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Metal/Prog Metal DVD/Video Reviews

Grave Digger

25 To Live DVD

Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that I never really heard these guys before. Since Mike Korn had done a review of one of their previous discs for MSJ I knew who they were, but I had some notion in my own head, probably due to the band name, that these guys were some extreme death metal outfit. Well, after popping this disc in to my PC (out of three DVD players I tried it only worked on two of them - of course could just be because it's a promo copy) I can say that Grave Digger is definitely not an extreme death metal band. I can also say, "they rock!" I really like their style of metal, and the skill with which they perform it. While they aren't quite on the same level as Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, they are in the same ballpark. I suppose the closest comparison would be to Accept, but you might also think of Motorhead in some ways. Whatever group you think of when listening to them, though, if you enjoy good solid, no nonsense heavy metal, you'll like these guys. In addition, for reasons to be discussed in the next couple paragraphs, this DVD might be an excellent first introduction to the group.

The DVD starts off with a behind the scenes film showing the band's trip to Brazil to perform. Filmed in sepiatone, this thing is quite cool. While there isn't a lot of dialogue, it leads off with a delay at the airport. This is just one of the scenes that seems like it could have been part of the Spinal Tap movie. The way they present this here, it's obvious that that comparison is not lost on the guys in the band, and they find it funny. That makes it OK to laugh about it. This is a great little documentary. They put it together with little text cards, like in old silent movies. While the cards sometimes point up the fact that English isn't their first language, I almost wonder if that isn't an intentional gag on their part, too. Either way it adds to the charm of this outing. They even include some footage of a Brazilian Grave Digger tribute band in the mix. Interestingly enough, from looking at him, one might think that the lead singer of that outfit is the aforementioned Mike Korn moonlighting. Do you get to Brazil often, Mike? This little vignette isn't extremely long, but it's quite fun and a great way to show that these guys don't take themselves too seriously.

That brings us to the concert film itself. This is another piece of quality. You can tell that it was not given the budget that some bigger bands might have had, but they did a lot with what they had. The sound quality and video quality are both quite good. The only thing that gives away the budgetary considerations is the fact that there aren't a lot of odd camera angles and stuff. Not that I really miss it, though, sometimes those things just take away from the experience. What we have here is an in your face, real (and quite live) performance captured to be enjoyed in the privacy of your own home. For fans of solid metal, this is a great thing. As said before, these guys have elements of a lot of old school metal, but with a slightly raw approach. That's all about their particular sonic vision, though, as they are a professional outfit and are quite good at their game. They run through tracks from all eras of their extensive career (as the title of the DVD alludes to) and there isn't a song that doesn't work. Brazilian rock fans certainly are in a league all of their own and their enthusiasm adds to the enjoyment. I swear that from what I've seen no one rocks out like Brazilian music fans. In any event, with all of these elements in place, this is one very potent DVD release. I can tell you that I hadn't really given these guys much of a chance before. That's not a mistake I'll make again. They've got a new fan here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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