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Death In June - Black Angel -Live!

Black Angel -Live! captures Death In June in one of their first stripped back shows as unannounced opener for Ikon at the Esplanade Hotel, Melbourne from 2000. Unlike the Live In New York DVD, Black Angel - Live! lacks Douglas P.'s asides and revealing insights, instead you're treated to a wonderful selection of tracks culled from Nada! to Take Care and Control. There's an excellent sound quality and a directness and vitality to the performance. Douglas P. is in fine form; his smooth tones laid down with perfect diction over a warm acoustic sound, while John Murphy's accompaniment is particularly powerful with rolling floor toms, alongside chimes, shakers and cymbal crashes.

I'm particularly enamoured of this release due to the wonderful interplay between the acoustic strum and the percussion. John Murphy's percussive work here is sublime, fleshing out the sparseness of the tracks with some well thought-out and sympathetic accompaniments. 'Giddy Giddy Carousel' and 'She Said Destroy' are performed with a sense of urgency propelled by Murphy's thunderous rolling drums, 'Symbols of the Sun' is embellished by chimes and light cymbal crashes. Elsewhere there are strong renditions of 'Runes and Men', 'The Honour of Silence', but it's often the lesser tracks that impress here. 'Omen Filled Season' is delivered amongst a backdrop of shakers and chimes while the stark rendition of 'Kammeradschaft' is awash with flurries of wind chimes, floor tom thumps and drumstick clicks. The entire release run for a mere 30 minutes but it's as complete as can be picking up the simple approach of The Rule of Thirds with the air of melancholy that permeated both But, What Ends When The Symbols Shatter? and Rose Clouds of Holocaust. As such, it's more than an inviting release for interested newcomers.

Death In June completists will already own live releases in the form of Something Is Coming, Heilige!, Live In Japan and the Live In New York DVD (and the split DVD with Boyd Rice in Brainwashed's volumes of The Eye) but that's no reason not to add Black Angel - Live!, as this is a worthwhile if minor release in the vast Death In June discography. Foil blocked digipak - with images of Douglas P. in front of the Angel of the North - in a signed edition of 2000 copies. Whatever happened to the version of the 'Little Black Angel!' that was performed that night and alluded to in the title? For more information go to www.deathinjune.net or www.soleilmoon.com