Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction CD/Blu Ray/Vinyl Unboxing & Review

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I remember getting Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses on cassette when I was in Grade 5.  I don’t even remember how I came into possession of it.  I think my mother bought it for me to tell you the truth.  The album’s videos were all over MTV and even though I was Canadian, we had a satellite dish and I got the channel.  My love for all kinds of music in the 80s was founded from our three years having MTV and this is an album that made a huge impact on my life and was one of the reasons, along with Metallica, why I became a drummer and it helped lead me down the path to the harder side of music.

At the end of June, 2018, the band released a couple of different updated versions of Appetite for Destruction: a double CD version, the deluxe 4 CD/Blu Ray audio package, double vinyl, and one crazy ass wooden box set that featured everything but the kitchen sink.  I’m a sucker for those insane sets but at $1200 Canadian, no thanks.

The unboxing mainly happens in the video at the end of this feature.  This won’t be a review of the album because, hey, if I bought the 4 CD/Blu Ray set and the double vinyl, you probably know where it sits with me.  It’s a front to backer and I love every aspect of the album.  I’ve taken pictures of the stuff in the sets and will provide some insight about the audio and a few other things.  For the unboxing and a complete look at everything, plus a demonstration of the hologram on the vinyl, go directly to the video.

 

2 LP Set

The album comes in a sleeve featuring the more known (iconic, even) front and back of the album. As you can see from they hype sticker, it’s been remastered from the original analogue tapes. The sleeve comes off to reveal the originally pitched cover art that was created by Robert Williams.  I think it’s a great way of combining both covers.

I owned a previous version of this album on vinyl and after spinning this, I gave the other copy to my sister when she visited.  I didn’t need two copies after listening to this one.  It is crisp, clean, and the best I ever have heard the album.  The remastering actually seems to be a legit remaster where it cleans many aspects up and raises the clarity.  I cranked this thing so loud that I’m sure my neighbours were surely pissed.  I didn’t care as it was one of those rare days where I had the house to myself.  I needed to hear how good this was supposed to be and it lived up to the hype.  If you’re unsure if you should upgrade your copy, do it.  I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

The big gimmick for side D is an etching that, when you shine your phone light on it, will turn into a 3D hologram.  I tried taking pictures of it (see below) but it doesn’t come across well.   Once again, go to the video to check it out and what side D actually looks like when it isn’t spinning.

 

The Super Deluxe Edition (4 CDs/BluRay Audio)

I was going to list the tracks that you get on this version but you can enlarge the picture that lists it or you can click here.

There are two reasons I wanted to get this set: the unreleased tracks (mainly the Sound City Sessions) and for the BluRay audio.  I had not, up to this point, bought any BluRay audio discs and that is now going to change. More on that in a minute.

The package comes in a faux-leather packaging with embossed pictures on front and back of the outside sleeve and the front and back of the booklet that houses the media. It looks cool but I really thought it would stand out more.  As you can see from the pictures, it doesn’t pop like you may think it would.  This was my first small disappointment with this expensive set.

All four CDs and the Blu Ray audio are housed comfortably inside the booklet near the back.  While it looks cool, I really hate when media is stored like this.  I find slipping the discs in and out makes them more prone to accidental scratching.

The booklet features many photos, press releases, and blurbs about this era of the band’s history (and leading up to the release of the album).  It’s a great visual history and gives you more insight into the band, the label, and marketing.  The thing that sucks, though, is the book not having any features regarding the making of the album, there’s nothing on the individual’s mindsets at the time, it features no essays on the album, and doesn’t feature any other kinds of reflective pieces that usually accompany packages like this.  I found that to be the biggest disappointment.  I really like reading those kinds of things and you’d think the people in charge would have known better.

I confess.  I didn’t listen to the standard album on CD.  I just didn’t have to after listening to the vinyl.  I went right to the second CD.  I wanted to hear if the tracks from GNR Lies were cleaned up at all and they do sound a bit more open than the original release.  As you can see (and maybe read), the band left the controversial song, “One In A Million” off this release.  After seeing that, I’m betting a reissue of that EP how we grew up with it probably won’t happen.  I have an original, so I’m not too concerned.  I respect the band for the decision it made to leave “One In A Million” off this release, but it doesn’t re-write history.

I think it would have been an awesome bonus on this set to hear the songs from the Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide EP  without the fake crowd cheering on them.  I’m sure those versions are around somewhere.

As for the rest of the extras, I found them to be an insightful listen as I’ve never listened to the bootlegs that have been out there.  Hearing the songs stripped down without the huge production and different aspects of them was a real treat. I just sat on the couch and listened attentively.  Once I got to the second disc of extras and got into the acoustic versions of some of the songs, that was where I started to lose interest.  Mind you, hearing what November Rain was shaping up to be already in 1986 was surprising.

The Blu Ray 5.1 audio is, hands-down, breathtaking.  I thought the vinyl sounded good but nothing prepared me for how blown away I would be by the mix.  If I had not upgraded my stereo, I doubt I really would have noticed as much as I did.  This will probably be the way I listen to this album from now on.  Only three songs from the “Lies” side of GNR Lies are on the Blu Ray, along with “Shadow of Your Love” and the acoustic version of “Move to the City.”  There are also music videos.  I would have liked more included but that’s me being greedy, I suppose.

The set also includes a plethora of items: posters, replica tickets, a small little card with a little blurb about the Robert Williams art, temporary tattoos, band member lithographs, and more.  I go through all of it in the video.

I found some of the art in the book, especially with the Robert Williams cover art poster, to be very pixelated.  I was expecting the art to be top-notch and crisp to coincide with what they were presenting with the music.  That was a bit of a let down, too.  I guess it really doesn’t matter because I’m not hanging up the poster.

While I found the vinyl to sound amazing and a great value, I think, while sounding great, the deluxe set could be about $30 bucks cheaper to fall in line with what I think it’s worth.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed mostly everything here immensely and it’s the music that counts.  What they’ve done to one of my favourite albums of all times shows that care went into it and it definitely brings me to Paradise City.  Sorry…had to!

Enjoy the video!

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