Rolling Stone, November 15th 2006
© 2006 Rolling Stone
(4 Men with Beards)
4 1/2 stars out of 5
by Rob Sheffield
Has any rock album fared worse in the digital era than Metal Box? Public Image Ltd. packaged their 1979 art-punk opus as three twelve-inch 45-rpm vinyl discs in a metal film canister. The sound was massive: Jah Wobble took off from dub to play some of the deepest bass grooves ever heard, Keith Levene slashed at his guitar, and John Lydon wailed like two bats mating in a trash can.
Unfortunately, the CD versions
sound thin -- you can barely hear the bass at all. On MP3, it's even
more muffled. But in this vinyl reissue, Metal Box has all its intense
sonic impact, from the death-disco of "Albatross," "No
Birds" and "Careering" to the soothing synths of "Radio
4." You can also hear how funny Lydon is; he's practically a post-punk
Marty Feldman, cackling at his own psychic horrors in "Poptones."
Finally, this huge record gets a proper reissue -- metal box and all.
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