After eight years and five studio records, German (US-) Power Metallers SACRED STEEL offer us their first live album. The show was recorded in October, 30, 2004 in Ludwigsburg’s Karlskaserne, where the Swabians played together with Frankfurt’s Thrash kings TANKARD.
The atmosphere is very well captured and this is probably one of the (unfortunately) few live records with an authentic live atmosphere. As far as I know the guys, they haven’t post worked anything because they share my opinion that a live album has to be really live. I’m not totally sure concerning the music but the vocals are live because they still contain all little mistakes. Well, mistakes could be the wrong word because Gerrit is one of those friendly vocalists, who also let the fans sing sometimes! You can hear it already in the first song. Gerrit makes some jokes with people on stage and some lyrical passage stays unheard.
Let’s stick to the topic “fans on stage”: SACRED STEEL are and will be one of the most sympathetic and fan-friendliest bands ever; where do you find a band, which allows their fans to enter the stage on some songs without a security, which sends them (often very ungentle) back to the crowd? Nowhere! And this is not an exception. That was also no big problem on the Keep it True-festival! This deserves a big “respect” to Gerrit, Jörg, Oli, Matze and Jens!
The picture shot is also very good and natural despite recordings with camcorders (?) out of the first row. It’s a wonder that the shootings aren’t shaken at all. You can then wonderfully see what I have said before, that Gerrit lets the fans sing and grab the mic. This is really cool and underlines the fan-friendliness of the band.
After the intro “Blessed By The Gods” follows “Open Wide The Gates” from their current studio record “Iron Blessings”. The sound is very natural but I really want to know if there is something overworked (I know that I get on your nerves with that in my live reviews but I’m really a big fan of absolutely identical live-recordings and I often preferred bootlegs when the official records were too much post worked!). Every true Metal-fan can easily identify with Gerrit’s messages. This is how our religion should be celebrated!
The set list is also very well-chosen; it offers songs from all five SACRED STEEL-records and it’s enough material for headbanging and to sing along. "Tonight The Witches Ride", "Battle Angel", "Faces Of The Antichrist", "Victory Of Black Steel", "Sword Of The King", "Metal Is War", "Master Of Thy Fate", "True Force Of Iron Glory", "Sacred Bloody Steel" or "Heavy Metal To The End"; all their anthems are here. All? Well, not exactly, because it misses “Raise The Metal Fist”, which is normally a must on a concert due to its “Are You Metal?” text passage! But fuck it, SACRED STEEL kick some serious ass and this band has no one weak song! Not to forget, they also played the OMEN-cover “Battle Cry”!
The extra material offers some nice treasures. Besides live-recordings in bootleg quality from “Theater Of Blood” (1996), “True Force Of Iron Glory” (Bang Your Head, 1997), the “Reborn In Steel”-release party (1997) and “Wargods Of Metal” (Wacken Open Air, 1998), there is a four minutes long interview from the Offene Kanal Hamburg from 1996 and some shots from a trip to Berlin in 1998 (including “Bohemian Rhapsody” – I just say “Wayne’s World”…).
This album is a must for all Metal fans because SACRED STEEL is a band without any compromises or modern leanings. This is authentic Heavy Metal, like it was famous in the 80s and where nobody talked about crap like “Nu Metal” (THIS IS NO METAL!!!).
In this sense, Heavy Metal to the end!
PS: The DVD is only available together with the double-CD, which I also like, so you don’t have to pay twice! Keep it up! (Online March 7, 2006)