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Here it is, Live in Leipzig, one of the most kvlterally revered albums in the history of Black Metal. Opinion seems to waver between "immensely overrated" and simply "immense", but is it really any good? Does it deserve it's kvlt status?
Well, the performance itself is competent. They play the songs well enough, and it is live, so the odd fluff is expected, but the energy they play with is simply astonishing. You really do just want to band your head, it's simplistic, yet effective. Really fun to listen to, and makes you just want to go mental. "Necrolust" is a definite highlight for me. The setlist is fucking exquisite, really something special. Essentially, it's a greatest hits set of songs from the "unholy trinity" of Mayhem albums - Deathcrush, Pure Fucking Armageddon and the as-yet-unreleased De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, and it's a tr00sters wet dream. None of the over-complicated stuff they seem to load their setlists with these days (When I went to see them, they only played Deathcrush and Freezing Moon off these three albums), and the songs they chose from these three albums are AMAZING. Not only does it have my three favourite songs from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas ("Pagan Fears", "Funeral Fog" and "Freezing Moon"), but it has pretty much the whole Deathcrush EP included as well.
Everyone knows the real focal point of this album, though, is the vocal performance from Dead. He is a really good vocalist, and I absolutely love his vocals but... I prefer Attila's. On the Deathcrush-era stuff, Dead rips the songs up, doing a far better performance than Maniac ever could with the songs. His voice is so fucking powerful, but Attila's was more evil. Attila's voice genuinely fucking scares me to this day, his vocals on De Mysteriis were out of this fucking world and like nothing else in Black Metal, whereas Dead's is more of a generic Black Metal singer, but with more power. I love Dead's vocals but I still believe Attila is a better vocalist.
One thing I do like about this album is the production though, very fuzzy and raw. It's not polished in any way but still you can hear everything (vaguely) and it has a charm you don't usually get with live albums. Another thing I like about this album is that Mayhem have resisted the urge to edit it in any way possible. The only thing these guys have done to this recording is split the tracks, everything still there, from the fuck-ups, to the strange guy who keeps doing random death growls between EVERY song. It's all here and I appreciate that very much.
However, there's one thing that always annoys me about this is the fact that it's a CD. If there is ANY live performance on this earth which deserves to be on DVD, it is this one. They had fucking impaled pig's heads and Dead cut himself onstage, for fuck's sake! Not only this, but I want to see the crowd going crazy, with mental pits and stage diving, like at every gig. Now I know that the only reason they've done that is probably because there is no video available but it really annoys me that I can't watch this as well. Like "Unreal Estate" by Entombed, this really doesn't work as well as a CD AT ALL, it needs a DVD release to get it's full rating.
In summary, then, this is an essential buy. If you weren't already salivating at the prospect of the only official release featuring Dead on vocals (Bar that single), then you will be hooked by the fact that this is a fantastic recording, truly amazing. This is Mayhem at grassroots level, at it's rawest form, and Mayhem was always designed to be raw. Although maybe not their best album (De Mysteriis still edges it a little), this is possibly the definitive document of Mayhem, by far Mayhem's greatest live album, and utterly essential.
If we ever get a DVD, rest assured, the rating will be no less than 95%.