These video overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their DVD reviews section back in 2006. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but to also showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. These posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here we go with the final group of DVD Reviews.
Therion: “Celebrators Of Becoming” (Nuclear Blast Records)
If you are someone who listens to Operatic/Symphonic Metal then the name of Therion should strike a chord of instant respect in you. Without the efforts and influences of Therion there is a good chance that bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation would have never been able to come about. This DVD set arrives as the perfect compliment to the bands World Tour of 2004-2005; it gives the ardent fan more than enough Therion to absorb but more importantly gives the new acolyte a perfect tool to see how the band does what they do best. “Celebrators Of Becoming” is a hefty package as well, holding strong at four fully loaded DVD’s with 2 CD’s to close it out. To better understand how deep this is we have broken down the contents to better focus on what is inside. DVD1 is a full concert from Mexico City done in 2004 and brings you front stage to the band of today in performance for a rabid level of Metal fans. Most of the material focused on the “Lemuria/Sirius B” release along with a healthy dose of back catalog. DVD2 is the Tour Report disk and loaded with sound checks, solos and a presentation of 30 songs as they were performed in 16 countries. I enjoyed the animated menu of this disk as you hop about to the toured locations to watch the particular song. DVD3 features both a Wacken Open Air Festival performance from 2001 as well as the bands promotional videos. It was great to see another concert that was not done at the same time as the first DVD to offer better understanding of the group over time and videos, well, more bands should release their own on DVD’s of this nature. DVD4 is a historical journey disk and it takes viewers back as far as 1989 where you see the band performing brutal and intense Metal as opposed to what they became. Released in a deluxe and standard package, it also comes with the concert performance from DVD1 on CD audio only. The artwork and booklet are superb on this issue and feature extensive liner notes from Christofer Johnsson. It is also loaded with tons of amazing photos and gives the viewer something nice to look at. It is sure to become one of the most referred to DVD’s in your library.
Various Artists: ”Family Values Tour 2006” (Firm Music)
In 2006, Korn would return to headlining the tour that they started back in 1998 and the resulting Family Values Tour would be a triumphant effort as a result. This mega-event that focused on Metal, Rap and Hard Rock would once again place the Nu-Metal giants on the stage with support from such staple acts of today as The Deftones, Dir En Grey, Flyleaf, Deadsy, Stone Sour and 10 Years. The trend in releasing both a CD and DVD of the event would continue as well and this film is the perfect way to enjoy some of what happened at these shows. As you can imagine, Korn receives the largest presentation on the video and even performs their monster track “Freak On A Leash” with Stone Sours Corey Taylor. They sound great and really show a good amount of what they are like in a full concert, but with only five selections the viewer will be left wanting. The film showcases some new talent as well with 10 Years, Dir En Grey and Flyleaf. Each of the bands truly excellent at the level of music they bring to the table, but with only a couple of songs to enjoy you are left with a strong curious sense and perhaps a little bit annoyed if you did not grab one of the tickets when they came to town. 10 Years has a strong Perfect Circle/Tool thing happening while Dir En Grey is a growing sensation from Japan. I liked their energy but was not crazy about the little bit of self mutilation the singer took part it by making himself bloody as he performed. Stone Sour was an act that I would have liked more songs from as this band that features both Corey Taylor and Jim Root from Slipknot are killer in concert and provide a different edge with this. The Deftones also rocked but by now the tease of two tracks gets worn. It includes a great bunch of interview segments and while some of the portions are shown during the breaks between each band, they have a full section for you to watch which is much more comprehensive. They make sure to talk to a couple of the characters from Korns stage show as well which adds to the overall amusement of the program. This is a great way to get a glimpse inside the FVT with Korn and Friends and next time don’t miss the show.
Various Artists: “Hard Rock Treasures” (MPI Video)
If you have ever paid a visit to the Hard Rock Café in your life then you know firsthand that the contents of the place are a veritable Rock and Roll Museum. No matter where you focus your attention you will see some of the most important pieces of music history. There are costumes galore from bands such as KISS, performers like Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury and if you’re a fan of guitars well then here is the real treat. The axes of the very founding fathers of musical genres are present within these walls and you will find Tony Iommi’s hardware alongside Eric Clapton and Cheap Tricks Rick Nielsen’s in range of Ace Frehley’s. Truly, a guitarists dream and you can almost feel the music coming off them as you stare in wonder. Once your head clears and the magic of these items in full dissipates you will most probably find yourself asking, “How on Earth do they find and even get this stuff?” This DVD provides the answer to this question and gives you a great background on the Hard Rock itself. For 90 minutes you are the traveling companion of Don Bernstine, the “Indiana Jones of Rock & Roll” as he travels the world visiting auctions at Christie’s and the homes of some of the most royal of rock royalty as he interviews and obtains treasures from their collection for use in the HRC. There are some historic moments as Don gets the guitar used for many of the early Sabbath records from Iommi and items from Jimmy Page who had for years never parted with any of his performance artifacts. Fun moments are everywhere, especially when it comes to the lead guitarist of Cheap Trick and interesting sites seen all around. One of the best segments would be the footage of the late “Dimebag” Darrell, which was never before seen. The film also gives you an inside look at the headquarters in Orlando Florida where everything is stored at one time or another and you take a trip to the legendary Graceland. The Hard Rock café opened in 1971 and now across its locations features over 70,000 priceless musical artifacts, which all began when Eric Clapton presented the owners with one of his guitars. The rest is history so if you plan to become a famous musician, start deciding on what you will contribute to its walls.
