Wednesday Question: Worst Album Remaster Ever

As always, votes and nominations inside.

Ultimate Guitar
Wednesday Question: Worst Album Remaster Ever

For this week's traditional Wednesday Question, we'd like to kindly ask you folks to remember all those remastered versions of albums and answer this thing:

What's the worst album remaster ever?


  • Post only one suggestion per comment after checking that your favorite wasn't already nominated (Ctrl+F and all).
  • Multiple nominations of one album create heavy confusion, since on one hand it's unfair to the given effort to take into consideration only the most upvoted nomination, but seeing that multiple nominations allow one user to give two or more votes to the same record, it's also unfair to other nominees not to discard it.
  • Vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike.

We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG top list. Show us what you got now!

104 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz
    Yeah, awful story - actually it wasn't even a remaster - Ozzy and Sharon hired Mike Bordin and Rob Trujillo to re-record original parts made by Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley - in order not to pay them royalties.
    I just finished reading Ozzy's autobiography and learnt that while it was Sharon's decision to have the parts rerecorded, it was only because the Lee and Bob filed a lawsuit against them saying they were owed money when they actually weren't. They wanted royalties that would've reflected a full time band members contributions, but in reality they were session musicians who were paid a fee.
    If I remember right, their suit for royalties was actually because they were writers on the albums but they were never given credits or royalties as such. I believe Ozzy has since agreed that they wrote/co-wrote the stuff. Sadly messy!
    I thought that was the no more tears album, no?
    No More Tears is Mike Inez and Zakk Wylde.
    We're talking about bass guitar aren't we????
    Yes. And drums, which were Randy Castillo on No More Tears. Not sure why I mentioned Zakk Wylde. Maybe just to say it was a different era.
    Best era ever. I loved those two albums when they came out. Was a massive change in sound.
    It is a re-issue of both albums, but still, the overall sound(re-master) is a Digital disaster.
    Pantera - Cowboys from Hell The other Pantera remastered albums are fine but the cymbals sound like ass on the Cowboys for Hell remaster. Knock the volume down a touch on the remaster so they are the same volume, otherwise our ears believe louder = clearer and better. Original:
    The remaster of Nevermind was just louder. Another victim of the loudness war.
    yeah they really fucked up the drums, the big ba dum, da bad dum before it kicks off on Smells like Teen Spirit sounds weak on the remaster.
    Rust in Peace remastered. So much raw energy was lost in translation.
    To be fair, Dave didn't have a choice.  He didn't want to redo the vocals.  I guess you could say it shouldn't have been done in the first place.  It's really hard to find the original recording now days.
    The original version is on Spotify, so not really 'hard to find'.
    Last I checked on Spotify, the first 4 albums are listed as the originals but as soon as you start listening (especially once the vocals start) it's clearly the 2004 remasters. Except for Peace Sells, they have the 2004 remaster and a remaster (25th Anniversary Edition) from 2011. The originals are all on YouTube and I have them ripped. Especially Rust In Peace... that remaster is tough to listen to. 
    Weirdly enough, the ones that say 2004 remaster on spotify are very different for those labeled as the original. Especially the vocals. Don't know whether it's the remastered version or not, but it's definitely not the one with partially rerecorded vocals. I've just checked and the ones that aren't labeled 2004 remasters sound very different from those that are.
    Fully agree, and I'd go as far to say that all the remasters (aside form KIMB) were bad.
    I think the remaster of So Far So Good sounds better, albeit not amazing as it takes some of the energy out. I could never stand that swampy reverb on the original.
    Agreed. The rerecorded vocals on top of the weak remaster make it even worse. The original was perfect.
    Remaster of Killing is my Business, just 'cause of that shitty legal crap that meant they had to blur out all the lyrics to the cover of These Boots > 
    KIMB is the one Megadeth album that NEEDED a remaster. Yeah, These Boots is insufferable with all those annoying beeps, but the rest of the songs sound so much better. I don't agree it should be on this list.
    Outside of Megadeth's remasters and Ozzy's, i cant come up with anything. On the contrary I have plenty of albums that need to be remastered
    = Murmur =
    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts CLub Band In fact most of The Beatle's records, seeing as everything up until Abbey Road was done in mono. Now, most of the remasters of Beatles albums for some reason are in stereo...with the drums hard panned to the left or right...da fuck?
    They did mono remasters too, but you can only get it by buying the mono CD boxset. The Beatles had Stereo and mono for all their albums, it was just that stereo wasn't popular until late 60's so they were mixed to stereo without the Beatles supervision unlike the mono.  As for the hard left/right panning unfortunately that was just early 60's stereo before they really tackled how stereo should be done. Any stereo album from around that time has the same issue. The actually remasters themselves for both are excellent though I think.
    it also had to do with the wiring of the redd consoles used on the record which only allows for hard panning
    The Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman albums, which were not just 'remasters' but 're-recordings' of the rhythm section because Sharon didn't want to pay Lee & Bob. 
    The 1991 remaster of Bad Brains 'Rock For Light'. This album is so influential, completely changing the way hardcore punk developed and still develops today.  So check this: 1983 version is bass heavy, raw, punchy and big on its dub.
    1991 version completely smashed that dynamic, made it flat, 'clean', loads of guitar reverb for some reason and reduced all the bass. Travesty in remastering. 
    this should actually be "best" instead of "worst" remasters - remember how sometimes the remaster actually saved the album (Rush - Vapor Trails, Marillion - Radiation to name a few)?...
    Tubular Bells 2009 remaster.  Not really "bad" but it definitely just felt flat compared to the charm of the original.
    Megadeth-Risk. Yeah yeah I know, it's Risk. Say what you will about the album, I just don't understand why Dave found the need to remix and remaster an album that was only 5 years old at the time. 
