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)

heavy metal top albums

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BLACK SABBATH Paranoid Album Cover Paranoid
4.52 | 235 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Powerslave Album Cover Powerslave
4.50 | 245 ratings
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RAINBOW Rising Album Cover Rising
4.50 | 164 ratings
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JUDAS PRIEST Sad Wings Of Destiny Album Cover Sad Wings Of Destiny
4.46 | 164 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Album Cover Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
4.45 | 214 ratings
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HELL Curse & Chapter Album Cover Curse & Chapter
4.77 | 17 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN The Number Of The Beast Album Cover The Number Of The Beast
4.38 | 218 ratings
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BLACK SABBATH Master Of Reality Album Cover Master Of Reality
4.38 | 196 ratings
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BLACK SABBATH Heaven And Hell Album Cover Heaven And Hell
4.36 | 162 ratings
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IRON MAIDEN Somewhere In Time Album Cover Somewhere In Time
4.36 | 189 ratings
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DIO Holy Diver Album Cover Holy Diver
4.35 | 137 ratings
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BLACK SABBATH Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Album Cover Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
4.33 | 167 ratings
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The Mandrake Project
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Rattle The Cage
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Invincible Shield
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heavy metal Music Reviews


EP · 1982 · NWoBHM
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The NWOBM heavy metal scene of the early 80s launched heavy metal music into the mainstream with bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard and Angel Witch becoming some of the most popular metal acts of all time however for every success story there was a case of broken dreams that never went anywhere. This band being the perfect example.

Coming from the city of Peterborough just north of London, MITHRANDIR existed for a mere three years from 1980 to 1983 and in that time only released one single “Dreamers of Fortune / After Tomorrow" and the MAGICK E.P. which may as well have been just another single as it only featured three tracks that didn’t even make it to the 13 minute mark.

This quartet of Graham Gargiulo (vocals), Paul Chester (guitar), Keith Billson (drums) and Dale Crue (bass) sounded a good ten years behind the scene on this short three track run. Sounding more like 70s hard rock than fully developed heavy metal, somehow this band got lumped into the NWOBHM scene for its time and place of existence but these guys were clearly not ready for primetime at this stage.

First of all this is a shoddy demo quality recording with lo-fi production that does not suit the NWOBHM style as it does the murky evil sounds of black metal. The musicians weren’t very skilled at all playing rather at rather mediocre hard rock speed however the compositions themselves do sound more like what was contemporary. The absolute worst part about this band was the awful vocalist who could not hit the notes at all.

The whole thing sounds very amateurish and not even close to the quality of the bands that were already hitting the big time. It’s no wonder this band called it a day and has been totally forgotten from the annals of history however it’s worth a spin if you are interested in digging up lesser known bands that sorta suck. The songs themselves aren’t bad but the execution sure is. Pretty much a collectors thing only as this was released only once on a vinyl 7” and will probably never be again

JUDAS PRIEST Invincible Shield

Album · 2024 · Heavy Metal
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A swirling keyboard line introduces Panic Attack, the first song on Judas Priest's latest album, Invincible Shield - sounding nothing like any of the prior dabbling in synthesisers and more like they've been dipping a toe into the synthwave scene. No, it's not a radical shift in direction - just an atmospheric intro which gives way to metal fury once the song kicks into high gear, offering the most electrifying opening track on a Priest album since Painkiller.

And it never, ever lets up after that! After the excellent Firepower found Priest playing in a very direct, go-for-the-throat style which went back to basics, this one sees them elaborating the song structures a bit in a manner reminiscent of their 1970s material whilst still keeping the sound fresh, offering a sound with blends the fury and pace of Painkiller, the pristine production of their mid-1980s material, and the edge of transgression and defiance they've been offering up since the 1970s, encapsulating the best of all of their classic eras whilst still finding novel and exciting songs to play in this style.

A particular tip of the hat is needed for Glenn Tipton, who despite his Parkinson's still manages to contribute to the album, helping out with songwriting as he always has and putting in a few guitar solos here and there. Andy Sneap of Sabbat fame, who's served as Tipton's stand-in for the band's live shows ever since he stepped back from in-person performance, is credited with additional guitar, as well as fully taking on the producer's role (having co-produced Firepower), and he does a fine job of all these tasks, engineering the album to perfection as well as giving Glenn that essential backup. Given how key he's become to the band's activities these days, we should surely start thinking of Andy as Judas Priest's unofficial sixth member; he'd deserve it based on his contributions to this album alone, but combine that with his sterling work on Firepower and the grand job he does live filling in for Glenn he's surely become as crucial as any of the tenured band members.

Think of any other band who've been going as long as Priest, putting a new album out some 50 years after their debut; nine times out of ten, that new album's going to be a bit of a nostalgia exercise, a process of going through the motions which will appeal to ultra-fans but doesn't really offer much over their more compelling work they put out in their prime. Now look at Priest: it's easy enough to say that Invincible Shield beats the living daylights out of Rocka Rolla, that's a notably weak debut which more or less all of their albums bar for Demolition or Jugulator beat comfortably.

