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Metal Monday: Mini Reviews Of June Releases

June was a pretty gigantic month for metal music, with upwards of twenty-five notable releases, some by pretty powerful players in the metal world in recent years.  Not everyone has the time and energy to check out all the big releases week to week and month to month, so I’m here to help you to stay on top of this busy time. Here’s a collection of mini reviews covering a bunch of June’s metal albums to help you figure out where to begin:

In FlamesSounds Of A Playground Fading

In Flames, one of the more famous names in the metal world, has seen their fair share of disappointment in recent years due to the flops that were A Sense Of Purpose and Soundtrack To Your Escape. Sounds Of A Playground Fading falls in line with those releases in terms of style, but is much less disappointing. Still not great, though.

Jungle RotKill On Command

If you’re a regular reader, then there’s a pretty good chance you already saw my full review of this album. Still, to sum it up: this is a straight-forward, stripped down metal album in time when they are few and far between. If you haven’t read the post yet, check out the in-depth version from a few weeks back.

Devin TownsendDeconstruction

Regarded by many as one of the most talented individuals in the metal world today, Devin Townsend rarely disappoints audiences with his music. And Deconstruction is no different. Though musically brilliant, it may take some people a bit of time to become accustomed to his odd themes, lyrics and humor. If you already know and love Devy, Deconstruction will absolutely make your day.

TombsPath Of Totality

Tombs’ second (sort of third) full-length album is definitely their best work to date, and quite possibly one of the best records of the year. Their signature mix of black and sludge metal meld flawlessly when taken to a new, extreme level. Fifty-eight minutes of pure metal awesomeness with not a single dull moment.

Morbid AngelIllud Divinum Insanus

I’m still not sure if Morbid Angel are just executing the biggest troll on the metal community or not, but there’s no denying that Illud Divinum Insanus is just plain not good. Trying out a new style of music, or trying to fuse new styles into a genre in which you’ve already proven your worth is admirable, but in this case it went horribly wrong. It’s not a good death metal album, it’s not a good electronic album, and it’s certainly not a good mix of styles. If you’re looking for electronic/metal combinations, maybe try “Self Vs. Self” by Pendulum and In Flames.

August Burns RedLeveler

August Burns Red’s fourth full length album sees the band departing even further from the somewhat standard brand of metalcore that propelled them to success. Leveler incorporates a litany of different musical styles, such as a nice flamenco guitar interlude, within their signature level of tightness and high energy.

Arch EnemyKhaos Legions

The extra time Arch Enemy took between albums, along with Michael Amott’s short stint reuniting with Carcass, clearly had a huge effect on the band. Khaos Legions is a bit of a departure from the band’s other recent works–and for the better. Each member’s best efforts focused into one album makes for a really solid listen.

Fit For An AutopsyThe Process Of Human Extermination

Every now and then a band tries to do something interesting with the currently played-out, generic deathcore sound without falling into the very well-defined box that deathcore has become. Fit For An Autopsy gets points for their effort, but there are still traces of the cookie-cutter style. A solid listen, though I’m not so sure that this is even close to the best the band can offer.

Job For A CowboyGloom

With every new release, Job For A Cowboy make a case for being one of the best pure death metal acts and Gloom is no different. As an EP, it’s only four songs, but each of those songs is remarkably well-executed and shows the band isn’t even close to done yet.

Limp BizkitGold Cobra

Calling Limp Bizkit a metal band that this point is really more of a joke than it is a serious claim, but this record is worth noting due to the fact that it perfectly sums up all of the music Limp Bizkit has made to date, except for their first (and best) album, 3 Dollar Bill Y’all. From the high energy tracks with angry raps to the somewhat ballad-like tunes, you get to hear a little bit of everything Limp Bizkit is known for.

Here’s a few other June metal releases that I’ve heard some good things about:

Symphony XIconoclast

From the looks of comments and ratings around the Internet, most people seem pretty pleased with this album. After 194 ratings on metalstorm.net, Iconoclast sits at an 8.5/10 rating, which isn’t too shabby at all (but is lower than the respective ratings for each of the three albums prior to it). It would appear that Symphony X have put out yet another solid album.

