Alternative Metal

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Alternative Metal, or Alt Metal for short, is a sub-genre of metal music that has it's roots in the mid-1980s. It's sound comes from the mixing of metal with elements that are uncharacteristic to the metal genre, such as funk and hip-hop, but not in such an experimental way as to be considered Avant-Garde Metal. Some of these alternative metal fusions gave risen to some distinct sub-genres of it's own, with Nu Metal being a notable metal movement from the mid-1990s.

Alternative Metal Sub-Genres

Funk Metal

Nu Metal

Rap Metal

Sub-genre collaborators (+ Child subs and Heavy Alternative Rock):

alternative metal top albums

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ALICE IN CHAINS Dirt Album Cover Dirt
ALICE IN CHAINS
4.51 | 105 ratings
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FAITH NO MORE Angel Dust Album Cover Angel Dust
FAITH NO MORE
4.40 | 86 ratings
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TOOL Ænima Album Cover Ænima
TOOL
4.21 | 81 ratings
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LIVING COLOUR Stain Album Cover Stain
LIVING COLOUR
4.50 | 9 ratings
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SOUNDGARDEN Badmotorfinger Album Cover Badmotorfinger
SOUNDGARDEN
4.18 | 62 ratings
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SYSTEM OF A DOWN Toxicity Album Cover Toxicity
SYSTEM OF A DOWN
4.15 | 93 ratings
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MUDVAYNE L.D. 50 Album Cover L.D. 50
MUDVAYNE
4.30 | 16 ratings
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KATATONIA The Fall Of Hearts Album Cover The Fall Of Hearts
KATATONIA
4.29 | 16 ratings
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KATATONIA Viva Emptiness Album Cover Viva Emptiness
KATATONIA
4.14 | 32 ratings
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FAITH NO MORE The Real Thing Album Cover The Real Thing
FAITH NO MORE
4.08 | 74 ratings
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TREMONTI All I Was Album Cover All I Was
TREMONTI
4.50 | 6 ratings
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DEFTONES White Pony Album Cover White Pony
DEFTONES
4.19 | 17 ratings
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When The World Becomes Undone
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A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH
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alternative metal Music Reviews

SLIPKNOT All Hope is Gone (10th Anniversary Reissue)

Boxset / Compilation · 2018 · Alternative Metal
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Necrotica
The 10th anniversary re-release of All Hope is Gone is strikingly deficient of extra content, especially given Slipknot’s penchant for giving fans a wealth of new rarities and goodies with prior reissues. For comparison’s sake, Iowa’s re-release saw the 9-piece provide an entire film of music videos and interviews, new artwork, and live audio of the Disasterpieces DVD. Meanwhile, the reissue of All Hope is Gone simply features new cover art (which is quite pisspoor compared to the original cover) and a live disc featuring the band performing at Madison Square Garden. That’s pretty paltry, but I suppose it’s not entirely surprising when taking the band’s views on the record into consideration.

After all, they themselves (minus a few members) often consider All Hope is Gone to be the most disappointing record in their short discography. Guitarist Jim Root once stated that “it felt a little rushed” and went further to blast producer Dave Fortman by saying he “wasn't able to get nine people together on the same page and, to me, that's the most important thing in making a Slipknot record." And if there’s anything I can at least agree with the album’s detractors on, it’s Root’s comment about not being able to stay on the same page. Yes, All Hope is Gone is very obviously a stitch job. Many disparate flavors are blended together without much forethought into what the outcome would be. Many elements of Stone Sour, in particular, creep almost uncomfortably into Slipknot’s sound to offset some of the outfit’s heaviest moments.

And yet, that last statement is often more of a strength than a weakness to my ears. I understand that many people found the album sorely lacking in the anger and brutality of previous records (which amuses me, considering how soft Vol. 3 was on many occasions), but it’s not like the band’s unique brand of groove-inflected alt metal has dulled all that much here. “Gematria,” “Sulfur,” “Wherein the Lies Continue,” “This Cold Black,” and the title track are all imbued with the same manic energy and intensity that Slipknot built their empire on, and they should prove to be highlights to fans who flocked to their most furious and hard-edged moments. Some of the moments where the Stone Sour influences rear their head also prove to be highlights, such as the way “Sulfur” combines a thrash-like fury in the verses with a fusion of catharsis and clarity in the groove metal chorus. “Gehenna” is another strong point, using the softer elements to throw the listener into a host of creepy guitar and sampling effects while Corey Taylor delivers one of his most effective performances yet.

