Reviewed: May 1999
Released: 1998, Blackheart Records and SPV
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
The first live Metal Church album, released only in Japan, is actually an unauthorized release. The band themselves condemn it, not only because it was released without their permission, but also because it sounds like shit. And correct they are!
This album was recorded in 1993, on their Japanese tour for their final and under-appreciated album \”Hanging in the Balance\”. Included are 11 tracks, 6 of which are culled from their final LP. The only album you don’t hear songs from is their debut. Although the band has forewarned their fans and has suggested not buying this release, I think it is worthwhile for diehard Metal Church fans. Where else are you going to hear \”Hanging in the Balance\” material live? Or how about the songs \”Badlands\”, \”Fake Healer\”, and \”In Mourning\”? The band’s performance is excellent throughout the album, replicating their songs very accurately. \”Little Boy\”, written about the atomic bombing of Japan, is a fitting song for the occasion and came out superb! But as mentioned, the sound quality is fairly poor. It almost sounds like a good bootleg. The guitars are too hard to hear, and Mike’s vocals stand out almost too much at times, as does the bass guitar. John Marshall’s leads come out quite nice though. But the overall sound is muffled and has too much echo at times, making you think you’ve got your stereo on \”hall\” mode.
If you happened to get a hold of the digipak version of \”Hanging in the Balance\”, the three live bonus tracks included are from this same concert and are included on this live album. So you can expect that same sound quality throughout this one. Again, if you’re a big Metal Church fan, I think this is worthwhile…you, like me, will listen past the bad sound quality.
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