LORD: “The Dungeon Era” Box Set

Presenting the “Dungeon Era” box set! The what!? Well I’m glad you asked! Read on and get the facts. We think this is pretty cool, and if you’re a fan of Dungeon, I think you will too. 🙂

Before I go on, if you’re wondering what this “Dungeon” business is all about, check out THIS blog: What’s In A Name?

So what the hell is this thing?

I’ll get into the “why are you doing this” part in a second, but first I’ll talk about what this actually is.

“The Dungeon Era” is, in simplistic terms, a reimagining of the four official Dungeon studio albums, “Resurrection,” “A Rise To Power,” “One Step Beyond” and “The Final Chapter.” For the most part, these albums have been re-recorded with the same production values as the last couple of LORD albums, bringing their sound into line with the rest of our catalogue.

Aside from those four albums on CD, in this set includes a USB key (shaped as a backstage pass with lanyard) which not only has the albums pre-ripped to MP3 and 24 bit HD FLAC, it also has the original 1999 version “Resurrection” album, “A Rise To Power” and “One Step Beyond” with the original untouched performances from the original Dungeon members entirely remixed from the master tracks with modern production techniques and presented in 24 bit HD FLAC. The “Changing Moods” EP is also on this, as well as a collection of PDF files which have my memoirs from the last twenty five years of doing this stuff, liner notes, lyrics, credits, rare photos and artwork… basically, if you’re a Dungeon fan, this is a gold mine of really cool stuff!

We’ve limited this to 500 copies worldwide, hand numbered and signed, and will be offering exclusive T-shirts with the pre-sale orders. After this set sells out, it will not be pressed again. We do intend to release each of the re-recorded CDs as a separate product eventually, but all of the extra stuff — the HD audio files, the PDF documents, the remixed original albums — will stay as an exclusive to this box set.

What has this got to do with LORD? Didn’t Dungeon break up?

In a sense, yes – Dungeon was formed in 1989 and disbanded in 2005, which is when LORD became a proper live band rather than a studio project. That’s the simple explanation anyway, but there’s more to it than that.

The long explanation is in the What’s In A Name blog, but the short version is we consider those first sixteen years of Dungeon part of the expanded history of the band we’re currently calling LORD. In a way, it’s like the “next book in the series” that continues the story, or using an awesome TV show as an example, Dungeon would be the equivalent of Life On Mars and LORD would be the follow up series Ashes To Ashes. Same core characters (band members), same story (musical style) but just the next step in the tale.

We still proudly play all of the Dungeon era music live and have done since our first ever show, and in fact the 2006 LORD band actually performed on Dungeon’s “The Final Chapter” album, really showing how intertwined both of these eras of the band are. These re-recordings are a part of who we are, and a way to mark twenty five years of the band, regardless of what the name currently is.

We understand that some people will still have a hard time accepting that LORD and Dungeon are “two books in same series” so if that’s you, think of this box set as LORD doing the most faithful Dungeon covers ever. We love recording cover songs whenever we can anyway, and we couldn’t think of a better band to dedicate an entire box set to. However you look at it, this is a pretty enjoyable slab of music!

Why are we doing this?

A few reasons, some artistic, some business related.

Firstly from a business point of view, the Dungeon back catalogue is problematic to promote. Aside from the obvious fact that the band has a different name now, the biggest problem lies with our past labels and who owns the rights to what.

Over the years, we’ve had a lot of record / licensing / publishing / distribution deals. A lot of those deals started off with the best of intentions but sometimes things happened, like the label going bust or transferring their stock to an affiliate, or staff changes that meant we didn’t get the exposure we should have, or purely just mismanagement where the label has dropped the ball and not secured things that they promised us. In amongst that, the musical landscape changed dramatically over the last twenty five years and we’ve seen new technology appear that has given labels extra ways to release and promote their music, of which some took advantage of while others didn’t.

Unfortunately, keeping track of who still owns what, what they’ve actually released things on and what rights we have for stuff is an absolute nightmare that would prove convoluted and expensive to sort out. And then, even if we did sort it out, promoting a product from an era of the band that has been gone from the public eye for nearly ten years just wasn’t realistic.

This was a real shame. Those songs are some of our best material and we’re proud to be able to keep playing them to you live. The writers involved on those albums (which includes a lot of past Dungeon members) came up with some sensational stuff that we believe never got the chance it deserved in between all of the label swapping and mishaps. We wanted to find a way to get these albums back in the public eye, putting the spotlight back on this great old material and giving those writers the props they deserve for all of their amazing work. We simply wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now without their contributions — end of story.

The plan was to re-record these albums, giving them a new lease of life with modern production techniques, doing it under the current band name, and that would allow us to avoid any licensing headaches as well as being able to start a fresh round of promotion, including new clips, radio and internet campaigns and generally being able to really push this as a new LORD product.

On a purely self-indulgent artistic note, I know I always wanted to hear this stuff done the way it was originally written but due to technical or experience limitations at the time we never quite pulled it off. That’s not to say we didn’t walk away utterly proud of each album — far from it — but we knew it was “as good as we could do” at the time, not necessarily “exactly as we imagined it.” Now we have the tools and know-how to do just that.

Questions And Answers

No doubt there’ll be a lot of assumptions made about this stuff, so allow me to set the record straight with the facts before any rumours get out of hand.

