Iron Maiden - Killers
Album Comparisons: Killers
I have no problem admitting that I'm more a fan of the Paul DiAnno era Iron Maiden albums than I am of any of the Bruce Dickinson or Blaze Bayley efforts. Those first two albums have a grungy, wrong-side-of-the-tracks street urchin vocal and musical feel to them which resonates with me to a much greater degree than the "operatic" metal style of the Dickinson era. While the Killers album lacks any essential, signature Iron Maiden cuts, and the musical craftsmanship is somewhat less exciting than on the band's self-titled debut, the disc does feature significantly better production and a much fuller, more developed sound mix with greatly improved production values. So how do these improvements fare in the remastered version of the album as compared to the original? Note that the comparisons below are of the original U.S. Capitol CD release, not the later Castle 2-CD edition from 1995.

The Ides of March

1988 Capitol CD release

The Ides of March

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

The Ides of March

Wrathchild

1988 Capitol CD release

Wrathchild

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Wrathchild

Murders in the Rue Morgue

1988 Capitol CD release

Murders in the Rue Morgue

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Murders in the Rue Morgue

Another Life

1988 Capitol CD release

Another Life

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Another Life

Genghis Khan

1988 Capitol CD release

Genghis Khan

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Genghis Khan

Innocent Exile

1988 Capitol CD release

Innocent Exile

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Innocent Exile

Killers

1988 Capitol CD release

Killers

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Killers

Twilight Zone

1988 Capitol CD release

Twilight Zone

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Twilight Zone

Prodigal Son

1988 Capitol CD release

Prodigal Son

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Prodigal Son

Purgatory

1988 Capitol CD release

Purgatory

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Purgatory

Drifter

1988 Capitol CD release

Drifter

2002 Sanctuary CD remaster

Drifter
And the winner is: 1988 Capitol CD release. The remastered CD has a notably "duller" sound - compare for example, the snare drum roll about one minute into "Murders in the Rue Morgue" - as compared to the much brighter sound of the Capitol release. It does seem that something more is going on with the sound here than just compression, though, as the difference between the two versions of this song is significant. Ultimately it likely comes down to a matter of personal preference. I prefer a more "open" sound over the "boxed in" sound of the Sanctuary disc, which comes across in my listening tests as similar to one of today's hyper compressed pop recordings despite bouncing the VU meter needle all over the place by comparison. I've never been able to hear this album on an original 1980s vinyl pressing, so I can't say with 100% certainty that the muffled sound of the remaster is "wrong," or if it's due to a loss of the higher end as a result of compression, but to me it does seem like it, and so I'm giving this one to the 1988 release.