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The Winery Dogs – Unleashed In Japan

posted 14 Oct 2014, 13:31 by Paul Woodward

(Loud & Proud Records)

Review by Woody

I was a little surprised to see with only one album to their name The Winery Dogs already have a live album. I tend to avoid live albums as I find them extremely patchy quality wise, sometimes they have been overly worked on in post production so losing that ‘live’ edge making the album a little pointless. Others aren’t worked on enough and come across really badly as its sound capture is too raw or badly mixed. My main problem with live albums though is it’s very rare the atmosphere and magic of actually been there translates across on these live recordings and therefore makes you wonder why you don’t just listen to the original studio version. There are a few exceptions and of course the stronger a fan of a band the more impact a live album will have on you.

I don’t think there is anything special about this album and at ten tracks does seem oddly abrupt, but there is no knocking the strong and virtually flawless performances made by all three members which elevate its impact. I do think it’s one only for completists but this live album does come with the debut studio album as a bonus disc so it does make it a value for money release. The Winery Dogs debut is all kinds of awesome so if you don’t already own it this could be a good package to pick up as you’ll have the live disc as a bonus.

The energy of their music does shine through and it does showcase what an able live unit they can be. It also highlights how they heavily improvise and solo during songs when performing. It doesn’t have that ‘live’ magic though to make it an essential live album, there is no crowd noise or interaction during the songs which on one hand is good but on the other feels a little too sanitised. My biggest gripe though has to be how the album is edited together there is a lot of editing gone on and songs feel clipped rather than blending together effecting the flow of the music and disrupting your feeling of listening to a live show. The best live albums are put together with a feeling of you are listening to a live show in its entirety with no interruptions and cutting off, so Unleashed In Japan really suffers with that lack of flow and live show impact.

Kotzen’s vocals do come across really well with some performances even making me think they are better than on the studio album, but regardless of the high quality of the musicianship shown, I find very little to recommend this album to people.

Track Listing : Elevate / Criminal / Time Machine / I’m No Angel / Not Hopeless / Stand / You Can’t Save Me / Shine / Fooled Around and Fell In Love / Desire

Album Rating: 5/10

Woody’s Essential Track: I’m No Angel