Sumerian Records quietly repressed one of the most influential albums in their extensive catalog recently. In case you missed it, this week is “Sumerian Vinyl Week” and many of their records for sale on their merchandise site are for sale at prices 40% off the original retail price. Along with this, the metal label also repressed some of their most notable releases, that are not for sale, but are in promotion of the vinyl week. These represses include Animals As Leaders’ “The Madness of Many”, which sold out fairly fast, Erra’s “Drift”, which was also previously sold out, Asking Alexandria’s “The Black”, and the Faceless’ “Planetary Duality” and “Akeldama”, which were repressed on silver colored vinyl limited to 100 copies. The repress that was the most significant, however, was Periphery’s first self titled album. “Periphery” was repressed on two variants, one on Red/White Haze out of 500 copies and one on Clear with Blue and White Splatter, also out of 500 copies. To add to this, the instrumental version of “Periphery” was pressed for the first time on an opaque blue vinyl variant and the amount of copies pressed is currently unknown.
Before this repress, only 150 copies of the album were ever released on vinyl. In 2011, the metal band sold 3 different variants of the album (Blue, White, and Blue/White mix) each limited to 50 copies that could only be bought from the band’s merch table while they were on tour. Since the 1st pressing was released, the demand for the vinyl copies drastically increased, causing the value of these records to skyrocket up to $200+ for a copy in many cases. It was insanely hard to find any collectors willing to sell their copy, nonetheless for an affordable price.
Now 150 copies have skyrocketed to 1,150 copies worldwide and I for one am completely outraged at Sumerian Records. Being an avid collector of vinyl, cassettes, and other physical formats, I believe that some albums should never be repressed. In many cases, especially in the extreme music scene, some albums themselves become extremely rare and in high demand from many record collectors globally. This results in vinyl records that become highly sought after collectors items, even branded as “holy grails” for these respective collections. Personally, I was shocked when I finally got my hands on a copy of the Blue variant of “Periphery”. It instantly became my favorite and most valuable individual record in my possession and I was extremely proud and stunned to have it in my collection. Now, a sense of defeat and disappointment has been overwhelmingly encompassing everything I think about since seeing the infamous repressing. Not only does this repress drastically decrease the value of the 1st pressing, as the total supply of “Periphery” vinyl copies practically increased 10 fold this week, but the rarity and significance of owning this record has now greatly diminished. Before, it was impressive to say you have the first Periphery full length record in your vinyl collection, but now everyone who is somewhat familiar with the material will have a copy in their possession, and soon record stores will be filled with a copious amount of the release.
Being a record collector means that sometimes the record you love or need to have is insanely hard to come by. It might be years before you get your hands on a copy, or you might never get it at all, but that is part of the entire experience in collecting vinyl. Represses for legendary presses like ‘Periphery” are perfect examples of how greed and utter stupidity from labels and even bands themselves can ruin the vinyl collecting community. If Sumerian, or whoever had the genius idea of repressing “Periphery”, wanted to make money off the release through represses while keeping the collectable aspect of the 1st press in tact, they would’ve combined “Periphery” and the instrumental version of “Periphery” (which is something I’m actually glad they finally pressed) into one 4xLP package, which would’ve made the item a unique product that would have a higher retail value than the items separately. They would be guaranteed to sell out both the instrumental and regular versions of the album on vinyl, instead of having one version sell faster like how “Periphery” is selling faster on its own as we speak, and in the process they would be creating a new collective item in the Periphery discography that would not hurt the value and significance of the rare 1st pressing of “Periphery”. But instead, Sumerian, Periphery themselves, or whoever is responsible simply was ignorant, blind, and unfazed by the impact this repress might have on the vinyl collecting community and decided to produce a ridiculous 1,000 copies. What irks me the most is that there are a handful of great Sumerian releases that have never seen a single vinyl pressing, yet “Periphery” just received a completely undeserving, unnecessary 2nd pressing. Betraying the Martyrs’ “Breathe in Life”, Veil of Maya’s “The Common Man’s Collapse” and “Eclipse”, After the Burial’s “Rareform” and “In Dreams”, Structures’ “Divided By” and “Life Through A Window”, every full length album by Upon a Burning Body besides “Straight From the Barrio”, Dayshell’s self titled debut album, Erra’s “Moments in Clarity EP”, and even Periphery’s “Icarus EP” have been release through Sumerian Records and have never been pressed on vinyl, and could sell better than “Periphery”, yet “Periphery”, a record that should’ve NEVER been repressed, received a 1,000 copy 2nd pressing.
It’s literally impossible to express how ashamed, disappointed, and above all outraged I am at Sumerian Records about this recent repress. I probably sound very pretentious and even elitist at this point, but like I mentioned before, some records truly should not be repressed due to their rare and collectable nature. The process of searching for and finally buying a copy of the record you truly want to add to your collection is what record collecting is all about. You may have to wait years and pay a fairly large amount for these records, but that is what the hobby is truly about. Pressing literally thousands of copies of a previously hard to come by record panders to those who do not wish to truly emerge themselves in the record collecting community, and as a result produces a scapegoat for these vinyl consumers to buy a record they want without having to actually go through the long, and sometimes challenging, process of collecting a rare item you truly want. After seeing this repress I’m now very concerned that The Devil Wears Prada’s “With Roots Above and Branches Below” and August Burns Red’s “Thrill Seeker” will also receive unnecessary and truly greedy represses and further hurt the vinyl collecting community. Maybe I am overreacting about the situation, but 1,000 new copies released of such a previously rare and important item like “Periphery” vinyl is where I draw the line.
Regardless of my anger and frustration about the whole situation, I have included the links to where to buy copies of the represses. If you absolutely have to buy a copy of “Periphery”, at least buy it off of the band’s store themselves instead of further supporting the ignorant culprits behind the repress at Sumerian Records, assuming it was their idea and intentions to go through with the repress, as they are in control of vinyl sales and distribution of their releases. I’m actually very interested in hearing what other vinyl collectors have to say about this! Do you think repressing “Periphery” is as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be, or am I simply overreacting to news about plastic discs? Leave a comment below and see what other vinyl and cassette news we’ve covered hear at Erik’s Album Reviews lately!
Sumerian Records’ store: