Saturday, 25 September 2010

Integrity 'Those Who Fear Tomorrow' 2010

Today's entry is yet another Integrity record. It's also a long post. If you don't like Integrity, then I apologise.. although I'm hoping that I can still make it interesting enough for you to spend some time reading it. Think of it as some kind of history lesson.

Ok, so as you may know, Organized Crime Records has decided to reissue all the "classic" Integ records on vinyl, and in chronological order. I dealt with the reissue of the first 7" in two posts (HERE and HERE). The second installment in the series just came out, and this is the one that many still think of as the band's finest moment - the first album, 'Those Who Fear Tomorrow'. But before I get to the new reissue, I figured I would talk a little about the history of this album... mainly because it helps explain why the reissue looks the way that it does.

The history of this album is itself quite interesting, and I am guessing that not too many people at the younger end of the age spectrum would know the story. Not that I know the full story, but I know enough not to sound like a fool. So here is my version...

1991/2 - 'Those Who Fear Tomorrow' was first released by Overkill Records (a Seattle based label) on CD only. Here are some pictures of the original CD:

Then, a couple of years later (and maybe not even that much later, I am unsure) the album was re-released (again, on CD only) by the Dutch East India. This edition featured different artwork. I don't have the proper version of this one, just some 'promo' copy, which features only the booklet and CD in a slip case. Still, you get to see the artwork:

Then, circa 1996, the album finally got the vinyl treatment. Seems that a lot of kids these days think that this vinyl version is "the original". But no, it was a reissue that came 5 years after the original. I guess that, for this reason, the name of the record was slightly modified to 'And For Those Who Still Fear Tomorrow'. Funny how the 'still' is in reference to the fact that this record was being released five years after it's original release. Also funny how those 5 years felt like an eternity to me when I was 20 years old, but 5 years these days seem to fly by in a heartbeat! Well anyway, back then I remember thinking it kinda strange that this was put out by a record label based in Florida - Toybox Records. And even though it was cool to finally get the record on vinyl, I never really liked this edition. So let me explain why...

Firstly, I never liked the cover. The cover includes the original artwork, but puts it in a small box. It's also not in colour. The ink on the cover is kinda cool, in silver ink, but in my opinion there's just too much white going on, and overall it feels kinda like a half-finished job:

However, the main thing that I always disliked about this version was the randomness of the vinyl itself. There were three colours of vinyl (four if you include black). And there were also two different sleeves - the white one that I have pictured here, and a red one that I don't actually own... which actually looks better than this one in my opinion (so not sure why I never got around to picking a red one up!). Anyway, it's fair enough that there are multiple vinyl colours and sleeves. I mean, it's pretty much standard practice these days. But what I haven't yet explained is that the sleeves are numbered. And the numbering is what seems random to me. I got my copies of this LP from Dwid in a trade when this came out, and I was told that the pressing info is as follows:- Yellow (200), White (300), Purple (400). So, bearing that in mind, check the numbering of my records:

It doesn't make sense. I mean, if yellow is the most limited colour, why does the yellow one start at a much higher number than the white vinyl? More to the point, how is the number of the purple one so high? Also, if there are only 800 colour vinyl copies in total, how come the colour ones are as low as number 755 and as high as number 3616? That implies that there are nearly 3000 colour copies to me. I would expect the colour vinyl to be numbered from 1 to 800, but clearly that is not the case. More to the point, the red covers are numbered out of 1000... and I have seen all four vinyl colours in red sleeves. So clearly there is absolutely no consistency to the numbering or the sleeve usage. And being someone who is quite neat and organised, this really pisses me off. It's kinda like the dude who released this had the sleeves and records delivered in a truck, and it got toppled on the highway and the sleeves and records fell out of their boxes into a big heap, and rather than sort them out he just randomly assembled them. What other explanation could there possibly be?

Also, another point - according to the numbering there were 1000 red cover and 4000 white cover. But I have over the years seen far more copies for sale on ebay with the red cover than the white cover. So this doesn't quite tally. Were there REALLY 4000 white covers made (or, rather, sold)? I'm not sure I believe that. Surely if there were 5000 copies of this in existence it would pop up for sale on ebay more often than it does.

Even more irritating, this album comes with a nice little booklet, containing a couple of pictures and the lyrics.

However, distribution of the booklet is also just as random. Not all copies had one included. I have three records, and only one has a booklet, which is the white vinyl... which is not even supposed to be the most limited version. But I have seen red sleeves and yellow vinyl with the booklet. So again, it was clearly random.

