Bang Your Head!!! Fest
1/13/2009 - Review by: Vinaya Saksena
I always get jealous reading about or watching footage of these fantabulous European metal festivals, with Sweden Rock and Wacken Open Air drawing particular ire for their overwhelming displays of awesomeness. Whatís captured on this double DVD set is not quite the grating level of greatness often attained by those two festivals (the first time I saw a magazine ad for Sweden Rock, my eyes nearly popped out of my head as I surveyed the ridiculously bountiful bill), but itís still an impressive gathering of greats and cult sensations. And for old-school metal and hard rock fans such as myself living in the United States, this begs the question: Why the hell canít we get half of these bands to play on our shores, let alone all in one place?
Anyway, Bang Your Head!!! Festival 2006 features a fairly strong and diverse roster of acts, ranging from Canadian thrash pioneers Anvil to decidedly non-thrash hit-makers Foreigner, with a smattering of other respected veteran acts thrown in amongst a bunch of interesting lesser-known combos of varying quality. The video and sound quality throughout are adequate, if often underwhelming, particularly with regard to the mix, which sounds a tad muddy to my ears in some places.
Visually, the presentation is more than competent, albeit with some questionable judgments made by those who put it together, in my opinion. I mean, nothing against Hellfueled, for example, but I fail to see why they are allotted three songs in the main set (while Raven and Tony Martin each get a total of four!), even as quality acts such as Stratovarius and Death Angel are relegated to one each. Also, the non-musical bonus footage is interesting visually, but for those of us not fluent in German, some subtitles would have been nice.
Most of the performances are good, but not great, although some of these bands--i.e., Armored Saint and Vengeance--are a treat to see, simply because of the dearth of pro-shot live material available from them. The grease-painted and somewhat idiotically-named Powerwolf are just plain strange, Triumphís Rick Emmett is on form, if a bit out of place; and In Flames are a crushing disappointment, all watered-down and overly choreographed, lacking the authenticity and charisma I had hoped to see in such a respected band.
Overall, this video extravaganza is a nice little souvenir for those who were there, and yet another compelling reason for those of us in the Western Hemisphere to make that pilgrimage to Bang Your Head!!! or one of those other enviable European festivals. Question: Why does just about every band featured here appear to be performing in broad daylight?
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