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 another group of DVD Reviews.
Iced Earth: “Alive In Athens: The DVD” (Century Media Records)
Come back with me now to the year 1999 as Iced Earth records their first ever concert performance album “Alive In Athens” in front of a sold-out Metal hungry audience. If you are one of the many Metal bangers that owns the CD already then you are well-aware about this concert and just how excellent it was in capturing the best songs that Iced Earth had to offer the world at the time. It was a recording that that found the band in tip-top shape and holding solid ground in their quest for Heavy Metal dominance. Now lets fast forward to 2006 where an old archive is discovered and inside this is a long forgotten filming of this concert which was done by the three camera crew present at the event. The footage would be raw but the decision to share this with the legions of Iced Earth fans became an immediate one and after careful audio remastering of the film they were ready to present to them. As a concert itself there are moments in the film that make you feel as though you are watching from the balconies while others place you on the stage looking out to the crowd. There are no dynamic effects and instead a sparse stage with the band members doling out the Metal in excellent fashion. While recent interviews have found Schaffer himself displeased with this videos release, it is the only way to see a full concert with the former singer Matthew Barlow; a performer that a majority of the bands fan base misses very much. Sonically and visually I found nothing wrong with this release and totally recommend it for Iced Earth fans old and new. The amount of concert footage from Iced Earth is limited to this release and if you find yourself wanting a show with this line up you need to look no further than here. Twenty eight songs and running 2.5 hours you cannot go wrong with it. Iced Earth has had a number of changes over the years and Schaffer as founder, remains the only constant of the musical vision. Everyone else in the band for this film has moved on to other pursuits in music and life by this time. Bonus features include Jon in Athens and backstage footage. A booklet is included and loaded with photos, song lyrics and cool graphics that the group was known for. This is a must have for any Metal fan.
Kamelot: “One Cold Winter’s Night” (SPV Records)
Filmed during a sold out performance in Oslo, Norway; Melodic Metal masters Kamelot present to their fans a brilliant concert video for the tour of “The Black Halo”. Proving they are a band that does it right – there is a strong sense of song writing in their music and the vibe generated on every track they perform is done with intelligence and power. Since “The Black Halo” opened a number of doors for the band it made perfect sense to document a night of the tour for DVD and this is a release that will surpass many peoples expectations. The packed theatre and dramatic stage setting of this DVD is presented by an 18 camera shoot and is directed by Patric Ullaeus. It makes you feel as though you are at the show and for a performance video this is one of the better ones in both visual presentation and the sonic delivery. Ullaeus’ imagination and Kamelot’s level of mood and drama that gets delivered is exponential due to the enigmatic presence of Roy Khan. The songs performed on this release are focused on material from “The Black Halo” and similar to the studio version there are guest-stars to help it be done properly. During “The Haunting” we find Khan assisted by Simone Simons, the stunning siren who fronts the band Epica. Simone’s voice is excellent in the live sense as well, and along with her group are something the fans of Kamelot should investigate. Musically this show has its members making every effort to impress as Tom Youngblood shreds the guitar while bassist Glen Barry holds down his half of the rhythm section. Youngblood is a great melodic lead guitarist and I think that after you watch the film you will agree with me. With a clean, decisive and technical style at times, he is truly one of the better players in Melodic Power Metal. The viewer also gets solos from both Casey Grillo (drums) and Oliver Palotai (keyboards). Grillo has a fun style to watch on the “battery” (as Khan announces), while Palotai, the bands newest official member, shows deft levels of skill on the keys. Khan himself is one of those great singers who is also blessed with the ability to be a great front man. A natural on stage, he possesses one of the most pure and melodic voices the genre offers. The DVD2 contains bonus interviews, backstage footage and videos.
Continue reading Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The DVD Reviews – Part 3