The official Maiden site announced today that their new partner Onkyo Music has released remasters of 19 Maiden albums. There’s no word on which ones but we’re guessing they’re the same 19 as with iTunes. The new thing here is that these versions are lossless FLAC files, unlike the iTunes or Spotify versions and so on.
The official statement explains that these are “brand new re-masters from their original analogue and digital sources and is the next phase in IRON MAIDEN’s ongoing catalogue upgrade to make their music digitally accessible to fans on their preferred devices globally.” The Onkyo site states that “these new mixes have been taken directly from the original master tapes and painstakingly re-engineered using the best available technology to bassist, producer & founder member Steve Harris’s exacting standards to get you even closer to how the band intended you to hear them.”
Well, they’re not new mixes, but get ready for the confusion to start on which remasters do what. Anyway, it seems you have to be living in Germany or the UK to be able to enjoy this music on Onkyo’s site, though. US access is coming up, and Japanese fans can go here.
Right, I feel the urge to make an editorial comment now:
This current rolling-out of Maiden remasters is, in my humble opinion, looking like a complete joke. Piece-meal, not even worldwide or format-spanning. If this is the band’s idea of truly entering the digital age and doing proper remasters, which are long overdue, an iTunes exclusive and partnering with a region-conscious Onkyo seems like way too little way too late. Am I being too harsh here, or what are your feelings on this spring’s remaster activity, folks?
EDIT: I have access to the material even though the website states UK or Germany, so maybe there’s no regional “coding” on this except keeping the Americans out for a few days…?
EDIT 2: These remasters are not being marketed under the Maiden Audio banner that was announced earlier this year, but it IS Iron Maiden and Onkyo, so why not…?