These DVD’s are not unlike the Cricket. You don’t sit and watch from beginning to end, but put them on and go about your business, occasionally stopping to watch something exciting. Much like the Saturday of an Australia vs India test, they provide the perfect background to barbeques, and more importantly, beer. Indeed, from a personal point of view, the process of watching these DVD’s is almost worth a review in itself. It’s 37 degrees outside on a Saturday afternoon. There are five different types of beer in the fridge and a bottle of scotch that was left in the sun and spells instant carnage for anyone foolish enough to attempt it. There are distant plans to make it to the pub at some point but right now, no one can move for the heat. The ‘Monsters of Metal’ collection comes out and everyone vies for the most strategic seats between the fan and the fridge.
The clips on these DVD’s cover the spectrum of Nuclear Blast’s catalogue, from the uber cheese of Savatage’s ‘Gutter Ballet’ to thrash legends Kreator and Exodus and the classically inspired Therion. All the usual faces are here; Children of Bodom, Amorphis, Hypocrisy, Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish, (the number of variations on this band-name that have been coined over the course of an afternoon is crude and alarming.) etc. Other acts include In Extremo (more bagpipes in metal I say), Arch Enemy (invariably ends in animated discussion about whether Angela Gossaw has bigger balls than anyone else in the band), Subway to Sally and Nevermore (Enemies of Reality era). Hammerfall, Helloween and Manowar incite singalongs and ridiculous poses as the beer starts flowing faster. Most of the previously named bands appear on more than one volume and the compilations are by no means restricted to relatively new releases.
There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of order or sense to the track selection, and in a review that covers such a broad spectrum of artists it is almost impossible to remain objective. You find Immortal being all Grim and Frostbitten in amongst a bunch of power metal tracks, a load of Monster Magnet sleaze and Sevendust sticking out like a teetotaler at a Smug Goat gig. Even Lemmy gets a burl - Motorhead’s somewhat questionable cover of ‘God Save the Queen’ is hidden away at the end of volume three. No two people will ever agree on which videos to watch and which to skip. There will be arguments, there will be tears; the (seriously outnumbered) girls will have to put up with the warbling of Nightwish and Within Temptation as corseted strumpets sing about the days of old. The guys, despite their belief that Amorphis have sucked since ‘Elegy’, will have to accept that Pasi Koskinen is not gay and ‘Alone’ is a beautiful song. Everyone will simply have to deal with the fact that Liz and Lou are going to play Helloween’s ‘If I Could Fly’ as many times as we think we can get away with and no one argues as Anthrax receive the headbanging respect they deserve.
By the time we get part way through volume four we have to give up. No one can work the remote control anymore and it’s half an hour before lockout at the pub, so with The Haunted’s ‘Bury Your Dead’ we call it quits and pile out the door.
The beauty of these compilations is that despite being a bit heavy on the slightly poppy German – Euro metal, there is something that caters for just about every taste. They cover a pretty broad cross section of styles, though are a bit light on the old black metal. With the exception of Immortal, it pretty much rests with Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, however I guess that is the nature of the genre. There is, of course, some absolute shite on these compilations (new Machine Head springs to mind as I type, and Sevendust? comeON people) and some genuinely frightening moments where one wonders what the hell the video directors were thinking. Leaving objectivity at the door, I love these DVD's. Retailing brand new at an average of 60 bucks a pop, they are a little pricey, but good fun nonetheless.
Artists across all four volumes include:
Hammerfall, Judas Priest, Nile, Candlemass, In Flames, Meshuggah, Soilwork, Darkane, Mnemic, Dew Scented, Kreator, Anthrax, Legion of the Dammed, The Haunted, Ektomorf, Dark Tranquility, Omnium Gatherum, Napalm Death, Suffocation, Ensalved. Dimmu Borgir, Strapping Young Lad, Mastodon, Disbelief, Dillinger Escape plan, Agnostic front, Bleed the Sky, M.O.D., Gothard, Subway to Sally, Apocalyptica, Within Temptation, Accept, Grave Digger, Saxon, Motorhead, Rage, Edguy, Iced Earth, Thunderstone, Masterplan, Beyond Twighlight, Evidence One, Nightwish, Primal Fear, Annihilator, Paradise Lost, Tristania, Pain, Crematory, Die Apocapyischen Reiter, J.B.O., Death Angel, Wintersun, Hypocrisy, Sentenced, Soilwork, Destruction, Children of Bodom, Nevermore, Amorphis, Monster Magnet, Fireball Ministry, Agathodaimon, Misery Index, Morbid Angel, Imperanon, Finntroll, Sonata Arctica, Life of Agony, Chimaira, Machine Head, In Flames, Sepultura, Killswitch Engage, Vovoid, Devil Driver, Arch Enemy, Lacuna Coil, Xandria, Immortal, Deicide, Susperia, Mysic Prophecy, Sinergy, Stratovarious, Deathstars, Raunchy, Re:aktor, Entombed, Tiamat, Benediction, Farmer Boys, Savatage, In Extremo, Orphanage, Helloween, Samael, Soulfly, Bolt Thrower, Manowar, Dark Tranquility, Paradise Lost, Iron Maiden, Oomph, Sevendust, Cradle of Filth, David Shankle Group, Circle II Circle, Emperor, Atrocity, Cathedral, Biohazard, Danzig.
Each volume has bonus extras such studio reports, live clips and ‘making of’ documentaries.