Volbeat – 8PM Tonight Live 2007 Sold Out – DVD review

volbeat-live-sold-out The Danish band Volbeat released this 2007 DVD collection based around the time of their second studio album Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil. It is a mixture of documentary feature, live performances from various separate shows and music videos.

As someone who really likes a lot of concert videos and music documentaries, and who has recently gotten into Volbeat I couldn’t resist this.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a brilliant product. It has all the hallmarks of a great product, the packaging is great, the amount of content is great, the band are great. Only problem is the work of the filmmakers and editors. That and the overall choices made.

This is all subjective and a matter of personal taste; but I really prefer when a concert DVD runs through a concert in order rather than jumps between different shows back and forth. I also really hate when it happens within a single song, you hear a live track and see what is basically a music video with footage from different shows. Its just not my thing. This release covers a broad range of indoor and outdoor shows, and mixes it up between them, and then breaks that up with mixed footage tracks. I also feel like a lot of the band’s best material comes from later in their career so this  obviously comes before a lot of that material. It is a good way to cover a lot of ground and displays variety, but it isn’t for me. Luckily the band have other video releases available. With more on the horizon (Lets Boogie Live From Telia Parken looks pretty amazing…I know what I want for Chirstmas!).

With regards to the documentary; I really like the idea of a Volbeat documentary, but the camera work, pacing, and editing are a bit lacking. It feels a bit aimless and jumbled and doesn’t really go anywhere or flow very well. There is information to be had and opinions to be heard but its all a bit slow and informal and lacking excitement. It doesn’t really look good or sound good and there are a lot of better documentaries out there for other bands.

There are also the music videos, but that’s more of a nice extra than a reason to buy a DVD (Side note: I’ve never really understood DVDs of only music videos).

Overall; this DVD comes from a great band and has a lot of content to offer. It isn’t terrible or anything, but it is a bit for-fans-only and I wouldn’t make it your first Volbeat product.

Corrosion Of Conformity – Live Volume: The Movie Review

Corrosion Of Conformity - Live Volume: The Movie

Corrosion Of Conformity - Live Volume: The Movie

Corrosion Of Conformity’s Live Volume: The Movie was recorded live in Detroit at the Harpo’s venue and released in 2001. This was the band’s first and to date only live DVD and captures the band live in support of their America’s Volume Dealer album from 2000.

Jimmy Bower, who plays alongside Pepper Keenan in the fantastic Phil Anselmo fronted super group Down, provides the drums for this live concert as the band were in between losing and reuniting with long time Drummer and founding member Reed Mullin.

The band really hammer home a strong and confident performance, aided by Bower’s fine drumming. Each member puts in a good show, the guitars are big and heavy as they should be, the bass really stands out and Pepper’s vocals stand up very well in the live environment.

The setlist is strong, concentrating mostly on the band’s Pepper Keenan era material. Standout tracks include `Wiseblood,’ and `King Of The Rotten’ as well as the big hits like `Clean My Wounds,’ and `Albatross,’ which go down a storm live.

The sound mix is pretty great, really conveying the heaviness and southern edge to some of the riffs and letting you hear what each member is doing perfectly for most of the duration.

In terms of camera work and visuals the DVD is also pretty successful and it has certainly aged better than some of the concert DVDs that were released around that era, some of which are now feeling comparatively dated.

If any complaint were to be leveled at this Live DVD it would be that the editing is perhaps a little overenthusiastic, there is a lot more double-exposure than one would expect, things brake into slow motion at unexpected points and there is sometimes a seeming desire to get across how much fun the fans are having, even at the expense of the visuals.

If you can forgive this one flaw then there is a lot to enjoy about C.O.C’s Live Volume: The Movie and I would highly recommend it.

Kiss – Symphony: Alive IV Review

Kiss - Symphony: Alive IV

Kiss - Symphony: Alive IV DVD

Kiss’s Symphony: Alive IV DVD was recorded back in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, with David Campbell conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The band consists of stalwart members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanely as well as origional drummer Peter Criss and ‘new’ guitarist Tommy Thayer in place of Ace Frehly, all back in make up and costumes.