This version did, however, have two things going for it - firstly, it had an extra song bolted on the end of the album - 'Eighteen'... which, let's face it, is a great song. It was also quite innovative too in that the extra song is pressed on a reverse groove at the end of side 2, i.e. you have to drop the needle in the centre of the record to play it, and the needle works its way back out towards the edge of the record. I'd never seen that before this album. Pretty funny since it is unplayable on cheap, automatic turntables.

The second cool feature is that the booklet contains an Integrity discography (to the point when this record was released):

Unfortunately though, the discography is not entirely correct. And, even worse, the label that made this were too lazy to update the discography with pressing info for this record. As the picture shows, it just says "many colors (limited to 5000)". Whack.

So anyway, as you can probably tell, I've always thought that this 1996 vinyl reissue to be a bit of an underachievement. Yes, it was nice to have it on vinyl after owning the CD for a few years, but overall it just felt a bit rushed, and the packaging was a bit of a let down. So I've never really been a big fan of it. Sorry!

This is where my knowledge lets itself down, mainly because I was never a CD person. This album was re-released on CD a several times. I don't have a record of how many versions exist nor how many labels have released it. But I do know one thing - the idea was never to create versions to bug collectors. It was more just a desire to keep it in print and keep it available. There was always demand for this album after all. It just seemed that one label would issue it, then fold. So then another label got given a chance to keep it going. So yes, there are several other CD versions of this thing out there under various names, but I don't know anything about any of them. So let's move on...

This brings me on the latest version. The 2010 reissue... which appears on the scene nearly 19 years after the original release on Overkill. How time flies eh?

The first thing to say is that the artwork is cool... because it pays homage to both of the "original" CD versions. The front cover is the same art as the original CD on Overkill, the Francis Bacon painting "Painting 1946". And unlike the '96 vinyl version, this one is full colour. Cool.

This LP comes in a gatefold sleeve. And despite me pretty much hating gatefold sleeves these days (because every record seems to have one as standard), this one uses the gatefold well. It contains the art of the Dark Empire CD on one side, and the lyrics on the other.

And the back cover features a picture that was included in the booklet of the original Overkill CD.

I guess the one thing that stands out to me now looking at this pic is how young the band look. I guess that, as I get older, it blows my mind to think how much creative output comes from such young minds. I mean, some hardcore records are now incredibly well known and influential, and these are things that were created (played, recorded, and released) by kids who were still at school or college. I guess it seemed normal back then, but these days it seems weird to me to think about how much great, lasting music is created by people with very limited life experience. Crazy.

Anyway, back to the point. There are three versions of this reissue available. Actually, maybe there are more, but these are the three that were available when I pre-ordered. First up is a pink vinyl copy. This comes in a regular cover, but sits in a stamped & numbered dust sleeve. I guess this is the pre-order version. It's numbered out of 225 copies:

The second version is red vinyl in a regular gatefold sleeve. This is the "regular" version I guess, being out of 680 copies. This one came shrink-wrapped, and the shrinkwrap had a little sticker on the front:

This picture shows the difference between the red and pink vinyl, since the pictures I just posted look pretty similar:

The third version has a limited Stephen Kasner cover, numbered out of 320 copies. The vinyl for this one, like the Kasner edition of the first 7" reissue, is on clear 'smoke' vinyl. It also has a stamped dust sleeve.

As previously, the first 30 copies of this have a hand drawn sketch inside the sleeve by Kasner himself, but unfortunately I didn't manage to get one of those... yet ;o)

As with the 7" reissue, there was also a flyer pack for the first 100 pre-orders. This is basically an envelope containing copies of some old Integrity flyers.

And finally, as yet another bonus, the card mailer itself is limited!

The funny thing about being a stupid collector is that I'm now going to have to keep this piece of cardboard. Ha!

In summary, I would say that Organized Crime have once again done a good job with this reissue. I hope you can also now appreciate it a little more, especially as compared to the previous vinyl reissue from 14 years ago. I definitely prefer this version. It's nice to see the original artwork full size and in full colour... finally! I only had to wait 18 years! I'm already startig to get excited in anticipation over what's in store for the next in the series (presumably 'Systems Overload'). Can't wait!


jhulud said...

One of your best entries my friend. The first time I heard this album was when I was knee-deep in midwest hardcore and checking out the east and west coast scenes...then Integrity comes along and pretty much blows everyone out of the water. Such a great record and even at almost 20 years old, it still sounds fresh and just like on the day I first listened to it.

Anonymous said...

