CRAZY LIXX – Sound Of The LIVE Minority

53b526a9b6bc3185a09475c5aaaf3d24_SThe way I see it, live album has run their course. Think about it, when was the last time you heard a live record that made you go apeshit right away? It was back in the seventies and maybe early eighties when live albums were a force to be reckoned with, today every band releases a live DVD after each world tour and most live albums doesn’t even sound live. Yeah, I know, live albums were full of overdubs back in the day as well, but those albums sounded live, they had a spark, passion and they kicked ass. Hard. Kiss Alive and Alive II, Thin Lizzy’s Live And Dangerous, Deep Purple’s Made In Japan, UFO’s Strangers In The Night, Scorpions’ Tokyo Tapes, Queen’s Live Killers, Cheap Trick’s At Bodukan and The Ramones’ It’s Alive are all classics, furious rock albums that didn’t take no prisoners and rocked the living daylight out of us – and they all came out in the seventies. The 80’s gave us a few live killers as well – Whitesnake’s Live…In The Heart Of The City, Iron Maiden’s Live After Death and Scorpions’ World Wide Live were all awesome, but since then I can’t think of any really great live albums released even though there has been a few that are ok. So, when I hear that a band is about to put out a live record, I just shrug my shoulders – live albums just don’t seem that interesting any more. But there are exceptions. For example, I know that Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T. are a killer live band and therefore I just had to check out their 2015 release Live In London and that record really rocked, the same with Live Down Decadencia Drive by Shotgun earlier this year – two albums that both felt and sounded real live, much because I know how damn good both bands are on stage. Crazy Lixx are another melodic hard rock band that, even though I love their records, I think are even better live so a live album from them is something that, at least to me, is a must to check out.

One thing with this live album is that it does not contain the line-up that is the band today – and it’s not the line-up that played on their last, self-titled album from 2015 either. The core of the band – singer Danny Rexon, drummer Joel Cirera, bassist Jens Sjöholm and lead guitarist Andreas Z Eriksson (who went by the name Andy Dawson when he replaced original guitar player Vic Zino who left for Hardcore Superstar back in 2009, which he changed to Zata for the last record) are all there but guitarist Edd Liam who joined after the release of Riot Avenue in 2012 has left the band and been replaced by Jens Lundgren for the tour of the self-titled 2014 record. But even before this album was released Andreas Z Eriksson had jumped the ship to join British rockers Inglorious that put out an amazing album earlier this year. This means that his replacement Chrisse Olsson isn’t on this album at all. Just to make the line-up issues clear, bassist Sjöholm isn’t an original member either, he came in after their third album replacing bass player Loke Rivano. Back to the album, it was recorded in Germany at the Bang Your Head festival so it seems like this album was recorded at one show only and not at several different ones which is common when it comes to live albums – that alone is a really cool thing with this record, it makes it more genuine even before listening to it.

The intro “Wild Street Shuffle” is a really cool intro as it consists mostly of tribal drumming which creates a really cool atmosphere – listening in head phones it almost feels like I’m there. First song “Rock And A Hard Place” (New Religion, 2010) is a great Def Leppard goes sleaze groover on record but live it jumps up a few notches with a really hot punch. But where did the backing vocals go? It’s really low in the mix, I almost can’t hear them at all. “Lock Up Your Daughter” (New Religion) is not one of my favourite Lixx tracks, much because I find it a cliché lyrically, but I can’t deny the fact that it works brilliantly live – it’s an ass kicker and I totally get why they play it. “Blame It On Love” (New Religion) is the magnificent pop-metal stomper Danger Danger wish they had written. I have always thought of it as a song that should have been a single and a tune that works best with its million bucks production, but on this record it’s obvious it works just as well on stage – great! “Sound Of The Loud Minority” (Crazy Lixx, 2014) is a kick-ass melodic rocker that felt like it was written for the stage from the beginning and this record is the proof of that. It’s catchy as hell with hard rock swagger that should wake up even the most dead crowd! “Riot Avenue” is the best track of the album with the same name, the Lixxers least great album, and the live version is even more high-octane – awesome! “Call To Action” (Crazy Lixx) is the hit that never was, but I believe that this tune belongs in their live set just as much as their earlier must-play tunes – an awesome track to begin with and even better here. Even though “Road To Babylon” (New Religion) is hardly a bad song, not even close, it’s still not one of my favorite Lixx tunes so even though it does its job here there are other songs I would have preferred to that one. That said, I like this version better than the studio version. “My Medicine (R.O.C.K.)” (New Religion) is still the bastard child of Def Leppard’s “Let’s Get Rocked” and Poison’s “Unskinny Bop” – and yes, it’s superior to both and it kicks them both right into next week. The big groove and in-your-face rhythm makes it a brilliant live track and must in the band’s set list – a killer version! “Hell Raising Women” (Crazy Lixx) was a furious gut-punching hard rock sleazer as a studio track and live it’s even rougher, a melodic rock headbanger if there ever was one – Hell Yeah! “Girls Of The 80’s” (Crazy Lixx) might just come off as another cliché and even close to ridiculous to some, but for us who were there (in the 80’s), it’s a perfect tribute to those times and the pop-metal catchiness and the big melodies makes it work and live, well, if this one doesn’t make you wanna get up and dance, I don’t know what will. “Heroes Are Forever” (Loud Minority, 2007 and Crazy Lixx) is the Lixx own “Rock And Roll All Nite” (yes, I’m exaggerating, but you catch my drift), their own anthem, biggest hit and the one song no Lixx show would be complete without. This pop-metal stomper with the chorus to die for is a killer on the studio version, but it’s edgier live and therefore works even better here and this version totally kills. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (Riot Avenue, 2012) should maybe have been the closing track as the sleaze rock meets early 80’s metal sound makes it perfect to bang your head to as farewell. But they close the album with “21 ‘Til I Die” (New Religion) and it shouldn’t have been the closing track, in my opinion. Yes, I think it’s a really good song, but this band have written better ones.

Yes, folks, this is a damn brilliant live record and the whole feel of this record just screams live. I’m not sure how many overdubs that have been made here, if they have made any (they probably have) but as long as you can’t hear them (or have to listen extremely closely to do so), I don’t care. There are live albums that have songs on them that are recorded on sound checks and such, but as long as it sound live and the whole feel is live, I don’t care if they’re recorded in your grandma’s living room. Also, I believe that this album really capture the Lixxers as the great live band they truly are – in my ears, this album sounds raw, edgy, hard but still with all the melodies and hooks intact and the fact that these guys are really great musicians doesn’t even have to spoken of. Sure, there are tracks that I miss here – “Dr Hollywood”, “Outlaw”, “Make Ends Meet”, “She’s Mine”, “All Looks, No Hooks”, but that’s something that every band have to deal with when playing live – you can’t please everyone. For the fans of this band, this one’s a no-brainer, but for people who have never heard this band, this is a really great way to start. Sure, if melodic hard rock isn’t your can of beer, there’s nothing this album will change about that, but if you do and this band is a new name to you, then it’s time to wake up now. Their name might not be all that, but their music damn well is.

9/10

Other Crazy Lixx reviews:

New Religion
Riot Avenue
Crazy Lixx

Tracklist:

1. Intro – Wild Street Shuffle
2. Rock And A Hard Place
3. Lock Up Your Daughter
4. Blame It On Love
5. Sound Of The Loud Minority
6. Riot Avenue
7. Call To Action
8. Road To Babylon
9. My Medicine (R.O.C.K)
10. Hell Raising Women
11. Girls Of The 80’s
12. Heroes Are Forever
13. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
14. 21′ Til I Die

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