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Metal/Prog Metal DVD/Video Reviews


Shovel Headed Tour Machine: Live At Wacken + Other Assorted Atrocities DVD

Review by Mike Korn

Exodus is bigger now than they ever were in the 80's. They are constantly on the move, touring all over the world and recording brutal albums with clockwork regularity. But nothing says that you've made it in the metal world more than headlining in front of 70,000 moshing maniacs at Germany's annual Wacken festival. If there is such a thing as a Mecca for metalheads, Wacken is it.

 This 3 disc DVD/CD set celebrates Exodus' performance at Wacken 2008 and gives you a lot more besides. The DVD is raw and unvarnished...this one hasn't been overdubbed and "sweetened" like many live DVD's are...the sound is rough and nasty, with a few screw-ups discernible. Well, I prefer it this way...if your live recording isn't going to sound live, why bother to do it at all? The camera work is also not fancy, but you get the feeling of being in the pit with a bunch of sweaty, beer-drinking metal fans. The set spans the very earliest days..."Bonded By Blood", "Piranha", "Strike of the Beast" the more recent "comeback" era with "War Is My Shepherd", "Deathamphetamine" and the bruising "Blacklist". The band clearly is getting off on playing at Wacken, but I got awfully tired of Rob Dukes' weary "Come on, motherf***ers!" roars. It got old pretty quickly.

 You also get a CD containing the same live set, but where this package really shows its value is Disc 3, which is chockfull of interviews, tour shenanigans and historical insight into Exodus. Each member gets his moment to shine and there's a lot of good-natured ribbing going on. Drummer Tom Hunting is described as "the nicest hippie on Earth" as well as "the ultimate raging thrash metal drummer" while guitarist Lee Altus comes across  as pretty talkative. Through it all, band leader Gary Holt reminisces honestly about the band's past, including late singer Paul Baloff's difficulties with alcohol and Holt’s reaction to Baloff’s death. The ups and downs of Exodus history are traced faithfully and there's also some pretty hilarious "non-metal moments" to lighten the mood. It's a great documentary for any fan of Exodus or thrash metal in general.

 Bands tend to put out way too much product these days (Iron Maiden, anybody?) but Shovel-Headed Tour Machine is definitely worth picking up.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at

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