Review: Live in L.A.
Webzine: Deadtide
Written by: Jason Muxlow

Published: April 2004


I've never been a big Death fan. In spite of my respect for Chuck and the bands he's put together ever since I first heard "Spiritual Healing," there was always something about the music that I couldn't get past. I bought the albums, I listened to them repeatedly, I marveled at the musicianship and incredible leaps he made as a writer from album to album, but I could never really say I "liked" Death. Until now...

"Live in LA [Death & Raw]" is just what it says it is, a raw live album recorded at the Whiskey in Los Angeles in the winter of 1998. No overdubs, no patches, no tricks. And you know what? I finally get these songs! To hear them here, full of scabs and lacking the overpolishing they got in the studio is some kind of revelation. It's as if this is how they were meant to be heard: raw, rough and ragged enough so that you can finally hear how good this guy and the people he surrounds himself with are instead of thick coating of glossy production with spot-perfect performances that never lets you hear anything BUT glossy production and spot-pefect performances. Death crawled out of a garage in sticky Altamonte Springs, and now matter how good or how technical they get, they'll always have those roots defining them. Gloss doesn't do justice to garage sensibilities and here you get the world's greatest garage metal band right back in their element, right back in some shitty room full of smoke and sweat. Right back where they belong.

Chuck's vocals are more than solid throughout the entire setlist - which covers their entire career - and the rest of the band is equally on top of their game, but there's a looseness in their playing that you just don't hear in the studio recordings that's injecting so much life into this music! Guitar solos by both Chuck and Shannon Hamm are rampant, punctuated by the spastic drum work of Richard Christy and held together with the solid bass of Scott Clendenin. The recording is also very good, with a great mix and a superb drum sound.

If you're a fan, buy this and finish your collection. If you're not a fan, buy this and see what's been hiding there all along.


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EmptyWords-Published on October 21 2004