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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heavy metal Music Reviews

JUDAS PRIEST Ram It Down

Album · 1988 · Heavy Metal
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Warthur
Judas Priest had spent much of the 1980s balancing more hard-edged material with poppier, more accessible numbers, at least in terms of their studio output. Their live shows from the era showed how their more radio-friendly material could really get an extra bit of grit to it when given a more muscular spin, so it's clear where their hearts actually lay - but you can't blame them for catching the wave of metal's commercial peak when they could and securing their future to allow them to keep at their craft going forwards.

Still, it was evident from Turbo that they'd gone about as far in the pop-metal direction as they viably could. It would be on Painkiller that they'd produce a furious metal release which showed that they'd lost none of their bite over the years and could go toe-to-toe with any of their younger competitors, but it's on Ram It Down that they start charting the course back there.

However, don't expect anything as thunderously heavy as the title track (or the glorious Mark Wilkinson cover art) might lead you to expect. You see, Judas Priest hadn't yet picked up the secret weapon which so refreshed their sound on Painkiller - namely, Scott Travis, whose more modern approach to the drummer's craft was the special ingredient that made that whole album come together.

At the time the album was recorded, Dave Holland was running into health and family issues which forced him to cut back his involvement and ultimately led to him leaving the band. Between Holland being exposed as a child abuser in later years and Scott just plain being a better drummer than him, Holland's departure was all for the good once it happened - the problem here was that he had one foot in and one foot out of the band, which in practice means that much of the album was recorded with a drum machine.

You can get snotty here and suggest that the fact that the drum machine could fill in for Holland without anyone noticing much says a lot about Holland's capabilities as a drummer, but I'm not inclined to be that harsh. Indeed, since we're talking an 80s-vintage drum machines here, the replacement isn't as smooth as it could be: there's a certain cold air to drum machines of this era which bleeds over into the music.

To their credit, Priest seem to recognise this and try to work with it, and the album is at its best when they do so. Blood Red Skies is a particular highlight, coming across almost as a heavy metal answer to the Sisters of Mercy. On other songs, like Love You To Death, it feels like they aren't accounting for the drum machine enough... or maybe Holland was just off his game.

Either way, there's no getting around the fact that Priest had a malfunctioning rhythm section when they produced this album, which meant that they were working with one hand tied behind their back. Considered from this perspective, it's surprisingly good - but on an objective level, it's a bit hit-and-miss, though even the "misses" here pull out something interesting sooner or later (Love You To Death picks up a bit when it speeds up towards the end, for instance). The Johnny B. Goode cover even kind of works in context!

IRON MAIDEN Senjutsu

Album · 2021 · Heavy Metal
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UMUR
"Senjutsu" is the 17th full-length studio album by UK heavy metal act Iron Maiden. The album was released through Parlophone BMG in September 2021. The material featured on the album was actually already recorded in early 2019 in Paris, France with producer Kevin Shirley (same studio and producer as used on "The Book of Souls" from 2015), but as a consequence of a heavy touring schedule and the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak meant the band sat on the album and kept quiet about having recorded it for over two years.

"Senjutsu" is a double album release, featuring 10 tracks and a total playing time of 81:53 minutes. Disc 1 features 6 tracks and disc 2 features 4 tracks. The album features quite a few lenghty tracks, and disc 2 features no less than 3 tracks exceeding 10 minutes in length. It´s almost needless to say that "Senjutsu" sees Iron Maiden continuing to pursue the more progressive, atmospheric, and slow building songwriting approach of most of their post-2000 releases. The pace is predominently mid-paced and even slow at times, and you won´t find many uptempo moments on "Senjutsu". With three guitarists in the lineup the tracks are often layered and intriguing in terms of the guitarist trio complimenting each other, and as the tracks also often feature keyboards, the album is loaded with epic atmospheric moments. Lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson has molded the melody lines to suit him singing in a lower register, which is probably wise considering his age. Although he is still a force to be reckoned with, reaching those really high notes is not something he does that often on "Senjutsu" (although he can still sing in pretty high registers when needed). While the always busy rhythm section of drummer Nicko McBrain and bassist Steve Harris deliver a tight and organic attack, the generally low pace of the songs do have a power sucking effect on their contributions.