OriginEntity

Like Symphony X’s latest effort, most opinions of Entity seem to be very positive. It’s averaging an 8.4/10 after 57 votes, which is right on par with their last record. The only real complaints I’ve seen seem to be that some of the songs are quite short, and the album can get a bit lost in its overly-technical style at times.

AmorphisThe Beginning Of Times

The Beginning Of Times is the follow up to this Finnish monster band’s great 2009 album Skyforger, and by most accounts, is equally as good. Described by some as being a bit more melodically complex and reaching, Amorphis is not, historically, a formulaic type of band so overlooking a release is usually a folly.

June really turned out to be quite a climax in an already fantastic year in metal, and the releases keep rolling out. There are at least a few more albums coming out in 2011 that could very well dwarf the rest of the year’s releases (such as Revocation, Decapitated, Opeth, All Shall Perish, Skeletonwitch, etc.) but we’ll have to wait and see.

Any June metal releases you’re especially fond of that you think people should give a listen to? Post it in the comments section!

Metal Monday: Metal Album Remasters

If you never really listened to Megadeth or Atheist before the year 2004, there’s a fair chance that you’ve never really heard these bands as they originally sounded on their albums. Since 2000, both of these bands have undergone a serious remastering treatment (for better or worse). Capitol records released seven of the eight Megadeth records that started the band’s career—all of which sounded drastically different— though most would say the remasters were rubbish, falling prey to the loudness war like so many others.

Why exactly someone (or an entire group of people) felt the desire to remix and remaster those seven Megadeth albums is an odd question. The recordings didn’t sound all that bad before, but with that being said, they did sound a bit dated. Lots of mids, not a lot of high or low end and it wasn’t very loud (certainly not up to “modern standards”). Perhaps the decision was made from a marketing standpoint, as 2004 was the year Megadeth reformed after a two-year hiatus.

The first three Atheist records, however, didn’t sound very good at all. They were super dry, nothing really had room to breathe (even though the records were pretty quiet). Most of the albums featured a really flat EQ with almost no low end and only noise in the highs. Purists might disagree that the old albums sounded bad, but then again, purists usually do. When remastered, all the instruments were given room to breath and the records were equalized to sound more full.

Death is another band that desperately needed the remix and remaster treatment, and lately they’ve been getting it. While The Sound Of Perseverance was released this year, 2008 saw the remixing and remastering of the band’s previous six albums–all of which were drastically improved by the treatment (even though some would argue The Sound Of Perseverance didn’t need that treatment and, frankly, I agree).

Regardless of what you think about past remasters, and whether or not the changes were warranted, there’s not a thing that you can do to change the fact that they were done. With that said, you can have some input about what albums you think could seriously use the remaster treatment (even if it’ll fall on deaf ears), or state your claim about how some albums should never be remastered due to their classic nature. There are a handful of bands that have become incredibly famous, and even legendary in some respects, who have some less-than-ideal original recordings—recordings with loads of well written and performed material. Who are these bands? Well, here’s a few examples:

A Celebration of Guilt by Arsis
Focus by Cynic
Breeding The Spawn by Suffocation
Extreme Aggression by Kreator
Contradictions Collapse by Meshuggah
Follow The Blind by Blind Guardian
The Red Sky Is Ours by At The Gates
Morbid Visions by Sepultura
Every single Metal Church album

Now, what are some albums you’d love to hear properly remastered? Think that some of the suggested remasters above are sacred songs and shouldn’t be touched? Voice your opinions in the common section!

Metal Monday: Jungle Rot Kill On Command

Jungle Rot is a band that has been hanging out on the fringes of the death metal scene since the mid ’90s, making pure mosh death metal without really taking any time off. This year marks the group’s seventh full-length release—the first with Victory Records (previous labels include Napalm Records, Pure Death Recordings, Pavement Recordings, Crash Music and Olympic Records). Luckily, Jungle Rot delivers exactly what the metal world and Victory roster desperately need with Kill On Command.