The concert is split into three sections, one with just the band playing up tempo rock songs, one with the band and a string section playing ballads and another with the band as well as the complete symphony orchestra playing hits and rock songs. There are all sorts of explosions, pyro, band members flying on wires, fake blood, special lighting and big screens making the whole thing as interesting to watch as you’d expect from Kiss and this is in addition to the whole orchestra made-up in Kiss style make up.

As a concert; this is a great success, vastly entertaining, visually stunning, well performed and great sounding. The DVD is let down largely however by a crazy and over enthusiastic editing job that flits hyper-actively around, concentrating on all the right things and rarely settling long enough for you to get into anything. I can understand how the makers wanted to convey the excitement and scale of this special concert, and wanted to keep your attention but in my opinion things have been taken too far. After all, as a home viewer most people will want to watch the band play live, not the audience members dancing or jiggling their chests.

If you can get over this larger problem as well as any personal problems you may have with track listing or general cheesiness (people have complained on various levels including Paul Stanley’s dialogue, the more syrupy songs like ‘Shandi,’ or with the orchestra being painted up etc) then you will find a fantastic DVD that is a lot of fun to watch.

In addition to the concert, there is a fairly substantial, but not astounding, making-of documentary covering the origins, practices and build up to the concert.

Newcomers or people who actively dislike mixtures of rock and orchestras may be better suited checking out the fantastic Rock The Nation or Kissology Vol. 1 DVDs; however overall, Kiss Symphony: Alive IV is a very good product, hampered by odd editing choices, but ultimately worth the time and money of most Kiss fans.

Kiss – Rock The Nation DVD Review

Kiss - Rock The Nation DVD

Kiss - Rock The Nation DVD

Kiss have a lot of DVDs on the market, all of varying quality and taken from all different eras of the band’s career. 2005’s Rock The Nation DVD is taken from their successful 2004 Rock The Nation Tour which sees the band, now with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the line up (as on their following ‘Sonic Boom,’ and ‘Monster,’ studio albums) replacing Peter Criss and Ace Frehly on drums and guitar after a classic-line-up reunion.

The band absolutely deliver in terms of performance, the songs are delivered in an absolutely professional and yet energetic fashion, with a set list that concentrates primarily on rock songs from the 70s as opposed to focusing more on ballads and later material. If you like Kiss mostly for their rock songs from the 70s, then pick up a copy of this DVD right away, but if you only like their 80s output then their are other Kiss DVDs out their which will serve you better.

As a DVD, Rock The Nation is excellent; with fantastic sound and mixing, as well as great camera work and editing (as opposed to the over-edited Symphony DVD) and it is really one of, if not the best looking and sounding DVDs Kiss have released.

Classics like ‘Deuce,’ ‘Shout It Out Loud,’ ‘Love Gun,’ and ‘Detroit Rock City,’ are all in evidence, as well as a few choices you wouldn’t expect like ‘Unholy,’ and ‘War Machine,’ both of which are fantastic additions. Of course you get all the pyro, smoke bombs, make up, fake blood, big screens and flying band members that make Kiss so entertaining live and Paul Stanley is very communicative with the crowd, helping the band to come across like they really appreciate being up there on stage.

In terms of extras; There is a multi-angle feature called Kiss Power Vision, where you can choose which band member you want to see, which can interrupt the screen with picture in picture scenarios, but it can be turned off. Also there is a behind the scenes documentary and set of interviews, but rather than be accessible as a complete feature separately, it is inter-cut with the main concert every few songs or so.

If these two special features potentially interrupting a complete concert don’t sound like they’d annoy you, if you like Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer in the band and if you like the track listing (They can’t play every song you like on every DVD) then get yourself a copy of Rock The Nation, otherwise content yourself with one of the many other Kiss DVDs on the market, such as Kissology Volume 1.

Deep Purple – Around The World Live DVD Review

Deep Purple - Around The World Live DVD

Deep Purple - Around The World Live DVD

Deep Purple’s Around The World Live DVD is an absolutely brilliant set for any sort of Deep Purple fan who doesn’t yet own the constituent parts that make up the set. Deep Purple are often more remembered for their 70s output and this set is a welcome release for shedding a little more light on the band’s excellent and underrated 00s/90’s era.

Around The World Live contains their Platinum Selling 1999 concert DVD Total Abandon Live In Australia, as well as 1995’s Bombay Calling with around half of 1995’s Live In Seoul as bonus tracks and finally Live At The NEC England from 2002, which was the legendary farewell show for original keyboard player Jon Lord.

