Black Label Society – Doom Troopin’ Live: The European Invasion Blu-Ray Review

Posted: February 27, 2013 by kingcrimsonprog in Metal, Metal - Live, Music Reviews, Rock Blu Ray

Black Label Society -  Doom Troopin' Live: The European Invasion Blu-Ray

Black Label Society – Doom Troopin’ Live: The European Invasion Blu-Ray

Doom Troopin’ Live: The European Invasion is a live concert video from Black Label Society, available on Blu-Ray. It documents the European leg of their touring in support of ‘Mafia.’

The setlist is fairly heavily comprised of material from the ‘Mafia’ and ‘The Blessed Hellride’ albums, with little from the first three records, which may be disappointing if its your only BLS video purchase, but which does result in little crossover with their other DVD ‘Boozed Broozed & Broken Boned.’ A similar idea to Kiss’ Alive II perhaps.

There are 16 tracks in the main Paris concert according to the back of the box but three of those are jamming. They tease the crowd with a bit of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Mama I’m Coming Home’ for example. Plenty of the time between songs is given over for additional guitar soloing as well.

It’s a decent mix of fast and slow, its mostly heavy but there’s a bit of light in there and it gives a lot of time over to Zack’s guitar talents, without wasting too much time away from actual songs. I think a good balance has been struck of all of Black Label’s constituent parts.

The performance is fairly strong, noticeably so on the ballads. Zack has a good stage presence pumping fists, pointing and striking poses, although some of the spoken crowd interaction is very mumbled and hard to make out. A lot of the songs feel a lot faster, louder and heavier live than they did on record, and feel crunchier and more earthy sounding. The drumming in particular is a lot more impressive live; Craig Nunemacher has a lot of character I hadn’t noticed before seeing this.

I think the sound is very good. Its well mixed, fairly heavy and the songs have bite. It feels ‘live enough’ but it isn’t sloppy. Again, a good balance has been struck, this time between concert-feel and actually good sound.

There was a fair amount of effort put into the stage design too; mic stands made out of chains, skulls on plinths, an impromptu pub made out of amplifiers with beer sat on it, flashing siren lights, BLS banners etc. There’s a professional looking lighting show and the camera work is well done. So in one way, it’s a good looking concert too.

In another way however, the visuals are the only letdown for me as the editing is a bit distracting. A lot of time, especially in the earlier songs, is given over to fancy effects, going black and white momentarily, screen overlays, slow motion, fake film grain etc. which some viewers may find a bit too distracting. Luckily instances of this reduce as the show goes on. It isn’t enough to spoil the concert in my opinion, but if you are picky about that sort of thing I would recommend that you try before you buy it.

I had read negative reviews about this concert stating either that Zack was miming his vocals, that there were very obvious vocal overdubs or that the audio and video were out of synch. Whichever way, if you look at his mouth it doesn’t match the sound of the singing. That would have been a huge letdown for me. I was worried because the same vocal-synching issue had been a fairly big distraction on a Marilyn Manson and a Queensrÿche Blu-Ray I owned and I didn’t want to buy this if it shared the same problem.

I looked on youtube to see footage from the DVD which indeed had the problem, but read reviews that claimed the problem didn’t exist. Luckily when I watch my copy (region 0 Blu-Ray, with the audio set to DTS HD Master Audio) there is no issue at all. All the tom rolls, guitar solos and singing matches what you see on screen. Admittedly, Zack has a lot of effects on his vocals, other members do backing vocals and there are some sections of pre-recorded music like in lots of concerts, that you were never meant to think was live, but that’s about it.

The bonus features include an extra four songs (‘Been A Long Time,’ ‘Suicide Messiah,’ ‘Stillborn’ with massive extended-jam & ‘Genocide Junkies’) from London, three music videos from the Mafia album, a making-of for the ‘Suicide Messiah’ video and a 50-minute documentary feature called ‘Backstage Pass.’

The video is 1080i HD Widescreen 16:9 (1.78:1). The audio options are LPCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS HD Master Audio

Overall, this is a fairly enjoyable Blu-Ray with a well performed and sounding concert and some interesting extras. I would recommend it if you like the band, as long as you aren’t very picking about over-edited concerts or only like the early material.

Comments
  1. mikeladano says:

    I don’t want to think Zakk would mime or heavily overdub his vocals. I think of him as a man of musical integrity and he has always been a man who’s said he plays LIVE. Bad editing can sometimes cause it to look like they’re miming but I believe the ears to be a better way to tell.

    I have heard this complaint about the Triumph Live in Sweden DVD, with Gil Moore’s vocals. I don’t know. I get what they’re saying, but there’s no way to really know unless they say “I overdubbed all my vocals”. I’m sure PARTS get fixed, from time to time.

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    • Its hard to tell. That’s an interesting point about Zack’s integrity though, I never thought about that, I could imagine that. Its like asking Neil Falon to mime, I don’t think he’d do it.

      Editing can definitely make things look wrong. I remember Soulfly’s first DVD had the audio and visuals slightly out of sync and it looked wrong. I stuck it in Final Cut one time at uni out of curiosity, and lined them up better, and suddenly it all looked live.

      It makes you wonder on how people trying to sell this would make such a simple mistake.

      I think there’s a bit on Dio’s Holy Diver Live DVD too where you can see cymbals being hit when there’s just a straight hi-hat beat coming out of the speakers.

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      • mikeladano says:

        Everybody has to decide for themselves how much they care about the issue, and how much these questions spoil their enjoyment. For me, I would say: fairly much. I know most live releases have all sorts of production done on them, and I get that it’s because you’re putting out something that people will (hopefully) be listening to 20 years later.

        But if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it. I love live bootlegs. One of my favourite things that I own is a Kiss live bootleg CD from the 1992 club tour. You can hear that the room was small and crowded and the band were just blastin’.

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      • Sometimes I think its bad. Sometimes I think live albums like Alive and Unleashed In The East sound so damn good that I don’t caret hat they’ve had work done.

        The principal is one thing, but if I’m sat there with a smile on my face I’m not too bothered.

        I think its easier to forgive on audio than with visuals.

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      • mikeladano says:

        Exactly – two of my favourite live albums right there. Add Frampton Comes Alive, and Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous to the chief offenders list of overdubbed live albums. And yet each one is great!

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  2. Oh man, I seriously need to get my filthy hands on Live And Dangerously.
    I hear almost every day how good it is, and still haven’t got myself a copy.

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