Continuing the summer Blu-ray bonanza, Eagle Rock Entertainment, having recently released high-def DVDs from Black Sabbath, The Doors, The Moody Blues, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, will release titles from two very different spectrums of the rock universe. On August 24, new concert Blu-rays will be released featuring heavy-metal brawlers Black Label Society in “The European Invasion: Doom Troopin’” and original alt-rock pioneers Pixies in “Live: Acoustic and Electric”.
For twenty years, guitarist Zakk Wylde has been bashing skulls and bringing the brutality, both as Ozzy Osbourne’s right hand man and fronting his own band, Black Label Society. Doom Troopin’ Live – The European Invasion, features the band performing before a Paris crowd in the midst of a sold out 2005 tour, in support of the Mafia album. Extensive bonus features include four tracks from the Astoria show in London, the 50-minute “Backstage Pass” on-the-road documentary, music videos for “Suicide Messiah,” “In This River,” and “Fire It Up,” and a making-of video of “Suicide Messiah.” Originally released as a standard DVD in August 2006, this Blu-ray, with pumped up picture and sound quality, showcases the mighty molten prowess of BLS.
I’ve been a fan of BLS for some time now and was always curious how they didn’t get more exposure than they did. They honestly have some of the most dirtiest (not verbally [though there’s that too], just in terms of the guitars and drums) sounding music among all bands out today, which may actually contribute why they aren’t heard from as much on the local radio affiliates. It’s not that they aren’t a great band, it’s just that they aren’t friendly to all ears—you have to like the styling’s of Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica to get into Black Label Society, which is, again, decidedly a bit darker than even those two.
But that’s part of what I like about their music. They don’t sound like everyone else, although it’s obvious after playing alongside Ozzy for so many years, there’s a lot more Osbourne influence in BLS than anything else. Wylde’s even gone as far to cover a few of his songs (“No More Tears,” which isn’t included here sadly enough, is one of my favorites of BLS) and done them more than enough justice. It’s a really great band all around, as they have plenty of great original songs as well, which range from the head-bangers dream to the quieter, and piano (which Wylde also plays) styled efforts.
Eagle Rock’s previous foray into BLS was a simple best-of style DVD release from over a year ago. Now we get a proper live concert collection of twenty songs and a handful of extras. Sadly there is major overlap between the “Paris” and “London” chapters, as pretty much all of the same songs are repeated as from the Paris session, so it’s just a different setting with a crowd equally as loud. Still they’re good concerts regardless, although the camera could have been a bit more laid back—the frequent cutting and close ups and everything to be kind of annoying after awhile.
Overall a Recommended set of songs for fans. Newcomers will want to make it a rental.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Black Label Society – The European Invasion: Doom Troopin’ to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. A booklet inside contains information about the set lists and disc contents, while the inside of it is a kind of fold out poster…very tiny poster, but one nonetheless. The menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion. There are even a few extras to check out as well.
The video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer and the concerts themselves are of a very nice clarity. With a transfer that is only four years old, plenty of clarity is abound, although as previously mentioned some of the video editing gets to be a bit much after awhile with the fast paced cuts and whatnot. As is usual with Eagle Rock releases, the concerts boasts three audio tracks as well, a DTS-HD MA, DD5.1 and a PCM track. All three have their merits, but it’s the DTS-HD that is the king of the listing here, as it has a nice spread about the room and represents the individual musical styling’s remarkably well.
Extras include a collection of Music Videos (Suicide Messiah with a Making Of, In This River, and Fire It Up) and a Backstage Pass featurette that runs about fifty minutes in length. Worth checking out if you enjoyed the concerts.
Overall a Recommended release for fans. Newcomers will want to stick with a rental.
Black Label Society – The European Invasion: Doom Troopin’ is now available on Blu-ray.