This live album saw the end of an era in Morbid Angel. Soon after “Entangled in chaos” and their last studio album “Domination” were released, front man singer and bass player David Vincent left the band, and Morbid Angel has not been the same since. It seemed that the spark of brilliance that surrounded the band since “Altars of madness” left with him. Steve Tucker has not been able to fill in David’s shoes properly. I give him credit, he gives his best, but it’s not the same, and not as good as David, who has a distinctive voice and a major presence, both in studio albums and this one, and their videos, of course. But the band never displayed the same fantastic song writing in their last albums. So, it’s not all Steve’s fault…
Back to this album, the live songs were taken from MA’s 95/96 world tour. It doesn’t say a specific date of recording, so I guessed the best recordings of the tour made it here; not only one show, but the best performances. The album can be taken also as a “Greatest Hits”, `cause it has the best songs, or, at least, my favourites. The releasing of “Domination”, and this album extracted from the “Domination” tour, didn’t mean that it should have mostly songs from this album. You have the best. Eleven songs, from all albums. And it has no fillers, opening with “Immortal rites”, the first song, from their debut album, and closes with “Dominate” the most brutal song an opener of “Domination”, which I consider proper choices.
What can one say about the musicians performances? Excellent. All the songs perfectly executed, proving that they don’t need the studio behind to reach such brilliant song play (they never did), and one after the other. They’re humans after all! =)
If I had to mention low points in this release, I’d probably say the fact that you never hear David Vincent talking to the crowd, presenting the songs or introducing the musicians. You do listen to the crowd, but not David. Another point is that they stick to the original songs too much (except for a shorter version of “Blessed are the sick”, which I find suitable), and didn’t leave room for improvisation. I always like to listen to something different from the studio albums: interaction, improvisation, different arrangements, etc. Maybe more photos? More songs? I don’t know. But these minor details didn’t change my final opinion of the album. I believe that when this album was released they were not thinking in parting ways, only in documenting live a long and meaningful tour, and didn’t give to this album the symbolic value that I think it really has.
Summing up, a great live album. Excellent performances and sound, and a better track list. Highly recommended. Morbid Angel at its best; one of the most influential and respected death metal bands. Too bad David is not in the band anymore.