Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Music DVD Reviews

Sodom “Lords of Depravity Part 1” DVD (2005)
This 2 disc set is one of the best music videos ever released. The band definitely fills this product to the max. In buying this, no one should feel shortchanged.
The first disc is a career retrospective documentary spanning the years 1982 to 1995.  Their native German language is spoken throughout with English subtitles. It is 180 minutes in length; so nothing is left to spare.
Beginning in the early 80s, a brief history lesson is given for the industrial German city Gelsenkirchen. Explaining how the city’s gritty blue collar ethics did not mesh with the weak chart topping music of New Wave music of the time. This is intertwined with Tom Angelripper’s childhood and how it played a crucial part in forming an extreme band. Tom goes into how he discovered the NWOBHM bands and how they affected his life.
I am not going to go through all the details in the film; that alone would take pages to complete. In brief all their releases in that time period are discussed in detail, everything from the writing process to the cover art. Also there are some great road stories touched upon. Some are quite comical.
One of my favorite parts of the film is the discussion of their first record deal signing. It really does bring forth that youthful spirit and excitement. The viewer is almost time warped back to this era of naïve teenagers releasing their first album without a clue of what success the future held.

Moving on to the second disc, it contains a fantastic live concert film. Live Depravity is not your typical multi camera filmed concert. Footage from several different gigs is professionally edited together. The editing is fast passed, always keeping the attention of the viewer. Sandwiched between the 22 live tracks is lots of off stage footage, everything from backstage antics to sightseeing in Thailand.
As a bonus, promotional videos for the following are included: “Ausgebombt”, “Silence is Consent” and “Die Stumme Ursel”. In this section you will also find a trailer for the 1987 German film Verlierer. This trailer alone is pure entertainment; a movie filled with thrash metal, leather, denim, chains and lots of gang fights!

Believe it or not, there is still more. Two nice sized booklets are thrown in for good measure. Actually they are so thick that it causes some difficulties closing the DVD case, but I am not complaining. The first is filled with a ton of photos and liner notes describing all the releases: full lengths and singles. This alone is a great piece of reading. The second booklet touches upon the live footage on the DVD, giving the viewer some incite of where each segment was filmed and an overview of how the whole thing was put together.
As I mentioned earlier, this has to be one of the best music video releases of all time. It is apparent that the band really wanted to insure that the fans got their money’s worth in this purchase.
This year “Lords of Depravity Part 2” has been released. I have yet to view it, but there are no doubts that it will be just as good as its predecessor.

Destruction “Live Discharge: 20 Years of Total Destruction” DVD (2004)
Here we have the release from one of the other German thrash metal giants. “Live Discharge” really is a great DVD, but when compared to Sodom’s “Lords…” it plays second fiddle. In saying that, it is still way better than the average music DVD release. It is saturated with great professionally filmed live footage from different gigs.

The bonus features are a huge plus for this release. A detailed, lengthy interview that comments on the band’s history. It is conducted in an honest laid back setting. The viewer really does get the feeling of just hanging out with the band listening to old stories.
Another bonus is a nice short about a recent Australian tour. Basically it is mini documentary covering everything on their trip: live footage, hotel shots, drinking in a winery and an in store signing. 
As with the Sodom DVD, some promo video clips are included (“Desecrators” and “The Ravenous Beast”). To some promo videos are looked down upon, but for me I always enjoy them. The reason being is because promos put the bands in a theatrical setting. It is interesting to see what kind of creativity is used for the visuals.
The mandatory picture gallery also thrown in. It is a nice supplement, but not the highlight of the release.
The unique bonus is an audio discography. It is pretty cool, especially for those who do not own Destruction’s entire catalog. All albums are accounted for with artwork. Clips of every song are available to preview. For me, this is the first time I have seen this format included on a DVD release.
Lastly, a collector’s booklet is added for more visuals. Unlike the Sodom DVD, this booklet contains mostly live photos and is limited on text. Still, I am glad it was included.

Enslaved “Live Retaliation” DVD 2003

Since Enslaved is a personal favorite, this DVD receives high marks regardless of its content. “Live Retaliation” pretty much a straight forward concert video. The live footage is taken from a gig in Poland. It is nicely shot and the sound is cooperative as well. The band performs 12 tracks spanning their entire career up to that point (2003). For me, this is definitely a video that brings forth multiple viewings.
The bonus features are somewhat slim. They include the following: band biography, member profiles, interview, six alternate audio versions of previously released songs, discography and art gallery.
The band interview is the only bonus that contains live action video. A nice supplement, but definitely not a truly groundbreaking sit down. All their responses seemed bored and disinterested. This part of the DVD is for one time only viewing. None the less, it is shallow in content but I am still glad it was included.
Still, the live concert is the main draw here. To be critical, maybe a few promo videos should have been added. Regardless, I still recommend this.

Overkill “Wrecking Everything: An Evening in Asbury Park” DVD 2002
If anything comes close to “Lords of Depravity”, it is this 2 disc beauty. Fond memories are still in the mind from when I first bought this. Every penny spent was well worth it. As a DVD release should be, Overkill delivers.

