Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Living Death - Live EP (1988)

Living Death's 1988 Live EP is probably one of those releases that never needed to exist, so at the very least I hope it bought them some booze or a dinner while on the road. Maybe a whore. What's the most unfortunate fact about this particular recording is not what it's got, but what it doesn't feature. Culled from an earlier performance, it's merely four tracks from the band's sophomore Metal Revolution album. That's right, nothing from the subsequent releases of Back to the Weapons and Protected from Reality, which represent the peak of the band's career. So if you're only a fan of the band's shaky but entertaining years, I can imagine this as a little slice of paradise, but if you prefer the leaps in songwriting and style they made with their 1987 album, you're going home empty handed.

The mix on the recording is a little brash, with Thorsten Bergmann sounding like his harpy self, only a little bruised, as if he'd damaged his throat with some cigarettes before taking the stage. "Killing Machine" is a fast and effective means by which to open the EP, all leather and mayhem and burning, blues-rooted solos while Andreas Oberhoff's drums surge along. "Grippin' a Heart" is one of the band's most Accept-like tunes, so it does offer a rocking down of the overall pace, at least until the screaming bridge, but "Road of Destiny" builds speed once more with some solid riffing. The final cut is the slowly bouncing, brick & mortar "Screamin' from the Chamber", in which Bergmann asserts a little more personality and the corny, narrative lower register vocals from the studio version which almost sound like a German King Diamond in spots.

None of the tracks have any power over their studio siblings, and the value is extremely hard to justify unless you're the most die hard of followers. If you're just interested in hearing them live, this and the Back to the Weapons EPs are included with the Living Death double-album re-issue in 1994, which is Protected from Reality/Worlds Neuroses), but even that's likely a kick in the shins to locate by this time. This is no Live After Death, but the living of, certainly a road ready band which could kick some ass due to the screaming and blazing of Bergmann and his axe men. I wish they had gotten a better official live package, with a mix of material from 1985-89, but unless a reunion pans out, it's unlikely to happen.

Verdict: Indifference [5.5/10]

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