by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Dark Tranquillity - Live Damage
(Century Media)

For their first DVD, Sweden's perfectly balanced thrash/death/melody metallers go for the gut, stuffing this thing full of over three hours of footage, the centrepiece being a somewhat contrived-looking but plush and almost upscale show in a Polish TV studio, in front of a small prop-style crowd. The band (actually, an army of six) storm these songs though, and I'm really glad that most of Damage Done is smacked upside the head here. Additionally, Live Damage offers middling bootleg live footage from three stops around Europe, an interview, and two surprisingly effective, expensive-looking production videos. I dunno, even though the massive 21 song set list is peerless, there's something slick, well-lit and modern Paradise Lost-like about the atmosphere. Nothing too innovative here, but for a first DVD, there is indeed a ton of damage done - fully 37 live shoot 'em ups (not to mention the extra mournful morsels) by the best Swedish band on the planet right now.
Rating 8

Judas Priest - Electric Eye
(Legacy/Columbia Music Video)

Electric Eye is one of those must owns DVDs that actually doesn't offer much in terms of variety or imagination. First off, it's a must own because of its collating of all the Judas Priest videos, many of which have rarely been aired. Don't Go is particularly rare, while both Breaking The Law and Living After Midnight are charming and innocent. The late videos blow, that is, until Painkiller blows the doors off in a torrent of strobes. The brunt of the set is actually the least inspiring, comprising a 19 track show from Dallas '86, Turbo tour. The band look silly, the album being schlepped is dull and patronizing, and the stage is overblown. It's a sad graphic of UK's once finest, serving an American fast food metal nation their worst, wheezing between the last two productive peaks for the metal genre they polished, the early hair era of MTV's rise and the late hair era of the Gunners. The real gem of the package however, is the early Top Of The Pops and Old Grey Whistle Test stuff. Little did anybody know that those curtly traded licks within Rocka Rolla and Deceiver were coming from a band that would reshape metal with a precision and intelligence previously unheard of. Take On The World, Evening Star, Living After Midnight and United are trotted out for zombie TV crowds in more contrived (and lip-syched) fashion, yet still, one can feel the excitement of the NWOBHM sparking the cheesy studio sets. Indeed three of those songs were about rocking, fist-pumped (OK, one was about staying up late). As pleasant diversion, one can chart Rob's gay and non-gay messagings, his visual flirtations with outing himself. Like Freddie, the guy had his early long hair and silk kimono phase, then later full-on S&M looks of various intensities. In betwixt, he gets a foof of fairly long locks, a behaved and blond do, a mullet (Turbo-era videos; the live stuff), clean face, stubble, shades on, shades off, a decadent black eyeliner look at the end of the run, while his band stays remarkably constant, save for KK's foppish floppy hat back when the whole band looked, and probably was, malnourished. Still, it curdles the blood, watching the rebirth of metal once Dreamer Deceiver gives way to Deceiver, under glaring indoor lighting, circa mid-'75. No one, and I mean no one, had such a deliberate, cauterizing effect with respect to turning metal high rent, as did Priest, from Sad Wings through Hell Bent.
Rating 8

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