Swedish melodic death metallers, Degradead, have released a new album featuring their full performance from Wacken Open Air festival in 2014. That album is entitled Live at Wacken Open Air 2014 and was released on the 28th of April via Metalville Records.
It is the first release from Degradead since their early 2016 release, the self titled Degradead. That album is brilliant. I really enjoyed it, as you can tell by my review here. In fact I have enjoyed much of their music since coming across them at the time of their 2013 release, The Monster Within. That album is also brilliant. A genuine melodic death metal classic of which you can read about here.
Degradead are currently made up of Mikael Sehlin on vocals, David Szugs and Anders Nystrom on guitars, Michel Barzen on bass guitar and Amit Mohla on drums.
Live at Wacken Open Air 2014, just like most live albums, is generally designed for those who are already fans and just want to add a new album to their collection. It is pretty unlikely that a new fan will come across a new band and decide to pick up a live album first. Luckily I am a fan. If you are a fan of a band who release a live album, it is pretty difficult for it to be a bad album either. You know the band, you like the songs and you have hopefully seen them live – hell, you may have even been there at the recording. Aside from poor production, editing to a set list and a bad recording, it can’t really go wrong.
I am pleased to say that this album is well produced and well recorded and, as it is a complete set, it is uncut too. Perfect. The only thing that saddens me here is that this set is from 2014 – 3 years ago. As such it is before the release of their last album, Degradead, so obviously none of those tracks feature on it.
Still, I am excited for this album because I am a fan and I have never seen them live. The mainstream media in the UK is still busy rotating stories on Linkin Park and Korn and are yet to open their eyes to the plethora of top quality metal available across Europe. This means little to no coverage for bands like Degradead over here and in turn means their is little point in them coming here to play regularly. I will go to see them in Sweden at some point but until then, a live album is the closest I will get to experiencing it.
Degradead had a nice spot on the bill back in 2014 featuring on the W.E.T stage on the Saturday night from 21:10 t0 21:55. This did mean they were up against Megadeth playing over on the main stage though. Still, based on that front cover, they had a really strong crowd. That leads nicely in to my one and only fault with the album. The volume of the crowd.
What is it with metal bands and quietening the crowd on live albums? One of my favourite live experiences was Machine Head’s Hellalive tour. I was there when the album was recorded at Brixton Academy and trust me, the crowd was deafening throughout. Then I buy the album and they sound meek and quiet. I love that album but a good live show requires a band and a crowd on form. All you do by making them quieter is give the listeners the image of nobody being there and that detracts from the whole experience.
Live at Wacken has the same issue. It looks like a really big, loud crowd but they are barely audible on the album. You get little snippets of applause and a few moments of shouting and cheering but it is in the background and gives that same impression of not being many people there. Even if the image proves otherwise.
Aside from that though we have 10 tracks and 45 minutes of solid heavy metal. Degradead sound note for note perfect as they belt their way through the tracks. Mikael Sehlin’s immense vocal talent and range from the studio albums is as impressive and powerful live. The first track, starts with an orchestral sounding intro which you can picture the band appearing on stage too before exploding into life.
Mikael banters well with the crowd in the breaks between songs. He also works hard in keeping them energised during the songs encouraging them to jump and to bang their heads. He thanks the crowd for their energy as the band move seamlessly from track to track.
As a frontman, he sounds like he has it mastered. As a gig, it sounds brilliant. Fun and energetic and very, very heavy. Songs are aired from previous albums with hits from Out of Body Experience (2009), Til Death Do Us Part (2008), A World Destroyer (2011) and The Monster Within (2013) all getting blasted.
Live at Wacken is a great listen. It captures the feeling of a live environment well but needs the crowd volume turned up a bit. The band sound tight and, importantly, sound like their studio albums. It is the closest I have come to getting to a Degradead show. It has managed to make me even more desperate to see them so that can only be a good thing. One for the fans, yes but as an early “greatest hits”, if you haven’t heard them before then you should definitely check it out as well. Check out the full track listing below –
1 – Achieve the Sky
2 – Take Control
3 – For Better or Worse
4 – The Monster Within
5 – V.X.R.
6 – Burned
7 – Dream
8 – No One Prevail
9 – Wake the Storm
10 – Human Nature
Live at Wacken Open Air 2014 is available on all the normal streaming services now, such as Apple Music and Spotify. Check out the links below to pick up this album from Amazon or some of their other past albums. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter as well.
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Live at Wacken Open Air 2014 by Degradead (Metalville Records)
The Final Score - 7.5/10