Disc 1 opens with two rather uninspired mid-paced tracks in the title track and "Stratego". The former is a slow and repetitive track and the latter isn´t particularly memorable either. Thankfully "The Writing on the Wall" is a pretty great track, showing that Iron Maiden can still develop their sound and try new things which still make sense within the boundaries of their musical style. The almost 10 minutes long "Lost in a Lost World" follows and again it´s a slow building epic track, which features some great moments, but is ultimately a little too long and honestly a bit dull. "Days of Future Past" and "Time Machine" don´t really rock the boat either (the latter features a nice main lead theme, which is repeated quite a lot through the song, but that´s about it for the positives), and upon conclusion it´s only "The Writing on the Wall", which stands out on disc 1 as something a little out of the ordinary for Iron Maiden.

Disc 2 opens with "Darkest Hour", which is another relatively unremarkable track, and the same can be said about the 10:20 minutes long "Death of the Celts", which follows. Massive epic tracks featuring many layers of guitars, keyboards, drums, bass, and vocals, but they aren´t the most accessible nor the most memorable tracks. The album concludes with two more lengthy tracks in the 12:39 minutes long "The Parchment" and the 11:19 minutes long "Hell on Earth". Both are slow building and progressive structured songs, which are solid, but nothing out of the ordinary for post-2000 Iron Maiden. It´s the type of material the band could write in their sleep, and being Iron Maiden the end result is of course of a high quality, but there is a long way from delivering something solid to delivering something excellent.

"Senjutsu" features a dark and a little murky sounding production, and I have to say that I don´t think Shirley did a particularly great job producing the album. The sound doesn´t suit the material that well and it´s like the songs don´t open up to the listener but instead remain in an inaccessible format. As if it isn´t enough that the generally slow-to mid-paced tracks often suck the energy out of the performances, the sound production further enhances the feeling that the songwriting and the playing are relatively uninspired. It´s not that it isn´t a professional sound production job, but Iron Maiden´s music would by now prosper from a different production approach.

So upon conclusion "Senjutsu" is not really the triumphant return that fans have been waiting for the last 6 years. It´s a solid heavy metal album with progressive songwriting structures and ideas, performed by a seasoned crew, but the album does not feature the most inspired compositions, and the lack of pace tends to suck the energy from the tracks and the performances, and when the sound production doesn´t manage to help the material shine either, we´re left with a solid but not great effort, and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is probably me being a little too nice.

JUDAS PRIEST Priest... Live!

Live album · 1987 · Heavy Metal
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Warthur
With a track listing avoiding songs which already had an outing on Unleashed In the East, this double live album from the Turbo tour showcases how Priest were able to work their material into a cohesive setlist, despite the studio albums the songs come from having very divergent sounds - Turbo and Point of Entry don't sound much like British Steel, for instance, and Screaming For Vengeance and Defenders of the Faith sound different from those other three, but the renditions here manage to make everything sit together naturally, revealing that perhaps it was more the production approach on those albums than anything inherent to the songwriting which was responsible for the apparent divergenve.

The recent 50 Years of Heavy Metal boxed set from Priest includes a Houston show from the same tour, recorded more or less exactly halfway between the Atlanta and Dallas shows these songs were sourced from. By comparison to this show, the setlist here is fairly similar in terms of song selection and running order - bar for the trimming of the 1970s-era songs - but the Houston show sounds rawer and punchier than this rather slick presentation; comparing the two, I think Priest... Live! suffers somewhat from a slight excess of studio polishing of the live material, whilst the Houston tapes show just how heavy Priest still were in 1986.

Nonetheless, that boxed set will set you back a fair amount, and there's no guarantee the live shows on it will see an independent release, so for those for whom the box is too pricey (or just represents more Priest than they really want) Priest... Live! remains the most viable source for 1980s live Judas Priest material. And in that function, it's pretty solid. Unleashed In the East mops the floor with it - but Unleashed In the East is one of the greatest metal live albums of all time, and coming second place to it is still a good accomplishment.

Still - if they get around to putting out that Houston show independently, or if you decide to drop your money on the 50 Years box, you might find the Houston set ends up displacing this one, since it offers close to everything this does, plus more, with greater ferocity.

JUDAS PRIEST Turbo

Album · 1986 · Heavy Metal
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Warthur
In all of Judas Priest's 1980s albums, a tension between their aggressive metal roots and more radio-friendly hit-making fare exists. Sure, British Steel might have the comparatively raw Breaking the Law, but Living After Midnight and United are poppier numbers. Point of Entry leaned harder on the pop-metal side of the equation, Screaming For Vengeance went easier on the pop and harder on the metal, and Defenders of the Faith found the two sides of their 1980s sound more or less in balance.

