Review Summary: 'Live Undead' is a great live effort by Slayer, featuring a strong set list complete with a roaring crowd. However, with only 7 songs, it's over far too early.
Crazy drunks. A sea of black t-shirts and ripped jeans. Old timers, newcomers. And one big area on the floor of just complete destruction. This is Slayer
live, and it's like another world inside itself. There's the music of Slayer
, then there's actually being a part of one of their shows. It's the pinnacle of insanity. I remember when I saw them. I unfortunately had to be in the seated section, but that didn't stop my entire section from going ballistic and thrashing all over the place. Hell, there was this 40 year old drunk behind me who would whip his long hair everywhere, catching it in his beer and showering me with it. He also started jolting everywhere during "War Ensemble
" and fell over the rows and totally took me out. Did I care? Of course not, I laughed, exchanged a friendly cry of "SLAYER!
" and helped his uncoordinated body back over the row. Yes, one of their concerts is truly an experience, and is certainly not for the weak bodied.
So that's why "Live Undead
" intrigues me so much. It's one of Slayer's
earliest shows, yet it still seems to pack in the intensity that is still found today. But that's also partly because they gathered up a small group of people (I'm guessing 50-75 people), and jammed them into a large recording room and went to work. What came out was one awesome show that any fan of them drools over and wishes they could've been at. Now, "Live Undead
" came out right after "Show No Mercy
", so it's kinda weird that they would pick a live album right after only one real album. And since there are only 7 tracks, it's rather short. But the intensity and musicianship is still here, and that's all that counts.
The set list, while short, contains some of their greatest songs. They kick off with the twistingly dark "Black Magic
" and roll through other greats such as the thrashing "Captor of Sin
" and the speed infested "Evil Has No Boundaries
". All of the tracks here are played with great skill, there are no mistakes of any kind really, including in the tracks they selected. I would kill to hear "Evil Has No Boundaries
" or "Show No Mercy
" live now-a-days, since they no longer play them live. And that's the only thing really that disappoints me here; the fact that there's a 99% chance that I'll never those two songs live. Very depressing to me. The only weak song on here would be "Aggressive Perfector
". I've never been too big of a fan of that song, probably cause it feels a bit more 'Hardcore' oriented than the rest of their stuff.
The sound level is absolutely great. I'm still surprised they recorded this album this well for the time, since it was recorded in 1984. The guitars sound balanced out, as you can easily make out what songs they are playing. Whether it be the sliding, pounding riffs to "Captor of Sin
" or that killing opening riff to "The Antichrist
", you know what they are playing, and where they are in the song. And Tom's bass is quite audible as well, as you can clearly hear him actually doing his own thing (GASP!) during the chorus to "Aggressive Perfector
". And Dave sounds like the madman he is on the drums. His bass/snare combo is very well-connected on this live album, and all of his sick fills are intact. The opener, "Black Magic
", makes his bass drum sound like it's the biggest drum ever in the world, with a huge pound backing it up, and his drum intro/solo to "Show No Mercy
" has never sounded better.
Tom's voice as well sounds quite good here. Granted, he's younger, so he can keep that evil tone much longer than he normally does. But on tracks like "Show No Mercy
" and "Captor of Sin
", he shows no sign of slowing down his vocal assault. And check him out on "Evil Has No Boundaries
", as he unsheathes one of his famous "Blood-Curdling screams" that so many have mistaken to be a guitar since they are so high. Tom's all over the place, and he never messes up the lyrics either. He delivers them with a piercing shout, and never rests. And on the resting note, neither does the band. There's hardly any talking between songs. It's just "Well, that's done. Ok, next!
". Sometimes he might do a quick little intro to the song, like before "Die by the Sword
", where he says one of the sweetest lines I've ever heard with "They say the pen is mightier than the sword...but I say f*ck the pen! Cause you can 'Die by the Sword!'
And the crowd. Ohhh, the crowd. They're loud as Hell! Sometimes, it can be quite annoying, cause you can hear some moron constantly yelling "YEA!" over and over, and they are almost as loud as the band. But it's also a good thing, because it shows how crazy the crowd is going and how much they love them some "Slayer
I've really only got two complaints with this album, and these two actually bring the rating down a lot. For starters, Kerry and Jeff's solos are off-the-wall here, and hardly resemble the actual solos that they had recorded. Take the intro to "Captor of Sin
". The original solo was shredtastic, and my mouth watered over it. On here, they screw it up. It sounds flat, and even more misguided than they normally do. And my second complaint with this album would be, well, there are only 7 songs! It goes by quite fast. And honestly, why make a live album if you're only gonna have 7 songs on it? Doesn't make sense to me.
Overall, "Live Undead
" is a very good live album, but it seems to sputter when it comes to the solos and the actual length of the album. Is it better than "Decade of Aggression
"? No way. But does that make it horrible? No sir, it does not. This is probably the only chance you're gonna get to hear songs like "Evil Has No Boundaries
" and "Show No Mercy
" live, and the rest of the songs are done very well too. So all in all, I can safely say that this is one album that I quite enjoy, but it could've been longer.