History can be easily forgotten if new generations are not given a proper chance to be aware of the past. That is why when a band reissues an album, they are creating an opportunity for new generations of possible fans to discover older music as if the music had just been released.
Although reissuing an album does not seem like a big deal to the common American consumer, there are some important factors associated with the reissuing and rereleasing of certain albums. One is that bands can create new exposure and tap into a younger fan base.
Thanks in part to the internet allowing younger fans to discover older bands who might have been unfortunately overlooked back in the day, those bands now have an opportunity to reissue their old material for a new audience. Record labels like Shadow Kingdom, Tankcrimes, FDA Rekotz and Hells Headbangers are among a few that are leading the way in reintroducing classic hard rock, punk and heavy metal albums. Of course major labels are constantly rereleasing albums, but now with the music industry beginning to become more spread out, the underdogs are getting a chance to put some classic reissued recordings on record store shelves too.
Recently Tankcrimes Record reissued the album, Ashes to Ashes, by veteran hardcore punk rockers Final Conflict. This is the label’s first major reissue and is currently on sale through the label’s website. With the Final Conflict reissue out and available to the public, I caught up with label boss Scotty Heath to ask him what are some of his views on the importance of reissuing albums.
“It’s part of our history,” said Heath. “I think the most important albums should be readily available for the new generation to understand and enjoy without paying high prices for original and often obscure original pressings.”
Along with Tankcrimes, Shadow Kingdom Records is another small label constantly reissuing old albums that might attract a new generation of fans. One band that Shadow Kingdom recently did work with by reissuing the group’s first two albums on CD is, Lost Breed. According to Lost Breed’s drummer Jamie Silver the band’s record deal when the albums were first released fell through due in part to the label going under.
“When Lost Breed first released The Evil in You and Me, and Save Yourself, we had made a deal with Hellhound Records to tour Europe to support the CDs but hellhound wound up going under and we never got to go to Europe. Then the CDs never really got the exposure they needed and it really bummed out,” said Silver, who has been a major driving force behind Lost Breed’s drive to get their music out and available.
Now with Shadow Kingdom’s support, Lost Breed looks to gain some new fans within the hard rock and metal community, and give older fans a chance to get their hands on music that might have been hard to find over the years.
Reissuing albums is definitely helping to keep the die hard music fans interested in their respective communities, whether it be the hard rock, punk or metal community. Another plus when record companies reissue certain albums is that they are putting them out on vinyl. Avid classic rock and old school rap music fan Yuvraj Singh is one of many who are noticing the importance of reissuing albums on vinyl along with the increase in exposure for some bands who do it.
“The fact that they're ramping up vinyl production should also help the popularity of the bands as well as the vinyl medium,” said Singh.
He also noted that, “It'll help bring light to bands that've been forgotten and increase the popularity of older bands that are still known.”
A common claim made about the reissuing of older albums is that it tends to be viewed as a way for record labels to make a quick dollar. When asked about his thoughts on the reissuing and rerecording process, he gave a very specific response.
“I think it's a good idea when they remaster the album to give it a cleaner sound. If it's a rerelease, I see it as a money grab; the quality should be better on the next go around,” Singh said.
Quality of course is held in high regard by most music fans, and can definitely influence a person’s decision to buy an album. Relapse Records recently reissued Death’s classic second album, Leprosy, on CD and Vinyl. Among some of those fans who are interested in the album’s reissue is Daniel Goodman. During a short interview I asked him about his feelings on the reissuing of Leprosy, and what he expects to hear from this reissue. Not only is Daniel a fan of Death, but Leprosy happens to be his favorite Death album.
Making sure he was quite clear about what he expected to hear and see from this reissue, Daniel hopes, “...the (sound)quality to be perfect, old band photos, pamphlet, concert photos, lyric sheets, the art work to be nice and big, along with liner notes from people who were part of the process.”
Reissued releases do seem to serve an important purpose in today’s music market as more people beginning to take notice of the subject. Groups like Lost Breed, Final Conflict and Death are given the chance to be heard by younger generations of fans who will grow to appreciate these older bands.
“I hope it gives a chance for the younger hard rock metal fans to hear our music and I hope they like it,” said Silver, a comment that rings true throughout all music communities.
As years pass by, the reissuing of classic and lesser known rock and metal albums will continue to keep music fans enthusiastic by making those classic albums available for purchase. The next time you buy an album keep in mind, the print on the side that says, “Reissue,” holds an important and more complex meaning than what you might think.