...the band that started it all. Without them releasing their very influential album Scream Bloody Gore
back in the 80's I wouldn't be listening to the bands that I currently enjoy. They helped pioneer the death metal scene, but were always something special and different from the rest. Was it their knack for progressing in songwriting? Their all-star lineups? Their lyrical concepts that were beyong simple violence? It's actually all of these, and that's why Death
remains to be one, if not the best band ever to grace the genre. While they strayed away from death metal in the latter part of their lifetime, they certainly helped the genre get going. Now after over a decade of releasing albums and impressing the world, these guys have given the world a taste of what it's really like to see Death
in action live. This album was released after all of their albums had come out and really close to Chuck Schuldiner's tragic death in 2001. But still, this album remains to be another landmark in the band's discography.
When I first looked at this album, I checked the setlist. Oh yeah, it's no less than amazing. All of their best material is on here and the set flows so easily. The other good news is that Death
barely even play any songs off of Leprosy
or any on Spiritual Healing
, which I deem to be their worst albums. The entire set is filled with their newer material, which had the best songwriting by far, not to mention incredible musicianship. While the current line up on this album wasn't their best (which I think it to be the line up on Individual Thought Patterns
), these guys still belt out all of the solos and technical riffs that are needed and barely ever mess up.
The music is simply amazing throughout. Chuck Schuldiner and Shannon Hamm's interlocking guitar playing is practically flawless throughout all thirteen tracks. You can tell really well on tracks like Trapped in a Corner
and Flesh and the Power It Holds
where the two of them exchange great melodic leads that just flow oh-so well. It's incredibly fun to listen to and it's even more amazing knowing that these guys can do it so well live every time. Not only are the melodic leads great, but so are the hyperspeed riffing that the band knows how to do time and time again. Some great instances of this could be the incredible chugging in Scavenger of Human Sorrow
or the ape*** tremolo picking in Symbolic
. And last but not least, the solos. Death
certainly does plenty of them, and they're all the shredding you'd ever need from a band like this. They accent the songs greatly and give the two guitarists another chance to show off how talented they are.
Behind these two virtuoso musicians we have the rhythm section. While the bass isn't heard all too well and doesn't get too much time to shine out, Scott Clendenin does what is needed for the band and occasionally lays down some really cool bass lines, like in Scavenger of Human Sorrow
and Spirit Crusher
. The drums, however, might be the most amazing thing out of this entire concert. Richard Christy is one of the craziest technical metal drummers I've ever come across, and it certainly shows on this album. The whole time it sounds like a barrage of ever changing beats, and it really sounds chaotic. But he knows what he's doing the entire time, and that's what so incredible about it. All drummers who are into really technical playing should look to this album as a prime example of great playing. I can't really point out highlights for the drumming, as every song is amazing. Chuck's vocals are also spot on the entire time. There isn't much to say about them except that they are great for the concert and he doesn't ever really miss a note.
The setlist for this concert flows very nicely and is easy for a fan of the band to listen to it time and time again. Death
changes up album selection frequently so you don't ever get bored with the set, which is certainly a plus. There are, however, a few problems about this release. The band speeds up all of their songs on this album. While that is really impressive that a band can do that, it's just too much at times. When your songs are that technical, speeding it up a whole lot can make the tracks sound really chaotic and often just plain weird. A prime example of this would be Spirit Crusher
. While that is one of my favorite Death
songs, this performance of it brings it down a few notches. The hyper-speeds of this show make it sound just plain off and make me want to skip it, even though it's a great song. If they played some of their songs closer to the original tempo it would have been a little bit better. This also happens on most of their material off of The Sound of Perserverance
, but the rest of concert does just fine with the super speeds of the concert.
This is a solid live album, and certainly should be in your collection if you're a fan of the band or just plain death metal. It's got plenty of amazing instrumentation and a great setlist for fans of the band.
Thor gives this album a 4/5, which is strongly recommended.
Pull The Plug