Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Slayer - Live Undead

7/10

One has to wonder why Slayer decided to release a live album when they only had one full-length and one EP to their name at the time. Live Undead is a live-in-the-studio album with fans present, in the tradition of Tom Waits' Nighthawks at the Diner (although something tells me the band members weren't exactly influenced by that album). I guess that it's pretty good for what it is, since the playing is tight and all that crap, but they had so little material to draw on that it's no wonder that the album's just 23 minutes long. There are a few improvements here and there (for example, the backing vocals on "Evil Has No Boundaries" are chanted by the crowd, and they actually work in this context) and they're a bit more thrashy, but the performances fall short of being essential.
One thing I should note is that I have a tendency to overrate live albums where the stage banter is hilarious; Nunslaughter's Radio Damnation is one of my favorite albums of all time and it's almost entirely due to the moronic anti-Christian banter between every song. The stage banter isn't that great here, but sophomoric lines like "They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Well I say, FUCK the pen! 'Cause you can DIE by the sword!" and "This is for all the little cunts who like to spread their legs in the night" caused me to raise my grade a point. What can I say, it's one of my weaknesses.

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