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In 2012 German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell released a new studio album. Which means he toured. Which means in 2013 he must release a new live album and DVD, because for the last several years, that's what he does. And so Live On Fire arrives, yet another ARP live album and DVD, with yet more versions of Rock The Nation, the medley of The Masquerade Ball and Casbah, Strong As A Rock, Tear Down The Walls, Mystica, and Fool Fool, all of which were present on both 2008's Live Over Europe and 2010's One Night Live DVDs. The only differences here are new songs from 2012's Circle of The Oath album, and the re-introduction of Oceans of Time to the setlist. The sound quality is typically good, so there's nothing to worry about there, and the band are as reliable as ever, but there are two major issues here. Firstly, singer Johnny Gioeli sounds terrible. Not up to some of the other performances on the tour, and certainly not up to the standards of previous live releases. And secondly, just what's the point? Live On Fire is being released as both a double CD and double DVD this time, whereas both of the previous two were only released on DVD. This actually makes the CD version ARP's first live album in 11 years, so that is a much more worthwhile product for fans (although there are still five songs which overlap between the two), but the DVD is completely pointless. Not only is it his third live DVD in five years, covering most of the same songs as the previous two, it contains two identical concerts, recorded in Cologne, Germany, and at the Rock of Ages Festival. Apart from the Carousel being dropped for the festival performance, the setlists are exactly the same. Axel Rudi Pell and his band are as consistent as any classic metal band out there in terms of output and live performance, but they are now seriously over-saturating the market with live releases and sorely need to give it a break for a while. If they stick to their usual cycle, 2014 will bring either a compilation album, or a covers album. Then there'll be another studio album, and a tour, but hopefully not yet another live release of all the same songs. Three times is already too much, especially when the newest isn't even the best of the three.
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