I'll say time and time again that album re-releases produce mixed feelings as a music fan and music buyer. When an album is re-released with bonus content, it oftentimes becomes the quintessential version of the album to buy. Many times the new special edition is about the same price as the original, so you may even feel like you're being given a greater incentive to finally pick up an album of interest. The unfortunate deal, however, is that fans who bought the original album when it came out almost feel cheated or punished to have not waited for the potential of an enhanced re-release - especially when the occurrence of such album revisitations are happening more and more (and more and more). Essential Records rock band Red is the latest among many to be given this second-hand treatment, and fans will undoubtedly be tempted to double-dip for a goodie-filled re-release of the band's 2006 debut, End of Silence.
And there aren't many re-releases that can be looked at as perfect and well-worth a second purchase. When taking a look at End of Silence Deluxe Edtion, it's tempting to quickly form opinions about how the bonus materials could have been done even better. While it's always a plus to get more music, many times the tacking-on of remixes, demos, or b-sides to an original studio album can ruin the fluidity of the original project's composition. End of Silence Deluxe Edtion avoids this by completely leaving the original 11-track album untouched. Instead, a brand new DVD featuring over thirty minutes of live footage, including seven songs, has been added as a bonus disc. The DVD, which features over an hour of overall content, may seem a little slim to re-buy the same album some may already own all over again, but let's evaluate what's included...
The concert is clearly the DVD's main focus. The seven tracks ("Wasting Time," "Hide," "Let Go," "Already Over," "Pieces," "Break Me Down," and "Breathe Into Me"), capture the high-energy of a Red show in high quality video presented in widescreen, 16 x 9 format. The picture is quite good and the video quality is worthy of a live music video. The downside to this kind of polish is it tends to lift the viewer out of the "in-the-audience" concert feel, but it's difficult to complain about a clear picture, entertaining editing, and a good live audio capture. If anything, the audio may even been too clean as well, but it gives the live footage a nice professional feel that is evidence that this project wasn't just haphazardly thrown together. Video effects are also used from camera sweeps around the stage, angle cuts, black and white footage mixed in with color, and even some dramatic speeding up and slowing down of more action-intensive moments. All of these little tricks are still used rather sparingly as not to feel too hokey or overdone.
The Special Features section on the DVD includes a Photo Montage set to a studio track from the record, a Video Blog medley, the "Breathe Into Me" music video, and a surprisingly brief 7-plus minute documentary on the band. The highlight of the special features is clearly the Video Blog, which is over 20 minutes of just fun highlights recorded by the band while on tour. From "ghost hunting" in an old creepy concert venue (just think something like "The Blair RED Project"), to goofing off in Vegas at an oxygen bar, to giving a rundown of Red's stage gear and having fun playing golf, it's an entertaining look at the band's life on the road. The Red documentary is intriguing, but it ends prematurely after only touching on the members and their history, interactions, and the making of their debut. When they reveal that most of the album's songs had over a dozen versions, it's enough to want to hear a couple or learn more about their song writing process.
Looking at End of Silence Deluxe Edtion as a whole, it's tempting to want to have audio files of the live music included on the DVD. For only an hour of somewhat random behind-the-scenes content, it merely whets the appetite and is over all too soon. When you're finished with the DVD, unlike with audio files, it's not likely you'll be popping the project in again as regularly as perhaps a live audio disc (*although you can get the audio files separately on iTunes for more money). On the flip side, the video blogs alone bring a new depth to those who don't know much about the band as individuals and therefore brings a bit more depth to their music. Although the band's debut hadn't impressed this particular rock music listener last summer, their live show has since begun to grab my attention. End of Silence Deluxe Edtion, therefore, is a more rounded introductory project of a rock band who has plenty to say and ultimately plenty to offer. It may not be the best possible re-release package, but it is indeed above average and a nice treat for the "Redheads" and more casual listeners alike.- Review date: 11/11/07, written by John DiBiase
Disc One: End Of Silence Audio CD
Disc Two: Live DVD
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