|Seventh Key Live In Atlanta||Frontiers Records|
For me the involvement of the fabulous Mike Slamer is the biggest draw card for this release and also my biggest worry.|
Slamer is a perfectionist, so it was a concern that the high-tech style of the studio albums would be translated into a live performance that required after-the-fact overdubs to satisfy sound requirements. That in turn delivers a release lacking the energy and rawer vibe a live performance would normally feature. I can't tell if overdubs have been added to this - perhaps not - but the performances here are flawless. I look forward to viewing the event on the accompanying DVD when it arrives.
I think the guys are fine musicians and have the knowledge of how to set up their equipment in a way that would ensure an error free performance. It sounds like nothing here has been left to chance and the recording itself sounds a million bucks.
But in some ways, that dangerous edge is not present as I cannot hear a single duff note or fluffed intro. Sometimes that is nice to hear in a live recording. It proves legends are human.
Billy Greer is in fine voice here and the extra harmonies from Terry Brock are a perfect fit for the band.
The audience gathered is minimal, so the intensity of a regular live show is not there – this is a special showcase for the band and it works in the way that it highlights some great melodic rock songs, but not in the usual live show format.
Standout tracks include the acoustic ballad Forsaken, where the band is joined by Robby Steinhardt on violins and vocals and Johnny Greer on mandolin and vocals. The lush harmonies are fabulous and the raw emotion of the track shines through.
The Sun Will Rise sounds note for note perfect and one can't help but love that pounding rhythm. The 6 minute plus You Cross The Line is also quite tasty, with some extra guitar licks and an extended solo included.
And the moody It Should Have Been You is a stand out track in any configuration.
The album adds three bonus studio cuts, two of which were previously Japanese bonus tracks for the bands first two albums (Love Train and The Storm Rages On).
Remember You Well is previously unreleased and to be honest should have remained that way. The song itself is fine, but the sound quality is well below the other two bonus tracks and the live concert.
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