If ever there was an extreme metal “super-group”, this would be it. Nader Sadek produced the frankly stunning “In the Flesh” a couple of years ago, and this is the live presentation of that album. For those of you not in the know, Nader Sadek comprise of the mighty Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel – you know, the good albums), Novy on bass (ex-Vader, ex-Behemoth, ex-Devilyn – actually, ex-most-bands-in-Poland), Flo Mournier (Cryptopsy) and Rune Eriksen (Aura Noir, Ava Inferi, ex-Mayhem) on guitars. If that isn’t a line up to make you mouth water, chances are that you are reading the wrong pages.
“In the Flesh” was an astounding work of art, combining all of the band members individual skills, and coming up with more than the sum of their parts. However, as with all technical, complex pieces of music, the live environment can be a harsh mistress. Subtle nuances in the music can be lost in the mix, and the fury and bombast of the live arena can render the power and intelligence of the art inert. I am happy to report that the sonic presentation of “Living Flesh” is nothing short of astounding. The dizzying whirl of “Mechanic Idolatry”, for instance, is still very much intact through the fuzz of the reverb and crowd noise. Likewise, with the clattering staccato rhythms of “Suffer”, I had wondered how the immense drumming would sound in comparison to the flawless album version. I need not have worried. The production is such that the bottom end is presented excellently, and thanks to the slightly quicker live pace, even manages to sound slightly more breathless than its polished forebear.
While “In The Flesh” is a modern classic, the jury is out whether or not this is the right release for the moment. It’s certainly a great live album – and we all know that live extreme albums are rarer than hen’s teeth – but much as I enjoyed this, truth be told I would have preferred another studio offering. It’s not that this is a bad album – in fact it’s certainly one of the best death metal albums I’ve heard – it’s rather that I’ve heard this material a lot. Still, that being said, if you loved “In The Flesh” as much as I did, you’re going to love this too.
(8/10 Chris Davison)