Who knows me, also knows that I am very much, but NO friend of live-albums. In fact "Alive In Athens" is the first and to date only live-album that I ever have bought. And this not because (much to the incomprehension of some) ICED EARTH is one of my absolute favourite bands, but because it simply is an extremely good live-album, which is set apart in many ways from the rest of comparable bands, but I'll come to that later.
The crew around Mastermind Jon Schaffer has recorded two complete gigs in Athen's Rodon Club at the end of 1999, which's 31 songs have been released in a noble 3-DigiPak-set (and an even nobler 5-picture-disc-box), logically titled "Alive In Athens".
They played two completely different sets, in front of 5.000 enthused fans each and put all 31 songs onto the CDs, without any fadeouts, this is the big difference that I had mentioned before. The crowd really can be heard throughout, contrary to the weak IN FLAMES-live-album, so this, too, brings us live-feeling.
Musically the Americans take a journey through all of their releases so far, amongst it the complete "Dante's Inferno" and the "Something Wicked"-trilogy, so you really get something for your money, the band is in best playing-mood and Matt Barlow shows that he live, too, is a damn good singer. Who has seen ICED EARTH live once knows that only few bands manage to rival them in power and feeling (I still dream of a tour of ICED EARTH and LEFAY together...).
The sound also is great and powerful and there are enough mistakes to prove the authenticity of these recordings. The packaging also is great, all three CDs are inhabitating their DigiPaks as picture-CDs, which all have different covers.
So I don't want to waste any more words, all ICED EARTH-fans know what they have to do, all who have hated them so far, well, either you continue to circle them wide or you try to let this CD-set convince you of the opposite ;)