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Second of the new PE reissues feels less extravagant than the NATIONS deluxe reissue. The packaging loses that nice cardboard feel in favour of a gloss style digipak. The liner notes feel more thrown together and less impressive too.
On the plus side there are quite a few alternate mixes and b-sides present on a second accompanying disc.
Sound quality? This is the best *sounding* CD version yet but the difference feels more muted than the NATIONS reissue. Possibly due to the source material being better to begin with or perhaps a less exhaustive mastering process was undertaken? Who knows? The engineer is different to the one responsible for the NATIONS reissue certainly. There is a bit more low end, vocals seem a little more natural but it doesn't feel like a veil being lifted or anything.
It is *still* however an improvement on the previous CD although whether that is worth £12 of your money is another story?
Now on to why I've only granted it 4 stars. There seems to be a mastering error on tracks 8 and 9 compared to the original CD. The start of ANTI-NIGGER MACHINE seems to have the end of track 7 tacked on and the same thing happens on track 9 BURN HOLLYWOOD BURN with FLAV's intro to the song beginning at the end of track 8.
I'm pretty sure this is a mistake and frankly it's disappointingly sloppy that this wasn't spotted before pressing.
It doesn't affect things to much if you're listening to the album as a whole but if you only want to listen to those tracks (7,8,9) it's irritating that you miss the intro or the ending depending on which track you wish to hear.
This reissue is a case of mixed blessings ultimately.
I have been in touch with Universal Music Group and they have investigated the mastering error.
According to them:
"The label have advised the original release was different and the timings have been changed since. From a product's perspective this is correct, this version has the same time splits as the 1CD version on Spotify and in iTunes."
So there we are. I'm not convinced the new timings are right but they are apparently.