Most of what Tony MacAlpine has done is actually pretty excellent. But the problem is that, somehow, his studio albums always sound a bit too neat, too clean, too tidy. This was the case especially with his latest studio album, "Violent Machine". When I saw him play live in 1997 I was impressed by the way his 'live' sound vastly improved the songs he played. So when I read about the release of "Live Insanity" I was pretty pleased: A 'best of' MacAlpine album with his impressive live sound!

It needs to be said straight off: "Live Insanity" sounds great. But other than that I am afraid the album is a bit of a letdown. It's short, it doesn't have the incredibly powerful "Mr. Destructive" track, and has no Mike Terrana drum solo :-). What we do get is a lot of material from albums after his debut "Edge of Insanity" and before "Violent Machine", albums with which I am afraid I am quite unfamiliar. Thankfully "The Taker" is on there, which was my fave track off his debut. But the one track that was picked from "Violent Machine", "Carolina Blue", was not exactly the best.

All in all, a damn shame that Tony got the chance to do a live album - after all he's not the best known of guitarists - but didn't use this opportunity more fruitfully. More tracks, for starters, including "Mr. Destructive" which would on its own already have been a reason to buy an album like this.



Written July 1998


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