Various Artists
Metal Blade 25th Anniversary DVD

Recorded live at the Worcester Palladium in April of 2007, this 29 track DVD features most of the ‘popular’ Metal Blade artists. But while I have no problems with production or fairly bare bones but entertaining back stage interviews, I have issue with the fact Metal Blade went withtracks from teh likes of Beyond The Embrace (who I thought had have reached MIA status), Hallow’s Eve, 3, Lizzy Borden, Since The Flood and Impious over anything from the likes of Amon Amarth, Vader, The Absence, Bolt Thrower, Primordial, King Diamond, The Ocean and even As I Lay Dying.

On the positive side, you do get a plethora of Metal Blade’s other ‘popular’ artists, most performing 2 tracks each. Demiricous deliver the first attention getting tracks with the high-octane thrash of “Never Enough Road” and “Matador” (though personally, “To Serve is To Destroy” would have been a better choice). After 2 burly but oddly out of place Since The Flood tracks, we are greeted to the nicest surprise of the DVD; one track from the reformed Shai Hulud, who rip through “A Profound Hatred of Man”. Their ultra layered sound still sounds a but chaotic in a live environment, but it warms the heart to see Matt Fox and his new line up back in the fray.

I’ve never seen the allure of prog metal act 3, so their two tracks were often skipped (despite their Adam and the Ants-ish two drummer set up) so I could get to the two blistering Goatwhore tracks, “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult” and “In The Narrow Confines of Defilement”. The two tracks from Impious are as energetic yet middle tier as their recorded output and God Dethroned were their usual high quality selves though their the two tracks “Villa Vampira” and “The Warcult” were from (in my opinion) two of their weakest releases- what about something from The Grand Grimoire or In The Lair of the White Worm (“Nihilism” would have been awesome). Now I don’t know the full extent of quality of the bands set lists, but I assume God Dethroned played these track at the show, so why not include ‘em on the DVD?

After 2 completely over the top tracks from the makeup drenched Lizzy Borden and his octogenarian band (I had no idea he sounded like Bruce Dickenson), we get into the heavy hitters from Metal Blade’s roster- Job For a Cowboy, The Red Chord, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse and Unearth. Anyone who has seen these acts know what a good show they put on, especially Guy Kozowyk and The Red Chord (“Antman” and “Black Santa”) and the now portly again Trevor Strnad and The Black Dahlia Murder who deliver something old (“Contagion”) and something new (“When the Last Grave Has Emptied”). Surprisingly, much maligned Job For A Cowboy was impressive and tight with their renditions of “Embedded” and “Altered From Catechization”. ‘Headliners’ Unearth were there usual American Metal selves, and I continue to get bored by their newer material, though Phipps and Susi do put on a stirring live show (“Giles”, “The Great Dividers”). It’s a pity that Cannibal Corpse blew them away with the prior performance of “Unleashing the Bloodthirsty” and “Murder Worship”.

Quality wise, apart from the whole set drenched heavily in red, the sound and visual quality is pretty good, but the so called extras, touted and backstage interviews and footage is no more than Brian Slagel and his various cronies, cheering “HAPPY ANNIVERSARY METAL BLADE” drunkenly and a few far from lucid thoughts as to why Metal Blade is awesome and a few more live shots. What about interviews with the first trailblazing bands on Metal Blade (Slayer, Bitch, Voivod, Fates Warning, Atheist, Anacrusis, Anvil, Liege Lord, Epidemic, Omen, Mercfyful Fate, etc?) A history documentary of Metal Blade? And what, no Goo Goo Dolls ? Though brief comments from Metallica (and a very scruffy Lars Ulrich), Joey Vera (Armored Saint) and some other Metal Massacre compilation references are of note.

Still a fitting tribute to one of the most influential and respected metal labels, who have been around longer than a lot of their fans have been alive.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 25th, 2008

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