Speaking of Corey, All Hope is Gone may actually be the strongest showing of the man’s versatility on the mic. Growling, screaming, gentle crooning, mid-range singing (with a bit of rasp for good measure), creepy low vocals that almost pass for spoken word, and forceful gang shouts are all given a chance and are more equally distributed on this album than on any other by the group. Even for non-fans of the band, one has to admit that there’s a lot of power and charisma whenever he takes centerstage. However, true to this album’s spirit of inclusion, most of the other members step it up quite a bit too. Guitar-wise, expect to hear a lot more shredding and traditional death/thrash-influenced riffs than on previous outings; the solos in particular prove to be some of the best bits on the songs that include them, like “Psychosocial,” “Butcher’s Hook,” and “Gematria.” Joey Jordison, meanwhile, remains a powerhouse on the drums and does a nice job of combining brutality and force with a strong ear for tasteful and varied dynamics. The only real disappointment here is that some of the more extraneous members, such as keyboardist/sampler Craig Jones and DJ Sid Wilson, have a lot more time on the sidelines because of the band’s shift toward a more traditional metal sound.

Truth be told, I find the weakest moments to be found in the softest moments. “Snuff,” while very nostalgic to return to, simply doesn’t hold up well anymore (hell, one could argue it didn’t hold up very well in the first place). It’s an overly saccharine piece of melancholic alt-rock fluff that doesn’t really fit too well in the band’s discography as a whole. Perhaps if it was one of the ballads on a Stone Sour record - in the same vein as “Bother” - it would have found a better home. The same could be said of “Dead Memories” to an extent; despite some decent lead guitar work from Mick Thompson, the heartbroken lyrics (Corey was going through a divorce at the time) prove to be too melodramatic and are quite hard to take seriously. Also, some of the pacing is a bit startling; did anyone really expect the title track to appear right after “Snuff,” for instance?

All Hope is Gone is a strange record. It’s a mishmashed, disjointed metal album with a severe identity crisis. Joey Jordison once stated that it’s the sound of the band breaking at the seams, and that’s probably the best way to explain the lack of control and cohesion regarding the project. Still, I can’t deny that I found some of the band’s best material to be present here. The heaviest moments remain a force to be reckoned with - just as on past Slipknot records - and the moments that integrate the mix of heavy and soft dynamics are often quite effective too (with a few exceptions; the chorus to “Butcher’s Hook” is absolutely miserable). All Hope is Gone definitely works better on a song-by-song basis than as an entire experience, but there’s still a ton of good stuff here if you’re willing to hit the “skip” button once or twice.

LACUNA COIL The 119 Show - Live In London

Live album · 2018 · Alternative Metal
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Kev Rowland
To celebrate twenty years, Lacuna Coil played a special sold-out show at O2 Forum Kentish Town in London on 19th January 2018, which has now been made available in multiple formats. After the release of their 2014 album ‘Broken Crown Halo’ the band went through some major line-up changes with the departure of drummer Cristiano Mozzati and guitarists Cristiano Migliore and Marco Biazzi. But they returned with a new line-up and ‘Delirium’ in 2016, and there is certainly nothing here that shows that the band have been through any significant change.

Although bassist/guitarist/keyboard player Marco Coti-Zelati has been providing music since the very first album, he is happy to hide behind a mask, as does new drummer Ryan Blake Folden and guitarist Diego Cavallotti, as their role is to provide the music for Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro who control the stage. There are times when the three musicians all stay at the rear to allow all the spotlights to be on the singers, and it is their harmonies and different styles working together with the dark melancholic Goithic metal that really makes this band stand out. For fans who have been there since the beginning there is plenty here to enjoy, as they really do run through their whole career in a set that is nearly three hours long. To hear songs such as “My Wings” from their debut ‘In A Reverie’ is wonderful, while “Comalies” of course gets a huge reaction. Theatrical, over the top, this is an amazing set, which of course finishes with the mighty “Nothing Stands In Our Ways”.