On Turbo, the scales shift way back towards the pop side of their sound, and as with Point of Entry this has meant it's not dated quite so well as British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance, or Defenders; there's a thick aroma of cheese here, with the band using synthesisers and studio treatments of their guitars more than they ever had before.

That said, I actually think it succeeds better at this than Point of Entry did. Of all of Priest's attempts to go radio-friendly, this is certainly the most polished and hookiest. Just try not to sing along to Turbo Lover, if you don't believe me. I think Screaming For Vengeance showed the best of their purist metal side at the time, but as far as forays into finely-honed, studio-enhanced, synth-infused pop-metal go, Turbo is far more compelling than a lot of the material in this sort of vein that would issue forth in the 1980s; I'd rather listen to it than the vast majority of then-contemporary glam metal or hair metal.

If it's not your thing, then sure, it's not your thing - but let's not pretend that this was some sort of unexpected, unprecedented betrayal by Judas Priest of their earlier sound; there'd been an undercurrent of this sort of accessible, sing-along stuff in their repertoire for a good long while by the time they made this, Turbo just happens to be the album where they decided to concentrate on that aspect of their sound, and I think it's for the best that the band were open to putting out albums which put one side of their sound or the other under the microscope rather than sticking right to the middle of the road all the time.

METALLICA Garage Inc.

Album · 1998 · Heavy Metal
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Vim Fuego
The 1990s saw Metallica start the decade as thrash metal’s biggest band. The band and genre was somewhat niche, and not particularly well known outside metal and alternative music scenes. By the turn of the millennium, Metallica had become the biggest band in metal bar none, and was surpassed in popular music by only a handful of artists, but in creating new music thrash metal had been left far behind. “Garage Inc.” as a covers and B-sides compilation album lays bare the influences mixed in to Metallica’s thrash metal roots which made “Metallica”, “Load”, and “Re-Load” the albums which led the band to world domination.

Disc 1 of this double album is freshly recorded covers. These run the full gamut of Metallica’s musical tastes, and some work better than others. Metallica can do punk, and do it well. We know this because of their covers excellent of The Misfits, and Anti-Nowhere League’s utterly filthy “So What”. However, Metallica aren’t too good at Discharge, with “Free Speech For The Dumb” and “The More I See” bookending this disc. These versions are too… clean. Discharge’s originals are scuzzy and discordant, from a band on the verge of starvation. Metallica just can’t reproduce the same feel. It’s hard to sound desperate when you’re a multi-millionaire living comfortably. Bob Rock does big, fat, and comfortable as a producer, with the latest in studio technology at his fingertips, while Discharge would have been recorded as quickly as possible on zero budget. The guitars are too warm, and too big. The bass doesn’t have enough distortion. And Lars just can’t play D-beat drums. Still, without Discharge, thrash metal wouldn’t have been thrash metal.

Metallica’s love of NWOBHM band Diamond Head is well known, so a Diamond Head song was inevitable here, and while “It’s Electric” is no “Am I Evil?”, in the same vein as that famous cover, it’s not far removed from Metallica’s own style.

Covering Black Sabbath isn’t always as easy as it seems. Slayer stumbled with their version of “Hand of Doom”, and Megadeth’s “Paranoid” is almost an unintentional parody. Metallica don’t fuck it up as badly as those covers, but “Sabbra Cadabra” isn’t particularly impressive. They just can’t reproduce Sabbath’s whacked-out stoner groove.

The first really impressive track here is “Turn The Page”, originally by Bob Seger. It’s a brooding tale of life on the road. James Hetfield’s vocals and the ruminating main riff seem to be an indicator of where “The Memory Remains” came from.

“Die, Die My Darling” is a welcome addition to the existing collection of Misfits covers. It’s not near as rough as “Last Caress/Green Hell” recorded a decade earlier, but it retains the boisterous energy and wicked dark humour of the original.

The inclusion of Nick Cave and The Bad Seed’s “Loverman” is the biggest what-the-fuck on the whole album. The original switches between minimalist restraint and raucous post-punk anarchy, and Metallica doesn’t attempt to pull it off, but instead smooths out the rough edges and makes it their own. Cave’s introspective oblique lyrics are somewhat different to the Metallica norm, but like “Turn The Page”, the song illustrates James Hetfield’s varied vocal abilities.