But for Invincible Shield to measure up credibly next to the likes of Sad Wings of Destiny, Stained Class, or Painkiller? That's astonishing - and yet I really think it does. Judas Priest are an inspiration to all the rest of us: if these lads can keep the flame burning after half a century, if Glenn Tipton can keep contributing as he does here despite his Parkinson's, then that's a challenge to all of us to face whatever challenges life throws at us with equal determination. Perhaps that conviction and self-belief - and confidence that their listeners can discover that same fire within them - which is Priest's true Invincible Shield.

JUDAS PRIEST Invincible Shield

Album · 2024 · Heavy Metal
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The living heavy metal legends known as JUDAS PRIEST very well may be the longest running metal band in existence having formed in 1970 and never taking a leave of absence for all 54 years and has been unleashing one classic metal album after another. True that a few members such as K.K. Downing have gone by the wayside over the years and lead singer Rob Halford took a brief respite after “Painkiller” but ultimately upon his return in 2005 with “Angel of Retribution,” JUDAS PRIEST has been back and stronger than ever despite a few failed forays into experimental albums such as “Nostradamus” which weren’t exactly crowd pleasers but did offer an intriguing insight into the band’s more explorative nature.

It goes without saying that JUDAS PRIEST fans are headbangers and if these guys want to dabble in psychedelic prog indie rock with polka and Tuvan throat singing then they’d sure as hell better indulge those fantasies under a different band name. Luckily the band got the memo that they lost their true calling and with 2018’s “Firepower” the mighty PRIEST returned to what it does best and that is crank out anthemic arena quality heavy metal, the sound that put the entire metal world on the map in the first place. Well the metal royalty has returned six years after “Firepower” with a brand spankin’ new slab of molten metal ready to deliver the classic JUDAS PRIET goods.

INVINCIBLE SHIELD is the 19th studio album coming out exactly 50 years after its debut “Rock Rolla” hit the scene in 1974! Now THAT’S longevity and what’s even more amazing is that these guys sound more on fire than they did on that debut album that emerged a half century ago! Yes, it’s true! These guys sound exactly as they did in the 80s with razor-sharp dueling guitar attacks, a thundering bass and drum attack and of course the imitable metal god vocal prowess of none other than Rob Halford whose decades of shrieking and tearing it up at the mic has not taken a toll on his distinct singing style. Following very much in the footsteps of “FIrepower,” INVINCIBLE SHIELD does what most classic 80s albums offered and that includes: delivery exactly what the fans expect only change things up just enough to keep the album from sounding like the leftover tracks of the previous album.

It’s hard to believe that after all this time when metal has expanded into countless subgenres ranging from death metal and black metal to bizarre freaky hybrids such as trance metal and the J-pop induced Kawaii metal that JUDAS PRIEST would still be relevant in 2024 but the band has always offered such quality musical performances and in tandem with Iron Maiden is the old guard keeping the thundering heavy metal of yore going strong so many decades after its initial ascent to the throne of heavy music and while INVINCIBLE SHIELD hardly reinvents the wheel or offers a new direction for the band, what it does demonstrate is that JUDAS PRIEST is and still remains the master of this feisty in-yer-face classic heavy metal sound that even the younger generations seem to love when done as authentically and brilliantly as this classic slice of metal history in modern times.

Eschewing any excess experimentation and focusing on the heavy metal thunder of their legendary status, PRIEST is back with a aural assault of 11 tracks and an extra 3 bonus tracks on deluxe editions. Generating a frothing frenzy with the early release of the single “Panic Attack,” JP generated a visceral response that offered both a sense of disbelief that a bunch of guys in their 60s and 70s can still be cranking out such energetic metal as well as a sense of nostalgia for all the longterm fans who have been with them since the old days. Well INVINCIBLE SHIELD will not disappoint any classic PRIEST fans as the album gives the rabid headbangers exactly what they were hoping for in unadulterated classic PRIEST form. And like its predecessor “Firepower,” there may be no surprises lurking here but the consistency of the tracks will assuage the restless souls of diehard classic PRIEST fans.

Overall another great album in classic 80s heavy metal style from the masters of molten metal and living legends JUDAS PRIEST. Every member is firing on all pistons. The twin guitar attacks are up to snuff with all those addictive guitar sweeps and incessant groove pounding as well as the stellar bass and percussive rhythm section. The tracks are all instantly hook-laden and the classic variations of intros, outros, songwriting and contrast between segments reigns supreme. On top of that Rob Halford has lost none of his brash bravado and can still sing like a muthafucker hitting all the high notes and sounding like he’s at the top of his game, something that many singers cannot retain in their 70s.

