In the early '80s, Jethro Tull found themselves facing a formidable opponent, the ever-changing musical landscape of a new decade. Stepping into the era with their album "A," the band encountered the vast realm of advanced technology and electronic music trends. Unfazed, they embraced the challenge and, two years later, released "The Broadsword and the Beast," a fascinating blend of their signature folk aesthetic and electronic synthesis.
Ian Anderson, armed with an expanded arsenal of vocoders and synthesizers alongside his iconic flute and guitar, leads the charge. Despite the modern influences, the album's core comprises folk-infused melodies reminiscent of their previous works like "Songs from the Wood" and "Heavy Horses." The electronic elements, though subtle, brought forward the sonic palette of their songs, adding an adventurous touch to tracks like the heroic title track.
While the electronic experimentation proves successful, they didn’t escape the eighties attitude unscathed. The incessant chants on "Beastie!" and the trite James Bond-inspired lyrics of "Watching Me Watching You" revealed the direction the band was heading in the future. Additionally, a generic eighties ballad feel detracts from the otherwise lovely "Slow Marching Band."
Still, thankfully, "The Broadsword and the Beast" boasts plenty of strong material, featuring charming tunes like "Pussy Willow" and the bouncy, folky "Clasp." Ian Anderson's musical explorations yield mainly positive results, proving the band's capability to evolve without compromising their essence.
At the core of this 5 CD + 3 DVD 40th Anniversary deluxe edition is a treasure trove for Jethro Tull fans. Across the 3 DVDs high-resolution enthusiasts will find new album mixes by Steven Wilson in 96kHz / 24-bit DTS 5.1 Surround and LPCM Stereo, along with backward compatible Dolby Digital AC3 codecs, plus additional demos and rough mixes offer a fresh perspective on the album's timeless charm, along with a live recording from Germany in 1982 and sessions from 1981 provide a glimpse into the band's musicianship on stage and in the studio. All of these are mixed in multi-channel audio and hi-res stereo and duplicated on the Compact Discs.
The accompanying 164-page booklet delves into the album's creation and the subsequent tour, offering insights from the band and crew. Moreover, the reproduction of the tour program from the 1982 concerts adds a nostalgic touch, allowing fans to relive the experience.
"The Broadsword and the Beast" holds a special place in Jethro Tull's discography. Its unique blend of rock, folk, and 80’s elements, combined with Ian Anderson's captivating storytelling, resulted in a Top 20 hit in the USA. Looking back on the album, Ian Anderson praises the band's solid rhythm section, Peter Vettese's thoughtful contributions, and Martin Barre's exceptional guitar skills, making this release stand out among their works.
Fans generally agree, "The Broadsword and the Beast" remains a true gem in their vast catalog. This 40th Anniversary deluxe edition is a must-have for fans, progressive rock collectors, and surround sound enthusiasts. The album showcases the band's musical evolution and is a declaration of their enduring legacy.
5 CD + 3 DVD
- CD1: ‘THE BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST’ Steven Wilson stereo remix & ASSOCIATED RECORDINGS
- CD2: ASSOCIATED RECORDINGS (Early 1981 Sessions) & FURTHER ASSOCIATED RECORDINGS
- CD3: DEMO RECORDINGS & ORIGINAL 1981 MASTER MIXES, plus EARLY 1982 ROUGH MIXES
- CD4: LIVE IN GERMANY 1982, par 1
- CD5: LIVE IN GERMANY 1982, part 2
- DVD 1: The Broadsword and the Beast album remixed to 96/24 LPCM stereo and DTS and Dolby Digital
5.1 surround sound + flat transfer of the 1982 original mix and other associated tracks in 96/24 LPCM stereo, Audio only.
- DVD 2: Associated Recordings remixed to 96/24 LPCM stereo and DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, audio only.
- DVD 3: Live in Germany (same as CD4 & CD5) remixed to 96/24 LPCM stereo and DTS and Dolby Digital 4.1 surround sound, audio only.
Scheduled for release September 1, 2023.
5 CD + 3 DVD 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition featuring 96kHz / 24-bit DTS 5.1 Surround Sound mixes and LPCM Stereo mixes by Steven Wilson. Also available on Vinyl, and via Streaming.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.