    Probably due to the backlash of the original Risk, Dave decided to do a different mix with less effects and dialing up the guitars. However, the backlash was not only on the production but on the songwriting itself.
    Ozzy and Megadeth, truly horrible at times. I'd actually say Risk was the worst offender, people rat on it, but it's a really good rock album, the remaster butchered any redeeming things though. Oh, and Rust in Peace, fml just why.
    Not a top 10 candidate by far, but I have this horrible remaster of Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell (1977) that really just hurts my ears. It's just louder, not better.
    A whole bunch of them really. Most early cd remasters were pretty poor quality. And the loudness wars ruined many as well. I think a list of remasters better than the original is harder (and more interesting) to compile
    Meshuggah - Nothing. Because let's just replace all the drums with samples for no reason.
    But the guitars on the original sounded like shit, because they wouldn't stay in tune on 7 strings. They had an 8 string prototype made and they ended up using that instead on some of the tracks but it still didn't pay off for them. The entire album was rushed because their label wanted it out before they went on the Ozzfest tour in 2002 to promote it. Personally, I think the remaster is much better. 
    I´d like to hear that.
    I mean it's not terrible, the album is still good, it just removes a lot of the raw energy of the album for seemingly no reason other than to make the drumming 100% perfect and lifeless.
    Pearl Jam's Ten.  Brendan O'Brien's great and all(usually), but about two of those remasters were better(or at least different), and the rest were just more compressed with louder vocals. Also, I want to make a blanket statement that most all "remasters" of modern music for vinyl are horrible.  I sold my record player a couple years ago, but I had about 2 grand sunk into player, cartridge, and phono preamp.  So, entry-level audiophile. Literally every modern album that I owned on CD or high-res/SACD and vinyl sounded better on CD or high-res, while music before '92 or so was pretty evenly split between vinyl and high-res, with CD always being worse. The conclusion that I came to is that nobody(or at lease nobody that I bought) was actually remastering anything for vinyl - they were taking the digital master, and slapping a limiter curve on it and calling it a 'vinyl remaster.'  Even Soundgarden's King Animal had this problem, though they guys working on it obviously cared a hell of a lot more than some of the other records I bought.  That kind of lazy, slapdash approach just to sell another version is what gave early 'digitally remastered' CDs a bad rep in the first place.
    Damn, really? I actually love the Ten remaster. The mellow stuff like Garden, Release and Black sound so much fuller than the original. 
    Garden and Release were actually the two I was referring to as sounding better. They all sound "fuller," but that doesn't mean that you can hear anything any better - that just means that it was better compressed and takes up more space.  The various parts have all been EQ'd so bass is lower, guitars are more trebly, etc.; it sounds better in my car stereo, which can't accurately distinguish tonality and needs the help - but on my home stereo($2,500 speakers, so again - entry-level audiophile), everything but those two tracks is just louder, with treble added to the guitars. And even those two tracks are questionable.  The original had a thick mix, with a lot in the centre; the remasters push things out so you can hear individual parts, but in doing so loses some cohesion and vibe of the original. In fairness, Ten is one of those records that I've owned in every major format that has existed since it came out, so maybe I'm getting a little too involved for a Wednesday question If you're curious, the high-res version kills the vinyl one.
    I'd have to go with the remaster of "The Craving" by MD.45. Because Dave Mustaine basically took a really cool side-project and turned it into a Solo album.
    Alan Parsons Project: Tales Of Mystery and Imagination. While I found the production improved the added instrumentation really killed it for me. 
    Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry. I have no idea what it is they did to remaster it. It's still painfully quiet compared to any modern standard. 
    Megadeth - Rust In Peace Absolutely terrible. The original was so dynamic and perfect, the remaster just destroyed it completely. Not to mention Dave's re-recorded vocals for certain songs like Five Magics. 
    All remasters. You just can't beat the original.
    Actually in many cases I agree with you - but not in all. Some remasters do a really good job fixing really bad sound of original recordings.
    my chemical romance the black parade. i dont know anything that was changed, and it really was cash grab by warner bros. 
    It actually wasn't a remaster. Just a tenth anniversary reissue that had some demos and unfinished songs included!
    Any of ZZ Top's out-of-print early records that they showered with digital reverb for the CD releases in he 80s.
    I cannot think of anything better, but Remedy Lane Re:mixed was amazing apart from one thing. Beyond the Pale, which is my favourite song on the album. While the majority of the song is ok, the intro was just destroyed without that trebbly reverb and dirty synth
    Judas Priest "Painkiller" Columbia/Legacy remaster. Compressed the crap out of the entire album and they even switched speaker channels on a few tracks!
    Painkiller is already perfect. XD Some of the other Priest remasters have been great though. The one for Screaming for Vengeance and Turbo Lover sound huge.
    Screaming for Vengeance remaster was too compressed as well, but not as bad Painkiller. But I DO agree with you on Turbo Lover.
    I admit, my ears aren't so well tuned to these things. 99% of the time I simply can't tell the difference. XD I'm a recording student and I literally do nothing but music, but I'm pretty deaf to these things.
    Although I don't think it's the worst, I even prefer some songs in this version (Rational Gaze, Straws Pulled at Random, Spasm), the remake of Meshuggah's Nothing comes to mind. The guitar tone had a great improvement, but drums and vocals sucked. The drums sounds like plastic, too artificial, and lack the original awesome ghost notes from Haake. And the effects on the vocals are just bad. Guitar and bass are great, though.
    Billy Thorpe: Children Of The Sun One of my all time favorites, but the remaster added a bunch of mediocre songs that seem like they were cut from the original album for a reason..