In addition to three and a half concert films, the set features a feature length documentary called Access All Areas, which largely covers the Steve Morse era of the band, with some talk of the band’s history, some comedy interviews with Australian fans and footage from around the world.

The documentary is interesting but flawed, it doesn’t have a strong narrative and while there are interesting sections, it flows badly and is more of a disjointed collection of sections rather than a well made complete documentary. It is certainly worth a watch but perhaps not worth getting the whole set over if you already own the concerts separately.

The DVD is housed in a fancy thick book style box, with linear notes and photos on glossy pages stuck into the actual box.

The actual concerts are all great; with good sound and fairly competent camera work and editing, with enthusiastic crowds and great solos from most members, especially the superb Total Abandon which is held in very high regard by most Purple fans.

The track listings are all fairly similar; with a lot of the band’s most famous 1970’s MKII material, a lot of the band’s newer Steve Morse era material and then ‘Hush,’ ‘Anya,’ and ‘Perfect Strangers,’ being the only material from the rest of their long and varied career.

Overall, Around The World live is an excellent set containing a large amount of material from Deep Purple’s modern era, it is definitely worth your time and money. This set would serve as an excellent introduction to the band and is an especially worth purchasing if you enjoy Purpendicular, Abandon or Bananas.

Clutch – Live At The 9:30 DVD Review

Clutch - Live At The 9:30 DVD

Clutch - Live At The 9:30 DVD

Clutch’s second DVD release Live At The 9:30 brings together a concert and a full length documentary both primarily celebrating the legacy of the band’s 1995 self titled second studio album.

The live show; Live At The 9:30, features the band live Washington DC in 2009 after the release of Strange Cousins From The West playing a show that centres around playing the entire of their self title album from beginning to end. There are a few tracks either side too, such as ‘Struck Down,’ ‘Minotaur,’ and ‘The Regulators.’

The sound mix and visuals are pretty decent for a band of Clutch’s size, obviously not up to the same standards as millionaire band’s would be able put out, but still professional and everything you really need.

Clutch have always been an amazing live band and so as you can expect there is a lot to be said for the performance, the live versions of songs like ‘Rock N Roll Outlaw,’ ‘Animal Farm,’ and ‘I Have The Body Of John Wilkes Booth,’ are bursting with energy and attitude.

The documentary; Fortune Tellers Make A Killing Nowadays, clocks in at around 110 minutes and largely consists of interviews from the band, their crew members and many of their fans who are largely either saying what a great band Clutch are or why they love the Self Titled album so much. This is mixed with some making-of footage from Strange Cousins From The West and it is all framed with lots of footage of various roads and cityscapes overlaid with setlists to the tune of live recordings in the tour, including many songs not in the main concert film.

This documentary really should be good, but is just kind of a little too laid back, it doesn’t really achieve anything in particular and takes a long time to not really say anything in particular either, it definitely could have been better but is still worth at least one viewing.

Overall, Live At The 9:30 is a pretty interesting DVD that Clutch fans should definitely consider buying.

Clutch – Full Fathom Five Visual Field Recordings 2007-2008 DVD Review

Clutch - Full Fathom Five Visual Field Recordings 2007-2008 DVD

Clutch - Full Fathom Five Visual Field Recordings 2007-2008 DVD

Clutch’s Full Fathom Five: Visual Field Recordings 2007-2008 is the band’s first live DVD released in 2008 during the sold out world tour hot on the heels of their From Beale Street To Oblivion album.

The DVD compiles footage from four different concerts; Pittsburg, Sayreville and Boulder in the USA and Sydney in Australia. The main problem with the DVD is that rather than play each concert in order all together in one go each, the film switches between them, which may annoy some viewers. Furthermore, when switching between them it isn’t a straight cut, but rather a five or six second title card comes up every single time, which can get a little annoying especially on repeat listens.

The band play a mixture of material from most of their studio albums, dropping in early material like ‘Texan Book Of The Dead,’ ‘Animal Farm,’ and ‘The Elephant Riders,’ with newer moments like ‘The Devil And Me,’ ‘10001110101,’ and of course their fan favourite ‘The Mob Goes Wild.’