This is a superb record of the first twenty years, and they are showing no sign at all of slowing down. If you have yet to hear Lacuna Coil then this is essential, and if you are a fan they you must already have it. Exciting, dynamic and powerful, this is Lacuna Coil at their very best.

LACUNA COIL Broken Crown Halo

Album · 2014 · Alternative Metal
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Kev Rowland
I still remember hearing ‘In A Reverie’, ‘Unleashed Memories’ and ‘Comalies’ when they were released – three albums that made a huge impact and certainly launched this Italian dual vocal Gothic inspired act straight into the big time. I hadn’t heard any of their material for a while until I came across this 2014 album, which immediately got me wondering why on earth I hadn’t stayed current with their career, as Cristina Scabbia has an amazing voice, singing sweetly or with venom as the need arises, and in Andrea Ferro she has the perfect foil and when they combine they lift each other, and then there is the driving bottom end of the music which is punchy, hard and bombastic with symphonic elements that lift it way out of the norm.

There are times when it somehow feels commercial, with buzzsaw riffs, but is that just because the scene has moved so much since they first came on the scene, as there is still an honesty and passion shining through what they are delivering. Ferro is a great singer in his own right, able to provide multiple styles, and with these two at the front it is no surprise the guys behind them have to keep mixing it up and punching hard. The more I played this album the more I wanted to play it, as there is a groove and life behind this which is simply superb. Hard, smooth, heavy, silky and raw, this is well worth investigating.

LIVING COLOUR Time's Up

Album · 1990 · Funk Metal
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Warthur
Living Colour's Time's Up finds the pioneering funk metal unit steering further into more experimental turf. The upshot of this is that there's no one standout hit here like Cult of Personality was for the debut album, but the album is worth digging deep into if you are keen on the idea of funk and jazz/fusion influences being combined with a metal approach.

There's just a pinch of thrash influence here too, enough so that whilst they never quite cross the line into the sort of jazz-death metal that the likes of Atheist were pioneering at around this time, at the same time the two bands could easily have opened for each other and it wouldn't have been entirely incongruous. Both, after all, were attempting to combine the technical complexity and chops of jazz with the power and force of metal - it's just that Living Colour had a bit more of a funky approach to the experiment.

FARMER BOYS Born Again

Album · 2018 · Alternative Metal
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Kev Rowland
In the 90’s they played some of the world’s largest festivals, toured with the likes of Rammstein, Deftones and Metallica and were highly regarded in the German music scene for this ability to mix metal with pop melodies, but since their fourth album ‘The Other Side’, which was released in 2004, things have been relatively quiet. However, three of the founding members Matthias Sayer (vocals), Alex Scholpp (guitar) and Ralf Botzenhart (bass – Ralf actually left the band before they became well-known, only recently returning) brought in two new members in Timm Schreiner (drums) and Richard Düe (keyboards) and started playing again in 2017, and this is the first album since then.

The album starts really quietly, with gentle keyboards, but when the guitars come in then the listener knows the band aren’t straying too far away from their roots. Although they are a metal band, I found that the act they reminded me most closely of was My Chemical Romance, with a strong dose of alternative melodies being mixed in with the guitars. Sayer has a great voice, and the album contains hook after hook, and has been very well produced, so even though I don’t normally listen to this style of music I found that it was making me smile. The arrangements contain many elements, and one is never quite sure where each song is going to lead, as there are times they come across as Machine Head with a furious groove, and others Linkin Park, while always maintaining that melodic sensibility. Solid.

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SLIPKNOT Day Of The Gusano

Movie · 2017 · Nu Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
***This review is regarding the single disc, UK Blu-Ray version only. Which contains the full uninterrupted concert only, with no special features or documentary footage.***

Now, you might be thinking ‘I’ve already got three Slipknot videos with concert footage on them’ if you already own Disasterpeices live in London from the Iowa touring cycle, (Sic)nesses live at Download festival 2009 on their first headline performance there during the All Hope Is Gone touring cycle, and the 2nd disc of the documentary release Voliminal Inside The Nine which had a smattering of live tracks from different dates and locations during the Vol. 3 touring cycle.

