Tag Archives: europe

Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The DVD Reviews – Part 2

These video overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their DVD reviews section back in 2006. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but to also showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. These posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here we go with another group of DVD Reviews.

Coheed & Cambria: “”The Last Supper: Live At Hammerstein Ballroom”” (Columbia Records)

Coheed & Cambria’s new DVD is a great way to catch up on what you might have been missing from this band for they seem to be growing in popularity rapidly, and are reaching fans of all ages with their interesting blend of Melodic and slightly Progressive Hard Rock. In May of 2006, the group performed to a sold-out Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City and now, only five months later, deliver a DVD of this show which allows those that missed out to enjoy it while those who attended are able to relive it once again. This modern Rock group led by Claudio Sanchez (vocals/guitar) is sometimes compared to bands like Rush and Dream Theater based on their being more technically proficient than many of the current mainstream bands that are heaped upon us. Claudio’s voice is high in register and this leads to the Geddy Lee reference I suppose. Personally, I disagree with the two comparisons but one can definitely see where they come from when watching this DVD. One also can see that the band truly can play as while Claudio does his thing both drummer Josh Eppard and lead guitarist Travis Steever are ripping it up as Michael Todd holds it all together. This makes them much more interesting and is clearly something that is a refreshing change for the younger fan base who must deal with the levels of sludge tossed at them by some of the music providers of today. It’s inspiring to see bands focusing on more musicianship and creativity than their peers for it allows them to remain relevant in a time where too many bands are forgettable. In addition to the rich selection of their career highlights the DVD also lets you enjoy the bands stellar light show – there are some great camera angles and dramatics to enjoy as the show plays out but most of this is viewed from a front row vantage point. As someone who never really paid attention to the band, I was finding myself jotting down numbers that appealed to me most so I might dig deeper into their recorded catalog. Standout tracks like “The Suffering” and “Ten Speed” are bound to impress anyone. There are also bonus videos to enjoy as well as fan interviews and band member commentary. Most of their music is based on Science Fiction themes which makes this intriguing to check out.

Crowbar: “Live With Full Force” (Candlelight Records)

The new DVD by Crowbar “Live: With Full Force” is a great way to get a very candid look into a band with some very regular guys who are just doing what they do best on the stage as well as giving the viewer an inside look at the life one leads in the music business. Filmed during the popular German Festival that bears the same name – the guys perform a set from their back catalog and music from their 2005 release “Lifesblood For The Downtrodden”. The Festival stage footage is great as numbers like “The Planets Collide” and “Burn Your World” crunch your ears with Doom and Stoner Metal as delivered by masters of the genre. The film is also home to a segment that I feel the viewers will enjoy most which is the Rockumentary that is blended between the concert numbers. This footage is primarily focused on band leader Kirk Windstein and from him you get the real deal scoop on life as a working musician. Based on his words it is clearly not what many think it is and he lays most of the blame on the “Behind The Music” specials with Motley Crue and Poison for creating the false image of what life is like on the road. Windstein stresses it is not all money, girls and fun yet more work than most would choose to do in their life. The DVD also gives you the bands videos to date and since this is footage you would probably find nowhere else, it becomes worthy bonus features to enjoy. Of the six videos we also get the previously unavailable “Slave No More”. The release itself is very straightforward and candid but always manages to remain interesting and it is just perfect for those who enjoy Doom Core. If you find that music that is heavy, sludgy and loaded with groove the Crowbar is the band for you. They are a band that have had members of Pantera, Black Label Society and Down among their roster with Windstein always being the consistent. The band has held a devout following that includes Jaime Jasta and Phil Anselmo among their numbers, and are still part of the underground of Metal despite an almost two decade career. With this DVD you can tune down low and play it slow and after watching you can see why so many bands love them so much.
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“Secret Society” by Europe

Artist: Europe
Title: “Secret Society”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 11/7/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

Europe resurfaced to the Hard Rock community with “Start From The Dark”, a rallying call of music that showed that the band had not suffered over time but instead improved like some fine wine. The release gave a number of killer tunes such as the title track and “Hero” most specifically. Touring for this album broke venue records and this was not bad for a band that had not performed together in well over a decade. Their new release “Secret Society” continues along with a lot of the same formula that was used on “SFTD” but I admit that it takes a few listens to appreciate it. Joey Tempest still rocks and truly knows how to win the listener over with his smooth voice and should he need to belt them out he does not have any problems. Tempest actually wrote most of the album this time around and while this is a solid disc, there is hardly any of the punch that we felt on “SFTD”. I also felt that the album was lacking in the providing some kind of anthem along the lines of “The Final Countdown” which made this band a household name back in the glory days. There is some killer guitar riffing by John Norum as one would expect and on the whole, this is not a bad album. There are several rockers present with “Love Is Not The Enemy” and “Always The Pretenders” (the first single from the release) and I think overall that it will continue to please their existing fan base. The ballad for the album falls in “A Mother’s Son” and that serves it’s purpose fine and should have lighters or cell phones raised during performances going forward. Personally, I loved “The Getaway Plan” because that seemed to mix classic old school vibe with some of today’s freshness.
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“The Final Countdown Tour: Live In Sweden 1986” – 20th Anniversary by Europe

