Review Summary: This re-recording won't feed your nostalgia. This is for those that wanted the original 1988 release brought into the modern age.
There are a lot of reasons bands choose to re-record their early material. Anthrax and Iced Earth did it to show off new vocalists. Testament did it to show that they still 'had it' despite an almost completely revamped lineup. Anacrusis did it due to fan requests and their own personal displeasure with the originals, and now Flotsam and Jetsam have done it too. After the band's debut was remastered and re-released, fans made a request for the same treatment on No Place For Disgrace
. Complications apparently made it impossible to do, so the next best thing was to re-record the entire album. Since this entire endeavor was due to fan demand, the band set up a Pledge Music account so that those same fans could finance the entire thing. The project was a success and the new version was financed, recorded and eventually released. So, was it worth the effort?
For the fans that had been asking for it, of course it was. The sound is infinitely more clear and crisp, providing much more separation between individual instruments. The drums don’t have that hollow 80s thrash sound, the riffs aren’t obscured by a muddy delivery and the lyrics are much easier to understand. The best thing to come from the re-recording is the updated vocals from Eric Knutson. Eric’s voice has aged like fine wine and the deeper, grittier style he first used on Cuatro
really compliments these older songs. While in the studio, the band also took the opportunity to make some other changes that they may or may not have been thinking about for the last twenty-five years. This includes adding additional synth and piano flourishes, subtly altering arrangements and solos, adding a few guest musicians (including Chris Poland and ex-guitarist Mark Simpson -- but not Jason Newsted) and even completely replacing the opening riff on 'Saturday Night's Alright'. For the most part, these changes are either positive or inconsequential but not everything will be so easily accepted. The biggest issue the 2014 release seems to have is the use of slower tempos in a few spots (most noticeably on the title track). It's annoying, for sure, but certainly not a deal breaker when considering all of the other positives.
There are going to be a vocal minority (majority?) of people that hate this album just because it's not the original and nostalgia dictates that the original is the best -- this album wasn't created for them. No Place For Disgrace - 2014
is for those fans that liked the original, but found the production dated or lacking. For them, this version should provide everything that they were hoping to hear. The sound is crisp and clear, there is significantly more separation between instruments and the playing is as superb as the original. Where there might be some issues is in the updated vocal style and few additional flourishes; only because these elements deviate from the original blueprint. Where there is almost certain to be issues is in the few places that the band opted to slow down the original tempos. Overall, No Place For Disgrace - 2014
should satisfy those that were looking for an updated production and it offers enough subtle changes from the original to stand on its own.