Live in L.A.: Death & Raw

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As vocalist/guitarist/songwriter/metal pioneer Chuck Schuldiner was fighting a battle against cancer that he would inevitably and unfortunately lose, Nuclear Blast -- probably at least in part in a noble attempt to drum up some revenue for a man burdened with astounding medical bills -- released the first live disc from the first name in death metal, Death. It's a soundboard recording with all the usual limitations you'd expect from such a source (in fact, it was never meant for release), but it's still a powerful reminder of what an intense band Death was. Recorded on the tour for the group's last studio album, Sound of Perseverance, it features a lot of latter-period material, but still offers early classics "Zombie Ritual" and, as a set closer, "Pull the Plug." There is nothing on this release that tarnishes Death's legacy, and the album actually adds to that legacy when you consider how good it sounds -- despite the primitive recording technique -- cranked up really loud. This is a nice gesture, but a better album.

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