Misery Index - Live in MunichApparently derived from an offer by a German friend to record a show for free, the original “Live in Munich” recordings were a concern to Misery Index as they felt they had not played particularly well that night. On hearing how tight they sounded, and with a little studio help, the decision was made to release what was captured on the night. By their very nature, it could be argued, live recordings may only have a limited appeal, and their content, generally, is familiar to devotees of the artist concerned.

There are a number of live album releases that have become immortalised in the “classic live album” hall of fame, Thin Lizzy “Live and Dangerous”, Motorhead “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith”, Peter Frampton “Frampton Comes Alive!” and The Who “Live at Leeds” amongst those that immediately spring to mind. There exists a parallel debate as to the authenticity of the live document, including the use of overdubs and other studio witchcraft. Whatever the context, the live album review may be approached not so much as “Is this a good quality album?” more as “Is this a good quality LIVE album?”

So, is Misery Index “Live in Munich” a good quality LIVE album? For anyone who experiences its brief thirty five minute, the answer must certainly be “yes”. The production is crystal clear, particularly the percussion, giving the listener the opportunity to experience, to some extent, the live Misery Index sound. It may also be worth considering how music of this nature is inherently chaotic in the extreme, with many overlapping dynamics to contend with, and is notoriously difficult to capture on a live recording.

Regular calls, in between tracks, for the audience to enjoy themselves and form an orderly mosh pit, may become tiresome for some, but for others these augment the live document. Criticism has been made that the tracks chosen for this release concentrate heavily on recently released material whilst neglecting some of their older pieces. Only “The Great Depression” and “Traitors” are given an opportunity. A fair point, but one that may be countered by highlighting the fact that many bands are promoting a recent release and therefore concentrate heavily on material they wish the audience to engage with.

With this in mind “Live in Munich” may be considered a representative recording of events, and one that should encourage listeners to actively seek out Misery Index tour dates. The closing 2012 remix of a split studio release “Siberian” although sitting oddly at the end of the album, is a welcome addition for the Misery Index collector. Whether this release will convert any new listeners to Misery Index is ultimately inconsequential, “Live in Munich” is a brutally crushing release and an bracing collection of music.

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