Friday Top 10: Best live albums

What’s better than listening to your favorite album by your favorite band? Seeing your favorite band live. And what’s better than spending your day watching midget porn? Nothing… uh… I wanted to go somewhere with this… oh yeah! What happens when you combine the first question with the first answer? Not listening to your iPod while you’re at a concert, you dumbass, listening to your favorite band’s live album!

You know why metal bands are the best live performers? Because others aren’t metal. So now I’m listing the best fucking live albums… like… EVER!

Make the jump, you fool!

#10 – Foo Fighters – Skin and Bones

That’s right, I’m putting a non-metal album in there. Simply because it’s a damn good album. If you grew up with MTV Unplugged performances, like I did, then you’re a sucker for acoustic performances, just like I am. This album isn’t an Unplugged performance but it’s mostly acoustic and if you don’t dig this album’s version of ‘Everlong,’ then you’re just weird. Or simply have better taste than I do, who knows?

#9 – Strapping Young Lad – No Sleep ’till Bedtime

If you don’t consider Devin Townsend to be a genius, then we, you and me, can’t be friends. I’m sorry. Everything this dude touches, turns into delicious donuts. I want a donut now. Anyhow, if you’re not a big fan of Strapping, this album is a great start for you.

#8 – Rammstein – Völkerball

Rammstein are a live band. I think that’s pretty apparent nowadays but not only do they feature one of the greatest shows in metal nowadays, they also got better and better with their actual performances. Early in their career, it was rumored that Rammstein taped their performances (excluding the vocals) before the show so they could do drugs during the actual show without fucking up their performances. Crazy Germans, eh? Völkerball features actual live recordings and is one of my favorite live albums.

#7 – Bloodbath – The Wacken Carnage

For the first EP and album with Mikael Akerfeldt and the second album with Peter Tägtgren, Bloodbath was a strict studio project because of all members being busy with their primary bands. In 2005, they decided to do a one-off performance at the infamous Wacken festival in Germany and just recorded the fucker. Fans were anxiously waiting and waiting… and waiting and in 2008, the album was finally released. The band has since played numerous concerts.

#6 – Amon Amarth – Twilight of the Thunder God (Bonus CD)

For ‘Twilight of the Thunder God,’ Amon Amarth thought of a special way to get money from their fans make their fans happy. They released the album with a Bonus CD and DVD, which featured the band’s performance at the Summerbreeze festival in Germany. They also released an edition of the album with five boobleheads but that’s for another story. This album features a great deal of their best songs, up until ‘Twilight of the Thunder God,’ obviously.

#5 – Metallica – S&M

First off, I could have included another Metallica live album, sure, S&M features a couple of songs old fans can’t get behind but simply the idea of adding an orchestra to Metallica’s sound was awesome. Everyone can record their live performances and sell them as a live album but this performance was so unique that you either had to be there or have to own the album, unlike the numerous live albums and EPs Metallica released that, more or less, all sound basically the same.

#4 – Anthrax – Music of Mass Destruction

Anthrax with my favorite line-up, with John Bush on vocals, playing my favorite ‘Thrax songs, of the Belladonna era. I love Bush but not the albums he was on, excluding ‘We’ve come for you all’ and a couple of gems off former albums. This band is at their best when they play their shit live and the Chicago crowd, where this album was recorded, is top notch and definitely gives this performance a boost.

#3 – Pantera – Official Live 101 Proof

Pantera, and especially the late Dimebag, ripped on stage. Sadly, I was never fortunate enough to see them live but I have this album! Woooo *redneckdance* If it’s the band stopping after the intro of ‘Walk’ for Anselmo to tell the crowd that they’re being recorded, just to get right back into the song or Dime soloing like a motherfucker on every fucking song, this album just kills. To quote Phil Anselmo from this very album (before the band gets into ‘I’m broken’), “I’m having a good time!”.

#2 – The Big Four Live from Sofia, Bulgaria

The Big Four of Thrash Metal: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. Live. From Bulgaria? Yeah! This album/set is great for all kinds of fans. As long as they’re Thrash Metal fans. It doesn’t matter if you prefer ‘Medusa,’ ‘Hangar 18,’ ‘Angel of Death’ or ‘Blackened,’ you get all four bands at their fucking best. Every metalhead needs to own this set, even if it’s just for bragging rights (that’s why I own it).

#1 – Iron Maiden – Rock in Rio

Recorded at the Rock in Rio festival in, uh, Rio, Brazil, this album takes the cake. Why? Because it’s Iron Maiden backed by crazy and loud as fuck South Americans. A top notch performance of their best songs (thank you for including so many ‘Brave New World’ songs, guys!) with the best crowd I’ve ever heard on a CD. James Hetfield, listen to this album and take notes. Bruce Dickinson shows just how you sing flawlessly in concert. Up the irons!

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