So what has Day Of The Gusano got to separate it from the others and make it worth buying as well? Well; first off, it is their first official concert video with the new rhythm section of Jay and Alex on drums and bass. Its their first ever show in Mexico City and the fans are energetic and grateful. Its their first video of a Knotfest performance and features all the associated spectacle and backdrops. It has songs from the .5 The Gray Chapter album, which obviously none of the previous videos will have had.

Comparing it to their other DVDs, there are 11 songs here that aren’t on Disaterpieces, including the rarely played ‘Metabolic’ off of Iowa, and ‘Me Inside’ & ‘Prosthetics’ off of the debut. There are 6 songs here that aren’t on (Sic)nesses at Download ’09. Compared to Voliminal‘s concert section, well, its a full length concert in a single location not just 9 random tracks from various locations, and none of it is in black & white.

So, onto ‘Gusano itself. (If you didn’t know already or bother to google that, its Spanish for ‘Maggots’ by the way, which makes sense, since y’know, they call their fans ‘Maggots’ and its filmed in Mexico). The audio visual quality of the release is really high. The picture quality, camera work, variety of shots, editing and general watching experience of the concert are the best that Slipknot have had to date. It is beautiful to look at, and there’s nothing distracting or interrupting about the editing. The performance visually has lots of pyro and fireworks and big backdrops and set pieces, fancy lighting. There’s generally lots going on up there on stage… its big and flashy and never boring.

The mix and production are very good. The only niggle is that Corey’s vocals are a bit lower in the mix than any previous live efforts from the band, but that’s real nitpicking. Otherwise, the instruments are really clear and well balanced, you can make the kick drum out clearly in all situations, and its even easier to hear Craig and Sid’s stuff than usual too which helps you notice them a bit better. If there’s a key riff or drum fill or whatever its given priority and generally its all beefy, heavy and just plain well put together.

The band themselves’ performance will always make or break a concert though. All the audio visual quality in the world, with the most expensive fireworks and lighting can’t hide a crappy performance. Slipknot have been through different phases in that regard. Old bootlegs off of the first album cycle show them as a sort of messy raw jumble. On Iowa they were a tight well-oiled million dollar perfect live-band (I remember seeing them live in Belfast on that cycle and its still one of my favourite ever concert experiences all these years later). On Volume 3 they flipped between the two but generally they were let down by Corey’s vocals (both times I saw them on that cycle and indeed both their 9.0 Live album and Voliminal DVD from that cycle all suffered from Corey’s vocals not being as great as usual). On All Hope‘ however, they came back blazing and were incredible and put in career defining performances and Corey sounded like one of the world’s greatest ever frontmen.

Luckily, here, the band are really on top form. This is a fiery, energetic, fun performance that everybody seems into. There are no complaints about the new line up and they do a great job of trying to fill some pretty massive, childhood-defining, shoes. (Heck, Jay arguably plays ‘Vermilion’ better live here than on any of the other three officially released versions of it). The veteran members are all super practiced, tight and precise. Corey is really strong here, arguably the second-best that he’s ever been on an official release next to Download ’09. (There are some minor questions about that on ‘Sarcastrophe’ and ‘Prosthetics’ maybe, which are a bit sketchy perhaps, but for the majority of it he really, really nails it). Its also nice to see him making an effort to speak Spanish which he does rather a lot and appears really humble and grateful.

The one bit where all Slipknot concerts drag is during ‘Spit It Out’ when the band get all the audience to squat down so they can all jump (the fuck) up at the same key moment. The actual process of cajoling them all to squat down can be a bit boring to watch or listen to if you aren’t actually there yourself sometimes, but luckily here it really doesn’t drag on too long and they payoff is great; the image of the gigantic Mexican crowd all bouncing in unison is really rather impressive.

So just to go through the list: It looks great. It sounds great. The band play great. The setlist is different enough from previous live releases to be worth it. That setlist itself is also pretty great, doing a good job of pleasing fans with the songs they’d expect to hear (Old fans could never see a set without ‘(sic)’ or ‘Surfacing’ and newer fans would never accept a set without ‘Duality’ and ‘Psychosocial’ for example) with pleasing them by spicing things up a bit and not just repeating themselves every time. On a personal note as well, its just so damn nice that they played ‘Metabolic’ live. I’ve been banging on for years about it and how its my favourite Slipknot song and they’ve finally put it out on something. I’m very pleased about that. Underrated song!

