Live Damnation

Is there some sort of unspoken mandatory rule that a band has to have a live album after their 4th or 5th studio album? The reason I ask is that I’m not sure what the point of this release is. It’s only 8 tracks long – most live albums are packed to the brim with material, to maximize bang for buck, considering there’s no new material, or at least that’s how I would look it at if I was in a band or owned a label. It feels like either; a) a contractual obligation because the band wants out of their contract, b) a quick cash grab by the label, or c) that unspoken rule I mentioned. Regardless of the reason for it, it’s Onslaught fans first opportunity to own an official live album from the band, so I suppose that’s a good thing.

First things first, I have a confession to make – I’m not all that familiar with the works of Onslaught. I listened to their 2007 “comeback” album Killing Peace a few times, but it never really stuck with me, so going back to hear the older stuff got put on the back burner. They’re just one of those bands that I’ve been familiar with by name for some time but never got around to really diving into. So I can’t comment much on the song selection, but can tell you what’s here and about the sound quality.

Everything on the album comes from the bands performance at the 2008 Damnation Festival in Leeds, England. There’s not much chit chat or between song banter going on – they just bash out song after song. The album opens with the scathing title track from their last album, “Killing Peace”, the one song I do remember enjoying. Also from that album comes “Destroyer of Worlds”, “Planting Seeds of Hate”, and “Burn”. From their classic era, they completely passed on including anything from 1989’s In Search of Sanity – I’m guessing it wasn’t exactly a fan favorite. From The Force there’s “Let There Be Death”, “Metal Forces” and “Demoniac”, and from the debut Power From Hell, they close the album/set with the title track. I should also mention that when the set ends, someone, I’m not sure who or if it was possibly a part of their set at the show, included the beginning snippet of The Door’s “The End”, and fades as soon as the vocals kick in. A strange touch I thought.

As far as sound quality goes, it was mixed by Andy Sneap, so you know it’s clear as can be. The vocals seem to be pushed forward a little too far in the mix, but that’s a pretty minor gripe when compared to just how clear it is for a live album.

Once again I can’t comment on the song selection as I’m not familiar with the material really, but at the minimum fans should be pleased with the sound quality. Certainly a release for the diehards only.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
January 6th, 2010


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