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Zeus

#101: MUCC - 新痛絶 (Sin Tsuuzetsu)

Review Questionnaire 101  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you prefer remastered albums or rerecorded albums?

    • Remastered! Don't mess with a good thing generally.
      1
    • Rerecorded! Technology and musician's craft only gets better with age.
      9
    • Neither. Focus on new music and leave classics the way they are.
      5
    • Both. I'll buy it twice if I like the band enough.
      7


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mucc-shin-tsuzetsu-regular-edition.jpgmucc-shin-homura-uta-artist-photo.jpg

 

Tracklist:

 CD 1: Shin Tsuzetsu

  1. —-.
  2. Momoku de Aruga Yue no Sogaikan (盲目であるが故の疎外感)
  3. Samidare (五月雨)
  4. Hai (廃)
  5. Itai Tegami (イタイ手紙)
  6. Chintsuuzai (鎮痛剤)
  7. Yoru (夜)
  8. Suna no Shiro (砂の城)
  9. Haitoku no Hito (背徳の人)
  10. Shofu (娼婦)
  11. Danzetsu (断絶)
  12. Ieji -2017 Hisyou- (家路 -2017 飛翔-)
  13. Kurutta Kajitsu w -2017 Haru- (狂った果実 w ~2017 春~)
  14. Kare ga Shinda hi (友達(カレ)が死んだ日)

 

 

CD 2: Tsuzetsu 1st

  1. —-.
  2. Itai Tegami (イタイ手紙)
  3. Shofu (娼婦)
  4. Chintsuuzai (鎮痛剤)
  5. Hai (廃)
  6. Suna no Shiro (砂の城)
  7. Yoru (夜)
  8. Haitoku no Hito (背徳の人)
  9. Momoku de Aruga Yue no Sogaikan (盲目であるが故の疎外感)
  10. Danzetsu (断絶)

 

:_8/10_: | Aged like fine wine.

 

Ever the black sheep of MUCC's discography, color me shocked when it was announced that 痛絶 (Tsuuzetsu) would be among the first two albums MUCC would re-record in full fifteen years later. This release, entitled 新痛絶 (Shin-Tsuuzetsu), includes two discs: the first disc including re-recordings of the entire album, the second disc including the out-of-print original first press of the album (and 友達が死んだ日 (Kare ga Shinda Hi), an extra track that didn't make it). The original 痛絶 (Tsuuzetsu) is not the coveted starter album for new fans: that honor belongs to their second album, 葬ラ謳 (Homura Uta). It's not an album anyone talks about with rose-tinted glasses, between huffs of nostalgia, it's not even an album people bring up when discussing their favorites! I chalk it up to the style. This style of angura-kei wasn't all the rage back in 2001 and its popularity has only been sinking since. In this age of bands courting old and new fans with new versions of old material, 新痛絶 comes across as the most honest and straightforward application of this tactic thus far. Fifteen years later, this album may finally make the impact that it originally should have. Plus, the new jacket for 新痛絶 (Shin-Tsuuzetsu) is dope. The one for 新葬ラ謳 (Shin Homura Uta) looks like Robot Chicken claymation, but I'll leave that alone.

 

The success of this entire venture rests on this conservative approach. MUCC takes the adage "if it's not broke, don't fix it" to heart. They demonstrated this in 2006, they tackled "娼婦" (Shoufu) and "五月雨" (Samidare) for pre-極彩 (Gokusai) singles, and "断絶" (Danzetsu) in 2007 for the WORST OF MUCC compilation; they didn't sound out of place then and they don't sound out of place among the other seven tracks now. For all the changes they could have made, most of them are not alterations to the songs or their structure.  This is more important than I had initially realized. The international scene has felt burned by sub-par re-recordings in the past and this hesitation carries over to MUCC despite their good track record. One thing I desperately hate is for a re-recording to share little similarities with its original - for all of that tweak it some more and sell a new song! I want to have an air of familiarity around what I receive, and in this regard, 新痛絶  exceeds in spades. It's the same album, but it feels new without changing much (or anything) at all. A part of me wonders if this was planned long ago and they finally got some time to do it.

