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Live but not live - 54%

linkavitch, November 30th, 2008

Ok so you form a band, you release some albums usually about 4 or so. You get a huge fan base (as well as a huge hater base). Then you tour and release a live album. That’s exactly what In Flames decided to do. Well, sort of.

This is a live album from In Flames, and it got released right in the middle of their career as a band (where they switched from Gothenburg to modern rock/metal). So the album consists of their old Gothenburg songs to some of their modern rock ones from Clayman. Now the album was released in 2001, so the majority of the tracks on here are from the previous 2 albums Colony and Clayman. So if you did not like those albums for whatever reasons, best to avoid this one.

Now the only 2 things to consider in this one are:

1) Song selection
2) Production

I mean that’s really all there is to a live album, if they picked good songs that you and the fans like and if the whole live production a great, great as in you can hear the crowd screaming, band gets in the performance, extended guitar solos, and so forth.

The song selection is the main thing that will keep people away from this one. Tracks mostly come from Colony and Clayman, although there are also tracks from Whoracle, and 1 track each from Lunar Strain and The Jester Race. But that’s the problem with the whole thing. There’s not enough of their old material on this one. The majority of it is off Clayman so they were most likely touring for their Clayman album when this was produced. But still, you can’t just have 1 song from your early material. They got “Behind Space” at least, which is one of their best songs on here and in general. The only song they got from The Jester Race is “Moonshield”. And to tell you the truth, I don’t even like that song. They should at least have done “Artifacts of the Black Rain”. That’s one of their best on that album.

This album has the weirdest “live” production I have ever heard. It has the live feel from the band themselves, but that’s about it. You hear next to no audience throughout almost the whole thing. You hear some screams and applause in some songs like in “Only for the Weak” but that is about it. I mean in a live album I just expect lots more, I expected lots of screams/cheering from the crowd, extending guitar/drum solos, and some conversation between the band and the fans. Well, Anders does talk to the audience after most of the song, but it takes 4-5 songs in it before he does anything like that. And to make things worse, it sounds like it’s edited/cut off. He’ll talk and it just switches to the next song, like they were trying to save time or something. If it’s a live album why would you edit it? That kind of takes out the live part of it, the part where you feel like your there even though your not. That is what The Tokyo Showdown cannot accomplish.

So what we are looking at is a live album in the middle of In Flames career, with some fucked up production that makes it feel like it’s not live. Its like hearing Colony and Clayman live in an oversized studio with In Flames and with about 15 Japanese people in the background. The over edited transition between songs is the worst part of this one, it’s even worse than the song selection. I personally didn’t mind the song selection because I kind of liked those 2 albums. But for those of you who didn’t like them. Stay the hell away from this live album.