No part of Kill On Command is groundbreaking, new or even really fresh—but that’s what makes it a really good listen. The band forgoes frills, experimentation and boundary pushing and sticks to what they know and love: thick riffs, brash vocals and no short supply of mosh sections. In a day and age where everyone is trying to one-up each other in terms of brutality, technicality, progressiveness and seemingly every other aspect of music, good ol’ fashioned death metal has sort of gone by the wayside (especially when you consider Morbid Angel’s latest album).

Jungle rot seems to understand that 1) there’s nothing wrong with the original death metal formula that emerged from Slayer’s style in the early ’90s, and 2) it never really gets old so long as you execute the style well. From Dave Matrise’s vocals to Geoff Bub’s guitar parts, they nail the classic death metal sound that metalheads know and love. There’s not a lot of guitar wankery on the album, but there are riffs galore. You won’t find a ton of breakdowns, but when you do they feel appropriate and don’t overstay their welcome.

Circle-pitters, headbangers and moshers around the globe rejoice, Jungle Rot has your back. Kill On Command is a thirty-seven minute moshing romp through the classic death metal sound, and a refreshing album amongst the rest of the ever-progressing metal realm. The album drops June 21st, so pick it up! In the meantime, you can join Jungle Rot’s OurStage fan club. You could even click the player below and check out some of their older tunes.

Metal Monday: Arch Enemy Q&A

Arch Enemy are no rookies to the melodic death metal scene. The Amott brothers and company have been around since the early ’90s, churning out solid metal album after solid metal album. It seems that their musical prowess might be approaching its climax, as Khaos Legions is their most prolific, varied and technical work to date. We got a chance to ask Michael Amott some questions regarding the new album, his guitar playing, influences and working with his brother. Check out what he had to say:

OS: Khaos Legions is a bit of a departure from Rise of the Tyrant. What sorts of ideas did you have coming into writing and recording it?

MA: We really had a “no rules” approach during the writing and pre-production phase of Khaos Legions. Arch Enemy has always encompassed a wide spectrum of influences. We have influences from thrash and death metal, but also classic metal/hard rock. The idea from the very beginning of the band was to blend heavy and extreme sounds with a lot of melody. I had so many guitar ideas for this album, it was just a matter of getting everything to fit together and make good songs out of all the riffs and melodies that we all had been writing and collecting over a four-year period. As you said, there are some new sounds on Khaos Legions— and I am really happy about that! We don’t want to become too predictable as band. We want to continuously progress, yet remain true to our “core sound”.

OS: The guitar work on Khaos Legions has a lot of variation, more so than usual. How much of this was a conscious effort?

MA: We always try to have a lot variety and exciting, quality guitar parts. I think on this new album everything just came together in a very cool way for whatever reason. In the writing and pre-production phase we could tell that we were more inspired than ever before, we had an absolute abundance of riffs and melodies to work with and we had a blast arranging the material.

OS: What sort of dynamic do you and Chris have when writing? How do you think it changes how you write, compared to when you were writing with Carcass or other bandmates?

MA: As Chris is my brother, we have played guitar together so much that we have a pretty non-verbal and very intuitive relationship when we write and arrange guitar parts and songs. I very much enjoy writing and recording with other players, but obviously it will always be special with Chris.

OS: The break between Rise of the Tyrant and Khaos Legions is the longest yet–how much of an effect do you think that had on how you approached Khaos Legions?

MA: Well, the riffs just kept piling up you know? We never stop writing really, we always jam and come up with new ideas backstage before a show or on the bus or in a hotel room. We’re always playing guitar! The longer break between albums meant we had more material to choose from and also Khaos Legions captures the bands sound over a longer time period (four years). I personally think this is obvious when I listen to the album and I hope the fans will appreciate the work that went into the creation of the music.

OS: There aren’t really any acts out there that share yours and Chris’ guitar style, primarily that found on the new album. Where do your primary influences come from?

