Heavy Metal

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Heavy metal (often referred to simply as metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues-rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are generally associated with masculinity and machismo.

The first heavy metal bands (Proto) such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple attracted large audiences, though they were often critically reviled, a status common throughout the history of the genre. In the mid-1970s Judas Priest helped spur the genre’s evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) such as Iron Maiden followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal had attracted a worldwide following of fans known as “metalheads” or “headbangers”.

Visit the NWoBHM sub-genre page for more details on this particular music movement.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Heavy_Metal

Inclusive Traditional Heavy Metal Genres

Melodic Metal is often short for Melodic Heavy Metal and as such is usually included under Traditional Heavy Metal on the MMA. On rare occasions Melodic Metal releases may also be included under Power Metal however, such as Arven's Black is the Colour (2013).

Sub-genre collaborators (+ child sub-genres & shared with Hard Rock and Glam Metal):
  • 666sharon666 (Leader)

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Album · 1995 · Heavy Metal
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"Drift" is the 5th full-length studio album by US thrash/heavy metal act Flotsam and Jetsam. The album was released through MCA Records in April 1995. It´s the successor to "Cuatro" from 1992 and features the same five-piece lineup who recorded the predecessor. MCA Records signed Flotsam and Jetsam in 1989 because the label thought they could create another Metallica success story, but the big breakthrough never happened and "Drift" was the third and last Flotsam and Jetsam album released through MCA Records, before the band returned to their old label Metal Blade Records for the release of "High (1997)".

All stars were aligned for Flotsam and Jetsam to make it big in the early nineties with their melodic heavy/thrash metal style, which isn´t far removed from the style of music played post-1990 by contemporaries like Anthrax, Megadeth, and of course Metallica. It´s fans of the least thrashy output by those artists that is the target group of "Drift". A full alignment of stars isn´t always equal to commercial success though, and Flotsam and Jetsam just never made it. They´ve kept busy though, releasing albums and touring, and have had an underground following throughout their career, so even though they´ve had a couple of breaks here and there, Flotsam and Jetsam never folded and soldiered on in spite of their limited commercial success.

"Drift" is obviously an album MCA Records put some money into making a success, as it features a professional and very well sounding production. Flotsam and Jetsam are skilled musicians and they also know a thing or two about writing catchy and powerful heavy metal songs, and as a result the material on the 10 track, 42:38 minutes long album, are well written and memorable. Lead vocalist Eric A.K. is the icing on the cake, with his strong voice and distinct sounding delivery. He is a world-class singer and proves it once again on "Drift".

When all the praise is said about the band and the overall quality of "Drift", it´s still short of being excellent in my book. Not completely unlike how I felt about the last couple of releases. It all sounds a little safe and formulaic, and although all tracks are instantly catchy and memorable, they still lack that last songwriting quality to propel them to the premier league of heavy metal songs. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

ANVIL Impact Is Imminent

Album · 2022 · Heavy Metal
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I hadn't bought any Anvil albums since Metal on Metal and Forged in Fire, and aside from these two, I had no idea of what the band had been doing all these years until that movie about them came out. I thought about buying a newer Anvil album at the time, but it never became a priority until this year when I heard there was another new album coming out. After a few months, I finally got it.

After ordering it, I checked a review on Angry Metal Guy that said it was a bit better than their last few albums. Anvil are known for being one of those bands that stick with one formula and every album adheres to it. Anvil are a core old school metal band, and all of their albums don't deviate except where some albums might feature more speed metal and others might have more connection to metal's hard rock and blues-based roots. As one reviewer on Rate Your Music said, all the albums are pretty much the same, so comparisons will mostly be about production value and song-writing.

I was pleasantly surprised. No, there was nothing unexpected, but right from the get go I noticed the excellent sound quality. Metal albums can suffer various production problems such as dense or muddy sound quality, lackluster drum or vocal recording quality, tinny guitar sounds, or overly compressed sound. This album is very rich and clean with all instruments clear in the mix. The bass might seem in the background a bit, but if you listen for it, it's right in there providing the weight for the guitar riffs and adding some accent points here and there.