 

The quality difference is night and day. This can prove to be a problem for the handful of 痛絶-era fans used to hearing the album a certain way, and the second disc would be for that crowd. There's even a third disk live performances to sweeten the deal, but only for those who bought the pre-release edition. I find myself in the group that likes both versions, but prefers the clarity of the new version. There's no doubt in my mind that the budget-conscious choices of the original pressing has become a part of the atmosphere and experience, but hearing these songs with new details and increased clarity is more important to me. It's not going to cause a resurgence of angura-kei bands no matter how for it I am, but it does provide a window into what turn of the century visual-kei would sound like with modern recording techniques and that's worth the price of admission alone. I can confidently can state that I gain more than I lose in this exchange, and I would have no problem recommending the new version of the album to anyone interested.

 

 

 

Support the band and pre-order your copy today!

AmazonJP | CDJapan

 

新痛絶 (Shin-Tsuuzetsu) is not yet available for general purchase ✣

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I'm definitely glad both versions exist. The original has an irreplaceable raw quality that they probably wouldn't have been able to recreate today, and they don't need to. I see re-recordings like this as part of a long Japanese tradition of retelling the same story from several different angles, and the story MUCC tell in 2017 is infinitely different than what they could tell in 2001. I recommend to anyone who wants to listen to this (and Shin Homura Uta) to consider this lens instead of a more nostalgic one (that's what the remastered album is for!). 

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If I had to choose I'd go with "remastered". I actually can't think of a single good example of a full re-recording that beats an already good/great/amazing album, nothing even comes close. For most part they've just slaughtered an album totally and made it unlistenable.

 

But to add something positive to the discussion of remastered vs re-recorded vs nothing:

 

I actually do love Sodom's "The Final Sign of Evil". Back in 84 the band released an EP called In the Sign of Evil consisting of 5 songs, but it was intended to be a full album. What they did here was that the mainman Tom Angelripper recruited the members who played on the EP, which was Chris Witchhunter who had barely played drums since he quit Sodom in 92 and Grave Violator who hadn't played in a band since the late 80's, and re-recorded the EP and recorded 7 new, never-been-heard-before tracks which was sopossed to be their debut album. The overall production is weak and the band is as far from tight as it is possible to come. It actually sounds way more ameturish than the original EP, but by doing it like that they also managed to re-create much of the same atmosphere and feelingas their early, mid-80's releases. They basically did the oppositve of what everyone else is doing when re-recording. Should be noted that the re-recorded tracks isn't nearly as awesome as the originals, tho.



 

Hypocrisy's re-recorded Catch 22 is also worth a mention. This album was slaughtered when released, with the band being influenced by Slipknot and leaving their death metal roots beyond. It was different and very poorly produced. But 5-6 years later they re-recorded it and made it five times better. The production is thicker and more powerful, the vocals are harsher and the drums sounds like drums and not tin cans. So they took a poor album, re-recorded it and made it very good.

 

And the last example is the perfect example of how to re-record something. Take something poor and make it good. Same goes for movies, TV-series and everything else. Don't re-record/remake something good you'll never manage to improve on anyway, when you can create something new or take something poor and improve on that instead.

 

 

Edit: just noticed this was about Mucc. Haven't heard the re-recorded versions, and most likely won't as I am already a huge fan of the originals. My bad.

Edited by Bear

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I'd rather rerecorded than remastered. Rerecorded at least provides a fresh take on old material (usually, there are examples of rerecordings being mostly redundant, like Gazette's Traces Vol. 2). Remasters are tricky too, though, because more often than not a remaster these days is just someone raising the levels on the original recording, and making something louder does not equal remaster to me. Unfortunately, the remaster of Homura Uta falls prey to this, so I'm perfectly fine with my original copy. The rerecording is fine, but I think the only song that benefitted from it is Zutazuta.

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6 hours ago, Saishu said:

I'd rather rerecorded than remastered. Rerecorded at least provides a fresh take on old material (usually, there are examples of rerecordings being mostly redundant, like Gazette's Traces Vol. 2). Remasters are tricky too, though, because more often than not a remaster these days is just someone raising the levels on the original recording, and making something louder does not equal remaster to me. Unfortunately, the remaster of Homura Uta falls prey to this, so I'm perfectly fine with my original copy. The rerecording is fine, but I think the only song that benefitted from it is Zutazuta.

This is a very interesting point you make! One element to remasters which makes them tricky are the compromises baked into the original recording. For better or worse, it colors the listener's perception of an album. First impressions are very strong. Muddiness can become atmosphere and mistakes musical quirks. In a rush to polish old works musicians may not stop to think about how their interpretation might be different from mine or yours. There has to be enough of an improvement to warrant making a remaster in the first place, but no matter how much one tries to maintain accuracy the parts that change affect even the parts that don't. I can't think of many examples where a simple remaster fixed all the issues I had with an album. It's simply not doing enough in the dimensions it restricts itself in, and many times one bad change in a remaster negates all the good ones.