The five song Mercyful Fate medley is more traditional fare. The songs don’t exactly merge seamlessly, and of course there’s no King Diamond helium vocals, but it’s 11 minutes of 80s satanic metal goodness.

Blue Öyster Cult don’t often get the love they deserve, even though they are the band who wrote monster rockers like “Godzilla”, “Burnin’ For You”, and “Don’t Fear The Reaper”. “Astronomy” isn’t one of those monster rockers, but Metallica turn it into one.

“Whiskey In The Jar” is the best song on the first disc. It’s a boisterous, catchy party anthem, and a new take on Thin Lizzy’s take of the traditional Irish folk song.

“Tuesday’s Gone” was recorded during a radio broadcast in 1997 with a number of guest musicians, including members of Alice in Chains, Corrosion of Conformity, Lynyrd Skynrd, and even Les Claypool on banjo, and… it’s fucking tedious. Yep, it’s an all-star acoustic jam that’s an all-star acoustic bore. It also indicates where Metallica found the Southern rock and country influences which popped up on the Load albums.

Disc 2 is older stuff which already existed, but was sometimes hard to come by until this release. The first five tracks come from “The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited”, which had been out of print for the best part of a decade, and dedicated collectors had been paying exorbitant prices for copies of it. The E.P. also featured the first recordings of Jason Newsted with Metallica. This sloppy spontaneous recording is a little rough around the edges, but that’s a big part of it’s charm.

The next pair of NWOBHM covers were initially recorded as B-sides for the 12” vinyl version of “Creeping Death”, released as a single in 1984. The epic “Am I Evil?” is Metallica’s most famous cover, and is so well known it may as well be their own song. Diamond Head have done very well from it over the years, with Metallica’s cover helping revive their career and earning the band a decent sum from royalties over the years too. The other song is “Blitzkrieg”, originally by Blitzkrieg, is an up-tempo blitzkrieg of a song (is that too many blitzkriegs?), and it’s choppy riffing shows how influential the NWOBHM was on thrash metal.

“Breadfan” (originally by Budgie) and “The Prince” (originally by Diamond Head) were B-sides to the 1988 single “Harvester of Sorrow” may have been another couple of Metallica’s favourites, but these are two of the lesser tracks here, and aren’t particularly exciting.

In 1990 Elektra Records marked the label’s 40th anniversary by releasing a compilation of covers by their current roster of artists from their historic catalogue of artists. Metallica’s contribution was a version of Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy”, which didn’t need much tarting up to make it a thrash metal song. It was later used as the B-side for the “Enter Sandman” single, and it also won Metallica the consolation Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1991.

“So What” is Metallica’s most notorious cover. The filthy song by Anti-Nowhere League was originally a B-side for their own single “Streets of London”, and had at one stage been seized as an obscene publication in the U.K. The simplistic structure of the song and it’s exaggerated profane lyrics make it a lot of fun, and it remained a live staple for many years.

“Killing Time” by Sweet Savage is another NWOBHM cover, another B-side, and another not particularly remarkable song.

There are four Motörhead songs that aren’t exactly live, but were recorded during a rehearsal for a live performance in 1995. The performance was to celebrate the legendary Lemmy’s 50th birthday, where all the members of Metallica dressed as Lemmy and banged out some Motörhead tunes. A recording of the live performance would have been better, even if it was technically worse, because these four songs are flat and lifeless, especially “Too Late, Too Late”. Even a really rough recording of a live performance would have had more energy, and maybe a bit of spirit which is missing here.

Overall, the entire album is something of a mixed bag. The new tracks on disc one show a surprising breadth of musical likes and influences, and despite a couple of missteps is about as good as cover albums ever get. The second disc gathered together in one place all the covers recorded for various different releases, which was something of a relief for fans of the band struggling to collect them all.

That it followed the relatively poorly received Load albums (relatively – "Load" and "ReLoad" have both sold more than five million copies, as has this album) may contribute to how "Garage Inc." is perceived, but it is still a strong release in Metallica’s catalogue.

heavy metal movie reviews

FOZZY Unleashed, Uncensored, Unknown

Movie · 2003 · Heavy Metal
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martindavey87
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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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.

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