In the Battle (re-issue)
Label: Retroactive Records
Time: 10 tracks/40:44 min.
Saint has followed up last year's new album (Hell Blade) and re-issue (Crime Scene Earth 2.0) with another re-issue. This time, it is the 2004 album In the Battle that gets re-released on us. There are no bonus tracks, but you do get an excellent new sound and cover artwork in a digipack. Digipacks are kind of a "hate them" or "don't care" deal. Personally, I fall in the "don't care" camp, especially since the new artwork is much better than the older artwork.
In the Battle was, for the most part, Saint's real comeback album. Technically, they did come back with The Perfect Life ep. While The Perfect Life was not a totally bad album, it was a different album that took many Saint fans by surprise ( I would still like to see the band "re-imagine" it as full-on metal album). But a few years later, In the Battle proved to Saint fans that the guys still had the talent and energy to pull off their brand apocalyptic classic metal. Some fan to this day still list In the Battle as one of Saint's best albums.
I only heard the old version of In the Battle once, and what stuck out to me was that the sonics needed some work. Listening to the new version, I hear no evidence of the limited budget it was recorded on. The re-mastering job was superbly handled. Even though some bonus tracks would have been nice, the only thing missing that I think really needed to be added was a brief history of the album - mainly, why it was re-issued and what was done. You have to do a bit of digging and searching online to find out the history of this particular re-issue (I have even seen some people wonder if this was really a re-issue or not).
As far as the music itself - you probably know what to expect from Saint: blazing classic metal, plenty of energy, and a constant pummeling that won't let up for the entire album. "In The Battle" and "Ryders" are personal favorites. They even revisit a classic Saint song from the eighties with "Star Pilot Returns." I had a hard time giving the new version a fair listen - but ended up liking it. No bad songs and no ballads for the entire album (although "Acid Rain" is really just an acoustic intro to the last song). All power metal and head banging from start to finish.
By Matt Crosslin (09-20-2010)