Slayer – Live Undead

3 out of 5

Label: Metal Blade

Produced by: Bill Metoyer

Agreed: there’s not much point to this live set.  The group had only just established itself with one album and one EP, and those discs already came across as rather raw and live-to-tape; Live Undead just confirms: yup, these guys can rock out without any studio trickery.  The seven tracks don’t have much material from which to be plucked, and there’s not much nuance added… besides the nigh hilarious energy of the performance and the crowd.  I’m normally not a fan of hearing chatter on live recordings, but the constant boisterousness of the audience – chanting ‘Satan’ at one point, and apparently all-in for this, at this point, youthy band – are just a constant stream of encouraging shouts and grunts, heated further by Tom Araya’s intros to a couple songs.  The audience is so over-the-top that there was apparently a question of whether or not they were faked for the recording.  If they are, that, in itself, is hilarious, but either way, it actually adds a component to the thing that makes it worth a spin.  It gives you a better feeling for why Slater made an impact at the time, as their earliest material is maybe a bit more straight-forward sounding after all these years.