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Absolute beast of a live album - 93%

caspian, January 30th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Century Media Records (Remastered)

Man this is a good album. I'm not a diehard fan of live records or anything- often I tend to find them as basically being full of worse versions of studio recordings that were fine on their own. Tokyo Tales, however, seriously improves on most/all of the tracks, which is something I could maybe say about, I dunno, Unleashed, Live Shit and .. that's pretty much it.

I think it's the production, basically. For a band whom at this point I'd assume had a relatively limited budget it's a massive sounding record, and while BG have never exactly been lo-fi, the tunes sounds about 10x huger than the original. Everything about it is really hifi- you do have to wonder how many overdubs were done post the live shows- but it's still convincingly live sounding, and fuck it sounds massive. From the gloriously lyrical lead guitars, Hansi's super powerful vocals (definitely think I prefer him roaring to the chorus to Valhalla as opposed to Hansen), the very punchy drums, the obvious yet well-placed audience sounds and the massive rhythm tones, well, it's arguably the best live recording I've ever heard.

It's already been said, but yeah: Production's really important in a live album I reckon. As far as I can tell, what makes a good live album is that it captures the energy within songs that most studio recordings lack, while not sacrificing decent guitar tones, making sure the drums sound big, etc etc. ..And the big reason why this sounds so great is that it really delivers on both. There's enough of that live room reverb in the mix that gives you the joyously sweaty vibe of a quality live gig, and BG really beat the shit out their instruments throughout. In my opinion the Valhalla version here is the definitive one, this hugely energetic blast through a song that will ever be tremendously fun to listen to. Majesty's as huge sounding as it's ever been, Welcome To Dying just pounds away in speed metal fury, so on and so forth. It's a great setlist if you prefer the (relatively) more primal sounds of early BG as opposed to the more polished material and the unsurprisingly far weaker live album that arrived 10 odd years later. Just a feral energy throughout here- I'm kinda bummed Fast to Madness or Damned for All Time aren't here, just to increase the intensity even more. Traveler in Time and Time what is Time aren't exactly chilled out jams though- it's a real banger through and through.

Yeah, it's not perfect- Hansi sucks at speaking to a crowd, and there's a few points of crowd noise, interludes etc that stymie the otherwise breakneck momentum that's in pretty much every song. But jeez, most bands would kill to have a live set half this good, and very few bands have ever pulled off the mix of both easy, natural virtuosity and sheer energy that BG display here. Pretty much essential listening if you're a fan of the band and everyone else would be well advised to listen to this too.

*Quick addendum: I've ignored Barbara Ann, because it sucks hugely on a vast amount of different levels. I recommend burning a cd/ripping this/downloading this to your ipod and not including that track, just so you don't have to dive for the skip/mute/off button when it comes on. I don't think one throwaway track at the end of this album affects things too much though.