HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Blind Guardian - Imaginations Through The Looking Glass

Finally a Blind Guardian DVD has arrived and the band has pulled out all the stops - if not for loading up a DVD, at least for presentation of a live show. Disc one of the two disc set features the band with their own massive stage and lighting display, built for the two day Blind Guardian Open Air, which attracted 7,000 people, modestly past break even for such an extravagant spectacle, one that featured arena rock multi-level staging, huge torches, intro fireworks, top of the line lights, huge banners and perfect camera work. Fully 20 tracks are on offer, Hansi screaming effortlessly and hugely ("Valhalla!" - he's got a damn good voice, y'know?), offering his amusing, dramatic facial expressions throughout (my fave - the raised eyebrow), with a handful more tracks offered on disc two, which is mostly a making of and a long interview segment, in German, subtitled in English. The crowd goes nuts like Nuremberg, and the sound is superlative, as is the packaging - a gatefold with oversleeve, plus a four page booklet to help follow along. Bottom line: this gets you up, o'er the top, and into the band and the spectacle of the band playing something that, for now, is bigger than the norm. Quite simply, the enthusiasm is infectious, and you root for the guys, hoping stages like that become commonplace for them around the world.
Rating 8.5

Superjoint Ritual - Live At CBGB

The frame of this DVD is Phil's ratpack band punked out and grim looking playing the legendary NYC club that is even filthier than the band. Seriously, Anselmo, Bower and crew are looking seriously combat-ready for this packed, sweaty, cramped show and they unsurprisingly deliver (in front of a whopping 6 inch drum riser) on the promise of their ugly hardcore metal rants. Also no surprise, the crowd go nuts, swinging arms, legs and fists whenever afforded a little oppressive air to do so. The best part of the whole damn package is the interview footage, Phil talking legendary boxing matches with some local experts, swearing up and down hilariously that people can see him through the walls of the bus, and expounding on the psychic weight of playing CBGB. The rest of the guys offer sincerely and emotionally how making and playing music saved their troubled lives, and how they hope it provides solace to the untold lives of their fans. Also included are two videos, one of which is merely much like the live show, with a second, for 'Dress Like A Target', being one of the most innovative and artistic production vids I've ever seen, utilizing a flurry of flying, tumbling TV screens. You gotta see it.
Rating 7

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