So, on to the actual comparison. The compact disc sounds terrible - extremely thin and full of treble, with hardly any bottom end to it. As there has never been an official digital release of this album, the bootleggers had the option of transferring from either cassette or vinyl. Vinyl was used, and ordinarily that would be a good thing, but the transfer here is nearly as bad as the music itself. The stylus on the record player is obviously worn and in need of replacement, something which becomes ever more painfully evident as it proceeds farther along each side of the original album. Added to this is an extremely noticeable scratch which mars the playback of album closer "Forever Tonight," something that could and should have been digitally removed before this release was mastered. Then again, this is a bootleg, essentially a crass cash in by some fly by night company seeking to make a quick buck by exploiting the band's later notoriety. On the other hand, the cassette isn't that great, either, marred throughout by a muddy, Dolby-free sound which has plenty of bass but not nearly enough brightness or high end to it. I've owned two copies over the years, both of which have suffered from the same afflictions, and this leads me to believe that the issues are ultimately rooted in the duplication process used. I've had other 1980s era cassettes from major labels that sounded just fine, so I can only assume that the facilities available to small local indie labels like Pantera's Metal Magic were simply inferior. I'd like to hear what a first pressing vinyl copy of this album sounds like on good equipment, but I've never gotten my hands on one, and this album frankly isn't good enough to justify throwing down $100 or more for a copy. So I'm giving this one to the cassette release. The bootleg actually had the potential to sound better, but it doesn't, and I don't really recommend either one.
As a side note, the stereo is reversed on the cassette compared to the bootleg CD, and I'm not sure which is correct given the sloppy jobs done on both. At least one release is also slightly off on speed. I could see either the bootlegger using cheap equipment for the LP playback, resulting in a tempo that's slightly fast, or the cassette duplication facility lacking quality control given the audio quality of the copies, resulting in a tempo that's slightly slow. I'm more inclined to fault the bootleggers on this one, though.