Brought Back To Life Again serves up 14 tracks of the great Nekromantix sound: full speed ahead punk-inflected psychobilly with generous abuse of Kim Nekroman’s stand-up coffin bass and a strong sense of humor. The original songs have been remastered (“digitally corrupted” says Kim in the liner notes) and the resulting quality is very high. Previously clouded fills and backing vocals are brought up and sharpened in the mix. Equally important, none of the warmth of the original album (recorded on tape) has been lost in the new transfer to digital. As my neighbors can attest, this CD does not suffer at all when cranked to 11.
Album reissues are a tricky facet of the music business. Anyone familiar with the endless repackaging of the same washed-out and washed up classic rock albums decades after the original release date can back me up on this. Ostensibly this is to provide “new” material for the collector or to offer the uninitiated a popular and comfortable and safe entrée into the music.
On the other side of the equation we, the collectors and the fans old and new, sometimes get a great new-old release that reminds us why we spent all those weekends flipping through dusty used bins and passing around lo-fi copies of copies to each other. I’m no music biz insider, so I couldn’t tell you why the classic 1992 Nekromantix album Brought Back To Life went out of print. But I can tell you that the reissue of the album on Hellcat Records is going to rekindle that old flame and spark more than a few new fires. It’s in stores on 11 October 2005, just in time for your Hallowe’en parties and those long winter nights.
Of course, we can’t have a reissue without some extras thrown in. And I would be cynical about this being just another gimmick, but the bonus material is well worth checking out. First up, “Intro (Original Intro)” is an unsettling bass and ticking clock lead into “Bloody Holiday.” The third track, “Monster Movie Fan” has an alternate ending, a slow clicking screaming fade, which sets up “Driller Killer.” Closing down the album is “Nekrofilia (Organ and Bell Version);” the addition of the Hammond-esque piano line holding down alongside the bass adds a nice depth to the song that isn’t as apparent in the 1992 release version. As an artifact, the packaging itself is a significant revision. “Floating heads” on the front, and purple and black art throughout the 3-panel Digipak is echoed on the CD itself (shiny black and purple). Very cool.
Overall, Brought Back To Life Again adds enough to the original release to make it a must have for the serious Nekromantix and psychobilly fan. New listeners will find an accessible point of entry into their extensive catalogue. After several line-up and label changes, Nekromantix has continued to grow and develop their sound and style. This reissue not only documents a specific moment in time, but also reveals a connection between their other albums and throughout their history. Nekromantix is writing new material right now. If it’s half as good as Brought Back To Life Again they’ve got another instant classic on their hands.