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

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

IRON MAIDEN Powerslave Album Cover Powerslave
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4.51 | 207 ratings
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AVANTASIA Moonglow

Album · 2019 · Heavy Metal
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Kev Rowland
2019 saw Sammet return with the next album from Avantasia. Again, there are plenty of guests, including past collaborators ex-Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate, Pretty Maids frontman Ronnie Atkins, Michael Kiske of Helloween, Jørn Lande (ex-Masterplan), Eric Martin (Mr Big) and Magnum’s Bob Catley. This time around we are also introduced to Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, Kreator’s Mille Petrozza and Blackmore’s Night frontwoman Candice Night. Work started on the album following the previous Avantasia tour. As Sammet says, “For the foreseeable future none of my bands were scheduled to do anything but an anniversary celebration of Edguy. For the first time I had no deadline or contract… nothing. I was completely free. The plan was to take a break, but the freedom I found presented me with more and more ideas. The material had time to grow. It was a very relaxed way of working, especially because with the help of Sascha Paeth I had built my own studio which helped me to work at my own pace whenever I came home from creative breaks in England, which I found to be extremely inspiring.”

“In a way, its lyrical topics are quite dreamy,” theorizes Sammet. “There’s no end of the world touch; I see these songs as having a Tim Burton-esque eeriness.” Another commonality with 'Ghostlights' is that 'Moonglow' is conceptually based. “Each song is a chapter based upon a creature that is thrown into the world but fails to find its place. It cannot connect with that environment and turns instead to the dark in the hope of finding shelter there. The lyrics are very personal but wrapped up in a fantastic surrounding inspired by writers of dark romanticism, especially gothic novels of the Victorian era by the likes of Arthur Machen or Algernon Blackwood. Yes, it’s a concept album but don’t expect elves walking through the forest,” laughs Tobi. No elves, but there may be orcs, as in many ways the word ‘Moonglow’ is a great title as this is an album which musically and lyrically can be very dark, but never overpoweringly so and there is always that hint of light, that glimmer which shows the way in the dark.

While all his albums are linked in terms of style, this feels as if in many ways it is just a continuation of the last album as the heavy over the top Steinman, Wagnerian and Mangum-esque styles are here again in spades, yet there are plenty of times when Sammet also reverts to the more power metal style associated with his day job. The use of different singers is again a real strength of the album, with “Book of Shallows” (one of the outright heaviest songs on the album), definitely benefitting from that approach.

But, there is something very important you need to understand before playing this album, and that is not to play the final song. Just play the other ten and all will be right with the world, you don’t really need to listen to a symphonic metal version of “Maniac” – yes, the same one from ‘Flashdance’. They try, they really do, but nothing can get away from the fact that it is still the same song. It’s a real shame as it is a great album until that point, but at least they put it at the very end, so it is easy to ignore. Another incredibly solid album from Tobias Sammet.

AVANTASIA Ghostlights

Album · 2016 · Heavy Metal
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Kev Rowland
OK, I admit it, I’m a sucker for Tobias Sammet and his side-project Avantasia. I’m not the only one either, as he always manages to bring in loads of other names to help him out. Given he is a singer of some repute it is always interesting to see who else comes along to give him a hand, and here we see the likes of Geoff Tate, Dee Snider, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Jørn Lande and others. He has developed his own style of symphonic rock, which owes more to Magnum than any other single band, yet what threw me here was the opening song, “Mystery of a Blood Red Rose”, which immediately put us straight into the world of Jim Steinman, even down to the female backing vocals. From here on in it is an interesting ride as his take on symphonic, overblown and even Wagnerian metal links closely with Steinman, never losing the Magnum ties but also bringing in more than a hint of Nightwish.