Various Artists: “The Realm Of Napalm Records” (Napalm Records)
Welcome to the Realm Of Napalm Records, especially if you find interest in the Gothic, Viking, Folk or Atmospheric Metal aspects of the genre. This label has been putting bands like this on the map for the past couple of years and it seems as though everything I hear from their artist roster is an enjoyable display of the wondrous differences one can have happen in Metal music. This DVD/CD release is a cornucopia of those acts and you as the viewer get video films as well as live performance footage of what they offer you. It’s as much a fun thing to watch as it is a learning experience about bands that you would not have readily available to you in most areas or unless you knew exactly where to look for it. On the DVD you get 19 promotional videos and of the lot, I most enjoyed Leaves’ Eyes, Korpiklaani and Tyr. Leaves’ Eyes is probably the staple act so they also get an enjoyable special feature elsewhere on the DVD where you find them in studio and take a Winters Walk with singer Liv Kristine. It makes this something that a Leaves’ Eyes fan will enjoy very much since there is a batch of extra footage on the band that one might not find anywhere else. Tyr is an interesting group from the Faroe Islands, while Korpiklaani shows the world that even a flute or accordion player can find their way into a Metal group. I’m sure many will enjoy the brand of rousing Folk Metal they deliver. If you enjoy Finntroll, then you will also appreciate Korpiklaani. The live performances on the DVD feature Midnattsol (a band that features Liv Kristine’s sister), along with Enthroned and Saltatio Mortis. The wide variety of bands on the DVD make it something that you will enjoy watching from beginning to end, and perhaps even refer back to once in awhile. The best aspect for this release would be it prompts you to look deeper into some of the bands that intrigue you. A bonus audio CD that features music from additional bands such as Draconian, Summoning and Wig Wam among the others that are on the DVD portion round out the release and make it something truly worth picking up. The gates to new worlds await you inside the Realm Of Napalm Records. Don’t you think that it is time for you to do a little exploring?
Various Artists: ”Sounds Of The Underground: Live At Starland Ballroom” (DRT Music)
How can one describe the “Sounds Of The Underground” tour of 2005 to those that did not witness it for themselves. To be honest, if it was in your means to attend and you didn’t you very simply missed out on one of the greatest alternatives to the Ozzfest tour. Your chance to see what you missed comes now as a result of this DVD entitled “Sounds Of The Underground: Live At The Starland Ballroom Pt. 1” coming at you courtesy of DRT Entertainment. This DVD brings you up close and personal to sixteen of the performances from the show at Sayreville’s notable venue and while it is not the full show it should serve as something to spark the interest in your future attendance. The film itself is a little different for while it shows you killer songs from Lamb Of God, Devildriver and Unearth you are also getting a fully enjoyable view into the backstage antics from this tour. The show this comes from was filmed on one of the hottest days the Summer of 2005 had to offer and stayed true to the Metal cause. The viewer is able to see just how much fun the guys in the bands were able to have and while sometimes this footage gets arduous to watch I did not find it to be the case here. The bonus features continues the amount of backstage footage and interviews and to be honest this all should have been a separate DVD while performances were focused on their own. A lot of the interview footage is done by the lead singers of both Lamb Of God and GWAR, both being very well-done and amusing showing that the bands were not taking this too seriously outside of their lethal performances. There are also some fun interactions with the fans. Musically the viewer will most likely remember the performance of Strapping Young Lad that also included some on the spot ventriloquism by lead singer Devon Townsend along with the very different styles of the band Clutch. With this release being part one of an undisclosed number of releases we can only hope that the future editions will focus mainly on the music. It’s a fun film in most cases and I think the bands represented offer a lot to the Metal listening public.
That brings us to the end of the DVD reviews that were done but there will be additional chapters in this series of “Revisiting Metal Edge Magazine” that are going to cover the “Hear Us Out” CD reviews. Please keep watching the page over the coming days as installments get posted. If you feel like commenting on this chapter you can do so in the comments section below.