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A testament to why the live album is important - 99%

TrooperEd, October 12th, 2005

When you think about it, Kiss choosing their last ditch effort as a audio document of a live show without a video to go with it was really fucking stupid. I mean how the hell were the exactly going to capture Ace’s smoking guitar, Peter’s drum riser, Paul’s smashing of his guitar, and Gene’s fire breathing and blood spitting on vinyl? You what I think the real reason they made a live album was? Because they realized how dull, plodding and ultimately incomplete a good 75% of their shit was in the studio. So it wasn’t an attempt to capture a “live show” it was a sneaky smoke and mirrors excuse to re-record their songs and make them suck less. Sure enough, the plan worked, and let me tell you, that thing didn’t go double platinum because people were trying to figure out where exactly Gene spits fire on Firehouse, it’s because that version of Firehouse kicked major ass.

Now this is of course not to say that all of Judas Priest’s studio songs up to this point were weak sauce, just Starbreaker, and most of Sad Wings of Destiny. Seriously, if someone unironically tries to credibly claim that the studio version of Victim of Changes is superior to the live version (with a reason other than “Don’t you know you’re driving me insane” was omitted), what they’re really trying to say is they've gone full retard and they ain't coming back. Kind of like the character of Pink at the conclusion of The Wall.

So while this is still a 100% live album (in spite of what a few snarky mouth breathers may think. Look, just because a few assholes came out of the closet saying their live album is fake doesn’t means the ones who don’t aren’t telling the truth), it’s not so much a concert as much as it is a diplomatic statement: “We’ve grown and gelled as a band considerably since four years ago, and the way we performed has changed without becoming trendy. We think the way we play most of these songs now is superior to the way we played them on the album.” And God dammit, they were right. One last Ultraboris reference, his favorite album? This one. Although I call still shenanigans, because he has some mutated version with Beyond The Realms of Death and Evil Fantasies. Goddammit I wish this was a double live album. CBS couldn’t take a chance with that while Casablanca put out Alive! Knowing they were gonna either succeed or go bankrupt?

If nothing else, this album should be owned to hear the Sad Wings of Destiny songs come to life; and eradicate all other life in its path. The closing punch of Genocide and Tyrant. My God, after hearing that closing devastating riff set and Halford’s tortured dying screams, the whole thing is just a divine Shakespearean Tragedy told with screaming guitars instead of actors onstage. And Tyrant, Jesus. If Exciter wasn’t Ace of Spades before Ace of Spades in that it was the embryo of thrash, this certainly was. With that killer breakdown and that excellent harmonic shredding near the end. Did that part even need to be there? Does it have anything to do with the song? Who the fuck cares?

Someone at the record company seriously needs to do an excavation into the vaults and give this album the full treatment that Live & Dangerous, Live At Leeds and so many other classics have gotten. Because the fact that the greatest live musical document ever conceived isn’t even a complete account is an outrage.

I can't give it an 100 for being an ultimately incomplete and out of order document, but it's a better product than 99% of the complete live albums every other band releases.

Recommended songs:
Genocide
Tyrant
Starbreaker
Victim of Changes