And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead – Live at Rock Palast [Live DVD]

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead
Live At Rockpalast
Released 23rd May 2014
Released via MIG (Made In Germany Music)

AYWTUBTTOTD Live At Rock Palast


Well, I’ve written a few album reviews in my time, but never one for a DVD, so you’re stuck with my first attempt, boys and girls! This one is for a band I haven’t heard much about since the 1990s, and I wasn’t all that familiar with them then – And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead. Quite a mouthful.

Opening with a piano intro reminiscent of the soundtrack to the Final Fantasy game series, this live outing moves in with instant atmosphere. The dark auditorium, intimate crowd, swirling searchlights, is transformed by a crash of lights and a wall of noise, as AYWKUBTTOTD introduce themselves without words.

As a band who states that part of their mission is to bring an energetic performance to every show, they do have the sort of essence that only some are in possession of. However, I’m personally more used to the underground metal scene, where if the hair, beer and blood ain’t a-flying you’re not that likely to get a gig, never mind a career. Sitting down to play the keys isn’t in the description.

That may sound harsh, but it really is just a comparison between what qualifies as energetic in two disparate genres. I’m not saying that they don’t have presence or that this isn’t a totally professional performance, because that would be utterly wrong on both counts. I’m just saying that if you’re going to talk the talk, you should make sure you walk the walk. For example, they could have more correctly said they were sonically intense, straddling genres without a care. That statement is certainly applicable. Some tracks incorporate two drum kits, others fire up the punk riffs, and yet others meander through the ethereal. The power, thought and effort are there in spades.

I brushed up against it earlier, but the up-close-and-personal approach they have taken for the main concert is really refreshing. Remember, although released in 2014, Live At Rockpalast was recorded back in 2009 when a lot of their contemporaries were taking advantage of rising live music industry to play bigger and bigger venues. AYWKUBTTOTD may very well have chosen this more face-to-face set-up as a mark of respect to their fans, which is always nice. Looking at the effort which has been put into the technical side of the show, it seems unlikely that it was due to financial restraints.

One thing that may have been improved on, though, is the audio production. It’s hard to tell with such a thick sound if it’s due to the live engineering, the post-production or even just my own speakers not being able to handle it, but some of the edges are just… lost. On occasion vocals or low-end disappear a bit. It’s not a major disappointment, but I think it would be noticed if there was a slightly higher quality available. The band and the audience don’t seem to care, though, so maybe it’s just me!

There’s also a nice little clutch of extras included here; videos from a couple of other bigger festival shows, interviews and back-stage footage: a treat for the enthusiast! All in all, this DVD is a fine display of what a real band of human musicians can and should be, and even if it isn’t your genre of choice, other artists could do far worse than taking a leaf from this book. If this band was one of my favourites, I’d be feeling like I was a teenager again, and that emotional connection is sorely lacking in so much modern music.


Paul Macmillan

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