“Visual Experience: The First Twelve Years” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Visual Experience: The First Twelve Years”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 2/6/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

The Century Media Records label was founded in 1988 and they quickly became one of the leaders in the Metal world by being smart enough, or even brave enough to make sure that many aspects of the genre were featured as their artist roster. This double DVD collection brings us back in time to the first twelve years of the labels existence in terms of the videos that their artists used to promote their individual releases. It’s here that we get to relive the earliest adventures of bands like Samael, Tiamat, Sentenced and The Gathering. For the long time fan of all of these groups it’s a great blast from the past but perhaps this is cool for those who only know the bands in today’s environment as well since it finds them in need of an education on how they first were delivering music. After I watched the two DVD’s I found myself digging back into the bands that I did not know much about to find a few more tips about their career and where they stand now if they are even still together. You know a release is effective if it invites you to act upon that CSI investigative urge. I admit that some of the Hardcore type stuff bored me but I was always a hard sell on that yet despite this it had its own loyal fan following and my lacking here allowed me more time to focus on the Black, Death and Gothic Metal stuff that we find scattered all over this release.

This is a recommendation not only for the historic look back into the labels beginnings but more because there is some really cool stuff on here. So many of these videos have gone unseen for years and unless the band themselves offered them up on compilation releases of their own, you are not going to find them anywhere else. My own personal favorites from the collection would be the early Nevermore stuff, the Tiamat and the Sentenced and to be honest the number of clips from these last two bands on the release will make this appealing to many Goth Rock/Metal fans. The collection was culled from three of the labels own out of print VHS releases along with 13 additional videos that hail from the years being covered. There are sixty videos in all and who can go wrong with a sixty video release? It’s like having a Century Media Records version of Headbanger’s Ball going on in your own home. The release comes with a comprehensive booklet that is loaded with liner notes about the label, all of the bands presented and a mess of photos to help you reminisce. The label is now in year nineteen so we only have another five years to wait until we can expect “The Second Twelve Years”, and having reviewed much of what’s come from them over the last three years I can say that when we get that release its going to be far more than two DVD’s. I can hardly wait.

DVD1: Thoughts Without Words (Shadows Fall), Ravenous (Arch Enemy), No One There (Sentenced), Monochromatic Stains (Dark Tranquillity), Vote For Love (Tiamat), Eyes Of The Dead (Nocturnal Rites), Night (Onward), Without Water (Candiria), Second Skin:New Flesh (Skinlab), Believe In Nothing (Nevermore), The Immortal (Arch Enemy), Nocturna (Moonspell), Killing Me Killing You (Sentenced), Brighter Than The Sun (Tiamat), Engine (Haste), Infra Galaxia (Samael), Go Your Own Way (God Forbid), Rising (Stuck Mojo), Know Your Enemies (Skinlab), After Dark I Feel (Rotting Christ), Therein (Dark Tranquillity), Butterfly Fx (Moonspell), Liberty Bell (The Gathering), The Suicider (Sentenced), Second Skin (Moonspell), Take To The Sky (Jag Panzer), Chicago Typewriter (Yakuza), Infectious Hospital Waste (Demolition Hammer), Black Stone (Grayeyard Rodeo).

DVD2: Cold Seed (Tiamat), Jupiterian Vibe (Samael), Leaves (The Gathering), Pigwalk (Stuck Mojo), Bonded By Blood (Exodus), Next In Line (Nevermore), Detox (Strapping Young Lad), Higher Power (Subzero), Master Killer (Merauder), Last Laugh (Morgoth), Opium (Moonspell), Noose (Sentenced), 19 (Sundown), Killing Kind (Chum), Burning – bootleg (Turmoil), Not Promised Tomorrow (Stuck Mojo), SYL (Strapping Young Lad), Gaia (Tiamat), Nepenthe (Sentenced), Soulless (Grave), Baphomet’s Throne (Samael), The One Insane (Unleashed), Whatever That Hurts (Tiamat), What Tomorrow Knows (Nevermore), Own Up For What You Say (Mucky Pup), Slug (Only Living Witness), The Paths To Perfection (Cro-Mags), Under The Surface (Morgath), The Sleeping Beauty (Tiamat), Sold Baptism (Morgath), Before The Creation Of Man (Unleashed).

Official Website: www.centurymedia.com

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