MA: Our influences cover a wide spectrum of music styles and genres. Of course we have the Metal influences that you’d expect, but we listen to a lot of music that might seem like an odd fit for a band like us. As we all know, there’s only two kinds of music: good and bad! We are not afraid to play major key stuff for example—we try to paint with all colors that are available to us.

OS: Do you think taking the short break from writing/playing with Arch Enemy to do a few shows with Carcass have anything to do with the evolving sound of Arch Enemy?

MA: I think you are right—that had an impact on Khaos Legions. With Arch Enemy we had been in the album-tour-album-tour routine for so long, I think it was a good idea to break that and have a new fresh perspective on what we do with Arch Enemy.

OS: You’ve played/wrote a ton of albums at this point in your career, whether with Arch Enemy, Carcass, Carnage or guest spots. Which of these are most special to you, and why?

MA: That’s a tough question for me to answer, but I have to admit that the new Arch Enemy Khaos Legions strikes me as being one of those defining moments as I managed to get what’s in my head out and capture it perfectly. Other recordings I am proud of are Arch Enemy’s Wages Of Sin and Carcass’ Heartwork.

Do yourself a favor and check out Khaos Legions.  It’s hot off the presses via Century Media records—and it’s a really good album (especially if you love face-melting guitar solos and really good female vocalists). You can grab the album from iTunes, Amazon or your local record store (if those even exist near you anymore).

Metal Monday: Blistering Metal Songs For Hot Summer Days

It’s summer. In most places, this means it’s hot and sticky and the sun is blazing high in the sky. Now, what commemorates hot summer weather better than twelve blistering, fiery metal songs? Outside of a cold drink, nothing compliments hot weather more than uptempo guitar solos and swift guitar riffs. The playlist below features a whole bunch of metal genres, from old school heavy thrash to power metal to brutal death metal, all of which have pretty killer guitar work. You’ll find some OurStage classics on this playlist, like Georgia’s Dead to the World, and maybe a band you didn’t know was on OurStage (Revocation). Check it out,  and get your head bang on.

“Eternal Deception” by Solerrain
“Brain In A Bullet” by Endangered Pirates From Outer Space
“Parting From The Shade” by Dead To The World
“10,000 Broken Bodies” by The Spittin’ Cobras
“Paradox” by Forever Storm
“Patrons of Humanity” by The Bridal Procession
“Feed The Darkness” by Maniacal
“Cold Rapture” by Fell On Black Days
“Summon The Spawn” by Revocation
“Unattained” by Revocation
“Beneath the Flesh” by Absolute Vengeance
“Abandon Mortal Pestilence” by After The Burning

Metal Monday: The Neologist

In the world of metal sub-genres, there are purists who want to preserve musical tradition and there are activists who want to stretch the boundaries of sound—and never than twain shall meet. One sub-genre of music that is all about being true to its roots is Gothenburg melodic death metal, which started with bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. Though these bands have slowly evolved over time, many diehard fans have chastised their new sounds, and as such not many traditional Gothenburg melodic death metal bands exist now. Bands that boast the traditional Gothenburg sound are few and far between these days, but one band that executes it perfectly is OurStage’s The Neologist.

Formed by James Lewis and Devin Walsh in 2009 from the ashes of their previous project (SeVeR), the two set out to make music that they themselves liked to listen to (favorites include In Flames, Soilwork, Disarmonia Mundi and Dark Tranquillity) and they’ve done exactly that. With clear motives stated in their bio, such as being a musical outlet with no boundaries, they seem to be well on their way to accomplishing their goals for this project. Releasing The 26 Letters of Your Universe in 2010, The Neologist have put out a great and pretty traditional Gothenburg-styled metal album, and have been working on new material since.