 

It's for that reason alone that my review ignores the second CD. It can be argued my rating is a little high, but since I viewed the second CD as a bonus it didn't impact the first CD for me. I can choose which one I want to listen to and having the option is nice. The remaster is more accurate to the original version of the album, but it feels sterile. The new version doesn't capture the rawness of the original, but it captures the essence of the album far better (which is what I suspect they are going for). This contrast shows just how much of an art production and mastering is. I suppose it's one of those things where no one should notice you did a thing at all if you do a really good job.

 

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5 hours ago, Bear said:

But that is basically what a remaster is. For a remix however they'll mix the individual tracks withon a song and so on.

 

Well, no. A good remaster will take all the tracks within a song and rebalance them. Like say a drum track wasn't very prominent in the original master, a remaster would add some clarity to it. Or perhaps boost the bass a bit to add more bottom end. However, since the late 90s/early 00s, remasters (and original masters for that matter) raise the volume on EVERYTHING. The entire recording is compressed to be louder, which ruins the dynamics; if a song starts quiet and gets louder, the effect is diminished because the entire song is now at the same volume levels. This also means there's  possibility of distortion because the sound levels are so high. 

 

A remix is taking a song and rearranging it so it's basically a new song. 

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23 minutes ago, Zeus said:

This is a very interesting point you make! One element to remasters which makes them tricky are the compromises baked into the original recording. For better or worse, it colors the listener's perception of an album. First impressions are very strong. Muddiness can become atmosphere and mistakes musical quirks. In a rush to polish old works musicians may not stop to think about how their interpretation might be different from mine or yours. There has to be enough of an improvement to warrant making a remaster in the first place, but no matter how much one tries to maintain accuracy the parts that change affect even the parts that don't. I can't think of many examples where a simple remaster fixed all the issues I had with an album. It's simply not doing enough in the dimensions it restricts itself in, and many times one bad change in a remaster negates all the good ones.

 

It's for that reason alone that my review ignores the second CD. It can be argued my rating is a little high, but since I viewed the second CD as a bonus it didn't impact the first CD for me. I can choose which one I want to listen to and having the option is nice. The remaster is more accurate to the original version of the album, but it feels sterile. The new version doesn't capture the rawness of the original, but it captures the essence of the album far better (which is what I suspect they are going for). This contrast shows just how much of an art production and mastering is. I suppose it's one of those things where no one should notice you did a thing at all if you do a really good job.

 

Exactly. An example of a remaster done well is Radiohead's recent reissue of OK Computer. Dir en grey's remaster of Uroboros is also pretty good, with Toguro being the only track that I think suffered in the remaster. In some instances with the original version of Uroboros, I couldn't really hear things like hi-hats because it was just this muddled mess. The remaster really cleaned things up. 

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6 hours ago, Saishu said:

 

Well, no. A good remaster will take all the tracks within a song and rebalance them. Like say a drum track wasn't very prominent in the original master, a remaster would add some clarity to it. Or perhaps boost the bass a bit to add more bottom end. However, since the late 90s/early 00s, remasters (and original masters for that matter) raise the volume on EVERYTHING. The entire recording is compressed to be louder, which ruins the dynamics; if a song starts quiet and gets louder, the effect is diminished because the entire song is now at the same volume levels. This also means there's  possibility of distortion because the sound levels are so high. 

 

A remix is taking a song and rearranging it so it's basically a new song. 

 

This is the definitions I've always come to know from I was young, and it's the definition that me, and more or less everyone I have discuss music with over the last 15 years, also use:

Quote

My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong):

Remix means mixing again. You basically go back to the multitracks, assemble them and determine the volume and stereo placement between each track. So when this job is done the fact that the guitar is up front (purely by volume differences between tracks) and the cymbal is slightly to the right etc. is set in stone. As far as I understand a remix can be two things: Just reassembling the same multitracks used in the original mix yet another time creating a slightly different sonic landscape but with the same sounds OR an artistic remix as in giving the multitracks to a remixer/dj etc and give him/her the freedom to create a separate work based on the original recording of a song but perhaps with tracks removed/replaced/distorted etc. Typically something like "Masterbooster Dub Club Remix" etc. Whatever the result of the mix it results in a two track tape or file (if we're talking about stereo only), basically left and right channel.

