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Saturday, May 16, 2009

DVD Review: Monsters of Metal Vol. 6

Monsters of Metal Vol. 6
2009 Nuclear Blast Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Let's just say that even though here at The Metal Minute you can find tons of cyber-streamed videos of your favorite past and present metal bands, this writer prefers a good ol' fashioned drop on the couch in front the tube with a kickin' feed running to my stereo (a poor man's surround sound system) to purvey music videos. I am a by-product of MTV when it originally began in the early eighties and thus prefer my videos smack on the idiot box.

Of course, times have changed since MTV branched out with alternative programming and expanded stations, plus for heavy metal's purposes, a rebooted version of Headbangers Ball for the second gen of metalheads. Sad to say, however, the new way of things is almost as grudgingly hopeless as the old, even if there's a nostalgia factor to the latter which us old fogies and young 'uns looking to study the genre's history can dwell upon to our delight or horror at Metal Mania on VH-1 Classic.

Nonetheless, today's metal audience is more concerned with the here and now as well they should be, which leaves them at odds when Headbangers Ball today can't seem to find a time slot to stick by, much less designate an appropriate amount of time to cover the new eclectic ways of this reinvented species. Even worse, Headbangers Ball has routinely littered screens with badgering teletype and pop-ups (though they've slightly improved this irksome form of information overload in recent days), which is, suffice it to say, doing as much a disservice to the industry as it does assisting it.

Let's face the facts, though; heavy metal has a larger contingency of fans than what gets acknowledged, although the sales charts have recently borne more metal bands challenging the corporate rap hucksters than ever before. Despite this glowing commercial fact, metal is still treated second class by music promoters, which is why you're hard-pressed to find genuinely organized programming devoted to today's moving and shaking scene.

Nuclear Blast's Monsters of Metal DVD series has been the antidote to this infection. With over four hours of material featuring uninterrupted, uncut and flotsam-free metal videos, the Monsters of Metal series is one of the best ways to get your metal fix properly.

Unless you're a 'puter junkie looking to gain mass consumption in one sitting, you're going to be at odds finding a better 51-cut selection as what Nuclear Blast offers on their sixth Monsters of Metal compilation. Bookending the double-disc set with a pair of videos from Dimmu Borgir's latest album In Sorte Diaboli, Monsters of Metal Vol. 6, as on past compendiums, handpicks some of the hardest, nastiest and fastest bandidos in metal today. Gathering house label acts along with other bands from cooperative competitors such as Metal Blade, SPV and Candlelight, Monsters of Metal Vol. 6 has the fans' interests well at-heart. Moreover, it does a splendid job covering the various modes of metal via thrash, death, prog, grind, power, folk and symphonic.

You get Amon Amarth, you get Kreator, you get Behemoth, you get Job For a Cowboy. You get Kreator, Gojira, Exodus, Obituary, Rage, Keep of Kalessin, Vader, Epica, Korpiklaani, Hate Eternal, Samael, October File, Kataklsym, Soilwork, Eluveitie, Iced Earth, Nile, Arsis, Scar Symmetry, Meshuggah, Saxon, U.D.O., Mantic Ritual, Divinity, Agnostic Front, Type O Negative, Kamelot and Six Feet Under along with many others.

From the pinwheeling hair twirls of Amon Amarth on thier "Cry of the Blackbirds" video to the sultry camera-flirting Simone Simons of Epica teases throughout "Never Enough" to the quixotic savagery of Keep of Kalessin's "Ascendent," Monsters of Metal Vol. 6 is a cram session overview of some of the key independents in a highly crowded metal contingency.

Getting to see Hammerfall's "Last Man Standing" slide between Behemoth and Vader is a fun ride, while Meshuggah's "Bleed" is one of the most visceral videos on the compilation as well as one of the most intense music-wise. Also cool is to see the Black Dahlia Murder's "Statutory Ape" chugging wildly after Iced Earth's "Ten Thousand Strong," the latter featuring the recently-departed Tim "Ripper" Owens.

While Sonic Syndicate's "Jack of Diamonds" video is a silly nod to the sex-selling smutty male fantasy fullfillment of the eighties, even going so far as to toss the camera down the shirt and across the navel of bassist Karin Axelsson, Nile's "Papryus Containing the Spell..." video is a wonderfully brutal antithesis. Prior to, you get to watch Schmeir of Destruction pimp the art of tattoing and partying in limos on Headhunter's hunky-dory "Silverskull." Expect no trad thrash here.

Mixing up old class bands such as Death Angel, Exodus, Obituary and Saxon along with Udo Dirkschneider's pounding "The Wrong Side of Midnight" video with the new breed such as Naera, Scar Symmetry, Legion of Damned and Job For a Cowboy's haunting "Embedded" video, Monsters of Metal Vol. 6 is more than enough to keep you entertained.

This is how you want to watch your metal, folks, even if it'd be fun to have a host running the show. You bet I'm volunteering!!!

Rating: ****

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