Reviews Coming Soon

Album Review: TBA

Saturday, June 6, 2009

DVD Review: Unearth - Alive From The Apocalypse

Disc One is the restrictively short live show that Unearth played in Pomona, California last year and has been edited down to just 45 minutes. Despite this fact and the restrictions of the venue on shot variety it truly gives any prospective punter an insight into the manic energy and aural assault that is the band’s live material. It’s achieved by rapid cutting between cameras and sequential close-up work that includes both a view of fret and stickwork as well as allowing zoomed frames displaying both the emotion of the crowd and the band. And it’s not found wanting for sound quality either. Every instrument is clear and crisp with Trevor Phipps’ vocals particularly intense.

As a live band, Unearth make particularly fascinating viewing simply because of their unique capacity to surprise with their music (a twisted combination of thrash-metal and hardcore) and their onstage antics. The two guitarists Buz McGrath and especially Ken Susi are dual blurs of motion, leaping off amps, swinging their guitars around their necks, playing each other’s strings mid-riff, and even doing press-ups in between producing a sequence of shreds that would make Freddie Krueger proud. And amidst it all, standing stock still, Phipps simply stands and lets roar with an ear-shattering volley of lyrics before turning to the crowd and yelling “Don’t just fucking stand there!”

I could go through each song but I think you’re getting the message. It’s a pretty impressive show (and one I’m already wishing I was at) and perhaps that’s the thing. Not being there means it eventually ends up as a slightly disappointing experience. And it’s not just the brevity of it all. It’s rather dark and gloomy on stage, with the occasional burst of colour and this tends to produce a feeling after awhile that you’ve seen it all already. Thankfully, there is the magic of Disc Two still to come.

It’s a 75-minute documentary which provides a full history of the band from their humble beginnings playing clubs to the raging force they’ve become today. The genius here is the liberal use of opinion and information from the band’s contemporaries. The willing contributors include luminaries like Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying), Matt DeVries (Chimaira), Hoya Roc (Madball), Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour), Dino Cazeres (Fear Factory/Divine Heresy), Brian Fair (Shadows Fall), Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage) and ex-Pantera legend, (currently with Hellyeah) Vinnie Paul. They provide many of the most comedic moments as they recant tour tales and insights into the true personalities of each of the Unearth band members. Find out who flipped the tour van and who puked!

I won’t go in to any further details but it really is a superb watch and makes you wonder whether these lads were actually born with a cameraman attached! Without this insanely brilliant documentary this would just be another half-arsed and ultimately inconsequential release, with its inclusion this becomes an essential purchase for all fans of metal.

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