Remaster is mastering the two track mix (often called the master tape) again. What you have available now is the two tracks mentioned above. You can NOT remove or add (well you can add I suppose but then we are actually talking about remixing) a single multitrack or turn the volume down on that guitar that was chosen to be up front in the mix. What you now can do is to adjust the balance of the frequency spectrum. If the bass is too thin you can boost the low frequencies and in that way make the bass sound louder (note that the bass itself is not mixed louder as a track on its own but becomes louder because it belongs to that particular frequency you choose to turn up). You can also adjust the overall volume so that in an album each song will appear in balance to each other. And then you can choose to compress as to lessen the dynamic range: low sounds sounds louder/high sounds sounds lower etc. Now that the master is done (remaster if it have been done previously for that format) it is what will be printed onto whatever media it is supposed to be on.

 

And I know what a remix of a track is, but it's actually a word and an act with more than one meaning.

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Both remake albums are up on Spotify for those looking to check these out relatively hassle-free:

 

 

I'm listening through both of them right now. Loving the new Tsuuzetsu, although I'm not really that familiar with Mucc aside from a few casual spins of 4 of their albums to say if it did the originals justice or not. I recall really liking their blue album (Zekuu?) so maybe they'll remaster that one at some point. Additional remakes will probably be Gokusai and Shion, though, since I think those are their most popular ones. 

 

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I would absolutely love a 新是空 release; I don't really like the album's production/mixing job. Even a remix/remaster a la BEST/WORST OF MUCC would be perfect.

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Zekuu gets into songs the band wrote when they were inter-fighting a lot/almost breaking up, revisiting those songs would be really interesting if they chose to do it. I think recapturing the mental state they had at that point would be near impossible, but I can't lie, I'd be far more interested in reworkings of those songs than the 2 albums they've chosen so far.

Edited by doombox

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34 minutes ago, doombox said:

Zekuu gets into songs the band wrote when they were inter-fighting a lot/almost breaking up, revisiting those songs would be really interesting if they chose to do it. I think recapturing the mental state they had at that point would be near impossible, but I can't lie, I'd be far more interested in reworkings of those songs than the 2 albums they've chosen so far.

Interesting point! I chose the question I chose for the poll because it naturally leads to a thought like this. I agree that Zekuu was that era in time that MUCC was unstable and almost on the verge of disbandment, and they've taken a handful of tracks from this era and re-recorded them for the BEST OF/WORST OF compilations, but I don't think they'll rework Zekuu or KnT. I don't think they should. Albums are a combination of time, place, and mind set. It will be impossible to capture the original essence of the album and I don't think a re-recording will do it justice. I am interested in hearing all the songs of Zekuu reworked, which puts me in quite an awkward position. I just don't think they'll touch KnT because generally you don't mess with a good thing, and it sounds fine so it won't really benefit from a remaster.

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5 minutes ago, Zeus said:

Interesting point! I chose the question I chose for the poll because it naturally leads to a thought like this. I agree that Zekuu was that era in time that MUCC was unstable and almost on the verge of disbandment, and they've taken a handful of tracks from this era and re-recorded them for the BEST OF/WORST OF compilations, but I don't think they'll rework Zekuu or KnT. I don't think they should. Albums are a combination of time, place, and mind set. It will be impossible to capture the original essence of the album and I don't think a re-recording will do it justice. I am interested in hearing all the songs of Zekuu reworked, which puts me in quite an awkward position. I just don't think they'll touch KnT because generally you don't mess with a good thing, and it sounds fine so it won't really benefit from a remaster.

I agree, I think the chances are really slim for those two. Especially KnT, I don't think any changes to that album would go over too well anyway. lol It's so beloved by fans.

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We don't need a 新朽木の灯 (Shin-kuchiki no tou) and we don't need a 新鵬翼 (Shin-houyoku). 朽木の灯 doesn't need a re-record/remix/remaster job. The performance itself is perfect, and there's nothing especially bothersome about the production or mixing. As for 鵬翼 and onward, I don't think a re-recording would sound significantly different from the original.

 

@Zeusand @doombox make a good point about 新是空 (Shin-zekuu); if it happened, it wouldn't have the same essence or energy that the original did, which would probably not work in their favour. It would be interesting to hear just a few re-recorded tracks from that era though, which I think we'll be getting with the so-called "This is NOT Greatest Hits" compilation. I would just like all of 是空 to be remixed, like the few tracks from the 2007 BEST/WORST compilations were.

 

I know this thread is about 新痛絶, an album which does exist, I just need a few more listens before I give my thoughts on it.

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