Released: 2004, Black/Leather Records
Some of us older bitter metalheads complain about how they “don’t make ‘em like they used to”. Perhaps you miss the days when if someone told you an album is heavy metal, you knew what to expect. You didn’t have to question if it was thrash, death, black, power, etc…you knew it meant loud guitars, screaming vocals, great hooks, and the sounds of raging steel. Well if you think those days are gone and you are looking for a band that are close in style to the NWOBHM without sounding archaic, then you will love Pegazus. Another thing the more jaded complain about is the lack of actual live material on many live albums. Fixed vocals, re-recorded guitar parts, added backing vocals…it’s all been done and you end up getting a disc that is pretty much a studio album version of the songs with added clapping and fan cheering. This is NOT what you’ll get on this 100% live, no frills, straight up heavy metal album from the Aussie thunder from down under, Pegazus!
My version of LIVE! THUNDER DOWN UNDER is the limited edition 2CD version. CD 1 contains15 songs and clocks at over 75mins. CD 2 has previously unreleased demo versions of a number of tracks from the bands excellent studio album THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN. CD 2also has the video for “The Headless Horseman” and a multimedia section with a detailed band bio with large photo album containing band pics from 1993-2003.
The sound of this live CD is very live sounding. It doesn’t sound polished or over-produced. That said, it doesn’t sound bad either. On the contrary, it’s refreshing to have a live album that is above bootleg quality but not so slick sounding that you wonder how much of it is live. The vocals might be a little rougher live but they are not off key. Rougher as in vocalist Rob Thompson doesn’t sound as clean sounding as he does in the studio. Of course that’s to be expected, as is the empty sound during some of the solo sections where there’s no rhythm guitarist in the band. It’s not a big problem, and the good part of that is you can plainly hear the solos. Guest drummer, Bernie Goldstein, performs the drums on this live album. It’s too bad that Robbie Stoj didn’t get to play on any of the songs because it was just announced that Robbie will not be returning to the band period. Bernie does a fine job filling in but the band and fans will miss Robbie regardless.
The song selection leans heavily on the band’s best album (in my opinion) THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN. An extra track or two from BREAKING THE CHAINS might have been nice though. At least they fit in the metal hymn “Metal Forever”. They fit in the cover of “Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden. They do a great job but perhaps a live version of “Ballad of a Thin Man” would of gone over better, at least for me since I love the song. The band pulls off all the material flawlessly with the upbeat “Forever Chasing Rainbows”, the classic metal of “Nightstalker”, and arguably the band’s best song “The Headless Horseman”.
The best place to get ltd. ed. version is directly from the band’s website at http://www.pegazus.net
The 2 CD set is fully autographed and comes with a cool looking Johnny Stoj guitar pick. This package, right down to the liner notes, was created with their fans in mind. Disc one, the live CD, has been getting serious rotation in my CD changer and will remain in there for quite a while. If you like the band at all, do yourself a favor and check out the CD. If you are new to Pegazus, a good intro to the band would be the studio album THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN.