Released: 2013, Nuclear Blast
My fellow Metal writer, colleague and friend Adrien Begrand were discussing reviews and lists as consumer guides and so I thought it would be a good time to get caught up on some higher profile double Live albums that are available. Many fans don’t automatically get live albums but if Granny is asking what you want in your stocking this Christmas, these should be easy for her to find! This month I have reviewed Live albums by Kreator, Rhapsody Of Fire, Sabaton and Testament. Feel free to enjoy al the reviews in this mini-feature.
I had a bit of a harder time reviewing this Double Live album by Kreator than the others in this feature because I didn’t have the same frame of reference. With the other bands I have all their live albums so I could compare and contrast the old and the new. With Kreator they have had kind of a weird catalogue when it comes to Live albums. Although they have had four previous live releases they were strangely presented, magazine only live albums, reissues of VHS soundtracks, bonus live discs on DVD’s…they really have only had one good stand-alone, Double Live album and that was LIVE KREATION, 10 years ago with it’s memorably grim album cover. So here we are three studio albums and 10 years later with DYING ALIVE.
For the record I’m just reviewing the live album. Why doesn’t anyone put out just a plain old, Double Live album in a jewel case anymore? The album is none of those mildly annoying digi-paks with a bonus DVD and the track list is a bit messed up as well, inconsistent with the show. The second disc comes with five bonus tracks that are probably unnecessary but really cool songs like ‘When The Sun Burns Red’ and ‘Warcurse’. Unfortunately, there is no information where or when these songs were performed and recorded. The 17 track live album (excluding three intro’s and outros) runs about an hour and twenty minutes and covers the very old and the very new and somewhat predictably excludes almost all of the middle the their career (the 90’s) with the exception of ‘Phobia’ from OUTCAST. Although I’m often disappointed when a band neglects big chunks of their catalogue (5 albums in this case) but also pleased when a band will perform lots of more recent material and not get stuck in the past. It is hard to find that balance in set-list, song selection and I think Kreator has found that balance with a good mix of old, new and classics.
The packaging (despite my distaste for digi-paks) is gorgeous. The booklet is not a booklet per se but a big, foldout poster of the cover art of a post-apocalyptic wasteland with the band members represented as zombies. There are lyrics included and the basic notes telling us the show was recorded on ‘Post-Apocalypse Day, December 22nd, 2012 in Germany. Three of the last four live albums have been recorded in their homeland, for those of you keeping score.
I’ve analyzed this thing to death and not said much about the music. What can I say? Kreator is on top of a (post-apocalyptic) world right now. They have good label support, a stable line-up, good health and stamina for a veteran band, respect from the Metal community, but most of all they are as musically vicious as ever. DYING ALIVE really captures the raw, shredding sound of the band. This show sounds like it killed everyone in attendance, literally and metaphorically! I saw them on this tour and it was fantastic, it is impressive how tight and energetic they still are. I can’t compare the sound or energy with the previous albums but my gut instinct tells me this is the band at their very finest and likely their best Live album to date.