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Picture - Live 40 Years Metal Ears 1978 -2018

Live 40 Years Metal Ears 1978 -2018
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 04 December 2018, 9:19 AM

Live albums are a hit or miss venture, some capturing the band at it's peak (RUSH: "Exit Stage Left") or just cash grabs/reminders they're still alive (ROLLING STONES: "Live Licks") but PICTURE's "Live 40 Years Heavy Metal Ears" has me scratching my head trying to figure it out. There is no doubt 40 years of touring has created an extremely talented and tight grouping, and this is very obvious from the first song "You're All Alone", but the sound of Jan Bechtum's and Appie de Gelder's guitars is reminiscent of my old cassette recorder capturing the guitar sound.

"Message From Hell" does even worse with the backing vocals, mixing from stage mics rather than straight from the board., like Rinus Vreeugdenhil's bass. Again poor production planning almost ruined it for me, but then gems like "Night Hunter" and "No No No" haul me in with their classic metal hooks, brilliant solos and Laurens "Bakkie" Bakker's frantic drumming. I have to give kudos to Roland Van Prooijen, after 40 years his voice is amazing! "Eternal Dark" also gave me a sensation of how he interacted with the crowd, you can almost hear him prowling up and down the stage encouraging more audience participation.

I continued to listen to the album, but the poor live recording started to really effect my head. The high treble on the guitars with way too much reverb ruined any chance of enjoying the album after 4 or 5 songs, which is a real shame because it's obvious that the band are talented and enjoy what they do. They also write really good music, they must because after 40 years, they're still rocking strong. Unfortunately this CD does not do them any kind of justice. My advice is set up a compilation album with remastered  studio versions of these songs and bonus track the live versions of "Unemployed" and "No No No". That in the end will give a much sense of history of this multi-decade band.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. You're All Alone
2. Get Back or You'll Fall
3. Message From Hell
4. Night Hunter
5. The Hangman
6. Night Tiger
7. No No No
8. Old Dogs New Tricks
9. Live by the Sword
10. Eternal Dark
11. Diamond Dreamer
12. Heavy Metal Ears
13. Unemployed
14. Bombers
15. Lady Lightning
16. You Can Go
17. Spend the Night With You
Ronald Van Prooijen – Vocals
Jan Bechtum – Guitars Backing Vocals
Appie de Gelder - Guitar Backing Vocals
Rinus Vreugdenhil – Bass
Laurens "Bakkie" Bakker – Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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Edited 05 February 2023

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