The performance is great, as the band are all incredible musicians and a really tight unit, delivering the songs in a very energetic and impressive fashion that for the most part outstrips their studio counterparts. Drummer J P Gastor gets a drum solo and Vocalist Neil Falon does an absolutely phenomenal job throughout.

The audio and video quality is decent on some shows and good on others, and the band play with different attitudes on all the shows, some loose and bluesy, some a hammering rock unit. I guess that’s why they chose to include four different shows rather than one complete show, it is more representative of how they are live, where the band are most at home.

To summarize Full Fathom Five: Visual Field Recordings 2007-2008 is a great DVD showcasing Clutch on top form, Clutch fans should love it and if you don’t mind the interrupting title card and choice of sequencing, then I highly recommend it.

Queen – Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid Blu Ray Review

Queen - Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid Blu Ray

Queen - Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid Blu Ray

I have seen a few other Queen DVDs and have a penchant for concert Blu Rays in general so I had high expectations going into this. Queen Rock Montreal not only lived up to my expectations but in many areas exceeded them. Not only is the concert filmed just before the synthesizers-period, with the band absolutely playing the hell out of their instruments, but the technical aspects of the concert recording are top notch too, leaving the whole thing great in all departments.

The sound quality is absolutely superb, crystal clear and very big, which really brings to attention all the skill and virtuosity with which Queen played the gig, and that’s not just the mix but the recording quality itself too.

The video, which is of course excellent in the main concert, has been scrutinized and cleaned up on the original 35mm prints before being re-scanned for maximum quality, there is even a fairly detailed description of the process in the linear notes. Consequently, the concert looks amazing and clear in a way no other Queen concert does as of yet.

In terms of the concert itself, there is no question of quality whatsoever. Queen are absolutely electric and deliver a wide array of some of their hardest and heaviest material in about as energetic and impressive a performance as has been captured on film, and mix it up with a few quieter numbers for balance and variety, leaving a full and complete Queen concert experience.

The band don’t even just stick to the big radio hits either, playing material such as ‘Dragon Attack,’ ‘Get Down Make Love,’ and ‘Sheer Heart Attack,’ that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in with the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ and ‘Under Pressure,’ level songs.

The highlights for me were the excellent performance of ‘I’m In Love With My Car,’ with Roger both singing masterfully and nailing the drum fills to perfection as well as their fast and hard rendition of early number ‘Keep Yourself Alive.’

The band’s performance is excellent, the track listing is excellent and the audio visual quality is excellent. What more could you possibly ask for in a concert Blu Ray ?

In terms of extras, you get commentary from Brian and Roger, A hilariously bad 80s TV special on Queen, An interesting rehearsal/interview for Live Aid and of course the excellent Live Aid performance itself, which doesn’t even require describing it is that well regarded.

Overall I highly recommend this product, I enjoy a lot of Live Concert DVDs and Blu Rays and this is definitely one of the finest I’ve come across, especially if you like the harder rock side of Queen.

Dio – Holy Diver Live Blu Ray Review

Dio - Holy Diver Live Blu Ray

Dio - Holy Diver Live Blu Ray

Dio’s Holy Diver Live is a very enjoyable release from one of Rock and Metal’s most famous artists.

During the two hour run time the band play a selection of songs from Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio in addition to performing the entire of the Holy Diver album.

If the band’s line up or the concert’s tracklisting bothers you then feel free to give this a miss, but for everyone else you’ll find a very strong Live Blu Ray indeed.

The sound, both in terms of recording quality and mix is simply excellent and the picture quality is very high, with suitable camera work and a good pace of editing.

Ronnie James Dio’s performance live is fantastic as always and the band which includes Doug Aldrich on guitar, Rudy Sarzo on bass and Scott Warren on keyboards are on top form, performing professionally and delivering the material with flair and enthusiasm.

Drummer Simon Wright even performs a surprisingly enjoyable and musical drum solo, which is lengthy enough to sink your teeth into but still short enough that it never becomes boring.

The band also enliven the material with little twists on the material here and there, such as different drum fills or guitar licks than on record as well as adding dynamic endings to some of the songs which faded out on their original albums.

The only complaint to be had about the film is that there are one or two shots in which the drums on screen are blatantly not coming out of the speakers (simple editing mistakes, where you can see snare rolls in the background during sections without snare rolls) but there are only about three such mistakes in the whole film and therfor not really worth too much concern.

