Ah, the live metal album. To be honest, in my Top 20 Live Albums of all time aside from MANOWAR’s Hell On Wheels – Live and Live After Death by IRON MAIDEN there’s probably not a single one that could qualify as balls-out Metal ™. That’s largely because the metal show is so visceral, so in-the-moment that if you weren’t sweating it out in the venue – be it arena or basement show – no amount of audio trickery, snappy between-song banter or killer set list is going to make you feel like you were. Oh, there are exceptions. OZZY OSBOURNE’s Tribute, BLACK SABBATH’s Live Evil, Intermission from DIO, but you see where I’m headed, so let’s pretend we’ve already gotten there and moved along.
MADROST has been at it for a decade and a half now, plugging a style their PR infantry refers to as influenced by “METAL CHURCH, DEATH, ELP, BELIEVER, CORONER, MEKONG DELTA, and IRON MAIDEN”, setting the bar for a new listener stratospherically high. And as I haven’t heard a note of MADROST until now, this shall be my litmus test to see if I should investigate the studio work.
Recorded in 2009, Lost Lives Volume 1 begins with the obligatory call to the pit, but soon enough dives headlong into the fray, ‘Desecrator’ a blistering turbo-charged run through standard thrash tropes, but (!) the heart is there. The riffing is merciless, the mix is open and raw, and Poppitt’s vocals recall a less snarky Killing Is My Business… Mustaine, an early Mille Petrozza in tone and texture. Some would question the inclusion of the band member introductions, but kudos to MADROST for presenting the show as it fuckin’ happened, thereby endearing these ears to the youthful exuberance and passion displayed. ‘Aggressive Nihilism’ does bring the DEATH / BELIEVER influence to the fore, scattered time signatures and inverted riffs, off-kilter rhythms but never going astray. I can’t speak to the precision of playing necessarily, but as a live document that’s not always – or ever – what I’m looking for, or this’d be an YNGWIE review. And it isn’t.
‘Good Ol’ Fashioned Violence’ is a bit too ‘Toxic Waltz’ for me at its start, but moves into a more feral, less party-centric atmosphere and subject as it goes on, while closer ‘Under The Hammer’ makes a perfect set closer, chunkily chug-chug-chuggin’ right along to the very end.
In all, yeah, I’m going to check out the studio work. Nothing’s perfect, and Lost Lives Volume 1 sure isn’t. What it is, though, is the sound of a band enjoying (and finding) itself. And that’s what this whole metal thing is about, once you clean all the dirty denim, stench-drenched leather and Devil stuff off of it.
Review By: Lord Randall
Lost Lives Volume 1
Lost Wisdom Records
3 / 6