Formed from a semi-publicized split in the Dying Fetus camp, Misery Index has been on a tear with their signature death grind style for a decade. With records like Retaliate, Traitors, and most recent Heirs To Thievery, they have garnered quite the notoriety as a force to be reckoned with. Their most noteworthy element, according to most fans, is their live presence. They almost rarely headline the big tours but seem to always kick the crap out of every band that follows them. Hell, if it wasn’t for Bolt Thrower a few years ago, I was ready to give them performance of the weekend at the Maryland Deathfest. So needless to say, to mark their 10th year as a band and attempt to capture their live atmosphere, we’ve been delivered their first live record entitled Live In Munich. (Care to guess where it was recorded?)

Reviewing a live album always seems to be tricky because they seem to only matter to a fan of the bands source material. So I’m always able to skip the initial description of what the music sounds like and that starts to make the process move a little quicker than normal. So what I’m always left with is covering production and the setlist chosen for the record. Let’s start with the production.

If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you should know by now that I’m a bit of a production snob. While I like black metal, I loathe the recordings that sound like they were recorded dead center of a concrete warehouse and without tuning the instruments. But when it comes to live records I tend to be a little more forgiving of their overall sound. Part of me enjoys the level imbalances because 9 times out of 10, the levels are never quite right when you see a band live. Something could always be turned down or up. Live In Munich is exactly one of those records. Instead of being super fine tuned like say, Metallica’s Live Shit: Binge & Purge, this sounds more like something we would have heard in the audience had we been there the night it was recorded. The guitars could be a little louder; the toms could be a little lower, etc. The album still sounds good enough to listen to and maintain the atmosphere of really being there.

As for the setlist, it’s a little top heavy if you ask me. Live records usually end up serving as a glorified best of record. Take Cannibal Corpse, who coincidentally headlined the show the night this record was record, or Pantera and their live records. With both of those there is a good balance of material from all the previous records. Misery Index decided to dominate their setlist with predominantly newer material. Six songs of the most recent record, 2 off the record before that, and only a single song off the debut. Now I understand when you are on tour for a new record you want to push the material but 2/3 of your short set being new material, no matter how good it is, is kind of bullshit to the fans. I wish they atleast played a song of Discordia or the Overthrow EP.

Aside from having a week setlist in terms of diversity, this is still a pretty solid live record from an even better band. It does a good job of capturing their live sound but unfortunately Misery Index is always going to be one of those bands you absolutely have to see live. There is just something about them. They are always ridiculously tight and crushing. So for those of you that have never opportunity, this is a good grab to hold you over until they tour around you.