To even hear the rhythm section on co-producer David Bowie’s 1973 mix of Raw Power, you need to crank the volume until it feels like James Williamson’s reckless guitar leads are piercing your skull. That’s the vicious beauty of it. A 1997 reissue of the album experimented with a thicker, less dynamic mix; this new version reinstates Bowie’s trebly, off-kilter production while adding clarity and heft the original LP lacked. Finally, the third and most brutal album from these Detroit legends gets both the rawness and the power it deserves.
Iggy Pop delivers these desperate anthems as if he’s lived every self-mythologizing line. “I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb,” he rants in “Search and Destroy,” embodying glam rock’s theatricality while dumping its affectations. New band member Williamson, along with bassist Ron Asheton and drummer brother Scott Asheton, flail in a synchronized wallop that almost single-handedly invented punk. This new deluxe edition adds an equally unhinged 1973 Atlanta performance with confrontational banter and previously unreleased spasms like “Cock in My Pocket,” plus a third disc of outtakes, a “Making of Raw Power” documentary DVD and testimonials from acolytes such as Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Tom Morello, Henry Rollins and Chrissie Hynde. Every addition adds insight to a band literally addicted to danger.