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Death: Live in L.A.

Depite the obviously less than stellar sound quality, Live in L.A. is a great live document of one of the most brilliant technical death metal bands we ever had. Led by the late Chuck Schuldiner, Death were one of the originators of the genre back in the late 80's, and up until his death in 2001, the band had amassed quite a spectacular discography of classic releases that are held in high regard by many. Live in L.A. was recorded on The Sounds of Perseverance tour of the US in 1998 at the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles, California, and it sees Schuldiner, drummer Richard Christy, guitarist Shannon Hamm, and bassist Scott Clendenin really ripping it up on mostly more recent Death tunes plus a few older classics.

The guitarwork on every Death album has always been a high point, whether Chuck was paired up with James Murphy, Andy LaRocque, Rick Rozz, Paul Masvidal, Bobby Koeldle, John Hand, or Hamm (yes, the second guitar slot changed quite often!), and here the team of Chuck and Shannon lay down plenty of brutal & technical riffs and shredding solos. As Death matured over the years, so did the technicality and overall skill of the music, so it's neat to hear older tunes like "Zombie Ritual" and "Pull the Plug" given a makeover with the bands advanced talents. The current material of the time like "Spirit Crusher", "Zero Tolerance", "Crystal Mountain", "Scavenger of Human Sorror", and "Symbolic" really smoke here, with all the band members really on fire, especially drummer Christy who is a real talent on the kit. It's a shame he's not actively involved in music these days, as he is a full time member of the Howard Stern radio comedy team. Chuck's vocals are a little more ragged and not as refined as on the studio albums, as he sounds almost closer to a black metal singer than traditional death metal, but it all works regardless.

Considering that this CD is almost a sort of tribute to the late death metal legend, it's a shame that Nuclear Blast didn't do more on the packaging here. The booklet is especially uninspiring, all in black and white, and the photos are blurry and just plain terrible. A nice essay would have been nice, as well as some clearer photos. Still, despite that and the somewhat sub-par sound quality, this is still a memorable moment in time of one of death metal's greatest bands towards the end of their run.

Track Listing
1. Intro/The Philosopher
2. Spirit Crusher
3. Trapped In A Corner
4. Scavenger Of Human Sorrow
5. Crystal Mountain
6. Flesh And The Power It Holds
7. Zero Tolerance
8. Zombie Ritual
9. Suicide Machine
10. Together As One
11. Empty Words
12. Symbolic
13. Pull The Plug

Added: January 21st 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Death/Chuck Schuldiner Website
Hits: 1971
Language: english

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