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Mayhem's "Live in Leipzig" is the famous 1993 release that is only one of three official release featuring late vocalist Per (or Pelle) Yngve Ohlin, better known to the metal world as Dead. Released by several companies over the years, the album is one of black metals's finest moments. But does it hold up?
First I'd like to discuss the quality and sound of the recording. Now with any black metal album, especially when it is of a Norwegian band, let us remember that distorted and low production where in. Rather it be because it is the way the album was intended to sound, or it ended up that way, is doubled with a live release. This is one of the better live albums from the time, however in between songs there is what sounds like somebody groaning. I do not know if this is a member of the band, the crowd, recorder, or just a random noise. As with any live release, the crowd is audible, but you won't notice it except for the time before the first song starts.
As far as sound goes outside of that mysterious groaning and the crowd, it's one of the better Mayhem release. Necrobutcher is the only instrument that you will have a hard time hearing, and this is due to the loudness of the drums, guitars, and vocals. However, you can hear him in the beginning of some songs and whenever the drums and guitars are not being played. Hellhammer, as I stated, is loud in this release and can be annoying at times when trying to pick out other aspects of the music. Other then that, it is some of his best, and I'd say it's better than his drumming on "De Mysteriis Dom Sathans." Euronymous is as always good. The way he can shriek out the riffs and especially the solo (notably on Freezing Moon) will send shivers down your spine. And how can I forget Pelle's contribution. As always, it's Dead. His vocals here are reminiscent of his time in Morbid, meaning that he sings in more of a death metal style than what's heard on the "Freezing Moon" lp. Now you can hate me all you want, but this is not Dead's finest hour. He performs very well and as always paints an atmospheric picture for the listener, but I just think he could have done better.
As for the track listing, it's the usual for this era. Five songs from "Deathcrush" and four from "De Mysteriis." This recording has my favorite version of Necrolust, as the guitar in the opening just makes me want to air guitar my heart out (yes, I know it's not very evil to do this. Forgive me). Other notable songs include Freezing Moon, Carnage, and Pure Fucking Armageddon, all of which literally live up to the name in this recording.
All in all, this is one of the best black metal albums and Mayhem albums you will ever hear. It does have its flaws (the main one being the droning sound and Necro being mute), it is still damn good. For any new fan of Mayhem, consider this your history lesson as you get the best of two great albums and all of the songs appear on numerous recordings. It is, as I said, one of few official releases that feature Pelle, and it is quite affordable to buy, so if you want to hear Dead, but this before any bootlegs or that album with that insipid photograph (but it's still a good album...well, the first part is). I suggest this to any metal fan, so go out an buy it my fellow evil doers.
Also because this is my first review here, please excuse if I did not write the album titles in proper grammar, as I'm having some difficulties with the tags.