We piped up about Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood’s attempt at writing a definitive ‘Tallica biog earlier this year and we duly got sent a copy by Faber Faber. It took a while to get through the 400 or so pages, but it was certainly worth it.
6 things we learnt whilst reading the latest Metallica biog
This is the first time Def Leppard have played Hysteria in its entirety. Yes, they did it eleven times at The Joint in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel, but it’s one of the greatest rock albums of all time and so it’s absolutely necessary for it to be documented like this. Just like this.
In November 2011, Devin Townsend (and friends) came to London to treat fans of the Devin Townsend Project’sfouralbumconcept to the whole shebang. That meant four shows across four nights, featuring august djent, seething progressive metal whales, gothic cheerleaders, soft shuffle blues, presidential campaigns, glorious power metal, and pretty much everything in between. And they filmed it. We asked Ruth Booth to check out whether By A Thread is as good to watch back as she remembers it being at the time.
It’s a busy night in London. Katatonia headlining the Koko, performing Last Fair Deal Gone Down in its entirety and filming for a new DVD. Marty Friedman is at the Camden Underworld, widdling away and giving the guitar geeks all the musical porn they need to fretwank to. New York bruisers Emmure are headlining the Relentless Garage, providing the perfect downtuned soundtrack for some brutal pit action and dance moves people choose to forget when they wake up. DETAG.
Through Time POV
by Joel McIver
Of the Big Four Of Thrash, Anthrax were always the most entertaining. Metallica had the big ambitions, Megadeth the vitriol and Slayer the giddying acceleration, but only this bunch of New Yorkers brought the noise in a way that made you laugh while you moshed. Their antics are back for your viewing pleasure on these two DVDs.
Like most of us, I pretty much ignored Anthrax after 1990’s Persistence Of Time, which didn’t really match up to their classic ’80s canon. Oidivnikufesin (it’s “nice fuckin’ video” backwards) is a classic 1987 show that included the big-shorts thrash anthems (‘I Am The Law’, ‘Among The Living’, ‘Indians’, ‘A.I.R.’) which you’ll remember jumping about to in your bedroom if you’re over 30.
Anybody younger than that might find it all a bit weird, what with guitarist Scott Ian shaving ‘Not’ into his chest fur, the endless gurning, the masses of black hair (head and body) which covered the band and singer Joey Belladonna’s insistence on wearing a Red Indian head-dress.
Watch ‘Among The Living’ from Oidivnikufesin by Anthrax
Still, the fast and furious beats from drummer Charlie Benante and Ian’s ridiculously precise riffage make it immediately clear that Anthrax were a serious metal band under all the clowning.
Through Time POV is less coherent, a bunch of live clips glued together with some interview footage. The live stuff is mostly songs that you’ve already seen on Oidivnikufesin or Youtube, although the version of ‘Gung-Ho’ – a thrash anthem like few others – is still a must-see.
The chats from the band, pictured at their late-80s commercial peak, don’t really add an awful lot of value (although their mile-a-minute, Noo Yoik-style patter is hilarious), which leaves the DVD as a slight souvenir of a long-gone era. Stick with Oidivnikufesin, it’s much better.
Oidivnikufesin5/6 Through Time POV 2/6
Both Through Time POV and Oidivnikufesin by Anthrax are out now on Universal
We are huge Batman fans here at Thrash Hits .com so when Raziq Rauf was invited to a special preview screening of the new Batman film, The Dark Knight, he almost bit their hand off. Here’s our review.
Let’s make this whole review about The Joker. More specifically, let’s make it all about the late Heath Ledger’s portrayal because it is absolutely magnificent.
First things first. Will he get an Oscar? Probably not. As brilliantly malevolent as Ledger is in this performance and as ready the public are to commemorate his life and work with a posthumous Oscar, it’s wholly unlikely that the role of The Joker is dull enough for The Academy to acknowledge with a gong.
Ledger is the stand out star in The Dark Knight. While Christian Bale broods with silent yet excitingly forceful anticipation – in that way that only Bale can and always does do – it’s clear from the off who the star is.
Bale is fascinatingly vicious as Batman. He growls away at Captain Gordon and then smacks up the numerous perps with a vital mix of clinical precision and brute force. Comic fans note: The blows he later lands on The Joker are as close to the beating he serves up in The Killing Joke as you’re likely to see on the big screen.
Just as Batman is refreshingly remorseless in his quest for justice, The Joker is unerringly relentless is his pursuit of chaos. Heath Ledger is just as, if not even more maniacal than anything in the comics.
Maybe he has actually played the role perfectly. Maybe because the character is so ridiculously frightening and unpredictably violent on the page, as Ledger brings The Joker to life in such dazzling fashion, the viewer manages to feel true, pure dread – a very difficult emotion to evoke.
It has been well documented that Ledger always goes the extra mile for his roles and that he represented a psychotic, knife-wielding, ultra-scarred mentalist so convincingly and compellingly, one can only wonder to what lengths the Australian Oscar-nominee went.
Watch the second trailer for The Dark Knight
On top of Bale and Ledger, Christopher Nolan had some of the finest actors around at his disposal here with the pedigree of Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman taking secondary roles. The impressive cast does everything that is expected of them, with ease.
Aaron Eckhart is excellent as the conscientious, all-American Number One Son of Gotham City as District Attorney Harvey Dent until his slightly ungainly transformation into Two Face while, as the love interest for TDK, Maggie Gyllenhall casts the spectre of Katie Holmes’ insipid performance in Batman Begins far away simply by actually having a personality.