The songs are mostly quite fun (the "Lockdown" song about COVID-19 runs dry because of the theme, I find), and there are a few tracks that perk up my ears with each listen such as "Ghost Shadow" and "Gunfight". Lips sounds very gruff and tough. His vocals aren't a winner for everyone, and I've read a few criticisms about them on older albums. But for me, he does a fine job for the music on this album. Actually, I find it impressive knowing the age of both Lips and Rob because this album is full of energy!

I have since picked up a few older albums and I can say that Impact Is Imminent is not as intense as some, e.g. Plugged In Permanent. But as an album with which to become reacquainted with Anvil, I think it's certainly good enough. Rather than a tepid response, I am inspired to hear more, so that's a plus sign.

Reviews of this album generally fall between the Angry Metal Guy view of not a great album, no reinventing of the wheel, but at least somewhat interesting to a rather impressive piece of work for a band's 19th studio release.

I watched a podcast interview with Lips and Rob and Sacha Gervasi, who made the Anvil movie, and I learned that the two instrumental tracks on the album, "Teabag" and "Gomez" are both nicknames for Sacha. When he was fifteen, Sacha got himself invited to work as a drum tech for Anvil for three weeks during his summer holiday, and being English, he was given the nickname. Later on he earned the nickname "Gomez" when he announced that he had the best train set in Hollywood, and Lips and Rob said he was like Gomez Adams.

Impact Is Imminent might not exactly be a must have album for everyone, but Anvil fans shouldn't miss it and for those who has a casual acquaintance with the band's music should at least check it out.

METALLICA Hardwired... to Self-Destruct

Album · 2016 · Heavy Metal
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Death Magnetic in 2008 was obviously a lengthy step in the right direction following the all-encompassing nadir of the St. Anger era, but I've always had a problem with the well publicized Rick Rubin mindset of re-living the past instead of looking to the future and evolving. Maybe that was what they needed to do to get back on track and win back some credibility as a creative act, but as a fan of the Load era I was disappointed that they almost completely shut down that avenue.

But on Hardwired...to Self Destruct Metallica act their age and embrace not only their thrashing days, but their entire history. The early part of the album is dominated by the faster side of their toolbox while the second is heavy on mid-tempo numbers very much reminiscent of the early-to-mid 90s output - you can even hear a hint of St. Anger in the screeching heaviness of parts of Am I Savage?

Hardwired continues right where Death Magnetic left off with the title track joining My Apocalypse as the most straightforward thrash tunes they've written since maybe even Kill 'em All. The other songs reaching back to the proggier side of 80s - namely Atlas Rise, the absolutely superb Moth into Flame and the furious closer Spit Out the Bone - are extremely effective and convincing. Other fairly strong pieces are the Sad-But-True-meets-The-Thing-That-Should-Not-Be mashup Dream No More, the heavy epic Halo on Fire, the dirt and spit juggernaut Am I Savage? and the pretty basic heavy rock of Confusion that I still for some reason enjoy quite a lot, despite the directionless improvised noodlings behind the second verse.

Apart from the aforementioned improv part and the clumsy beat holding back the pre-solo section of ManUNkind this album thankfully lacks the head scratching arrangement and quality control blunders that plagued parts of Death Magnetic and the sound production is also vastly superior. The excellent Ronnie Rising medley recorded for the at the time recent Dio tribute album, and again included here on the special edition, gave some promise of slightly slicker sound than what's been heard on most of their output this century, and those promises were indeed fulfilled with Hardwired...to Self-Destruct sounding like an album with production values thought beyond a mere "this is what we sound like in our garage". For the first time in his time in Metallica, Robert Trujillo is taken seriously as a ballsy kick ass bassist, and he provides a perfect fat rumble as a foundation for all the Hetfield riffs. Lars limps his way through the faster thrashy beats, but is very very solid most of the way when the tempo is taken down to Load era levels.

