I've never been
a big Death fan. In spite of my respect for Chuck and the bands
he's put together ever since I first heard "Spiritual Healing,"
there was always something about the music that I couldn't get
past. I bought the albums, I listened to them repeatedly, I marveled
at the musicianship and incredible leaps he made as a writer from
album to album, but I could never really say I "liked"
Death. Until now...
"Live in LA
[Death & Raw]" is just what it says it is, a raw live
album recorded at the Whiskey in Los Angeles in the winter of
1998. No overdubs, no patches, no tricks. And you know what? I
finally get these songs! To hear them here, full of scabs and
lacking the overpolishing they got in the studio is some kind
of revelation. It's as if this is how they were meant to be heard:
raw, rough and ragged enough so that you can finally hear how
good this guy and the people he surrounds himself with are instead
of thick coating of glossy production with spot-perfect performances
that never lets you hear anything BUT glossy production and spot-pefect
performances. Death crawled out of a garage in sticky Altamonte
Springs, and now matter how good or how technical they get, they'll
always have those roots defining them. Gloss doesn't do justice
to garage sensibilities and here you get the world's greatest
garage metal band right back in their element, right back in some
shitty room full of smoke and sweat. Right back where they belong.
are more than solid throughout the entire setlist - which covers
their entire career - and the rest of the band is equally on top
of their game, but there's a looseness in their playing that you
just don't hear in the studio recordings that's injecting so much
life into this music! Guitar solos by both Chuck and Shannon Hamm
are rampant, punctuated by the spastic drum work of Richard Christy
and held together with the solid bass of Scott Clendenin. The
recording is also very good, with a great mix and a superb drum
If you're a fan,
buy this and finish your collection. If you're not a fan, buy
this and see what's been hiding there all along.