Review: “Live At Summer Breeze” by Lionheart

Regulars on the European tour circuit, the return of Oakland Californian’s Lionheart after less than a year of disbanding in 2017 with the triumphant “Welcome To The West Coast II” simply because they missed it so much that they couldn’t not do it has been something to smile about ever since. Rob Watson, Walle Etzel, Kik Warner, Richard Mathews and Jay Scott haven’t looked back, bringing their two step beatdown hardcore style that crosses Hardcore Punk with Heavy Metal across the globe. It might seem ironic that new label home Arising Empire should sanction the release of a live album recorded at a festival in 2019 in 2020 a year after the bands new album “Valley Of Death“, especially as no tracks from that album appear on this, but its here none the less…

There are live albums and there are LIVE ALBUMS. If a band is a great live band with a lot of crowd interaction and moments that you don’t get on the albums then that not only makes for a great live show, but it makes for a great live album. If a band simply plays it like it is on the record with no interaction, then all you have is the crowd noise and you can forget it fairly quickly. “Alive” from Snot from 2002 is one which sets the bar high as live albums go. Fast Forward to 2020 and “Live At Summer Breeze” sees Oakland Californian Hardcore Kings Lionheart in the heartland of Hardcore, Germany. The annual festival makes the perfect setting for high fives, stage dives and circle pits and you can hear it all going off on the album. Make no mistake, the live record can’t replace the live show itself but it captures the essence, the atmosphere, like lighting in a bottle, as a career spanning set is played, warts and all, full throttle with no holds barred. Each cut is an adrenaline rush and so much fun from a band build on struggle with everyone helping out vocalist Rob Watson, there is even a moment during “Still Bitter, Still Cold” where bassist Richard Mathews sounds like Disturbed frontman David Draiman when he sings “Tell me can you hear it? Tell me can you hear it?” which is hilarious good fun. “Trial by Fire” remains essential listening, a brilliant way go over the bands career in a single track and say thank you to the fans, while ending with some riffs from the Metallica classic “Wherever I May Roam“. The addition to the set of a short rendition of “Fight For Your Right” by Beastie Boys over which Watson introduces his bandmates in hilarious style is a classic old school touch before a breakneck version of “LHHC” to round things off in some style [9/10]

Track listing

1. Cali Stomp
2. Hail Mary
3. Vultures
4. Pain
5. Still Bitter Still Cold
6. Keep Talkin’
7. Trial By Fire
8. Lock Jaw
9. Love Don’t Live Here
10. Rest In Power
11. Fight For Your Right
12. LHHC
13. Going Back to the Bay

Live At Summer Breeze” by Lionheart is out now via Arising Empire

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