“Rock of Ages: Definitive Collection DVD” by Def Leppard

Artist: Def Leppard
Title: “Rock Of Ages: Definitive Collection DVD”
Label: Universal Records
Release Date: 11/15/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10

The moment that I began to watch this DVD I was brought back to my youth as I remembered nights with friends as we watched either “Friday Night Videos” or MTV. In my circle, “Friday Night Videos” was the way to go since not everyone had the famous music video channel back then. The videos of Def Leppard were staple rotations on this and similar programs and while not as unique as Duran Duran or ZZ Top’s offerings they still had an inherent coolness factor to them. I loved seeing this Heavy Rock band being a regular feature on these programs as they allowed us to see such things in an influential time for music. Time has caused me to lose memory of the other shows that did this for bands and there were a few of them trust me on that. During this time in Music History the use of videos really helped the genre and this was especially the case on Heavy Rock and Metal bands. These were groups that focused and held such a need for the visual end of things that there were always a few videos for each album that was released. Even new bands were assured of having some videos accompany their album and soon after they would make their way to the networks. This DVD comes to us as a companion release to their CD Anthology also entitled “Rock Of Ages”; this is a suitable title to name a hits piece after one of the group’s biggest songs. While this is not the entire collection of 39 existing video films that I believe the band has in their archives, this single DVD gives you an almost song for song version to enjoy visually after you have absorbed the double CD. Those that seek the other videos the group has can look up their “Historia/In The Round” or “Visualize: Video Archive” for those. The DVD comes with a booklet that has some brief liner notes as well as some great photos of the band members. There is also a dedication page to the late Steve Clark who passed away in 1991. The bonus features are simply the rehearsal of an upcoming track on their new CD and some band commentary. You are also able to setup your own play list of the DVD and that allows you to bypass that which you don’t like.
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“Showtime” by UFO

Artist: UFO
Title: Showtime
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 11/8/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10

Capturing the performance of UFO recorded at “Pumpwerk” in Wilhelmshaven Germany this CD comes to use as the direct companion to the DVD bearing the same name. The band had toured extensively for the SPV Records release of “You Are Here” which was a solid Rock And Roll album full of classy hooks and soulful vocals. Truly the lineup with Mogg, Way, and Raymond from the original band was brought to an even tighter level with the help of new members Jason Bonham and Vinnie Moore. With Moore and Bonham handling the guitar and drums the band seemed to be at a great level as Moore is a guitar players dream in his own right and Bonham holds the legacy of Led Zeppelin’s famous skin pounder John. Phil Moggs voice has not changed all that much over the years and when a band continues after many lineup changes that same presence makes sure that it holds a level of consistency and doesn’t lose their audience. This consistency shows profoundly on legendary songs such as “Too Hot Too Handle”, “Lights Out”, and “Only You Can Rock Me”. These are not only my favored tracks on the recording but my favorite UFO songs altogether. Fans of the group will find a sufficient amount of the classic material present on this CD as well as new songs from the album. A nice mix all around and an excellent production that allows you to feel as if the band is present should you set the volume just right. Fans who have not heard Moore in the live sense or at all will definitely appreciate how well he handles the Schenker era material as well. The entire groove of the live show is held together by the very solid drumming of Jason who really has come a long way in his playing. He also helps out on the vocals.
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“Rising In The East” by Judas Priest

Artist: Judas Priest
Title: “Rising In The East”
Label: Rhino Music
Release Date: 11/15/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8.5/10

If you were a smart Metal head then you made sure that you caught one of the performances done by Judas Priest when they toured earlier this year. The band was supporting their newest epic entitled “Angel Of Retribution” and had partnered up with both Queensryche and Anthrax on various legs of this tour. Truly this was a high mark on music as both of these events (album and tour) were very anticipated since Priest had reunited with singer Rob Halford. The band gave us a teaser set when they were one of the main bands on the 2004 Ozzfest Stage. If you ask anyone who attended that festival you will probably find them agreeing that the reunited Judas Priest was perhaps the best part of the show. Filmed at the legendary Budokan theatre this DVD Film captures the entire 2 hour show and not one track seems to have been cut. In America, we did not have all of these songs and perhaps this was due to venue restrictions. With this film we now have the chance to enjoy the songs we did not get to see. Overall the quality of the video and sound are superb and done in such a manner that you feel as if you were front stage while the band performed. I enjoyed reliving this as I had attended a couple of the appearances and I truly felt that the whole show was a major highlight with little room for disappointment. The music of Judas Priest is something that I have enjoyed since I was about 16 and watching this DVD clearly helps to affirm their status as Legends or “Metal Gods”. The band is the “Painkiller” lineup with Halford, Downing, Tipton, Hill and Travis. 1980’s drummer Dave Holland had not returned and thankfully so when you consider his replacement is Scott Travis. He is a superb drummer who brings a new life to the radio “hits” that the band had as well as performing admirably on the classic tracks like “Exciter” and “Beyond The Realms Of Death”.
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Tokyo Dragons @ The Continental (11/15/2005): Escapi Music Showcase

Logo - Tokyo Dragons

Artist: Tokyo Dragons
Venue: The Continental (New York, NY)
Opener: Dirty Rig, Mahavatar, Wet Animal
Date: 11/15/2005
Label: Escapi Music

Escapi Music has really been releasing a lot of great music over the past year and those who are watching them will find everything from Heavy Metal (in all its Black, Power and Traditional forms) as well as some gritty Rock & Rollers and Gothic themed outfits. The diversity and difference in many of these artists will totally appeal to the discerning music fan and I myself have found some stand out artists represented. Tonight at a small but popular club – “The Continental” in NYC, Escapi Music would be bringing you the live performances of a handful of their most recent Artists. Tokyo Dragons and Wet Animal would be the main attractions for the night and with each band performing a little over 60 minutes you were able to get more than a great idea as to what would be in store for you on their respective albums. Kicking off the fun would be Mahavatar (a new signing who are set to record) and Dirty Rig (an act whose deal is in the works as you read this). Here is a little bit of information on what went down that night.
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“Alive 2: The Music” by Anthrax

Artist: Anthrax
Title: Alive 2 (2005)
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 9/20/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 7/10

Released in tandem to the DVD of this performance along with a Greatest Hits compilation comes the reunion of the classic Anthrax lineup. In the 13 years that passed since the “Among The Living” team performed on the same stage the band continued with limited original members. It was still strong and had a good show of support but it did not have the impact on the old material that the classic group once had. This CD comes as the audio release of the concert DVD that bears the same name and with it listeners can once again hear Joey Belladonna, Danny Spitz, Scott Ian, Frankie Bello and Charlie Benante united. The recording is good but as someone who attended this particular show I was saddened to find 5 tracks not on the release from the set list that was performed. Recorded at New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom on June 3, 2005 this particular show was a highlight of many Metal heads Summer. While this should have been released as a double CD to capture the full effect, you end up getting the picture just enough to enjoy yourself. The band sounded tight and energetic and the audience reactions can literally be felt through the speakers. A review of the DVD and this Concert appear elsewhere on the site so check them out to draw your own comparisons on the event.
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