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 first group of DVD Reviews.
Alice Cooper: “The Nightmare Returns Tour” (1987) (Universal Music)
1986 – It was the year that Alice Cooper would reinvent and rise from the fallings he had found himself in the middle of. He was both unable to get attention for his latest music and also was recovering from the pains of alcohol addictions. Despite these turn of events Alice would rise like a phoenix and take hold of the power of Shock Rock that he helped create so many years ago once again. The DVD filmed in 1987 was shot on a very appropriate Halloween night in front of a sold-out crowd in Detroit. Alice’s return would also show a new and very Metal side to his brand of Rock for a change; this would be a welcome format for the classic numbers that suddenly seemed to have so much more attitude and life than they ever had before. The eerie opening of “Welcome To My Nightmare” would set the pace as Alice emerged from under the stage to a blast of Metal power from his new band. The legendary performer was smart to bring on a truly kick ass Metal band for this tour whose lineup consisted of the Rambo-esque Kane Roberts, Devlin 7, Kip Winger III, Ken Mary, and Paul Horrors. Most know that Winger and Roberts went on to solo careers with Kip being the one who found the most success of the two. The Alice Cooper set for the show would be chocked full of fear-filled hits and over the top stage dramatics for every one of them. “Billion Dollar Babies” finds Alice performing with a baby doll on a sword as he throws play money around while “Only Women Bleed” finds him singing to an apparently lifeless dummy, which is not as it seems for the whole song. “I Love The Dead” is among the truly terrifying moments in the show as Alice meets the Grand Executioner and let’s just say heads will roll with this one. It is not a scene for the timid, and Alice and company pull it off without a margin of error. The overall choices in the songs for the show would satisfy the most ardent of Alice supporters, but better still serves as a great new take on his classics for those who might not have enough knowledge of his work. My personal favorites are too numerous to list, but the best example to describe this is as a live Greatest Hits concert video. Everything you expect and more is there to enjoy and since this is the first time on DVD you should buy it to witness a master at work.
Amon Amarth: “Wrath Of The Norsmen” (Metal Blade Records)
Quite a few bands claim to be Vikings and there are also many who hold the spirit of their ancestors high but I have to admit that none pull this off as effectively as Amon Amarth. This DVD celebrates their longtime allegiance to the Metal Blade Records family and it the kind of DVD that is perfect for existing fans but also the manages to win over potential ones. I can attest to this since I was one of these potentials who after seeing them support Fate Of Norns on the Children Of Bodom tour can admit to being blown away. The group was only able to do a little more than a handful of songs but you could tell by their presence and the crowd approval that there was much more to this group than most openers had to them. This DVD gives you 7.5 hours of concert footage to absorb and it should be more than enough to help you feel the same way as we did that night. This lengthy piece offers five full concert appearances with a performance in Cologne from 2005 being the longest. It runs a full 22 numbers and even includes a full Viking battle. The dramatic lighting added to the impact of this segment very well. The other performances come from Summer Breeze Festival, Live at the Metal Blade RRROOOAAARRR, Wacken Open Air, and Live in Ludwigsburg. There is no real bonus stuff to speak of but you do get the Metal which is a factor that works best for me. A DVD done properly with no pointless banter and endless crowd shots and screaming drunken idiots. No one buys DVD’s for that as opposed to the music and bonus content should never overshadow the main part of the program. There are instances of song duplication but that is to be expected when one has five whole shows to sit through. On the whole you get practically all of the music the band had recorded over the years. More bands need to follow in this example and give the audience a better value for the money the are spending on them. Many groups possess a lot more footage than we ever see so this release was a pleasant surprise for me to watch. I found no disappointment at all – Now, if you’ll please excuse me – I have a sword to sharpen.
Continue reading Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The DVD Reviews – Part 1