With the new album 72 Seasons announced I thought I'd get back to the old review draft I left unfinished around the release of Hardwired, and I find that my respect for the album has diminished somewhat. While in the beginning I was very much enjoying the whole scope from straight up thrash to the sludgy Load soundalikes, now years later I find that the songwriting especially during some of the slower songs on the second half just hasn't stood the test of time that well. On the other hand Atlas Rise and especially Moth Into Flame are hands down some of the finest Metallica tunes from the last 35ish years and the production is leaps and bounds better than anything since Garage Inc.

I always wanted them to release a varied album like this as I felt that the Rubin-led thrashier approach of Death Magnetic was a bit forced and the slower mid-90s sound was the one they were naturally evolving into, but looking at it now I see I was wrong since it's the former that produces the greatest highlights here. It will be interesting to hear what kind of balance they strike on the upcoming 72 Seasons.

STRYPER The Final Battle

Album · 2022 · Heavy Metal
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Vim Fuego
Mainstream metal fans have always had a couple of problems with Stryper which has held the band back from greater success.

The first is the obvious one – the Christian lyrics and message the band has been broadcasting for the best part of 40 years. However, celebrations of, and exhortations to, Big Daddy, J.C., and the Spook, er... I mean the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (gotta keep the atheist piss-taking to a minimum here because this is a review of the album, not the religion) aside, Stryper have produced some absolutely banging metal tunes over the years. Take the first track from “The Final Battle” as an example. “Transgressor” is a booming lead-off track, so forget those old 80s glam metal reservations you might still be hanging on to. This is a full on powerful heavy-fucking-metal… oh, sorry, heavy-f***ing-metal song. Solos, a relentless rhythm, killer Judas Priest/Saxon/Accept style riffs, and lyrics guiding you on the path to eternal life, if you so desire. Yes, Stryper can rock hard with the best of them.

And so the album continues. Musically “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” isn’t a million miles distant from Judas Priest’s “Touch of Evil”, and vocalist Michael Sweet even hits a Halford style falsetto scream. “Same Old Story” and “Heart & Soul” are a pair of stadium rockers which modern day Mötley Crüe would kill for, all with positive, life-affirming messages instead of death and destruction or party anthem lyrics.

So far, so good. This is exactly what anyone who’s been paying attention to Stryper over the years would expect. However, the second problem hinted at earlier rears it’s ugly head with fifth track “Near”. The bane of many a young metalhead from the 80s, it’s a POWER BALLAD! Yep, Stryper’s ballads are just awful. The ballads are just so sappy and saccharine, and with the Christian sentiments come across as the Imagine Dragons of metal. These songs might really tear it up in the live setting in an evangelical mega-church, but in recorded form these are the tracks the skip button or air sickness bags were designed for.

From here on, the rest of the album seems to lose a bit of it’s bite, teetering between hands-in-the-air hard rock hymns to Him, and rockers that don’t quite roll like the first few tracks. The album could easily have just fizzled out like this, but final track “Ashes To Ashes” elbows it’s way in, and it’s a rocker which wouldn’t seem out of place on a W.A.S.P. album.

The Yellow and Black Attack have always been a bit problematic for metal fans not looking for religious messages in their music. The messaging has put off a lot of potential listeners over the years (yes, I’ll own up, I was one), but if you can put prejudices and preconceptions aside, and then filter through the filler tracks, there’s some absolute killer metal contained here. Just make sure your finger on the skip button is quicker than your gag reflex when you hit the ballad...


Album · 2018 · Heavy Metal
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Redeemer of Souls, the first Judas Priest album to feature Richie Faulkner in the guitar post vacated by K.K. Downing, was very much a back-to-basics album, complete with fairly lo-fi production, and managed to be pretty good precisely because of its no-frills approach. Firepower, its followup, has better production and even tighter material, combining a very traditional Judas Priest approach with a few extra flourishes here and there.

It's not an album to radically change the way you see Priest - the last time they did that was Painkiller - but it is consistently good. Despite being nearly an hour long, I found there was very little filler - perhaps it would be a tighter listen if you trimmed a few pieces, but how would you ever choose which to lose when it all sounds so great?

heavy metal movie reviews

FOZZY Unleashed, Uncensored, Unknown

Movie · 2003 · Heavy Metal
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I’m totally unashamed about my love for this band and this DVD! Released in Fozzy’s early days when they were playing mostly covers, this is complete rock ‘n’ roll nonsense documenting how Fozzy created heavy metal and then signed a dodgy contract that left them stranded in Japan for twenty years!