The band’s current musical project is a series of In Flames cover songs in which they’re enlisting the help of Facebook to decide which tracks they should record. According to Lewis and Walsh, they have an incredible amount of musical flexibility being a duo, which allows them to make decisions in “1.8 seconds” (as quoted in their Facebook profile). It’s a good thing, too, because the first cover of this series is fantastic, and they’ll be able to create many more in a short span of time. They have reworked the classic “Jotun” from In Flames’ Whoracle, playing it almost exactly like the original but adding a touch of their own signature sound (and making an incredibly silly video to match).

The best part about The Neologist at the moment, however, is the fact that they’re giving away their debut album away for free! That’s right, all you need to do is click this download link and you’ll have twelve tasty tracks of awesomeness to feed your metal-craving ears. Not sold? You can listen to most of the tracks from the album right on OurStage with this conveniently-located player which contain eleven tracks:

Metal Monday: Underoath Are Underrated

What happens when a band’s best and most critically acclaimed work is a genre of music most metalheads vehemently despise, and then the band transforms their sound into something a lot more heavy, removing a large percentage of their screamo legacy? Well, if they’re anything like Underoath, they’ll become really great but still be hated by a vast majority of the metal community. In 2002 and 2004 Underoath release The Changing of Times and They’re Only Chasing Safety, respectively—two incredibly successful releases on Solid State records. Two albums that were by-in-large of the screamo/post-hardcore variety.

In 2006 everything changes. The band releases Define The Great Line, now with producer Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage, and their sound takes a drastic turn away from their more pop roots in favor of a more pure metalcore style. Still riding the wave of success from their last record, Define The Great Line helped the band solidify their place among the more abrasive side of mainstream heavy acts. The downside, however, is the fact that the stigma attached to the overly-poppy style of They’re Only Chasing Safety still applies even though their approach drastically changed. All things considered, the album received immensely positive reviews from the likes of Alternative Press, Kerrang!, HM Magazine and Sputnikmusic. The record also debuted Number 2 on the Billboard Top 200, selling nearly 100,000 copies in its first week (not too shabby at all for a heavy record).

Fast forward two more years to 2008 when the band releases yet another increasingly heavy album, Lost In The Sound of Separation. Another giant step towards a heavier sound, further distancing themselves from the stigmatic “screamo” sound. Now filled to the brim with thunderous riffs, roaring vocals and harshly contrasted guitar sounds, Underoath finally had the thing that appeals to nearly all metalheads across the board; they replaced their more angst-ridden screams with rage-filled roars. But still the metal community had not fully embraced the band as a legitimate member of the metal community, despite the heaviness and pureness of Lost In The Sound of Separation as a metalcore record. Sure, there’s a bit of cleanly sung vocals on the record, but make no mistake, the album rips for almost its entire duration.

Even with the release of Ø (Disambiguation) in 2010, a vast majority of metalheads still dislike Underoath about as much as you could, as can be seen on any single MetalSucks comment section that mentions the band and the community scores on the band’s albums at MetalStorm. Whether it’s the band’s strong Christian beliefs, their supposed generic heavy metalcore sound or any other crazy reason, metalheads just aren’t on board.

If you’re reading this and have at least a passing interest in metalcore, I implore you to give Underoath a legitimate shot. Forget about their Christian-rooted themes, or that they used to be a pretty generic death metal band with forceful Christian themes (no, that’s not a joke)—heck, picture them singing all their songs praising Satan if you have to. Their last three albums are all incredibly well produced and feature a lot of cool riffs, choruses, breakdowns, tempo changes, etc. Flush your mind of all prejudices and biases about screamo or Christian bands and check out on of the singles from their latest album, “In Division” (which has a very cool video).

Metal Monday: Hate Eternal Sit Among Ashes

Times, they are changing. Luckily for us, Hate Eternal are keeping up with their tried and true death metal ways on their new album Phoenix Amongst The Ashes. For all those who believe that pure death metal is dead and gone, Hate Eternal is serving another reminder that naysayers are  just plain wrong. Whether you like it technical, brutal, thrashy or raw and ungarnished—Hate Eternal will bring it.

