This meteor of a live album starts off its heavy but calm rain of terror with the drum attack of “Silvester Anfang.” I used to dislike the song until I heard it performed live (it kind of sucks on the “Deathcrush” album). After this tribal and catchy track is done with, the real chaos begins with the classic song “Deathcrush.” Blasphemer is more on track with tempo on this album than Euronymous was on Live in Leipzig and doesn’t leave any room for (obvious, anyways) mess-ups. As it’s been stated before, the drums can be dominant of the music (Fall of Seraphs is a good example of this) and drown out the other instruments.
The solo in Chainsaw Gutsf*** can’t be heard at all due to the drums drowning it out. Even though the solo isn’t that great, I happen to like it…and the drums ruin it. Necrobutcher’s bass isn’t much different – still heavily distorted, but much pushier and stand out on this album. You can hear it much better than on Live in Leipzig (probably due to the fact that the production isn’t as bad), filling in the gaps and gluing the drums and guitar together. Another issue is Maniac’s vocals.
Of course you’ll hear people complaining that his vocals suck and are indecipherable, but who the Hell cares? Maniac is perfect for Mayhem because black metal isn’t supposed to sound pretty. These growls and screams are the kind you’d expect to hear from a hospital patient who is screaming when they’re about to vomit – emetic and sickening. Maniac deals out the guttural and stomach churning vocals with ease – not a bad replacement for Dead. We also get to hear a guest appearance from Attila on track nine, singing along with Maniac using his deep and monstrous vocals.
Hellhammer is an excellent drummer and this album would be a good choice if you wanted to go about defining his skill on the kit. The drums are dominant in some songs, as I stated earlier, but not overly so that it`s unbearable. The drums are part of what really makes this album a meteor of black metal terror – they crush all in their path with blistering double bass, crackling cymbals, and hammer smashing snare. This album is done with better production than any previous live albums…but I really have no feelings about that; I don’t consider it to improve the sound, nor do I think it takes away from it. The improved production basically just makes it more tolerable for people who hate bad production…but if you like both ends of the spectrum with production I’m sure you won’t really be bothered.
It’s not as good as Live in Leipzig, but it’s close behind. If you’re a new fan go for Live in Leipzig first, wait a little while, then give this album a try (if you dig live albums, that is). Definitely a worthy purchase.