Artist: Europe
Title: “The Final Countdown Tour: Live In Sweden 1986” – 20th Anniversary
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release: 11/21/2006
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their blockbuster album and tour for “The Final Countdown”, Music Video Distributors has re-issued a concert film that allows fans of the band Europe to relive the glory days of Hair Metal once again. This is also the perfect way to see the band in their prime if you were among those who were too young to enjoy them during those days and instead have only heard about it from the folks who remember and are now called the “Old School”. To say that the song “The Final Countdown” was both a blockbuster and an instantly memorable hit would be an understatement as it was one of those tracks that once you heard it, you were going to find it in your audio memory banks forever. Oddly enough it would be the case whether you loved or hated the song and it’s popularity made the band a juggernaut that would be the group others were measured against. The song itself was a majestic track with flourishing keyboards and not only was it living on a consistent MTV rotation and Rock radio but it also became a mainstay at sporting events worldwide. It was a song that single handedly helped to propel Europe into the stratosphere as a Hard Rock super power.
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“Live From The Dark” by Europe

Artist: Europe
Title: “Live From The Dark”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 2/21/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

I admit that when I covered the Europe appearance in New York last year that I was not sure what to expect. It was a band that I knew of mainly based on the radio hits and constant video on the once music rich MTV. I arrived to a capacity filled venue and experienced an evening of kick ass Rock and Roll that night and it made me smile when I read that the band would be releasing a live DVD based on this tour. To many people of the world Europe was considered “Hair Metal” and with their signature track “Final Countdown” the band found a comfortable home on radio, in video and at large sporting events. 2005 would mark the first time the band had toured since 1992 and not only did this serve as a reunion tour but it would also provide support for the surprisingly effective album “Start From The Dark”. The album featured a Europe that would take the dismissive listener totally off guard with its rich hooks and powerful vocal numbers. If you expected a milquetoast, keyboard laden CD full of sappy music you would be wrong and cheating yourself by passing on it. Instead the album rocks solid from top to bottom. The DVD was filmed on the final night of the bands tour at a sold-out Hammersmith Apollo Theatre and features a great number of their classics as well as a nice amount of tracks from the new album. The band is in great shape and while it’s a straight concert shoot with limited special effects I think most fans of the band would enjoy it. As someone who caught this reunion show I was especially impressed and reminded of how good it actually was to see them. Joey Tempest does not seem to have aged much since I last remembered seeing his videos and guitarist John Norum (recently returning from a stint in Dokken) proves that he is one of the better players in Rock and Roll. Mic Michaeli performs his magic on keyboards and when he begins the signature track as a closer it’s a response from the audience that most bands only hope to receive. Ian Haugland and Jon Leven keep the rhythm section in check but showcase the level of talent they possess as well. My favorite tracks fall to the hits that I know from years ago to the new material on the highly recommended “Start From The Dark” CD that is reviewed elsewhere on the site. Overall I found little disappointment if any. Highlights are the opener as it brings you right into the concert head on, the acoustic version of “Carrie” sung by Joey and the few thousand audience members and of course the resounding “Final Countdown”.
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PiercingMetal’s “Best Of” 2005: Music – Video – Concerts

Having only launched PiercingMetal.com in April, this list is not a super long one. However, it does feature some of the releases that we found most favorable along with the shows that we enjoyed the most. Maybe you agree with us on some so please take a look.

Logo - The Best Of

The Best CD’s of 2005:
Mercenary “11 Dreams” (Century Media Records): One of the finest mixes of Metal genre to come out of Century Media records this year

Soilwork “Stabbing The Drama” (Nuclear Blast Records): This CD made a fan out of me, and is likely to do the same for you.

H.I.M. “Dark Light” (Sire Records): First official US Release and mixes elements of their previous work to a fine blend. Try this melodic gothic act out and you will not regret it.

Judas Priest “Angel Of Retribution” (Epic Records): Reunion, simple as that, they show why they are Metal Gods to this very day.

Iron Maiden “Death On the Road” (Columbia Records): The 40th live album from Iron Maiden shows up their last try and is quite enjoyable.

Korpiklaani “Voice of Wilderness” (Napalm Records): Ever hear Folk Metal? You will be a changed person when you do.

Leaves Eyes “Vinland Saga” (Napalm Records): Atmospheric Gothic Metal and this CD take you to another world.

Journey “Generations” (Independent): Anyone who stopped supporting Journey because of Steve Perry leaving is an idiot because Steve Augeri rocks. This is one of the best Rock records of the year.
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