Death metal isn’t exactly known as a “singles” market, but that doesn’t mean bands avoid songs that are as strong as any single should be. In Hate Eternal’s case, they’ve compiled ten songs that are all pretty worthy of being called a “single” and put them end to end. No filler material, no interludes—only a short intro to the album which means listeners get about forty minutes of great death metal without a single break. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you probably don’t like metal as much as you thought you did.

What really separates Phoenix Amongst The Ashes from its colleagues and predecessors, however, is the mixture between the backup and main vocals. They’ve evolved from being the traditional main/backup roles into being more about a different vocal sound and a change of pace. Rather than have vocalist Erik Rutan constantly supplying guttural growls, bassist JJ Hrubovcak is supplying a powerful bark on many of the tracks, often times during the chorus, to emphasize the change of pace.

Not that you would expect anything else, but the technicality of Hate Eternal’s performance on this record is exquisite. Every single guitar note, drum hit, etc. are about as clean as you can get without sounding completely robotic or inhuman (though I’m still not convinced the members of the band aren’t some sort of androids). With machine-like precision guiding them, the vocals and guitar solos provide the band with raw emotion and nuance.

Phoenix Amongst The Ashes is almost certainly Hate Eternal’s most solid and dense work to date, and is so without sacrificing quality of content. Surpassing each of their previous four works, Phoenix Amongst The Ashes is another strong contender for metal album of the year, or at the very least, death metal album of the year. You can snag this great album from places like iTunes or Amazon.

Overall score: 9/10

For fans of: Origin, Krisiun, Necrophagist, The Faceless, Nile, Suffocation and other really great death metal acts.

Enjoy this promo video by Metal Blade Records for the album, which includes the song “Haunting Abound”

Metal Monday: Women In Metal Who Rock The Hardest

Women in metal–a subject that often starts heated arguments filled with strong opinions and misconceptions. Many stigmas exist about female metal musicians, especially metal vocalists: they’re inferior and can’t bring it as hard as the men can. This article will debunk that ideology. Just because the genre’s more famous leading ladies include Amy Lee of Evanescence and Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil doesn’t mean that every other female follows in their footsteps. This ideology has existed for quite some time now, even classic bands like Girlschool saw a strong amount of prejudice throughout their career. In an interview with Lemmy of Mötorhead from Metal: A Headbanger’s Ball he recounted someone who said, after a Girlschool performance “She was pretty good, for a girl” and he responded “Well, f*** you, she’s better than you are!”

Women are infiltrating the metal world. They’re not all singers who only have angelic voices and fit into the “pretty girl” role. More and more, they’re taking on the “badass” persona, and are even playing other instruments in bands, as opposed to just being vocalists. Jeanne Sagan of All That Remains, Marta Peterson or Bleeding Through and Karin Axelsson of Sonic Syndicate have all been holding it down on bass for their bands for years now. Liz Buckingham has been rocking the guitar in Electric Wizard since 2003 and Laura Christine has been playing guitar in a bunch of metal bands lately though she’s best known for her work with Warface. You even have some bands that are primarily women, like Zeenon, who are known for playing really great death metal insted of being “hot metal chicks”.

Candace Kucsulain from Walls of Jericho

Now comes the problem of image. As routinely acknowledged by women metal musicians, being good isn’t always enough—you’ve also got to be really good looking (strongly expressed by the band Kittie in an interview for Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey). For a while the expected role of any woman in metal was to either be a groupie or be attractive and little else (not to say there weren’t people who broke free of that, Doro Pesch being a famous example). As more women entered the metal scene, many that were on par with their male peers, the stigma of women being less talented than men slowly and surely phased out almost completely. Though it’s still a pretty lopsided ration of men to women, it’s certainly not as skewed as it once was, and the public eye looks at women a bit differently than it used to. Unfortunately, certain metal publications still focus heavily on women’s looks, such as Revolver‘s annual “Hottest Chicks In Metal” feature.

