We’re getting to the point where a lot of our favorite creatives are going to start releasing anniversary sets and retrospectives to things we thought just got released last week; there’s no way so-and-so is THAT old, right? Unfortunately, Green Day’s American Idiot is almost twenty years old, Nirvana broke up almost thirty years ago, and all of your favorite songs, artists, and albums are about three times as old as you think they are. That’s okay, though, because that just means we get collector’s editions and remasters, and everything is just better versions of what we already had, right?
Universal Dice is hopping on the remaster train, bringing fans two “new” singles from the past. Their first re-release is coming as “Last Prayer,” a track originally from 1997 off of their album My Name Is Thomas… The track features lyrics about religious conflict and comes as part of the album’s rock opera narrative, based around the lead character, a priest, who realizes he has lost his faith after a drunk driver caused the death of his brother, a new father. It’s an intense track but the remastering process is phenomenal and the song feels like new. There’s a definite awareness of the art of mastering a song from the ‘90s, and the charm of the decade is thankfully never scrubbed away.
The second remaster and re-release, “Out of Many, One,” arrives with “Last Prayer.” It’s a song drawn from a slightly later period in the band’s career and discusses military conflict around 2004. It’s not a song that feels tethered to the year in the slightest as it is more focused on uniting lost souls than condemning wars and politicians. “If you feel the pain that hope is gone, and to make it right will take too long; don’t be afraid to spend the time, ‘cause I got your back if you got mine. Out of many, one.” It’s a simple track with a huge message that finds its re-release coming at a time when many will need to hear it. It’s not a song you’d expect to find in re-releases but there’s something impressive about taking something so tied to a place and time and making it feel like something altogether new and fresh.
It’s a weird sensation acknowledging that the passage of time is an immovable force, but the use of tunes to keep us sane and dancing our way into old age is about as good of a coping mechanism as we can hope for. Fun re-releases and musical anniversaries like Universal Dice’s certainly help, and the music helps all the more. Twenty-five years is no small feat, and most bands seem to know that! There are many groups that implode at a decade, with seldom few lucky enough to make it to a quarter of a century. Universal Dice is a band that feels like they count their blessings daily, and more power to them; they’re incredibly talented, and they’re still got it going on where it counts! Great music when it was released, great music twenty-five years later. That’s how you know you’ve made it as a band.