*Note: This is a review of the audio disc only of "Alive". Not the entire DVD package.
As of lately, there seems to be an odd increase in the release of live albums. Normally, this might have been deemed as something of a cop out for bands (at least that’s how I would see it), but with modern technology and some serious focus on quality, a live release is essentially a best of release. For example, let’s take a look at the latest MESHUGGAH release, a live album called “Alive”.
MESHUGGAH is the sort of band whose music is so technical and precise that a live album might just sort of sound muffled and come out a pure noise rather than a piece of recorded music that would do their catalog justice. “Alive” is something to be admired. The recording and mix of the release is impressive, to say the least. It’s clean sounding which benefits the style of the band, for those of you who don’t know their style is a super technical/mechanical sounding Post Thrash style that borders on Modern Metal and Death Metal at the same time. The mix is more than tight for the band. Really the only way one can tell that this release is live is through the singer’s barking style. You can hear his breathing and he doesn’t have the layering that he does on the albums. Really though, this isn’t something to detract from the overall sound of the release but gives it an edge that sets it apart. The band is in top form for this release with their playing and with the stellar production for a live release this makes it sound almost like it was recorded in a studio and not in a venue.
Of course, the other aspect of what makes a live release ‘good’ or not is the track listing. Again, in this aspect, “Alive” comes across as a pretty solid ‘best of’ for MESHUGGAH. Fan staples and major single releases like “Rational Gaze” and “New Millennium Cyanide Christ” make their appearances and their mainstay fans are going to be impressed with their other choices. “Perpetual Black Second” and “Stengah” are going to be the kinds of tracks that your everyday Metalhead may not recognize but definitely show the strength and talents of the band in their full reach. Then of course, considering they were touring for their newest studio release “ObZen” when this was recorded, we get a handful of tracks from that solid release to, like the soon to be classics “Bleed” and “Electric Red”.
“Alive” is just another solid live release in the last few years. It shows the strengths and talents of the band with a stellar track listing and with amazing production and mixes, a listener can hear the band in all their technical glory. This is one of the best live albums I’ve heard and it only can match the intensity and focus of a band like MESHUGGAH.
(Online May 16, 2010)