With the COVID-19 outbreak effectively having shut down live music in towns and cities nation and worldwide, music acts of all types are finding every way that they can to bring live music to the masses. Metallica is airing free concerts every Monday through its official Facebook page. Many other bands are taking archived concerts that were previously unreleased to their official YouTube channels in whole for everyone to enjoy for free, too. And now Soulfly is doing its part to give audiences some sense of normalcy with its new live EP Live Ritual NYC MMXIX. Released digitally over the weekend through Nuclear Blast Records, the performance featured here was originally recorded Feb. 11, 2019 at the Gramercy in New York City. The concert was part of a larger tour that was in support of Soulfly’s most recent album Ritual. The recording is a bit of a toss-up, to be honest. That is due in part to its set, list, which comes in at just under half an hour. This will be discussed shortly. This matter plays directly into another issue for this recording, the concert’s audiovisual aspect. This is another concern that cannot be ignored. It will be addressed a little later. The one positive to those this presentation, if one wants to call it a positive, is its availability options. Each item noted here is critical in its own way to the whole of this recording. All things considered, they make Live Ritual NYC MMXIX a disappointing presentation from an otherwise great band. It is difficult to say this about an offering from a band the caliber of Soulyfly, but it is an unavoidable truth. Whether the band or the label is to blame for this presentation is a discussion for another time. Regardless, the reality is that this is a live recording that should have stayed shelved.
Soulfly’s new digital live EP Live ritual NYC MMXIX is a disappointing offering from a band that has built quite the successful reputation and resume for itself over the course of 23 years and 11 albums. That is due in part to the recording’s set list. Spanning a total of seven songs and just over 27 minutes, the concert, originally recorded Feb. 11, 2019 at the Gramercy in New York City, the band’s performance here is just a glimpse into what is in reality a much larger and longer set. The full concert runs just short of an hour (approximately 53 minutes to be exact). The songs featured in the recording are, by connection, only a portion of a much larger set that also featured a cover of Iron Maiden’s hit song ‘The Trooper.’ The other songs featured in that concert that are not featured in this recording are: ‘Arise Again,’ ‘Dead Behind the Eyes,’ ‘Rise of the Fallen’ and ‘Babylon.’ Given, the full set list, which also features the opening of ‘Jumpdaf***up” is not exactly an in-depth presentation of the band’s catalog, but is still much more enjoyable than the brief little glance that is featured in this recording. What’s more, the set list featured in this recording do not even go in the same order as the show from which they were lifted. They are just snippets of the bigger show. Keeping in mind the problem posed by the shortened set list here, it ties into another important item that cannot be ignored, the availability of the concert’s full, audiovisual presentation.
The whole of the concert from which this EP was pulled is available now entirely free through Revolver magazine’s official YouTube channel unless it has been pulled by the time this review is posted. The performance, as a matter of fact, has been streaming through the noted YouTube channel since May 8, 2019. The video clip that the people at Nuclear Blast have released in order to promote this EP was taken from the presentation in question. In other words, while Nuclear Blast is only giving people a portion of that concert only in audio format, the full audio-visual presentation has been available, and for free since early last year. Keeping all of this in mind, it would have made more sense for Nuclear Blast and Soulfly to have just released the whole performance to DVD/BD/CD in some format than this essentially abbreviated presentation for those who want to enjoy it any time when they do not have access to the internet or don’t want to go online. To that end, the overall presentation of Live Ritual NYC MMXIX is sadly, very much a disappointment and is just not worth the download. For all of the negatives from which this recording suffers, it does have at least one positive. That positive is the various platforms through which it is available.
Soulfly’s new live EP is available through a variety of platforms for streaming and download. Those available platforms are: Spotify, Amazon, Deezer, Apple Music, iTunes, tidal, YouTube Music and Pandora. Gooogle Play and Amazon both price the EP at $6.99. Apple Music offers previews of the EP’s songs, but does not list a price. In order to stream the recording thought Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music, audiences have to sign up for those services. Of course the services are free at the basic level, but still mean being inundated with emails from those services in the long run. The same applies for those who want to take in the recording through Deezer. Simply put, audiences have plenty of listening options. The price for purchase is not that bad, but at the same time, audiences should keep in mind before downloading the recording, that they are not getting the entire concert even in that case. So in the bigger picture, there are plenty of free streaming options for this recording. The purchase price of $6.99 is not that bad, either, but either way, audiences are not getting the entire concert either way. Keeping that in mind, the availability of the concert is a positive, but still has a difficult time overcoming the reality that the concert featured herein is not the whole concert. Considering this item and the rest of the EP’s concerns, the whole of the recording proves to be a surprisingly disappointing offering from a band that has given audiences so much more over the years.
Soulfly’s new live EP Live Ritual NYC MMXIX is the band’s first major live recording for American audiences, and those elsewhere. The band did release a live EP titled Tribe in 1999, but that recording was released only in Australia. Keeping that in mind, this latest live recording is technically the band’s first major worldwide live recording. Keeping that in mind, it is a disappointing live debut for the band, especially considering Soulfly has existed for more than 20 years. It is such a disappointment in part because the seven-song set list featured here is only a portion of the bigger 53-minute set that the band held at its Feb. 11, 2019 show at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. It is in fact, approximately 27 minutes of that concert, and basically cherry picks from that set. Adding to that matter is that Nuclear Blast has released this recording solely through digital. There was not even an attempt to release the concert in any fashion through a full, audiovisual presentation. Meantime, the full concert can be streamed for free through Revolver magazine’s official YouTube channel. What this means is that in the bigger picture, Nuclear Blast has given audiences even less motivation here to download Soulfly’s new live EP. While the EP is available through a variety of streaming services, audiences have to either sign up for the basic level of service through those platforms or they have to pay to download what is not even the entire concert. So they are paying for only a portion of a whole or they sign up for said services and get inundated with emails, all for the sake of listening to a portion of a bigger concert. Simply put, it is difficult to find one positive about Soulfly’s new EP Live Ritual NYC MMXIX. That is even more disappointing, considering this is Soulfly’s first major widespread live recording. One can only hope that Nuclear Blast and the band will learn from this major misstep and make the band’s next live recording something much better, when and if that happens. More information on Live Ritual NYX MMXIX is available along with all of Soulfly’s latest news at:
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