Fenix TX - Purple Reign in Blood: Live (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Fenix TX

Purple Reign in Blood: Live (2005)


Of all bands deserving of a live album, I'm certain a few are bound to question the presence of one for recently reuinted pop-punk outfit Fenix TX. After all, not only is the band widely regarded as little more than competent post-Blink-182 fare, but they have a mere 2 full-lengths under their proverbial belts, and this album in particular doesn't even appear to be the result of contractual obligations (as it's released through Adrenaline Music Group). So how much effort was put into an album whose release isn't likely to garner much, if any, interest outside of its already in-house fanbase?

Like something that's likely to only be appreciated by fans, unsurprisingly.

Purple Reign in Blood, which draws its name from two legendary but polarizing acts of the 1980s, delivers most of the tracks you'd expect to hear in a Fenix TX set list. Both of their big singles, "All My Fault" (which closes the disc and thus makes the song's following crowd chants of "one more song!" a bit awkward) and "Threesome" (complete with a ridiculously flow-stopping pause to confusingly introduce members), are contained within, as well as two covers, those being a faithful version of CCR's "Fortunate Son" and a strangely fast-paced one of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)," as well as the necessary slew of tracks from 1999's eponymous debut and 2001's "darker" Lechuza. The disc is awfully heavier on the latter of the band's releases however, taking eight tracks from that album -- luckily its strongest ones -- and only three from the self-titled one. It's a terribly lopsided set list that overlooks some of Fenix TX's more "emotional" or skatepunk-oriented and consequently standout material ("GBOH," "Ben," "Speechless," "Philosophy," the Autopilot Off predating of "No Lie," basically the entire mid-section) that would've served the set list a much-needed diversification, especially since parts of that album were arguably overproduced and the more raw setting is likely to do them well.

If nothing else, the band plays efficiently and the sound is great, with "Minimum Wage," played much rawer, faster, and more aggressive than the studio version, perhaps the standout. There's only a slight amount of banter, but none it is particularly insightful. There's nary a mention of a possible future release, and not a single word about the band's endeavors in those past four years, including the low-selling Denver Harbor album, which was more or less an extension on Lechuza. It all seems strangely taboo here. Though, during the aforementioned pause of "Threesome," the band members start blabbering over each other's words (as they'll tend to do during Purple Reign's course), and it ends in the great outburst of "His titties ah nice!" Other than this exchange, potential Enema Strikes Back! comparisons are prevented.

All in all, Purple Reign in Blood: Live is a definitively "fans only" type of release, and even then, its acutely askewed nature may turn away several preferring earlier material.