While those actors helped Nolan’s masterpiece achieve, it was he that sculpted the breathtaking cityscape in a way that sets this summer blockbuster masked head and caped shoulders above the rest of the pack.
Rather than any fantastical caricature, Gotham City simply looks like any other grimy, crime-riddled American megalopolis, increasing the sense of realism immeasurably. The stunts are huge and (very) explosive but not ridiculous and overblown.
Stick it all on a big screen – or an absolutely massive screen if you go to the IMAX, and we definitely recommend doing that – and you’ve got an incredibly intense two and a half hours with little no respite.
The early American Psycho-referencing in-joke should certainly be noted with a knowing smirk but it’s just another trivial part of a comic book adaptation that, however brilliantly executed, will struggle to be considered serious or highbrow enough to warrant the most high profile Oscars.
The Bloody Reign Of Slayer
by Joe Shooman
The prolific metal writer Joel McIver’s latest book picks up the reins of his ultra-successful Metallica biography by casting his expert eye over their rather harder compatriots and occasional rivals, Slayer.
My Chemical Romance
The Black Parade Is Dead!
by Anne Waites
My Chemical Romance have never been a band to do anything by halves, so when they decided to kill off their alter egos The Black Parade it was always going to be a dramatic and very public execution.
That they decided to bring this section of their lives to an end in front of a giant audience in Mexico, a country that remembers its ancestors and celebrates passing into the next life with its annual Day Of The Dead, is surely no coincidence with a band this obsessed with attention to detail.
Luckily, on a tour blighted with bandmembers dropping like flies, the Mexico City gig finds them in their full number and bursting with fiery intensity. Gerard Way, from the earliest days in the skankiest venues, has always been a born rock star, and as he creeps across the stage like the singer from Tim Burton’s wildest dreams, or flings his arms out, eyes gleaming, soaking in the rapture of the audience, he’s untouchable.
Unlike many live DVDs, this is an event worth documenting, the band tighter than they’ve ever been, deathly pale beneath the fireworks and confetti, demonic during the gloriously hellish ‘Mama’. Talk about going out in style.
Watch the trailer for The Black Parade Is Dead! by My Chemical Romance
But for every end there’s a new beginning, which is why the decision to follow Mexico City with a show at Maxwell’s in New Jersey, a venue roughly the size of a large envelope, is as significant as the arena gig.
Representing their rebirth as My Chemical Romance, going back to their roots, it’s feral, powerful, and they look like there’s nowhere on earth they’d rather be at that moment. After the bells and whistles of The Black Parade, it’s a reminder of the power they wield in the lowliest of circumstances. And it’ll have any fan excited about where their next path will lead.
The Black Parade Is Dead! by My Chemical Romance is out now on Reprise Records
Centuries Of Torment: The First 20 Years by Cannibal Corpse
Metal Blade Records
by Bob Mulhouse
There are faster, more brutal death metal bands than Cannibal Corpse, but there are none more consistent or with such an unearthly ability to write catchy songs.
‘Catchy’, of course, doesn’t mean cheerful – it means groove-laden and unforgettable, like the horrific Hammer Smashed Face or I Cum Blood.
This lies at the heart of the CC approach, and thus at the centre of this lavish 3-DVD package, issued to celebrate two decades of slasher-themed extreme metal.
As Cannibal Corpse are Metal Blade’s cash cow, it’s no surprise that the label have splashed out on a ton of content.
Watch the trailer to Centuries Of Torment by Cannibal Corpse
The three-hour main feature takes the viewer back to the mid-80s with the help of former singer Chris Barnes (now all chummy again with his old band), onlookers such as Monstrosity, Ice-T and Trivium and a slew of associated personnel.
The editing is engagingly brisk, lending Centuries… a professional air which is streets ahead of any other metal DVD issued to date. And the bonus footage? Another three hours of live shows. Essential.
Centuries Of Torment: The First 20 Years by Cannibal Corpse is out on July 8 on Metal Blade
Lamb Of God
Walk With Me In Hell
by Salvadore Fernandez
Lamb Of God have some pedigree when it comes to making live/tour DVDs. 2005’s wittily-titled Killadelphia achieved platinum status in the US and featured some amazing footage including the notorious drunken street fight between singer Randy Blythe and guitarist Mark Morton.
What goes on tour…
Walk With Me In Hell holds two whole discs containing over five hours of their self-styled Pure American Metal and it’s just as much of a treat as their last offering.
While the first disc holds the feature documentary that includes tonnes of in-depth material from their Sacrament world tour, disc two has their complete, uncut performance from Download Festival 2007 plus the uncensored version of the video to ‘Redneck’.
Watch the fight between Randy Blythe and Mark Morton from Killadelphia
Highlights include the band going to the zoo in Australia, which includes some extreme close-ups of various unwitting animals, and a promo day that hilariously showcases the band’s professional (bored) side.
Imagine if the band returned to the exact same bus that the aforementioned brawl began on. It would be interesting, right? It happened. Oh, it happened and it was actually quite sad to see the band’s morale drop so low, so fast but that’s what this DVD is all about.
Watch the trailer for Walk With Me In Hell by Lamb Of God
The beauty of Lamb Of God’s documentation is that they refuse to censor a single thing. They depict themselves in a warts ‘n’ all manner. Obsessive fans might want to know everything. With Walk With Me In Hell on your shelf, they won’t have to stalk the band at least.
If you watch this DVD, you will understand everything about this band. You will come to love every regular nuance and relationship idiosyncrasy within the band and that’s exactly how they want it.
Walk With Me In Hell by Lamb Of God is out now on Roadrunner Records