July 13th, 2010
Release length: 6:00:00
First of all, the main draw of this DVD would be part two of the band’s documentary, and of course it features newly recorded interviews with pertinant band members, as well as never before scene photos, live footage, clips from side project music videos, as well as scenes from home videos thrown in for good mix. The documentary isn’t as long as you would think, but there hasn’t really been that much time passed since the previous docuentary, so you can’t really expect much as far as length goes. However, there are aspects to this part of the DVD that simply feels drawn out. Obviously, there is narration throughout the video, and primarily at the start, you get a great chunk of the narrator setting up the time line for the band, as well as dismissing many bands that are pertinant to Metal, such as Slayer, kreator, and Metallica, and highlighting the new music crazes that left metal battered. However, this introduction really just seems drug along and moves at a very slow pace with great emphasis on the man walking around the woods with a gun that is upposed to represent Tom “Angelripper” as highlighted at the end of this section of the DVD by mentioning what made him think about music again.
Aside that, the entire thing is in German. This is to be expected, and not all DVDs will be in English. However, the problem with this is that many of the individuals being interviewed speak so fast that you read five, maybe six words and the next screen comes up and is gone just as quick because it was the last two words of a sentence, if that. This happens quite often during the more “exciting” moments of the band’s career, such as the discussion of their performance at Full Force, leaving you rewinding slightly to read what you missed because sometimes you’ll be lost if you didn’t finish that one specific sentence. There’s also the fact that once in a while the subtitles show up later then they should, but disappear at the right point, so that’s another thing you gotta contend with at times though the DVD. It also would have been nicer to have the subtitles close to the bottom of the screen in the black bars that present the widescreen presentation, as the white Times New Roman font used quite often clashes with the brighter elements, such as white clothing and the shine off the wooden desks from the lighting, making it harder to read some lines of text, as well as sometimes causes you to not even realize that there is text atop, especially if the lower line’s first word starts capitalized, making no sense in the end, then having you rush to that first line which, more then likely, has already vanished from the screen, not to mention once in a while there just aren’t subtitles period, or they are wrong or incomplete. Other then those issues, it’s rather informative and put together quite nicely, coming off as a very professional documentary that makes you actually want to watch.
There’s not many outside sources brought in to speak about the history of Sodom outside of the producers of the albums, as well as some members from some of Tom’s side projects. Aside some random shots that make no sense, like cutting into extreme close ups of certain members eyes or mouth literally out of nowhere during the interviews, the documentaries are great, and the use of multi-camera angles really keep a nice, consistant flow between shots that look professional and keep even the most ADHD riddled individual content long enough. The animated segments of the artwork used on various albums are really nice, especially the one for the Sodom release Code Red. Other then that, this is just your typical documentary and it does a nice job bridging the gap from the first DVD, to their twenty fifth anniversary, while still giving some background information that was originally available on the first disc to tie in with information available here if necessary. Of course, if watching documentaries (or reading them if you don’t speak German) isn’t your thing, then of course you always have the second disc, which is where the more fun material of this release comes into play.
The main attraction on this second disc is the band’s performance at Wacken Open Air back in 2007, as well as some bonus material, such as deleted scenes from the documentary, which really don’t have much else to offer and it becomes clear why they were omitted in the first place, as well as the music videos for “Fuck the Police” and “City of God”. Of course, the quality for “Fuck the Police” could have been better and actually just seems like a poorly uploaded Youtube video at the end of the day, but given the year it was produced, the fact that it looks so rough in the first place shouldn’t really come as a real shock. Outside that, the video for “City fo God” is fantastic and looks superb, but again the time of production comes into play since this was a more recent video that was filmed. These make for nice little bonus additions in the long run, but the live performance footage is really where your attention will wind up.
The live show is much like any other live show you’d find a DVD. The widescreen presentation seems larger then the documentary thanks to thinner black bars for a much wider picture, and just as with the documentary, this performance was clearly shot with high definition cameras, as the picture to it is fantasticly clear, and even the sound quality on it is rich and sounds fantastic overall. The set list covers a good chunk of the band’s more well known material, as well as some of the older material. However, this DVD winds up having some production issues that really set it back and can be rather irritating, which is a shame due to the powerful performance the production crew had captured on stage and with the crowd. The only gripe is that there are some effects utilized through the DVD that make no sense as to why they are being used for a live concert in the first place. There are plenty of moments where the camera goes by the crowd or even the band really quick then slams to a slow motion pace, or just a slow motion effect is used in general. While it looks nice when the band members do something like whip their entire body backwards and gives a photo-op moment, it looks lame during other times, and during some songs, such as “City of Evil”, it’s just abused to death with the crowd. Aside that, the crowd often does become a bit of an unredeeming factor at times, as there winds up being plenty of crowd footage, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s typically of the same shots. It’s also annoying to have a slow motion shot of a band member, such as “Axis of Evil” when Tom whips himself back once more with the guitar, only to go slow motion and hear him singing along while his body is still bent back away from the microphone. Of course, the overhead shot that quickly zooms into then slams to slow motion on a closer shot, and then shots of the front guard rail with security grabbing crowd surfers. Yes, it’s great to have footage of the entire crowd pushing forward for specific songs, of seeing the crowd surfers, of people going ballistic in the front row and even hamming it up for the cameras, but to see the same shots over and over gets very repetitive, and often becomes very annoying throughout the DVD. However, much of it is made up by the guest musicians, and previous members of Sodom coming out during the set to play the older material as well
If all of this weren’t enough for you, then make sure you take a look at the booklets included with this DVD. Of course, this is a gatefold DVD case on a thinker cardstock paper in a book-like slipcase, much like many other multi-disc DVDs that bands have put out, as well as for television shows and DVD compilations in general. However, while there’s room for four discs, two of the sides have slits with little booklets instead. The first booklet goes with the documentary DVD, featuring a special introduction, then covers the Sodom-specific releases and including notes about the album as a “review” by Tom himself for both parts, as well as the artwork for each release. The live concert’s booklet, also features about the same thing except instead of information about reviews it lists the track list and provides credits for the show, which is just a very nice touch in the end. There’s even some text as soon as you open the inner case that holds the DVDs that sounds reads like it was meant to be intellectual, and also as a thank you, as well as a proclamation about Sodom it’s self.
In the long run, this DVD boils down to only have faults as far as the post-production work goes. The documentary it’s self is fantastic and gives more insight into the more modern goings on of Sodom and often becomes very informative if you can read the text in time, or see where it starts if you don’t speak their native tongue. However, it’s the live show that really winds up at fault with artsy effects that really serve no purpose and often really just leave you feeling like you’ve been jerked left and right through the video of the concert thanks to slow motion and fast motion effects being abused to death throughout, as well as being placed at lame places. Given these issues, there’s over six hundred minutes of fantastic Sodom material presented here, and any fan of the band would be foolish not to add this DVD to their collection.
01. Historical Depravity
Disc Two: Live Depravity
|Initial Pressing Score: 8/10