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Reviews: Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Rage Hard, The Sonic Collection

Reviews: 9

Review by Marc P March 1, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
Rage Hard, The Sonic Collection is yet another Greatest Hits record brought out off Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
FGTH were a big band in the 80's. And I was a big fan, their album Welcome to the Pleasure Dome is one of my favorites of my youth. I still have it on Vinyl.
It's a strange thing when a band like FGTH has more than one greatest hits collection because they didn't have that many hits.
Their debut album Welcome to the Pleasure Dome had a couple of major hits on it. But their second (and last) album only had some minor hits. That’s and the fact the band members couldn’t stand each other was the reason they broke up after just two records.
But those two albums make a great collection. Makes me feel like I’m in my teens again, and like all things you only seem to remember the good things about that time. And unlike with the Wham! Album I also reviewed I never feel like I shouldn’t have bought this attempt to hold on to a youth gone by.

This is a great record, and it sounds good as well.

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Review by emilsjr July 4, 2003 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
When one thinks of Frankie Goes to Hollywood (assuming you have heard of them), it is to "Relax". Rage Hard collects all of their hits and some interesting covers in a disc that is way better than it has any right being.

For the record, I am a huge fan of 80's music. FGTH has always been a group that I thought burned out too soon. All the songs that made them known to me are here. "Rage Hard", "Two Tribes", "Welcome to the pleasuredome" and of course "Relax". However, this album allowed me to hear things from them I had never heard. Both "Maximum Joy" and "The Power of Love" are powerful songs that should have been big hits. And the cover songs are really amazing here. Frankly, I thought "San Jose", "War" and "Born to Run" were very interesting and well done. I would never have pictured FGTH being able to pull off a Bruce Springsteen song and yet here it is. And it works.

The SACD is no sonically master-piece. However, the multi-channel mix is a fun experience. Aggressive and making full use of every channel. If you like an unobtrusive rear channel mix, this disc is not for you. However, this material seems suited to the mix chosen and makes the music feel new. If you are a fan, this is a no brainer.

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Review by Easy Tiger February 2, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
This was my first SACD and after listening to the first track (Relax) was very excited by the new format. The MC version makes the most of my shiny new hardware and is very engaging. The track builds up nicely and there is good use of all channels.

Then to my favourite track of all time, Two Tribes. I have a 12" verison of this (Annihilation Mix) which is amazing. The bass line is very solid and in your face making for a very energetic experience. To my horror they have not used this mix for this album and a lot of vitality it taken out of the song. Don't get me wrong, it's a good song, they just could have made it a lot lot better.

There are two other tracks that really stand out in MC, Welcome to the PleasureDome and War. The former is absolutely brilliant and well worth the disc price on it's own, the latter shows how a MC mix can make a track a lot more interesting with the clever use of all channels.

The other tracks on the album bring back good memories and have obviously had a lot of thought put into them.

All in all, a number one SACD album (but a pity about Two Tribes).

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Review by Frankie say sacd January 22, 2005
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a very good sounded SACD. Tevor Horn did a very good job for this 5.1 mix.
Maximum joy, WTTPD and the Power of love sounded excellent.
The complation is not so good. I missed tracks like Is there anybody out there?
Why Ferry cross the Mercy or San Jose? (not good songs at all).
Strange is that the 5.1 mix has a shorter duration then the stereo version. I don't know what makes the difference in time.
Now waithing for their debut album on mc SACD. That would be nice!

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Review by PaulHoncoop January 23, 2005 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Aggressive? Not at all. I 'm a fan of FHTH from the beginning. When i heard about this sacd, i must have it! I bought it for 35 euro (import) but it was my money more than worth. All the multichannel mixes sounds so good; a sonic collection is the only right term for this sacd. Welcome to the pleasure dome is maybe to rough mixed, but keep in mind it's a 13 minutes song wherein a lot of changes. Trevor Horn spend a year for mixing this sonic collection sacd, and you can hear that.
This is a very good ZTT sacd release.
One strange thing to comment; the stereo version is 30 seconds longer than the multichannel mix. I don't know what makes the differ.
This sacd is highly recommended by me (if you obviously like FGTH).
p.s great sacd for music and audio-lovers.

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Review by lenw May 11, 2005
Performance:   Sonics:  
Although I very much enjoy this SACD, I didn't find it as compelling in terms of the performance as the "Welcome To The Pleasuredome" RBCD. The SACD does improve the width and depth of the soundstage although it still suffers from and unrealistic RBCD high end at times.

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Review by andyshedd September 13, 2006 (2 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I just got this CD in the mail from Switzerland...and listened to the first track "Relax." It was not as I had imagined a surround-sound version of this song would sound at all. My first thought was...is this really 5.1? The player said it was...but the mix is VERY VERY subtle. No instruments or sounds seem to come from the rear speakers. I have to admit I did not listen to the rest of the album--I will have a hard time forcing myself to after the initial disappointment of "Relax." IMO the producers could have done MUCH more to bring out the elements of this song into the surround mix, as it seems perfect for the multichannel medium. As I said I have not listened to the rest of the album, but Relax is FGTH's biggest hit, and if IT isn't done well I don't see why the rest of the album should be.

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Review by mccontrol July 16, 2008 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
There's been a few words written about this SACD so I think we need to clear the air.The surround mix on this collection was supervised by Trevor Horn,the producer extraordinaire whom originally twiddled Frankie's knobs.So it seems very strange to me that people keep saying it has no bass.Why would a producer make a surround mix of some of his classic work and not include a bass track?The simple answer to this is he did.An explanation for some listeners not getting a full bang from their system is they either don't have a sub-woofer,or they are listening to SACD through a small home theatre system,who knows.As is generally the case,if you have good equipment/speakers/amp you should have great sound.From my personal experience,SACD does not sound very good through the small satellite speakers that come with a lot of "in the box" home theatre systems.Mine sounds thumpin'.

There is some great music on this disc and whilst it is very heavy on the "Pleasuredome" album(if you can program your player you can play nearly all of the Pleasuredome album in 5.1),I for one am grateful for the inclusion of tracks from "Liverpool"."Maximum Joy",the track that really should have been a single gets a new lease on life in 5.1.There is also a different,shorter mix of "War" on the surround layer.I think this has been included so we get a different version to the mix we know from previous releases.A big plus is the full length version of "Ferry Cross The Mersey" the original b-side to the "Relax" 7" vinyl single.Very cool.

My only gripe with this compilation,and it's a very small one,we only get radio versions of the hits,it would have been nice to get one or two of the awesome extended mixes that were made of say,"Two Tribes" or "Warriors".

"Shooting stars never stop!!!"

Frankie Say,No More.....

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Review by Audioflea January 30, 2013 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This OOP disc is now going for crazy $ on the secondary market. At the time of this review, it’s the most that I’ve ever paid for a SACD; $125 US for a used copy in very good condition, and I’ve never regretted it.

The bottom line is if you’re just a casual fan or only have an out-of-the-box surround system, you’re just not going to appreciate what’s here, so save your money. However if you have a decent 5.1 system with power & performance, and have ever owned FGTH on vinyl or CD, then by all means, stretch your budget to find the best copy that you can afford. The immersive sound of “Welcome To The Pleasuredome”, alone, is worth the price of admission. A top 10 in my multi-channel collection.

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