Reviewed: December 2002
Released: 2002, Sanctuary
I wasn’t going to review this but after checking the Metal-Rules Reviews Archive I realized two of my esteemed colleagues of metal have already taken the plunge and offered comment to the readers on this border-line metal band. So I don’t feel too bad making a few comments about this release.
This is usually the part where I rant about Sanctuary putting out poor quality and unnecessary releases and if you are a regular reader you know my feelings on this topic. For those who don’t, a very short synopsis, the label is trying to make money with unnecessary releases, and that is the polite version. However, in this instance this release may be actually justified and appreciated by fans. It is the first “real” live album in about 20 years to the best of my knowledge and nicely caps a resurgence of interest in the band that started in about 1995. I admit I’m not a huge fan but did enjoy the 90’s albums very much.
That is the problem. It only has one track from each of the last two studio albums. All the rest are the classic songs. It is obvious from the bands stand-point and the labels that they have to give the old, long-time fans what they want which is yet another godamn live version of “Godzilla” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper”. The point of this release is to revisit the past of a glorious and long-standing rock ‘n’ roll institution and on that level it succeeds admirably. The CD is not about promoting the excellent HEAVEN FORBID or THE CURSDE OF THE HIDDEN MIRROR. It is a greatest hits package with cheering in between the songs and nothing more.
The disc comes with budget packaging although it is well designed and attractive with five live shots of the show recorded last June. There are 13 tracks and the disc is about 78 minutes long. The performances are tight but laid back at the same time; an atmosphere that only the most experienced musicians can create. Drummer, Bobby Rondinelli adds a little bit of new life to some of the songs. The production is very good, and the performances sprightly but not rampaging by any means.
Maybe I’m being generous toward what is obviously a cash-grab but what the hell… it serves as a nice introduction to younger fans, a collectible for the die-hards and the quality is undeniable. I hope they don’t wait another three years between studio albums, because the band is far too good to simply re-live old glories playing the retro circuit until they retire.
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