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Solid routine jobs - 70%

kluseba, December 16th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2014, 2CD, Nuclear Blast America

''Let Us Burn (Elements & Hydra Live in Concert)'' offers two Within Temptation concerts recorded in Antwerp, Belgium in support of the band's fifteenth anniversary back in 2012 and in Amsterdam, Netherlands in support of the last studio album ''Hydra'' in 2014. Both concerts included here aren't full concerts as seven songs were cut from the anniversary show and five tracks from the Hydra concert. While most of the tracks that didn't make it onto the final release were only cover songs, it would have been interesting to either release both shows in their entirety or to cut the set lists differently so that each track would only be represented once. The final product features a few songs that were played during both shows which is quite unnecessary. The band was apparently not happy with the sound of the lost tracks but they might have added something vitally important Within Temptation is missing these days: edges.

The two concerts are perfectly produced, the sound is balanced and elegant and the audience is audible in the right moments during the shows' participative parts and introductions. Everything sounds a little bit too polished, perfect and organized. Even the guest musicians and singers don't manage to add anything new to the songs. The live versions are very similar to the studio cuts. No song actually gets better or worse if compared to the original studio version. I was hoping for a heavier sound or for some extended solo passages but what we get here are more or less studio versions with some sounds of the crowds in the calmer moments. Despite offering value for money with two concerts for the price of one, the band's previous live records consisting of an orchestral and an acoustic show were much more authentic and original.

The only reason why this release is interesting is because it might prevent some occasional fans from buying the last two disappointing studio albums. The entertaining live shows offer the more tolerable tracks from both album plus some classic material and feature almost no filler material. This was my main motivation to purchase this release and I wasn't disappointed. On the other side, I came to realize that the band's live shows have become as commercial and mellow as the studio records. To be honest, it isn't necessary to purchase anything the band has released since ''The Heart of Everything'' but this release here is one of the few more tolerable outputs of the last ten years.