The main documentary is hilarious. You can tell everyone is just having a blast filming it, and the added cameos from the likes of Zakk Wylde, Sebastian Bach and Mike Portnoy just add to this. And at barely a half an hour in duration, this main feature has plenty of replay value.

There’s an abundance of extras too, including more daft early Fozzy shenanigans as well as sincere and out-of-character footage too, showing that even in their early days this band possessed unlimited potential, but then, what would you expect when rap metal pioneers Stuck Mojo joined forces with wrestling icon Chris Jericho?

ACCEPT Restless & Live

Movie · 2017 · Heavy Metal
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Restless & Live is a concert release from the veteran German Heavy Metal legends Accept. It was released on Nuclear Blast Records in 2017 on several formats; such as a CD set with tracks taken from different concerts across the touring cycle for Blind Rage (their third studio album since being reinvigorated by the joining of new singer Mark Tornillo). It was also released as a Blu Ray of a single entire performance at 2015’s Bang Your Head Festival. If you’ve got a bit more money to splash out you can get a set with the Blu Ray and CD versions, or if you prefer DVDs that’s also an option.

My personal preference for concert movies or albums is that they come from on single concert not a mix of shows, and if available preferably on Blu Ray, so for me this was the version I went for and am most happy with. (which this review will be focusing on).

In terms of specs: The Blu Ray version is in 1080p with PCM Stereo and DTS HD Master 5.1 options, Region:All. There aren’t any bonus features. There’s a booklet with some photos but no linear notes.

So the main reason you are buying this disc is for the concert; which is about an hour and forty-five minutes of blistering classic Heavy Metal. The 18-song tracklisting is pretty heavily focused on the three Tornillo-era albums, with a few of the classic ’80s crowdpleasing tunes added in as well. So if you’ve already got the DVD that came with Blind Rage its still worth checking this out for the different tracklisting and higher production values. (The CD version of Restless & Wild contains 27 songs and more of a mix of material).

The tracklisting is: 1. Stampede 2. Stalingrad 3. London Leatherboys 4. Restless & Wild 5. Dying Breed 6. Final Journey 7. Shadow Soldiers 8. Losers & Winners 9. 200 Years 10. Midnite Mover 11. No Shelter 12. Princess Of The Dawn 14. Pandemic 15. Fast As A Shark 16. Metal Heart 17. Teutonic Terror 18. Balls To The Wall

The performance is tight and professional but still has that ‘live’ feeling and energy, it isn’t all sterile but it isn’t loose and sloppy either, its just right. They all give it gusto and look pretty into it. There’s no complaints on vocals, musicianship or song selection for me. Wolf Hoffman’s guitar solos are as entertaining as you would expect and there’s a fun bass versus guitar trade off section at one point. The camera work, editing, sound and mix are all solid. Nothing jarring or out of place, no sync issues, all instruments audible and in correct balance. The songs sound clear and yet muscular.

Its a pretty simple and honest affair. There’s no gimmicks here; no big show with giant robot crabs on stage or band members catching fire or shooting lazers out of their eyes, and there’s no life changing documentary, no animations weaved into the concert or anything… but if you want to buy an Accept live concert and watch songs like ‘Fast As A Shark’ and ‘Balls To The Wall’ played well by the new line-up and competently captured and prepared for home viewing then it is an absolutely fine product and I highly recommend it to fans of the band, especially to fans of the newer three albums. For me, watching songs like ‘No Shelter,’ ‘Stalingrad’ and ‘Pandemic’ belted out enthusiastically are worth the money.

If you are new to the band, this is a very strong starting place, (if not entirely representative of the overall discography) and if you are a fan already its a worthy addition to your collection.