I must say that I actually prefer the Toybox records packaging (white cover, black vinyl and the booklet).
Funny thing is, until a few months back, I could never get into Those Who Fear Tomorrow. I first heard Those Who Fear Tomorrow when the vinyl was released and to be honest, was quite underwhelmed, especially after listening to Humanity Is The Devil non stop (best integrity realise ever IMHO). How ever TWFT is now a favourite after not hearing it for years and giving it another go on wiser ears...

Anonymous said...

i love your posts, i love your vinyl collection, so much passion about details, i love it, really great integrity collection, I'm really jealous about it :D

btw: imho THFT is the best integrity album

Anonymous said...

Very good post Marcus, very informative, very good reflections!

I think also Organized Crime does a very worthy job on these reissues. The guy who does it must certainly be a very good and passionate integ collector.

Anyway, thanks for the posts on these, as i only picked up the ICOS reissue (so far)...

-cja said...

you forgot something... the yellow vinyl with purple streaks. this version, apparently, was the most rare version when the Toybox LP hit. i've seen it once. if i recall, there's something like 25 copies or something crazy.

your argument on how/why the Toybox version is lame makes a lot of sense... the whole thing is/was an absolute mess. part of me though, can't help but think that some of these numbers and shit were fabricated by Dwid just to fuck with people. he did, after all, write that Holy Terror pamphlet which people thought was a real cult or whatever.

overall, i'm not real impressed with the new version nor am i in love with the Toybox version. even the Kasner version strikes me as a bit underwhelming. however, it's cool that it's been re-pressed and also acts as an alternative to a so-so prior pressing.

btw, Converge/Deathwish did something similar with a Converge pre-order turning the mailer into art. i threw mine away when i moved only to find out it was part of the packaging when people were posting pics of the LP AND mailer together haha, oops.

Anonymous said...

my toybox version:
black wax, #1787, white cover, booklet has a brown cover (yours looks grey).
i forgot about the reversed groove, there is also evacuate (negative approach cover)as an extra reversed groove bonus track at the end of side a. and the needle remains in a locked groove at the end of these tracks and is not running to the edge.
i guess my first integrity record was the hookedlungstoolenbreathcunt cd on lost&found. it contains the ICOS, twft plus some bonustracks, maybe identical to the den of iniquity cd and the track jimson isolation (also appearing on systems overload).
my feelings towards the organized crime repress are a bit ambivalent. i did not know these tho early original cd releases and expected some more artwork on an inlay or a printed dust sleeve.
i also ordered all three versions in preorder but together with two friends and i will personally keep only the kasner version.
funny detail: i did not know that integrity used the isenheimer altar (tortured jesus on cross, overkill add in the flyer collection, printing on cd in your post) before catharsis on their samsara record.
final comment on the toybox version: i did never see a red sleeve version or colored vinyl. i guess the most comon black vinyl, white sleeve version was distributed by green hell records in germany and so they do not show up on the international market that often. but maybe i am dead wrong.

-cja said...

@anon 27.9.10...

the only Toybox black vinyl i've ever seen was the test pressing that i owned (and then sold). i'd love to see it on black with the proper labels. the point i'm also trying to make is that i think the colored vinyl was more common that the black.

Alternate 1995 said...

damn this post explained so much about the album I didn't know. Nice job!

Jasper said...

I have two black vinyl copies on Toybox, both of which have 'Revision 2' written in the matrix. I also have one copy each of purple, white and yellow vinyl in both red and black covers (six colored in total). The colored ones have 'Revision 1' written in the matrix.

Then, to top it off, I have two different test presses. One that says 'Revision 1' and one that does not mention anything at all. So I'm guessing there must also be a 'Revision 2' test somewhere...

This also means that there were probably black copies pressed AFTER the original color run that had a different set of acetates.

seanbonner said...

Hi - Sean from Toybox here. Great post but a lot of what you list out above and blame on laziness or lack of caring was on purpose. Dwid and I obsessed for months about how to mess with people with this record, and purposely scattered the colored vinyl throughout the covers. A few quick corrections - all copies came with booklets, in fact we printed 1000 each of 5 different colors of the booklets as well so if copies you have are missing them then they are incomplete. Also, the colors - we told the plant not to clean the presses in between color changes which is why there are set numbers of solid colors and an unknown number of all kinds of weird swirls and blends. We basically intended this record to be undocumentable - we wanted it to be impossible to "collect them all" and wanted people to be left wondering what really happened with it for as long as anyone cares about it, so in that case it worked out great. Thanks again!

mcs said...

Hey Sean,
Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the comments. Very interesting stuff!