This is a man whose first two albums under this name were called operas, and the fourth was a symphony, so it has always been plain to his listeners as to what inspires him and drives him on. Somehow he has managed to keep both careers going, as while this 2016 release was a follow-up to 2013’s ‘The Mystery of Time’, there was an Edguy album in between (2014’s ‘Space Police’), and here in 2019 he shows no sign at all of slowing down just yet. Highlight for me is the final song on the album, the delicate and wonderful “A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies”. With an introduction which could have come from ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’, Bob Catley takes the first verse with aplomb, and when Tobias joins in then we are taken into a Magnum classic. Tobias may sing the second verse, but this sounds as if it was written for Catley, one of the truly great singers of our time (when he recorded this, he was in his late Sixties!). I can listen to this one song all day, as two singers combine together to take Magnum in a different more symphonic direction, and I love it.

SAVAGE MESSIAH Demons

Album · 2019 · Heavy Metal
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Nightfly
I’ve read a few things about Demons, the new Savage Messiah album and previous release Hands Of Fate, that make the point that after starting their career as thrash metal hopefuls and making a pretty good job of it, that they have in recent years adopted a more mainstream heavy metal stance. It has been seen as a somewhat backwards step and they are the worse for it. Firstly I find this idea total bollocks. Not that the above is not true but the view that heavy metal is somehow inferior to thrash metal. Now I like thrash as much as the next man but I equally have a fondness for well-played heavy metal and Demons is certainly that.

The album kicks off with Virtue Signal and after a power metal infused start retreats into more typical heavy metal. It packs considerable punch as well as plenty of melody. Next track What Dreams May Come is probably a contender as an example of what the naysayers are getting at. Nevertheless despite its mainstream leanings it’s a likeable enough song with a strong melody. The band occupies similar territory in other songs on the album such as Parachute, The Lights Are Going Out and Until The Shadows Fall, but they’re all played with conviction and not a weak one amongst them. There are still plenty of songs that kick ass and whilst this is primarily a heavy metal record thrash infused riffs are still evident at times even if they may not dominate whole songs. Pick of the bunch would be Heretic In The Modern World, Under No Illusions, Down And Out and Rise Then Fall, all with strong hooks and melodies without sacrificing power.

The band are all good players with a nod to drummer Charly Carreton who gives a fine performance with plenty of inventive fills and rhythmic shifts. Their ace up the sleeve comes in vocalist Dave Silver, a great metal/rock singer in the traditional sense. Kind of a Jon Bon Jovi for metal with more balls. Yes, good clean vocals are hard to beat.

While I’m not overly familiar with all Savage Messiah’s albums I’m enjoying Demons as much as any of them I’ve heard. If traditional heavy metal is your thing you really ought to check this out and I’m definitely going to go back and check out those albums I’ve missed in their back catalogue.

METAL CHURCH Damned If You Do

Album · 2018 · Heavy Metal
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Kev Rowland
With Mike Howe back in the band, there has been a renewed sense of purpose and vigour and following on from a live album in 2017 the band came back in 2018 with another studio release. There has been a change in the ranks, as the band parted ways with drummer Jeff Plate who felt he could no longer commit the time required, and after touring with Stet Howland (ex-WASP) behind the kit he is now a full-time member of the band. He has slotted right in and this is in many ways a straightforward continuation from ‘XI’. I still have problems coming to grips with the fact that Mike Howe wasn’t involved with the scene for so long, as he has a great voice and it really feels as if he has never been away.

This is a even more basic album than the previous one, just straightforward heavy metal designed to cure all dandruff, and they continually hit the bottom end as if they are the logical successor to Judas Priest. It is hard to imagine they didn’t grow up in the steel factory environment of Birmingham which had such an impact on the likes of Priest and Sabbath, and there is little American here in terms of sound, straightforward crank it up and hit it hard metal. There may be more polish than one would hear from a NWOBHM band, but there is no doubting these guys have a massive affinity with the genre. It really is like going back in time before the metal scene splintered in so many different directions, comforting and fun. Five guys doing what they do, turning it up and belting it out, and there is no doubt at all that Metal Church are well and truly back in the groove.