If nothing else JUDAS PRIEST symbolizes the longevity of the heavy metal music paradigm because after all when the band was attacked in the 1980s by the religious zealots as inspiring suicide and Satanic worship, the consensus was that metal music was just a fad for the immature adolescents and that it would soon fade to oblivion. However after countless witch hunts and accusations of every possible path to the devil himself, JUDAS PRIEST has sallied forth throughout the decades without flinching. And to top it off it seems that the band are in no danger of slowing down any time soon. Could these guys become the very first centurial metal band? Only time will tell! So wrong the naysayers have been and so strong JUDAS PRIEST has become in keeping the flame alive of the old metal ways! All hail the PRIEST!

МОЛАТ В пламени рассвета

Album · 2006 · Heavy Metal
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Молат (MOLAT) is a white power band from Orsha, Belarus that started off as the Pagan black metal band Araxia from 1998-2003 and then changed everything around completely. The band name means ‘HAMMER’ in the Belarusian language and the band has been criticized worldwide for its philosophies on white supremacy and social nationalism. It’s actually hard to believe anyone would espouse Nazi affiliations in Belarus given that this nation was one of the most decimated by the Nazi regime during the atrocities of WW2 but what the fuck, it’s a strange world out there.

As MOLAT the band has released several albums since 2006 beginning with this debut В пламени рассвета (In the Flames of Dawn). The band is also quite popular in not only Belarus but plays often in Russia and Poland. The lineup is a bit unclear due to many different sources citing different band members at various stages in the band’s history however it sounds like there are two guitarists, a bassist, drummer and vocalist. This debut features ten tracks and just misses the 45-minute playing time. The lyrics alternate between Russian and Belarusian.

While the band’s philosophies are nothing new, the music is rather different. While the following album’s drift more into folk metal based on traditional Belarusian and Slavic folk styles, В пламени рассвета is a mix of classic 80s heavy metal, speed metal and thrashy punk rock. While the melodies are clearly out of the 80s classic metal playbook, the choppy strumming and immediacy are more like a crossover thrash band that mixes elements of metal with punk. The mix of the melodic and the no nonsense political bantering makes for a compelling listen at least on the music side of things.

This was a bizarre transition point between Araxia and MOLAT when some of the band members took a leave of absence before rejoining from the debut so this album isn’t really representative of any of either band’s overall output. Not much to say about this. It’s obviously an album that is heavily focused on the lyrics and espousing certain philosophical idealism so if you don’t speak Russian or Belarusian then you won’t understand single thing. Musically it’s a very basic type of punk x heavy metal hybrid which is pleasant enough but falls more on the punk side of things overall however the melodic metal touches do make it more dynamic.

Personally i don’t care about subject matter so i can ignore the themes however the music isn’t anything to get overly excited about as it seems to be secondary in its significance. Ukraine’s Nokturnal Mortem is another one of these white power bands but at least they have talent and i love their albums despite their involvement in the Nazi crap. This album is totally listenable. I do love the singer’s passionate emphasis on each and every syllable of every word however it’s not so great that it’s a band i would want to explore further. It’s obviously a band that cranks out fairly simple and direct musical compositions to simply wrap its message around.

STEEL SENTINEL Feel the Power of Metal

EP · 2013 · Heavy Metal
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USAmerican inspired heavy metal from 1983 coming at you from a totally unexpected time and place, namely Cancun, Mexico and in 2013. STEEL SENTINEL has only released a sole EP despite forming and reforming several times since 2012 but channels the zeitgeist of the original heavy metal scene of the early 80s in the vein of Jag Panzer, Metal Church, VIrgin Steele, Helstar and countless others.

The band’s sole release FEEL THE POWER OF METAL celebrates those early days when subject matter wasn’t overcomplicated and simply rockin’ the house was enough to get you through the night. This little EP features six tracks at nearly 23 minutes and was released as a bonafide CD on the Sade Records label. It’s utterly amazing how authentic this sounds to the early 80s with every detail fussed over.

The riffing, melodies, guitar solos, over the top high pitched vocals and stylistic approach sounds right at home amongst the NWOBHM and US counterparts of the early 80s and having visited Mexico there are aspects indeed that are still very much in the 1980s so it’s not surprising to hear such an anachronistic release from one of Mexico’s top resort cities. The tracks may lack any originality but the authenticity is top notch as it would be believable if this was claimed to have emerged in the underground all the way back in the early 80s.

The musicians are all top notch with no slackers and the lead vocalist authentically features that clumsy wailing style with those operatic high notes that don’t quite make the grade. This is one of those local bar bands you imagine having performed the entirely of years without getting noticed much less signed to a label. Some of the melodies are right out of the Iron Maiden playbook but this is much more amateurish than any of the successful acts of the day.

This is really a flashback time machine type of release and not at all essential but an interesting glimpse into a part of the world that isn’t known for much outside of luxury hotels and tourist filled beaches. A nice little side track but not something i’d revisit as it simply makes me want to revisit all those classic heavy metal albums from the early 80s instead. A noble try but if this band ever wants to go anywhere, it will clearly have to step up its game a few notches.

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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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.

Artists with Heavy Metal release(s)


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