London Apocalypticon – Live at the Roundhouse
CLASSIC TEUTONIC THRASH LIVE: As fair and balanced as we’re attempting to be here, in the interest of disclosure, it should be noted that Kreator’s Gods of Violence was this particular hack’s favorite album of 2017. Furthermore, that this same criticaster is an admittedly voracious fan of just about every note Kreator spewed from 1985–1990, inclusive of early rehearsal tapes and demos up to Coma of Souls and all stops in between—Endless Pain, Pleasure to Kill, Terrible Certainty, and Extreme Aggression—is no secret. And yeah, Phantom Antichrist ain’t half bad either. So, given that London Apocalypticon – Live at the Roundhouse is a culminating chronicle of the two years following Gods of Violence and what the band itself is calling the most successful tour in its 38 year history, is an encouraging sign. Add to that the fact that the majority of the set featured on said 150 plus show run included material from four of those six aforementioned albums and the only thing that might stop this from not receiving a glowing recommendation would be if the various versions of this release (that include a mish-mash of CD, LP, DVD and Blu-Ray discs, and combos of live album and video footage) came crawling in bed bugs. But if a dusty umpteenth generation recording of a rehearsal in a disused bomb shelter can draw attention, then even if this were recorded on an answering machine and mixed and mastered using a car stereo, it’d probably still test the strength of the waistband on my panties.
As it stands, the recording of the final day of the world tour supporting Gods of Violence is an excellent document. Of course, to think that this hasn’t been through a few rounds of post-production and sonic cleanup is absurd, but what’s offered up as the final product is absolutely one of the finest live recordings these ears have been exposed to in a long-ass time. London Apocalypticon approaches album quality without sounding stuffy and staid. It possesses a broad dynamic range that prevents it from coming across like a blasé soundboard tape or recreated in-ear monitor mix. You can hear the enmeshing of the instruments with Mille Petrozza’s voice. The guitars and bass possess both rawness and warmth, the drums aren’t clipped or clicky, everything has balance, and the solos are mini highlights in which pedantic fans can also pick out improvised flair and flashes of difference from the recorded versions. As well, there’s a livelihood evident by the little tweaks the band has made to the songs and the occasional flub that puts a spotlight on their humanity and organic live presentation.
As mentioned above, the band’s history is thoroughly covered, though it’s quite curious that tracks from Terrible Certainty and Extreme Aggression are omitted (and I’m sure there’s a story as to why) and, thankfully, most of the embarrassing 90s are ignored. If there’s any negativity to be reported, it’s the obviously looped crowd noise in spots and Petrozza’s ridiculous between song banter—both elements being more laughable than detrimental to the totality of the release. ~ Kevin Stewart-Panko