IRON MAIDEN Live After Death

Movie · 1985 · NWoBHM
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siLLy puPPy
Universally cited as one of the absolute best live albums of all time, LIVE AFTER DEATH is the first live album / video release of IRON MAIDEN’s classic early Bruce Dickinson years and was recorded during their “World Slavery Tour.” Despite lasting a whopping 331 days, this double LP album only took two venues as their source for representing their electric live performances. The first 13 tracks were recorded at the Long Beach Arena in California, USA and the remaining five tracks were taken from a night at Hammersmith Odeon in London. While LIVE AFTER DEATH was released both as audio LP and video VHS in 1985, the two aren’t exactly identical in content. The audio LP originally contained 18 tracks (one of which is “Intro: Churchill’s Speech”) but the VHS visual experience only had 14 tracks. Unfortunately when LIVE AFTER DEATH was originally released on CD it was too long for a single disc and instead of simply issuing a double disc, EMI unwisely decided to cut the last five tracks which included the Odeon performance, therefore it is highly advisable to obtain the Sanctuary remastered version which was released as a double disc and retains the entire run of one classic song after another.

LIVE AFTER DEATH is the absolute perfect live album. I very rarely put live albums high on my list of favorites because more often than not something or many things prevent them from capturing my attention and worthiness as essential. If it’s not the weak production values then it is the inability of the band to capture the magic that is manufactured in the studio. That is not the case here. IRON MAIDEN was at the pinnacle of their creative prowess at this point and after several outstanding and classic albums to mine for material, they perfectly execute these live performances and offer every little ounce of excitement heard on the studio releases. Bruce Dickinson nails the vocals and the thundering trio of Steve Harris’ bass and the guitar synergy of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith accompanied by Nikko McBrain’s stellar drumming style doesn’t get any better. While most of the tracks are performed rather faithfully to their studio versions, there is plenty of live improvisation taking places as well. Standout moments include Bruce’s attempt to get audience participation on “Running Free” and another great difference can be heard on “Revelations” where the tempo is upped and Bruce changes the vocal phrasing to make the track sound different and refreshed.

The video release offers all the theatrical visuals of the tour. The “Powerslave” album was based on ancient Egypt and likewise the stage was Egyptified to the max with sarcophagi, hieroglyphs and a mummified Eddie embellished with ridiculous amounts of pyrotechnics. The tour was a smashing success and this release whether it be audio or video is the perfect testimony to the genius that went into every single detail. The sound and mixing is perfect as well as Martin Birch found the perfect balance of every cast member and delivered one of the most satisfying production jobs for a live release that i have ever heard. In the visual department Jim Yukich perfectly captured two nights in Long Beach showing a great band doing great things at the peak of their game. Another piece of perfection with this one is the brilliant cover art of Derek Riggs surpassing previous album themes of Eddie as the mascot by incorporating those themes of previous albums covers and then putting it all on steroids. The spread of the album is breathtaking in content and color with the boldness of the yellows and blues. Every aspect of talent on board with this release guarantees to wake the dead. I cannot find one negative thing to say about it. It is true that Bruce doesn’t hit every note exactly as on the studio version every single time but when he doesn’t he offers interesting new ways of interpreting the classics. This is simply one of the most perfect live releases i have ever encountered and even MAIDEN themselves haven’t even come close to achieving similar results. Masterpiece.

OZZY OSBOURNE God Bless Ozzy Osbourne

Movie · 2011 · Heavy Metal
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It is an interesting documentary that tries to focus on his personal life. But it stays in the middle of the road in the end.

You have this big and interesting chunk talking about Sabbath then when it comes to his solo career they talk about 2 albums and... that's it.

Look, if you're doing a documentary or you focus on the music or in the person, every documentary that tries to do both end up staying in the middle of the fail road.

This is interesting, it gives you an idea how Ozzy was really in bad shape for so many years and how he turned things around, but it's far away from being a great and complete documentary.

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY The European Invasion: Doom Troopin' Live

Movie · 2006 · Heavy Metal
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Doom Troopin’ Live: The European Invasion is a live concert video from Black Label Society, available on Blu-Ray. It documents the European leg of their touring in support of ‘Mafia.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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