At its best, the live album is a more intense version of a greatest hits album. In a perfect world, the band is firing on all cylinders, carefully choosing the ebb and flow of the set list from their material to create a monument to their career at that point in time. While that’s almost a lost art form these days, there are definitely a handful of albums that stand out and are worth owning. With Iron Maiden’s En Vivo hitting stores tomorrow, we thought it might be appropriate to spotlight some of the best and most iconic live metal albums out there. What are we missing? Let us know in the comments section below.
Ok, so technically this isn’t a live album. However, if you asked most metal musicians, they’ll tell you that KISS’ two disc live album was what attracted them to rock. It’s kind of amazing that in the ’70s, live albums were huge multi-platinum successes that helped make bands (just ask Peter Frampton). Before Alive!’s release in 1975, KISS were a cult band that couldn’t sell records. And not only did it turn them into the iconic band we know today, it also went on to become one of the biggest selling albums of the 70’s.
Recorded in 2004 during their two shows at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia, Lamb Of God’s live album/ DVD may be best known for Randy Blythe and Mark Morton’s infamous fight scene. However, Killadelphia also captures a young and hungry Lamb Of God on stage. Hearing the Philadelphia crowd sing along to “Now You’ve Got Something To Die” alone makes this live album top 5 worthy.
Compiled of multiple concerts, this live album came out during a bittersweet time for Pantera. While the band’s previous albums went platinum around this time, Philip Anselmo had overdosed on heroin a year prior to record’s release. Regardless, Official Live 101 Proof captures Pantera in the prime and proves that they were a force to be reckoned with onstage.
When Randy Rhoads died in 1982, the talented guitarist had only recorded two albums with Ozzy Osbourne. Thanks to this album, which came out five years after his death, there was more of a chance to hear him live. hearing his live takes on classics like “Mr. Crowley” and “Over the Mountain” not only proved he could back it live, but gave obsessive guitarists a chance to hear Blizzard and Diary tracks in a new light. Not to mention the fact that the first two Ozzy albums are stone cold classics.
“Scream for me, Long Beach!” There’s something about a band on top of their game recording a live album. After three albums with their relatively new vocalist Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden were at the height of their career, on the two-year long World Slavery tour. From the iconic album art of mascot Eddie coming back from the dead to the all killer-no filler (well, unless you really hate Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the 13-minute “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”), this is hands down a must-own live album for any fan of Maiden. While they put out a live album every couple of years (like En Vivo, which hits stores tomorrow), it’s hard to top this one.