Death Live In L.A./Death & Raw

Unfortunately, this first live offering from the legendary Death is apparently their last release, due to guitarist/vocalist/metalhead supreme Chuck Schuldiner's ongoing health struggles. Live In L.A./Death & Raw may have the worst album title ever, but it is a nice way to go out, serving as a look back over a career of progressive death metal that culminated in the amazing The Sound Of Perseverance album, represented here with a few jaw dropping songs. Death were the kings of combining raging death metal with smooth, virtuoso technicality, no doubt made all the more incredible by Richard Christy, quite possibly the best metal drummer ever. The sound quality is for real, no overdubs here, and with a running time of 72 minutes there's enough to keep both old and new fans happy. Being a live album, it's not essential, but it serves as an inspiring look back at a stammering legacy and a great ending to one of the most influential metal bands of all time. Here's a big "hail!" to Chuck, one of the people who has helped make metal what it is today. (Nuclear Blast)