Today, there are more bands fronted by women who put on the tough guise and bring it just as hard as any man around, and this is likely due to the influx of women into metal and the shifting of mindsets. In Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy talks about adopting a tougher style and persona in order to feel powerful on stage. She also speaks about how young girls come up to her after shows  to talk about how her performance inspire them. Most metalheads know Angela, who happens to have one of the best guttural screams live in the whole metal genre, but there are a lot of other bands out there that don’t get quite the same press. OurStage’s own Abnormality (whose song “Visions” was featured in a Rock Band game) is one of these bands. While listening to Mallika’s vocals, it’s nearly impossible to tell she’s a woman, and it’s refreshing to hear a female fronting a brutal death metal band. Other women who rock the guttural vocals and the tough guise include (and is certainly not limited to): Otep Shamaya of Otep, Krysta Cameron of Iwrestledabearonce, Candace Kucsulain of Walls of Jericho, Mel Mongeon of Fuck The Facts and Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist.

Still think that all bands with women are like Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Nightwish, In This Moment and the like? I can’t really see how you could. If you still need convincing, check out this video of Angela Gossow and Arch Enemy commanding a crowd in Japan to the tune of their song “Tyrants of the Rising Sun”

Metal Monday: Metal DVDs 101

Though physical sales of music have been on a very steady decline in recent years, there are two genres of music that still really appreciate the physical item, and metal is one of those genres (country being the other). Metalheads might not be buying the most CDs out there, but you’d be hard pressed to find a metalhead that doesn’t own a fair amount of metal merch. T-shirts, posters, vinyl, stickers, patches, you name it, metalheads want it. One of the few physical mediums of music still selling pretty well are DVDs.

Metal DVDs usually fall into one of three different styles: bonus material, live sets or documentary-style. Many DVDs often have multiple discs, each disk featuring a different type of content. Given that so much emphasis is put on metal bands playing live, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to know that most DVDs have a strong emphasis on live footage of bands. Out of the most highly regarded metal DVDs out there, most feature some combination of truly interesting footage or include a very special performance. For example, Gojira‘s The Link Alive is a DVD that essentially features a live set, but that live set is of the band playing The Link from front to back (with a couple extra songs) in a very small, intimate, packed venue full of passionate fans.

As rated by the members of metalstorm.net, the highest rated DVD with more than twenty votes is Pain of Salvation‘s Ending Themes: On The Two Deaths Of Pain Of Salvation—a truly remarkable DVD. It is a two-disc set, the first DVD featuring a rather lengthy ten-part documentary on the band, the second featuring a sixteen song live set from Amsterdam (a great set, at that). In addition to the two main components, there are quite a few “bonus features” on each disk, including things such as deleted scenes, the making of, a quiz, etc. Pain of Salvation really got it right with Ending Themes. If you’re looking for another DVD that follows this general format, The Black Dahlia Murder‘s Majesty is a pretty great package, though their documentary is  filled with hilarious European tour antics.

Every now and then, a band comes along and absolutely shatters the current “metal DVD” mold. One of the more landmark releases that steps outside of the regular realm of metal DVDs is HORSE the Band‘s Earth Tour DVD. A monolithic seven-DVD set that chronicles the band’s legendary “Earth Tour” spanning forty-five countries in four different continents. The movie totals about ten and a half hours, boiled down from 134 hours of footage according to the band’s statistics. The physical package comes with the DVDs, a photo book and some sort of random keepsake from the band. Since those packages are pretty limited, you can get a torrent of the photobook and movie, straight from the band themselves and all they ask is for a modest donation. Certainly worth spending a few bucks for, even if you’re not a huge HORSE the Band fan.

What it really boils down to is that some of the best metal DVDs aren’t just bands playing live or doing some sort of menial things that all metal bands do. Instead, what makes a metal DVD great is when the content is truly special in some way, whether it’s a remarkable live performance (Gojira), tells a gripping story of band doing something totally unorthodox (HORSE the Band) or features a bunch of people having a great time clearly showing they love what they’re doing (The Black Dahlia Murder). So, readers, what are some of your favorite metal DVDs that you’ve seen, and why?

 


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