Q. Are these re-recordings all new recordings, and did you have any ex-members appear?

We essentially re-recorded the stuff that couldn’t be salvaged from the originals because of various problems, either from a performance point of view (timing, tuning, etc.) or issues with how the sounds themselves were recorded. Pretty much none of the drums or guitars could be used, unfortunately, so they were all entirely recorded again. A great deal of the original bass was able to be dropped in, as well as lead and backing vocals for nearly all of the material. We added in literally hundreds of extra vocal parts and new keyboard and orchestration arrangements and sound effects to replace the dated sounds on the originals.

The exception to this is “The Final Chapter” where we did use most of the original tracks since they were done in such a way that we could bring them into line with the re-recordings. Even on that album, however, we added many dozens of new vocal parts and even a live string section.

Aside from the current LORD band, these albums have our ex-drummer Tim Yatras performing all of the drum parts (an incredible effort considering how much material there was!) and Juz came in to recreate his bassline on the song “Wake Up.”

Q. Why isn’t “X” member on these albums?

As these re-recordings are there as a tribute to the amazing writing of past members, we invited everyone who has written and performed on an official release to be a part of this box set. That’s not to say that non-writers / official album performers weren’t important to the band’s history or evolution — quite the contrary, some of those members are literally family and everyone from the first line up of myself, Eddie, Ian, Jason, Randall and Carolyn up to the last line up with Stu, Glenn and TY is very important to the band’s story — but that’s not the point of what this release is about; it’s a celebration of the writers over the Dungeon era first and foremost.

We reached out to every one of the past writers / performers and aside from TY and Juz, all declined to appear for various reasons, mostly due to the logistics of getting back up to peak playing ability after so long away from the band and getting access to a studio to record their parts properly. Whatever the reason, we respect their decision and wish them nothing but the best. As it is, the great bulk of Dakk’s bass on “A Rise To Power” was able to be used, Stevo’s drums on the “A Rise To Power (Reprise)” track was saved, and every member’s vocals appear at some stage in the choirs or crowd shouts.

Q. Isn’t this just a blatant attempt to cash in on the Dungeon name? Are the writers getting anything out of this?

Wow, I wish this was a get-rich-quick scheme, but if it is then we’re definitely the world’s worst business men or the world’s best optimists! Let me explain…

This release is literally the most expensive recording project I’ve ever done with any act I’ve been involved in. Putting aside the actual recording itself (for which I’m personally wearing the studio time, and I’m doing my engineering and production for free — both things combined would stretch into the tens of thousands if we added them on to the price), just the manufacturing of the product is crazy expensive.

We have multiple disc replication, custom USB drives, printed parts, custom imported cases and packaging, AMCOS fees (I’ll explain that more in a bit), freight charges, PR campaign costs, tax… it all adds up into a massive bill for which we look after directly since this is being released on our own label. To even get the pressing started on this, we had to go out on tour to raise money, and that barely covered a third of the costs once all was said and done.

One of the big expenses is AMCOS fees, which is the collection agency that ensures the writers get their fair cut of the release, since we’re benefiting from their hard work. This is separate to APRA royalties that they will get any time this stuff is performed live or played on commercial radio or used on TV — they get that automatically — this AMCOS fee comes out of our own pockets and is payable whenever we release this collection of songs, so even any future pressing we may do of any individual albums will cost us to do it. It’s expensive but absolutely fair enough. The whole point of a lot of this is to get some control back to the writers.

The long and short of it is that if this release is a flop and it doesn’t make our money back — and there’s a chance that might happen — then that’ll stop us dead in our tracks as far as new releases and international touring goes, until we can recoup enough money to pay back all of the loans we took out to make this happen.

Q. Are all of the memoirs on the USB drive that comes with this just a chance to dish dirt on ex-members?

No, absolutely not. I made it a point not to go out of my way to shit-talk anyone. Yes, over the years there has been more than a bit of drama happening in the band, as with any kind of job or relationship that lasts this long, and sometimes things got really heated and messy. But frankly, a band of our size airing dirty laundry is kind of presumptuous and silly and I personally think you come off looking more like a whiny douche than anything else. I tell the stories but if you’re wanting a edgy behind-the-scenes tell-all that dishes dirt on past members, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. This ain’t it.

Q. So this meant to replace all of the original Dungeon albums?

In some ways, yes, but in a lot of ways, no.

We purposely didn’t include any of the bonus tracks that came with the original Dungeon albums, or any of the artwork and, of course, the mix is entirely different to what we have on here.

We didn’t want this release to invalidate those albums at all, which is why we have different bonus tracks and artwork. Think of those original albums as the “DVD release” and these new re-recordings as the “1080p directors cut.” They’re the same thing but both have an entirely different flavour and it’s OK to like either or both. (Or neither, if you’re not a fan — not sure what you’re doing still reading this if that’s the case, mind you.)

Now that we’re able to truly push these new recordings and we’re able to keep pressing them as long as there’s a demand, the original albums will eventually start to become more scarce as their labels start to run out of stock, making them fairly collectable eventually.

Q. This will be the 12th time “Paradise” has been recorded in the last 25 years. Sick of it yet?

Yes. So much yes. 🙁 (Great song though!)

Q. Where can I get it?

This is available now in our ONLINE STORE!