Anyway, that’s just personal preference. Everyone has their pros and cons to any setlist by any band. I’m sure some people are gutted ‘Sulfur’ and ‘Left Behind’ are missing considering they were big singles. I myself am kind of surprised ‘Skeptic’ is missing. With its catchy-ass chorus its absolutely built for big audience sing-alongs. I’d have thought that would be in every live set ever following Paul’s death, but I guess maybe its too personal for them lyrically or something like that.

Overall; this is a damn fine release from the band and not one to miss out on. Not even if you’ve already got a lot of live material by them already, as discussed at the beginning. Its probably their best video album on purely video terms, and its really worthy of inclusion in your collection in the other aspects like tracklisting and performance. If you are desperate to see the documentary, don’t get this version, but if you, like me, only really want the concert then this is the perfect version (at the lowest price).

GREEN JELLŸ Cereal Killer

Movie · 1992 · Alternative Metal
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Unitron
What would happen if Art Clokey, Jim Henson, and Gerry Anderson got together and created some films while on a sick acid trip?

Most likely, Cereal Killer would be created.

Green JellŸ, known as Green Jello at this time before they had to change the name, was probably one of the only bands to make a "video-music album". Yeah, you can go listen to the "Cereal Killer Soundtrack", but you really won't get the same experience. These songs don't really work unless you're watching the utterly ridiculous and zany videos along with them. The videos contain all sorts of use of claymation, puppetry, and weird costumes backed by a soundtrack blending thrash metal, hardcore punk, funk metal, classic heavy metal, and whatever else they wanted to make.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the lyrics are completely absurd along with the videos. You have their famous "Three Little Pigs", which is about a rocking pig, stoned pig, rich pig, and Rambo gunning down the big bad wolf. The title cut is about cereal mascots going to war, with the FruitLoops toucan slaughtering all the other mascots. Finally, the cover of Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." is about the town of Bedrock from The Flintstones with the lyrics of 'Want to destroy Mr. Slate, Cause I wanna be Fred Flintstone'.

If you just want to hear some good music, there's always the soundtrack. However, if you want a good laugh at a party, invite your friends to come watch Cereal Killer. This is a hilarious metal musical for all to see.

Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

SLIPKNOT (sic)nesses

Movie · 2010 · Nu Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Most Slipknot fans won’t need very much convincing, a new live DVD has been released an you very probably plan t buy it, but for anyone on the fence about whether or not to get it, I highly recommend this package, on is own merits and not just out of blind dedication to the band.

‘(sic)nesses,’ is a pretty great package, documenting their 2009 headline performance at the UK’s Download Festival in front of 80,000 excited fans. Also included is a documentary (curiously on disc one, with the concert on disc 2) from Shaun ‘Clown,’ Crahan and all the music videos from the band’s ‘All Hope Is Gone,’ album cycle.

Performance wise, everything you expect to happen at a Slipknot concert is there, so don’t expect to be disappointed in that regard. One can expect to see people hanging off things, jumping off things and throwing things at regular intervals; in addition to a spinning in mid air drum kit, Different band members fretting the notes for the guitarists, different band members hitting a keg with a baseball bat, Clown and Criss’s strap-on marching drums during ‘The Blister Exists,’ and ‘Psycho Social,’ and of course Sid getting into the midst of everything, including the crowd whenever possible.

Without a doubt the entire concert is made on the strength of the crowds passionate reaction and that undefinable live energy that just makes the concert feel amazing. Seeing 80,000 plus people singing along to very heavy music is almost life affirming.

If you were dissapointed by the band’s live performances on their live album ‘9.0 Live,’ or the bonus live material from ‘Voliminal,’ specifically the mix, Corey’s vocals and the disjointed feeling caused from material being taken from various concerts and are unsure whether or not to buy ‘(sic)nesses,’ then I’d like to reassure you that it is of a much higher quality than the previously mentioned releases, the whole concert is much more impressive and intense, Corey’s vocal performance is noticeably stronger and the mix is a lot more suitable.

