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Babylon A.D. - Live @ XXV Award winner

Babylon A.D.
Live @ XXV
by MarcusTheRocker at 17 June 2015, 12:05 PM

So far in the first half of this year, I have reviewed quite a few live albums and with the exception of one, all of them so far have been pretty good. There’s just something special about attending a live show, having it recorded and documented by a band and then re-listening to it when you are in the mood for reliving memories of a night when you can proudly say that you were there. That’s the feeling I got when listening to a live album that was released this year and recorded last year that I went to the show for.

Time now for me to get onto the subject of today’s review and the focus is the newest live album from San Francisco rockers BABYLON A.D. entitled “Live @ XXV”. XXV is the Roman numeral for 25 and that along signifies something as the band released their first album 25 years ago. This is their way of documenting that landmark by releasing their second live album in 16 years since their first one back in 1999.

Formed in 1988 in San Francisco Bay, BABYLON A.D. are a quintet of Hard Rockers who have had various on and off periods of being together as a band. The total number of splits they have had is three with the latest reformation occurring two years ago and these splits reflect on the number of releases they have had in terms of studio albums which is only three. They have also released one compilation, one EP and two live albums including their newest one. During their split up breaks, some of the members have been involved with other projects so they do like to keep themselves busy musically.

“Live @ XXV” is 13 songs of live Hard Rock music although where they recorded the material is unclear as I wasn’t able to find that out but I’ll look past that for the moment and just focus on the reviewing of this release. Clocking in at around 56 minutes, the new BABYLON A.D. live album is proof that you can be together for a long time and still know how to kick ass years later despite not releasing a large amount of material.

The album features 11 of the band’s own songs plus two covers of hits by two British bands including MONTROSE in the form of “Rock the Nation” and “Lights Out” by UFO and I think that this is a pretty neat idea. Throughout the album’s 13 songs, there is a great amount of raw live energy as the band manage to put together a strong set from the three studio albums they have released as well as paying homage to two iconic British bands with their own unique renditions.

The sound on this album is pure, dirty and raw with zero MC moments as the focus is just the music only. The raw sound helps to add a sense of uniqueness to this live recording as you can enjoy the hectic energy from the songs including the heavy guitars, the pounding beats from the rhythm section as well as the powerful vocal chords of the singer as well as the cheers of the crowd.

I’m quite glad it was recorded this way as sometimes bands will fall into the trap of fiddling with the live recordings to make it sound more pure but if I’m honest, that’s cheating so to do it the way that a band like BABYLON A.D. have, is a much better idea as often the greatest things should be left untouched as they can sound better then stuff that has been messed around with.

Only real niggle I have with this album is that each of the songs fade out and the transitions between the songs can sound a bit choppy and a bit forced which would kind of explain why there are no MC moments on this release. Also, the lyrics in the songs can occasionally be a bit hard to make out because of the raw live sound but these small problems can be easily forgiven and overlooked even if the former problem, the fading out after each song, is the most annoying as this is still a great live release despite the aforementioned problems.

Bottom line, the newest live CD from BABYLON A.D. Is a good way to start off the second half of the year in terms of live releases and I hope that from here on out, we get many more great releases and if you were at the show or shows that this album was recorded at, then it’s definitely one worth picking up to add to your collection. Even if you weren’t there, it’s still one to pick up if you get a kick out of live music.

4 Star Rating

1. Back in Babylon
2. Hammer Swings Down
3. Shot of Love
4. Sinking in the Sand
5. Bang Go The Bells
6. Maryanne
7. Bad Blood
8. Love Blind
9. Sally Danced
10. Desperate
11. Kid Goes Wild
12. Rock the Nation (Montrose cover)
13. Lights Out London (U.F.O. cover)
Derek Davis - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Danny De La Rosa - Guitars
Ron Freschi - Guitars, Vocals
Robb Reid - Bass, Vocals
Jamey Pacheco - Drums, Percussion
Record Label: Perris Records


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