Slayer - Still Reigning review
|Release date:||September 2004|
[Reign In Blood Live]
01. Angel Of Death
02. Piece By Piece
04. Altar Of Sacrifice
05. Jesus Saves
06. Criminally Insane
10. Raining Blood
01. War Ensemble
02. Hallowed Point
04. Mandatory Suicide
05. Spill The Blood
06. South Of Heaven
[Slayer In Their Own Words]
Before I give a full review, let me give you a quick overview of the what you're getting
on this disc. The DVD consists of one show recorded at the Civic Center in Augusta, ME on 11 July 2004 and an interview. The setlist for that show consisted of some non-Reign In Blood material for the first half, and the entire RIB album for the second half. The DVD, however, is called "Reign In Blood: Still Reigning" and focuses only on the RIB portion of the set, leaving the other tracks off the main concert and sticking some them in as extras (others are left off altogether). The interview is also plugged into the extras. As most of you may know, RIB was only a 28 minute album, but it's closer to 33 minutes live. Altogether, you get over 80 minutes of Slayer for right around $15 USD. I got my copy on sale for $9.99 USD.
Because this is a DVD and not a CD, you get a video experience to go with the audio, so I will cover both in this review.
For the DVD: The camerawork is decent for the most part - there are plenty of good shots of the band and the audience, and most of the camerawork goes well with the music, but sometimes it's a little too dark and jumpy. This is especially obvious during the song "Raining Blood" - it's very difficult to get a good look at the band with the blood raining down on them because of the lighting and the frantic angles. I wish there was at least one good shot of the entire stage from about mid-floor with good lighting so you could get the full effect of the band on stage, the blood raining down from above and drenching them, and the original 1986 Reign in Blood backdrop. However, for the most part, I think the video works very well.
As far as the audio goes ... the 2.0 (Stereo) mix is balanced well, but the 5.1 Surround mix is a little weak - there's not enough coming from the rear channels and the subwoofer - throughout most of the show it felt as if I was being hammered through the center channel. However, the audio is crisp and clear throughout, so no worries there - especially for those of you listening to the stereo mix. But those of you with surround sound may feel that it leaves a little (if not a lot) to be desired. Without the full surround effect, I never get the feeling that I'm actually there - it just doesn't encompass me the way I would like.
The extras are cool, but minimal. Essentially, all you get is the first half of the show separated out as "Bonus Tracks" and a brief interview session called "Slayer In Their Own Words." The "Bonus Tracks," as I mentioned above, are just the first part of their set (minus about 5 songs). Unfortunately, by separating them out this way, you don't get the full impact of the live performance. The interview portion was the highlight of the DVD for me, but even that left a little to be desired. The band touches briefly on some highlights of their career, but mainly focus on how & when they formed and how they write music. Unfortunately, they don't give you enough of that information to make it really interesting, just enough to make you want more.
So, that sums up the DVD quality, but what about the actual performance?
Well, it's not bad, but the guys are starting to show their age. Does that take away from the set? Probably not. After all, most people watching this (pay attention here, this is important) are Slayer fans. Not just fans, but Slayer fans. So what does that mean? It means that most of the people watching won't give a fuck that Tom messed up the lyrics in several spots. They won't care that he missed a couple of lines altogether. They won't care that he can't hit the high notes the way he could in '86. They won't care that Dave mixed up the drum beats. They won't care that the blood raining down on the band got the instruments so wet that Tom couldn't even play the end of Raining Blood and he just bangs on the bass making noise. And why won't they care? Because it's FUCKING SLAYER!!!
Overall, I'd give this DVD a 5/10 for production & content, but a 9/10 for Slayer's performance, resulting in an overall rating 7.5/10. Yes, I realize that doesn't average right, but I gave more weight to the performance since, after all, this is Slayer. And that, my friends, is reason enough to purchase this DVD.
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