Otherwise, this is a superb release, a strong performance of a selection of classic material, shot and sounding excellent.

Even though there are already a lot of Dio DVDs available, Holy Diver Live is definitely worth getting unless you lost all interest in the prospect of Dio live DVDs anyway, in which case you already know this isn’t for you. For everyone else, this is highly recommended.

Deep Purple – They All Came Down To Montreux Live At Montreux 2006 Blu-ray Review

Deep Purple - They All Came Down To Montreux Live At Montreux 2006 Blu-ray

Deep Purple - They All Came Down To Montreux Live At Montreux 2006 Blu-ray

Deep Purple’s They All Came Down To Montreux – Live At Montreux 2006 Blu-ray is a fairly decent release all around. It isn’t exactly the best music Blu-ray on the market, but is far from a rip off.

The set contains two concerts, firstly ‘Live At Montreux 2006,’ the main feature in High Definition, and then in the extras menu ‘Live at the Hard Rock Cafe,’ in Standard Definition. Both gigs feature the same Deep Purple Mk VIII Line Up of Steve Morse, Don Airey, Rodger Glover, Ian Gillan and Ian Paice and both feature a pretty similar track listing, with the only tracks on the bonus concert which don’t also appear on the main concert being ‘Fire Ball,’ ‘I Got Your Number,’ and ‘Perfect Strangers.’

Musically the band perform excellently with strong virtuosity and character throughout, although personally I don’t very much care for the Keyboard Solo or the ‘Well Dressed Guitar,’ (A Steve Morse guitar solo peppered here and there with popular riffs from other bands) but the vast majority of viewers will doubtlessly love them.

Nowadays many people claim that Ian Gillan isn’t very good live anymore and that he can’t pull off a lot of the classic material properly anymore and while I would like to rush to his defense, upon watching this concert I was kind of inclined to agree that his voice wasn’t on top form throughout. How much this detracts from your enjoyment of the concert is entirely up to you.

The set list contains several Deep Purple Classics such as storming renditions of Machine Head favourites ‘Pictures Of Home,’ ‘Highway Star,’ and a Jazz Intro featuring ‘Smoke On The Water,’ mixed with newer material from the band’s most recent album ‘Rapture of the Deep.’

The Montreux festival is usually a hallmark of quality on the DVD market with many bands releasing their finest DVDs and Blu Rays from the festival. This is certainly not a poor effort but for a Blu Ray it isn’t the masterpiece you may have been expecting, with a kind of poor mix and video quality that looks more like a good DVD than a Blu Ray for the most part.
Keep in mind however the attractive stage show, colour palate and excellent camera direction and editing mostly make up for this minor flaw.

There are some other minor niggles which can get annoying such as the band seeming unable to hear what Ian Gillan is saying half the time and interrupting him while he addresses the audience at the start of ‘Strange Kind Of Woman,’ and other songs. Another is the supposedly fun bonus song ‘Too Much Fun,’ which I found to be a just bit poor and the idea that it was all in good fun didn’t really make it any better. The biggest problem of all, in my opinion is the guest singer named Brako, who joins the band on stage without knowing any of the lyrics, doesn’t contribute anything and just generally gets in the way during closer ‘Black Night,’
To say any of these niggles truly spoil the show would be inaccurate and even petty but they can reduce your overall enjoyment if you aren’t in a forgiving mood.

The second concert is in Standard Definition, on a cramped stage but has a lot of energy, especially on the fast paced opener ‘Fire Ball,’ which I’d say is the best performance on the disc, the sound isn’t as good as on the main how but the mix is slightly better. The cramped conditions and different style of camera work make the two concerts feel completely different to each other and even though they have pretty similar set lists, both are worth watching.

The Blu Ray box itself does contain a inlay with detailed linear notes about Montreaux, Claude Nobs, The Machine Head album (recorded in Montreux) and other similar subjects. A nice little addition. In the Extras menu you can also find some not entirely professionally made 25 minute interviews with the band which covers similar ground and also about the newer members, Claude’s recent activity and former guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

Overall if you are interested in Deep Purple this is a product you should consider, it has a few flaws, but also a lot on content. You should decide which of those is more important to you when deciding if you want to give it a try.