As with both the Sodom and Destruction DVDs, it includes a live performance and documentary. On the live disc there are 24 tracks career spanning tracks to be digested. All the classic numbers are represented. A minor set back is the strobe light effects. When utilized it is quite hard to see what is going on. A small complaint, but still the concert footage is great.
The documentary is the real gem here. It is about an hour and a half in length. Everything is covered here: the origin, members coming and going, tours, albums, etc. A plethora of old footage is compiled. There are scenes of old gigs, Headbanger’s Ball appearances, promo videos and more. Interviews with past and present members are mingled in throughout.
Very nice.

Pungent Stench “Video La Muerte” VHS 1993

Here is a somewhat old one. My excitement back in ‘93 was overwhelming for a Pungent Stench video release. Honestly speaking, at the time I was a bit disappointed. I cannot really put my finger on why, but this video just did nothing for me. In theory you would think a video compilation of live and promo songs would be appreciated by a Pungent Stench fan. Since then, it has grown on me. So looking back, I am extremely glad it was picked up at that time.
As far as I know this is now out of print and have not heard of any plans to release it on DVD. It would definitely make for a great re-release. Add some bonus features, maybe some newer live stuff and interviews.

Sick of it All “The Story So Far” VHS 2001
Ok I will stick with the VHS format. The fact that this documentary film has not been re-released on DVD is a crime. At the time this was released in celebration of the band’s 15 year anniversary. 60 minutes in length with lots of ground covered. “The Story..” is just like typical band documentaries. The pacing throughout is great in keeping the viewer interested. This film truly captures the feeling of being in a hardcore band. To top things off, at the film’s conclusion all of the band’s promo videos up to that point are presented.

Necrophagia “Through Eyes of the Dead” DVD 2001
It does not matter whether you like Necrophagia’s music; this is a fantastic piece of entertainment. Gore and metal, the greatest combination one can ask for. Jim Van Bebber’s directing talents are the real clincher here. If you are familiar with his film “The Manson Family”, you know what I speak of. The content here is straight forward without any censorship; rape, mutilation and Satanism. Nudity and blood are abundant.
The bonus features are also a plus. Cool rehearsal footage is attached; showing the song writing process. Some comical interviews are also thrown in. Phil Anselmo sounds really high, almost as if he is brain dead. I am not complaining; my laughing cannot be contained while viewing. Basically it goes something like this “I like …uh....fucking Venom uh….fucking…”. Besides that, all the members discuss their love of extreme metal and horror movies.
I throw this in pretty often. Watching a fat sicko jerk off on a dead woman always cures boredom. That in a nutshell gives you an idea of the great sickness contained here.

Flotsam and Jetsam “Doomsday for the Deceiver: Special Edition” CD/DVD 2006
This is a great 3 disc release! The first 2 discs have the album in its original form and a re-mastered version. Plus there are bonus tracks from their demo and 1985’s “Metal Shock”. The third is a great DVD with classic old footage from 83-85. There is a hilarious video for the song “Hammerhead”. It is said to of been shot in Jason Newsted’s apt. I could not stop laughing of at the pure 80s metal look they were all sporting. I can actually remember going to shows where the majority of people dressed in this manner. There is also a great full concert from 1985, plus an interesting high school interview. To be quite honest over the past 20 years I have grown bored with F&J. I loved this album back when I bought it on cassette and also the “No Place for Disgrace” follow up, but since then I have not liked much of their other material. When I found this at the record store, my motivation to buy this is the bonus DVD. I already have the album but the video was the attraction.

Nunslaughter “Metal Assault on Australia” DVD 2005
I picked this up at the Relapse store while taking a trip to PA. Nunslaughter is a band for years now have stayed true to classic old death metal. They are compiling an almost Agathocles-like discography. This release is another great one to add to the list. First off, the packaging is wonderful. It comes in a digi-pack open layout with lots of pics and gig flyers. The DVD is packed with lots of footage from dates on their Australian tour. Plus there are picture and audio galleries. The footage is all taken from a single hand held camera, but I do not think that is a bad thing. It really captures Nunslaughter in its purest form. If you are familiar with this band, then you know the raw sound they crank out. This just takes it one step farther. The Hellsheadbangers label has a reputation of releasing media in cool collectable formats and this is one more to fit the bill.

Wendy O. Williams “10 Years of Revolutionary Rock & Roll” DVD 2006
This is an extremely comprehensive history DVD. This 2 hour documentary covers everything from her punk origins with the Plasmatics on to her metal solo career. There are lots of interviews and live footage. Nothing is said about her suicide but that is understandable. Everything is on here: nudity, violence, chainsaws & explosions. Plus there is over an hour of extras: bootleg footage and her death defying stunt videos. The hilarious video of the title track of the movie “Reform School Girls” is included as well. I could not stop laughing at the retarded dances that people were performing across the stage. Back in the mid 80s, when I was about 14 I first saw “Reform School Girls”. It was such a great family oriented movie with all the great stuff…lesbianism and violent beatings!