Well, suffice to say that this is my first review on this website, I probably havn't chosen the best album in terms of being able to review the tracks on it. This album is comprised of some assorted fantastic In Flames material taken from their 1995 release The Jester Race to their most recent release at the time; 2000's Clayman, and shows the band putting on a great live show and playing the songs amazingly well, showing why they're one of the biggest and most influential metal bands in the world.
These songs have all been reviewed in their respective albums, and there's no new material on here, so I won't waste mine, and your time with a track to track style review. Overall though, I have to say that the only complaints I have with this album are the lack of older material. There are no tracks here from their first release, the Lunar Strain, and only one track from what many fans would consider their masterpiece; the Jester Race, in the form of Moonshield. This track, it should also be noted is missing the acoustic parts, which helped make it one of my favourite tracks from that album in the first place. Apart from this, there is a fairly equal selection of songs from their three later releases.
With a band like In Flames you have many fans saying their first three albums are their best, and they sold out after the rest. You have other fans who say that they went down hill after Clayman, in Reroute to Remain and onwards. And other fans who just love their new material as well. So this band has attracted a lot of fans from accross the metal spectrum. With a live album like this, in all probability, even from album to album fans will prefer different tracks and with this in mind, your personal favourites may not be present here.
I would recommend this album for fans of In Flames from their Whoracle to Clayman days in particular because the album has a strong selection of tracks from those albums. Fans of Reroute to Remain and onwards should look elsewhere, possibly their live DVD for a more satisfying track selection, unless they want to see why older fans like In Flames so much. Then they should check this album out.
The first three tracks on this album are fantastic for setting the mood and showing any new fans to the band what In Flames are capable of, the first tracks from their last three albums at this point, and they have played brilliantly with good live energy. I would especially recommend Jotun. The live version of this song is what got me into In Flames in the first place. The album ends on the classic Episode 666 from their 'green album', and everything in between is what you expect from the CD only played live, usually a little faster, with the energy of a live show.
My only real complaint with this album is the lack of crowd interaction. I can only really remember one distinct moment, in the song Swim where frontman Anders really gets the crowd going during the second riff with them clapping along. If you're looking for an immersive live album, like you're really there in the crowd then this probably isn't for you. On the other hand, if you want to hear a fantastic melodic death metal band run through many of the stronger tracks from their back catalogue then this album is for you, even with the absense of some fan favourites.
I'd rate this CD 4/5, being an excellent purchase for anyone wanting to get into In Flames and hearing what they were capable of in the past. Any fans of Reroute to Remain and Soundtrack to your Escape should pick this up, and i'm sure they'll be blown away.
- Guitar playing is perfect
- Anders voice is very good, though struggles a little as the show goes on.
- Overall good selction of songs
- Lack of a backing guitar when the gutiars are playing harmonised leads sometimes slows the song down a little.
- Lack of crowd participation and immersion in the atmosphere of a live show.
- Some fan favourites may be missing; Only for the Weak, Artifacts of the Black Rain, The Hive, etc.