan of Metalium, like myself, more than likely you already own the third album anyway, right? But in case you don't own the third album, and you really aren't that big of a fan anyway, or perhaps you just stumbled upon it at your local store and thought to give it a try, you get REWARDED with not only the new album, but the group's last effort as well. How fair is that to the guy who has bought all the albums from day one!?! I have basically just thrown away the money I spent on the last album because I get it for free now. My other major concern here is this double jewel case. Where in the hell am I going to put this? Now, not only do I have duplicate copies of the third Metalium album, I now have no way to display my fourth disc with my other regular size jewel cased discs, which by the way are neatly displayed on my wall of metal in Laserline/Alpha storage cases, in alphabetical order, each in its own slot made exactly for REGULAR SIZE JEWEL CASES.

Being a huge Iced Earth fan, late last year I purchased the group's EP, "The Reckoning", which is in a limited edition digipak featuring at the time "non-album" songs. Well, again being the loyal Iced Earth fan I went out and bought the new album, "The Glorious Burden", on its release date. Well guess what? The new album comes in a two disc digipak, and disc one features ALL of the songs that were on the EP. So I ask myself, why did I just spend $7 on the EP?

The same scenario just happened to me a month ago when, once again, I got screwed by the media masses by purchasing the new Edguy EP, "King Of Fools", which at the time promised to have three "non-album" songs. Well, looking at the details of their new album, "Hellfire Club" set for later this month, it will be packaged in a two-disc set, with the EP included as the second disc. Imagine that!?!

I demand to know who they think they are! How can they, the underground metal labels, think they can screw the buying metal fans over by continuing to offer these bonus extras with each album, condescending themselves with each release. How can it be that big of a shock that people are just downloading, downloading, downloading? Why not? That way you can just download the whole album, download the bonus cuts for the various releases, and hell, just download yourself some "bonus" live bootlegs to go with it. Make yourself the ULTIMATE box-set for every release out there. How does that sound Mr. Suit & Tie??

The same thing is happening in the DVD market as well. Take a look at every DVD that comes out and show me one that is in a "Regular Edition". EVERY DVD comes packaged in a "Special Edition" now, with two discs filled with bonus materials. I'm the type of guy that just watches the movie and moves on. I don't spend my time watching bloopers and extra features. I watch the movie and I'm happy with that. So, since I have no use for the second DVD, nor do I need the extra features, I would like to purchase the one DVD containing the film and just be done with it. But I can't, simply because the studios refuse to make a "Regular Edition" DVD. If every release is the "Special Edition", how can it really be that special?

I challenge everyone to go to their local video retailer and demand to purchase a "Regular Edition" DVD. Tell them you don't need the "Special Edition" and would just like the regular one. If they are charging $19.99 for the "Special Edition", then I would like to purchase the "Regular Edition" for half the price! Tell them you will special order the "Regular Edition", or better yet, you will let them keep the second disc since you don't need it, and they can knock $10 off the price. Hell I'll even let them keep the box, jacket, and second disc and they can sell that for $10 as a DVD Upgrade kit.

Yeah, I like the sound of that!

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