METAL CHURCH XI

Album · 2016 · Heavy Metal
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Kev Rowland
When Metal Church entered the studio to record their eleventh album the line-up was the same it had been for some years, except that frontman Ronny Munroe had decided to step down after ten years in the band. Kurdt Vanderhoof wasn’t sure if wanted to continue with Metal Church at this point, but then wondered if Mike Howe may be interested in picking up where he had left off twenty years before. Mike was in the band from 1988 to 1995, singing on three albums, and once he had heard the material he was back. What is unusual, is that apart from singing with Heretic prior to joining Metal Church, Howe has rarely recorded or performed, so he was coming back into the pit some twenty years on from leaving it, yet it sounds as if he has been performing with the band for years.

Howe has one of the strongest and finest voices in metal, while Vanderhoof has been providing metallic riffs in this band for nearly forty years (apparently a young Lars Ulrich even auditioned at one point), and having Howe back has given him a new sense of purpose and energised everyone involved. This is classic metal, nothing fancy or genre breaking here, just guys playing good old fashioned heavy metal with strong hooks, riffs, load of leather and denim. I can smell the sweat coming out of the speakers, as this is the music I grew up, horribly hot halls with way too many people and far too much testosterone, speakers blasting and an audience wanting to be blown away by what was happening on stage and a band surrounded by Marshalls prepared to do just that. Music like this is a comfort blanket, nothing weird is going to happen, it is metal nothing more and nothing less. Yes, there are some acoustic guitars here and there, but don’t worry, they are just to provide emphasis to the electric ones, which are the ones that really matter. Superb.

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ACCEPT Restless & Live

Movie · 2017 · Heavy Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
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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progshine
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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Kingcrimsonprog
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.

JUDAS PRIEST Rising In The East

Movie · 2005 · Heavy Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Opening with the classic double punch of `The Hellion/Electric Eye,’ you know that this concert is going to be good.

The band do their best to mix a diverse career spanning set list with playing all their biggest hits and do a pretty successful job, managing to cover a full five songs from their then new `Angel of Retribution,’ album with their big hits like `Breaking the Law,’ `Living After Midnight,’ and `You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,’ while still playing at least one song from their less famous `Point of Entry,’ `Turbo,’ and `Ram It Down,’ albums.

Musically, the band are on fire, with impressive guitar soloing, energetic on stage performances and drummer Scott Travis playing songs harder, with confidence and authority that makes them sound that much heavier and tighter. The band are playing on a fairly large stage with elaborate set pieces, risers and of course, the famous motorcycle.

Some fans have made a lot of complaints about Rob Halford’s performance here, but with the sole exception of the vocals on the track `Painkiller,’ (which, as it happens has impossibly difficult vocals to begin with) I think these complaints are pretty off the mark.

If you need proof that Rob can still reach those high notes see the `You’re Possessing Me,’ scream in `A Touch of Evil’ or indeed the entire performance of the fast and high pitched `Riding on the Wind.’

Furthermore Rob’s whole on-stage attitude is a winner, seeming genuinely pleased each and every time the crowd gets a sing along moment correct, adding little Robotic Walk gestures to `Metal Gods,’ and generally looking like he’s giving it his all, to the point where he is sweating and red in the face, not because he can’t hack it, but rather because he’s giving it his very all.

Even if you do for some reason take exception with Rob, there is simply no denying the performances of Glen, Scott, Ian and Mr. Downing who all blast away like a well oiled machine, but with the energy of a much younger band.

In terms of camera, editing, sound and mix there really isn’t anything to complain about, everything is handled well and the whole package is as slick and professional as you would hope for from a band of their size.

Overall this is a great looking and great sounding DVD from Judas Priest and that alone should have you interested, add to that an interesting set list and dismiss the complaints about Rob and you should find `Rising In The East,’ a really worthy addition to your collection.

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