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DEATH
DEATH
Live In L.A.
(Nuclear Blast Records)
72:05min

Since day one, DEATH have been nothing but a band which have written (well Chuck has) genuine REAL METAL numbers, material that has nothing in common with blur bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE, SIX FEET UNDER and three other billion acts deliver. Schuldiner is a pure die hard Metaller and he always made sure to incorporate in his songs: hooks, soul, heart and he knows how to capture people's vibes just like EXCITER, SLAYER, METALLICA or RAVEN did so well 18 years ago. After all, DEATH started in '83 as MANTAS so he was nothing but a full part of that whole new Speed / Power / Thrash / Death sound. I don't know if that release was issued to gain funds to help out Schuldiner but it was about time to hear a DEATH live album after all those years. While DEATH have never been a really powerful band in a live situation - particularly during the Butler / Andrews and "Symbolic" eras as they were lacking that particular intensity that bands like EXODUS or SLAYER had - I must admit that their '98 tours were quite convincing but still couldn't compete with the famous '93 tours, particulary the European one from September / October which featured Schuldiner, Hoglan, DiGiorgio & Locicero where it was an unrecognizable outfit which was performing intense material all the way back then. The 13 songs here were recorded in L.A. during the "Sound Of..." tour and showcase mostly material from the '90s when the band had opted for a much more technical Metallic aspect. Only crowd faves 'Zombie Ritual' and 'Pull The Plug' (still one of the worst songs ever penned by Schuldiner but for some reason people eat it up!) come from the old days. How somebody who claims to be a Metaller can not enjoy the likes of 'Trapped In A Corner' - one of the most outstanding tracks of all time in terms of pure talent, 'Flesh And The Power It Holds' with its totally godly intro followed by a mindcrushing riff and 'Symbolic' featuring some totally off the wall drum parts etc. is beyond me. The only thing that a traditional Metaller can object to is the vocals which are based on screaming and raw vocals but still so much more effective and convincing than the likes of HYPOCRISY. If you really take the time to listen to DEATH's music without any preconception, you'll see that they're nothing but a pure Metal outfit closer to Heavy Metal than the many outfits that claim to be nothing but true Metal when in fact they're just mostly posers and losers. Another DEATH live CD and DVD was issued late October, recorded at the Dynamo Open Air fest from 1998 through Nuclear Blast and will be ONLY available through 'em, a part of the funds will go directly to help out Schuldiner.

Laurent Ramadier

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