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...and for Poland, life's been downhill ever since - 90%

the16th6toothson, January 24th, 2010

I do not have the “official” CD of this, instead I have a version of the DVD that came with a bonus audio disc of this live set, so I can not tell you the packing details of the CD version, or why it is 9 seconds shorter…but I can tell you pretty much everything else you need to know!

Hot off the heels of a much needed sabbatical & one hell of a remarkable comeback album (the near perfect “AfterBurner“) Sinister returned to the road, the train, and whatever other means of transportation to prove all over Europe the band wasn’t just back, but the strongest since the 90’s. This particular recording from a show in Poland proves not only is Sinister back with the vengeance of a thousand blood thirsty beasts but that Sinister is one of the worlds top live acts. I would put this live recording against any band, Immolation, Suffocation… even Cannibal Corpse, Sinister on this recording are in their absolute prime and even songs made for 2 guitars (mostly regarding material from “Cross the Styx” & “AfterBurner“) still come off exceptionally powerful and potent and rarely seems to be lacking the extra “flesh” in the arrangements.

Aad’s live vocals might be lacking a bit in range, but lack none in power and he remains consistently strong and confident the entire set (which spans nearly an hour). Highlights vocally include the pacing of “The Grey Massacre”, the power of “Epoch of Denial” & Sadistic Intent” and the absolute brutality of his vocals in set closer “To Mega Therion”, while that song (vocally) on the album “Hate” may seem more savage and aggressive, Aad’s rendition of the song live just seems downright scary and absolutely intimidating, even down to the way he announces the song-you feel as if this man, is indeed the living incarnation of the inevitable Armageddon-TO! MEGA! THERION! Shoot your first born in the face NOW to save them the imminent suffering! The only true downside to the vocal performance here is a mistake made near the end of the song “Cross the Styx” where a line is forgotten and an earlier line in the song is used instead, but of course only a hardcore nerd would notice such a thing! The only other vocal flaw is apparently Aad’s cupped the mic during the last refrain of “Into the Forgotten” and we’re blessed with some feedback-fortunately it doesn’t last long. While Aad may not interact too much with the crowd, he still thanks them and talks with them now and again… I’d rather a vocalist be more to the point anyway! No use in wasting time better used for songs.

Everything is mixed very well, with only the bass suffering, while in cuts “Into the Forgotten” & “Sadistic Intent” the bass can be heard well-most songs sound as if Bas’s amp isn’t even on! Only when Alex cues a solo do you really hear Bas, and it’s evident his volume should be turned up more for the duration of the set.

Paul Beltman never misses or skips a single beat, the entire kit is clear and every cymbal, tom, etc is perfectly audible and mixed, absolutely perfect drum mix that sounds better than many studio albums! The man is a total machine and plays remarkably tight, the only shame is that this man no longer drums for any band live. His performance is phenomenal.

As mentioned even for songs meant for 2 guitarists Alex’s talents are not hampered very much-if at all, with some of this material a lackluster guitarist would be exposed VERY easily, however Alex comes off virtually unscathed. Read that sentence again to truly comprehend what I am typing, these songs are not the AC/DC of DeathMetal, there are some rather intricate arrangements going on here and Alex is on his own on that stage! This man deserves respect he might never really get and that is a crime.

All in all this is an exceptional live album that exceeded my personal expectations, I would have liked to have a little more material on here and trade “Barbaric Order” & “Bleeding Towards the Wendigo” for more material from “Cross the Styx” & “Diabolical Summoning” but I can not complain too much -especially considering the live versions of the aforementioned ‘’Barbaric Order’’ & ‘’Bleeding Towards the Wendigo” such MUCH stronger than their studio version counterparts (by a humongous margin in fact…).

But of course the real question is should you buy this? Absolutely! It is a great overview of the bands career up to that point, a solidification of their return, a retribution for their darker times and a damn fine live album altogether. Highly recommended for all DeathMetal fans!