The audiovisual quality of the release is in absolutely no question, the tech crew behind it have done an absolutely sterling job recording, mixing, filming and editing it and the whole viewing experience is of as high a quality as you would expect from a band of Slipknot’s size, even considering that this was a festival performance which is where a lot of big bands release their weaker DVDs due to the reduced amount of control available. Put simply this DVD looks and sounds fantastic, better even than you’d expect.

The only negative things I have to say are mere nitpicking, such as a perceived shortage of material from the ‘Iowa,’ album and that the documentary is very much in the Shaun Crahan style (as seen on the main Voliminal film and the All Hope is Gone bonus DVD) which I don’t personally care for but of course, you could indeed love this style. These minor and circumstantial niggles do nothing to detract from the sheer quality of the release. It may sound cheesy, but ‘(sic)nesses,’ proves why people love Slipknot so much.

MUDVAYNE All Access to All Things

Movie · 2003 · Nu Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Mudvayne’s second concert DVD, All Access To All Things features performances from Metallica’s 2003 Summer Sanitarium tour; filmed across three shows at three locations, Seattle, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. The DVD features 50 minutes worth of live performances adding up to a total of ten songs as well as forty minutes of behind the scenes footage like interviews on the tour bus or in the dressing room as well as the making of their music video for ‘World So Cold,’ which is available as a bonus feature.

The performances are of a pretty great quality and the sound and visuals are of an acceptable standard. The two greatest faults are that the bass drum sound is rather poor, but this is to be expected at a big outdoor show and is made up for by the fact that the rest of the sound is very good. The other flaw is that on about three songs, the editing becomes distracting for about a minute or so when it is decided that a bunch of really quick cuts are necessary.

Apart from these two minor flaws, All Access to All Things is an enjoyable DVD worthy of a place in any Mudvayne fan’s collection. The performances are tight, the behind the scenes sections are relatively interesting, (but thankfully you are given the option to watch just the concert, which is great for repeat viewings) and the track listing is good. Matt, Greg and Ryan absolutely nail every second of the performance, playing both tightly and energetically, and Chad adds some brilliant improvised vocals at the end of ‘Nothing To Gein,’ and ‘World So Cold,’

Chad can really pull it off live, delivering the clean vocals really well and the heavier vocals almost as well with very few exceptions, chiefly on the faster songs from LD.50 where it would be impossible for anyone to sing that fast, that close together without losing their breath. On this DVD the band appear without the make up which was the trademark of their early career and are playing in daylight at big outdoor events across three different shows.

If this is not to your tastes, you may want to consider Mudvayne’s first concert DVD ‘Live In Peoria,’ which features the band wearing makeup, indoors in a smaller venue, at night and all from a single concert.

In summary; if you don’t mind that the live sections are not from one single concert and can forgive the bass drum sound, you will find a very enjoyable DVD that stands up even now.

FAITH NO MORE You Fat Bastards / Who Cares A Lot?

Movie · 2006 · Alternative Metal
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Stooge
The Brixton Academy show captures the band in 1990, just as they were beginning to explode in an “Epic” fashion. Supporting their 1989 release “The Real Thing”, the setlist contains all but “Surprise! You’re Dead!” and “The Morning After” from that album. Two tracks from the pre-Patton era are performed “As The Worm Turns” and “We Care A Lot”, both of which are a good fit with Patton’s voice. This concert is well shot, and the band performs great. It makes me wish for a more extended Faith No More show to be released in the future.

The other part of the package is mainly to showcase their promotional videos. Music video compilations aren’t normally my cup of tea, but at least they integrate some other things into the mix to keep it interesting. You get snippets of interviews, behind the scenes footage, and outtakes to bridge some of the music videos. The music videos span going all the way to the Chuck Mosely days through to Album of the Year, ranging in quality to low budget/amateur rank (“Everything’s Ruined”, the Mosely era ones) to great production values (“Stripsearch”). However, I believe there are some official videos missing from the collection (“Ricochet” comes to mind). I guess having “Greatest Videos” in the title covers their a$$es in that regard.

This is a great package for those new to Faith No More, and it has strong re-play value.

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