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Various Artists

I-Crusher Complete DVD

Review by Mike Korn

Looks like it's time for Earache Records to clear out the vaults and see if they can make a buck. I-Crusher Complete is a slapdash DVD combining two previous videodiscs throwing together old video clips from bands that have either left the Earache roster, broken up or are underperforming. It's clearly a last ditch attempt to get some cash from these clips, but that doesn't mean it's without interest. The highlights here are live footage of three of the greatest old Earache bands, Carcass, Napalm Death and Entombed. You could make a pretty good argument that these were the bands who made Earache, back in the day. There's a great clip of Napalm in 89, just when they were starting to break big. Playing a blistering "Scum,"you can check out Barney back in his long-haired days, see the late Jesse Pintado in action and catch the long gone Mick Harris applying the blastbeats - a real treat! Equally good are the live looks at the classic Carcass line-up playing "Tools of the Trade" in 1992 and Swedish death metal gods Entombed blasting out "Stranger Aeons" in the same year. This was when both bands were at their absolute peak. The rest is a collection of promo videos of extremely variable quality, mostly from the period around the turn of the century. Most notable are the offerings from Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal and Godflesh...heavy hitters all. The Decapitated video for "Spheres of Madness" is now especially poignant, considering the recent death of the band's drummer Vitek. Elsewhere, troll-like Mortiis pops up with the dark techno-pop of "Parasite God" and "Mental Maelstrom" (nonetheless perversely catchy), Cathedral chimes in with a rather ho-hum "Black Sunday," Cadaver Inc.'s infamous "Rupture" video makes an appearance and Society 1 comes swinging in with singer Matt Zane literally hanging from meathooks on the "Nothing" video. Speaking of which, there's a bonus video feature on the making of the "Nothing" video and another one showing Zane's attempts to out-Manson Marilyn Manson. I don't like the trick they use for the videos by The Haunted and Usurper (R.I.P.). They show live club footage of each band, but the soundtrack is clearly just lifted from the prospective album and sometimes it doesn't even match up. For example, there's a long grunt on "Bury Your Dead" but then-singer Marco Aro is not even facing the mike - cheesy. Much better are the insane videos from The Berzerker, showing them in all their monster-suited glory. I always maintained that The Berzerker actually was what Slipknot claimed to be. This is a nostalgic look back at their over-the-top monster mask days. The less said about the horrid nu-metal garbage of Linea 77 and Autonomy the better. I can't believe either of these acts ever wound up on Earache...Autonomy in particular is the nadir of rap metal. Linea 77 even get two videos here and I think they are still on the label. I wonder how much blood they had to use to sign that contract! The disc is rounded off by more videos from Gandalf, December and Ephel Duath. And there are also about 11 "audio-only" tracks for the completist, mostly from obscurities like Corporation 187, Ultra Violence and Forest Stream. If you see this for a cheap price, I'd recommend picking it up for those live tracks and The Berzerker. The rest of it depends on your tolerance for the particular band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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