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Great Electric Quest – Live At Freak Valley Award winner

Great Electric Quest
Live At Freak Valley
by Dave Nowels at 01 April 2020, 4:57 PM

San Diego, CA rockers GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST return with their follow-up to 2018's spectacular “Chapter II – Of Earth” with “Live At Freak Valley”. Live albums, especially in heavy music are quite the conundrum for me and many other fans. On one hand, it's great to have a recorded document of a particular era, especially if you attended a show on that tour. But, often a live recording fails to capture the “in person” magic and other intangibles that make attending a show so memorable. I can count on one hand how many heavy music live albums that have struck a chord with me. MAIDEN's “Live After Death”, PRIEST's “Unleashed In The East”, MOTORHEAD's “Hammersmith”, and more recently, YOB's “Live at Roadburn”. I'm not 100% sure why it's that way, but I think part of it is the visual aspect of heavy music concerts. Actually being able to see the band and audience feed off of each other's energy in a live setting is hard to reproduce.

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST is one of those bands that really impress live. They give their all, rock hard, and thrive in a live setting regardless of how big or small the venue is. Their performances definitely carry a visual quality as well, whether it's guitarist Buddy Donner donning the Anubis head and scaling his amps precariously, or vocalist Tyler Dingvell's confident frontman swagger and flag waving, Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco 's Charlie Watts-like professionalism and Jared Bliss' steadiness. Not only do they feed off the audience's energy, they sink their teeth into the jugular and leave a permanent mark. Somehow, they manage to do the impossible here. On “Live At Freak Valley”, they actually manage to capture a good deal of those elusive intangibles that make their live performances special.

Recorded at 2019's Freak Valley Festival in Netphen, Germany, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST's set finds them in fine form, and visiting a great deal of “Chapter II – Of Earth”, for which the band was adventuring across Europe to support. The release opens with the band's introduction, then launches into a spot on abbreviated instrumental cover of PINK FLOYD's “In The Flesh”. Even better is the cover of JUDAS PRIEST's “Victim Of Changes” as well as the set closing DEEP PURPLE staple, “Highway Star”. Bold cover choices, that speak to this band's confidence and ability. Through it all, there's that aforementioned energy level between band and audience that helps “Live At Freak Valley” be a really damn good live release, one that any fan of straight forward Metal should really appreciate.

I loved it. I've seen GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST live, and think the release really captures what the band's all about. If pressed, my only critique would be the instances of extended solos from Donner and Velasco. Don't misunderstand; each one is outstanding and absolutely show two musicians at the top of their game. It's just that in this recorded setting, it doesn't translate nearly as well as it does in a live setting. In comparison, the rolling thunder bass run that Bliss adds at the beginning of “Madness” really shines because of it's brevity. But with that said, that's just one man's opinion. You may really dig it for all I know.

Each one of these musicians is good. Damn good in fact, and severely underrated in their field. Together they bring fire, thunder, and wails of magic at their live shows, of which I would highly encourage one and all to attend. But, in these crazy days of pandemic, who knows when we'll be filling those bars, clubs and arenas again. With “Live At Freak Valley”, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST and Ripple Music have softened that frustration significantly with a live recording that recalls easier and happier times. If you like many miss live music, this one's for you. Plus, you'll be helping out a great band and even better group of guys during this time that threatens the entire live music community.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. In The Flesh
2. Seeker of the Flame
3. Of Earth - Episode I Creation
4. Of Earth - Episode II Destruction
5. Of Earth - Episode III Ancient Machine
6. Victim of Changes
7. Madness
8. Heart of the Sun
9. Wicked Hands
10. Highway Star
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss - Bass
Record Label: Ripple Music


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Edited 07 December 2022

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