Upcoming Sodom Demo Collection

Floga Records are publishing an upcoming anthology of Sodom‘s demos on September 1st. Demonized compiles both the Witching Metal and Victims of Death demos onto one disc. It will be available on LP, cassette, CD jewel case, and CD digipak. Get the jewel case of course if you are a Sodom fanatic and In the Sign of Evil / Obsessed by Cruelty still was not filthy enough for you. Demonized may be pre-ordered here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncM2gRtGoBk

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On the Seventh Day God Created… Master & Speckmann Project Reissue

Hammerheart Records is reissuing Master‘s second album, On the Seventh Day God Created… Master, on both CD and LP. Get the CD digipak as it contains the Speckmann Project as a bonus disc. Leave the vinyl with the same sound for the hipsters.

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Zemial – For the Glory of Ur Reissue

Greek black metal band Zemial have reissued their debut album, For the Glory of Ur, in a limited edition digipak. The CD is a self-release exclusively available for purchase from the band’s BigCartel page. If you’re a compulsive collector who has to have everything that wasn’t terrible from the mid 90s, maybe you will need this.
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Why are digipaks so popular?

digipak_format

Whenever I see a release will be in digipak format, I have mixed emotions. The digipak shows more of the art and does not have the spine of the CD case to break up the panels between front and back. It is more like the envelope in which vinyl records are packaged and arguably more attractive. But it also has a fatal flaw: it degrades rapidly, often randomly, and unlike the rigid CD case does a poor job of protecting the relatively fragile CD.

Records, while also fragile, have an advantage in that they are larger and so are harder to destroy and less likely to be combined with other items and crushed. What all of us love about records is the large format front and back covers which allow more visibility to the album art as if it were a two-panel painting. But this size of art will never exist on a CD because it is a quarter the size of a vinyl record, so it seems a bit silly to package CDs in a fragile format so that we can see the same small-size art. Perhaps by now the CD audience is accustomed to seeing smaller art, and will download a bigger scan if they need one, or buy the vinyl instead.

Among my years with the digipak format, I have seen multiple CDs become loosed by the failure of the CD tray to remain glued to the back wall of the paper foldout. Multiple times the spines have compressed or collapsed, leading to the abrasion of the artwork that is putatively the value in the digipak over a nice, sturdy and reliable plastic CD case. Trying to pack them together on a shelf, owing to the disuniformity of the format because of its multiple options for booklets and pockets, causes total chaos which inevitably results in digipaks slipping like North Sea sardines from among the mess onto the floor.

This blog post is not a persuasive writing. It does not seek to convince you of a point of view; it raises a few questions and then departs. Those questions might be: What is it that we like about digipaks, especially artists and labels but not (generally) fans and collectors? What are the downsides? Do those benefits outweigh the downsides, and what are the risks of the downsides occurring in the life of the average metal fan? Not all questions need answers but many produce answering response in us as we read them, which I hope has happened here.

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