without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
As a previous contributor noted the music and images in the main concert section of this live DVD are out of synch. To be more accurate, if you look closely, SOME of the images are out of synch. Hmmm.
Reading another contributor’s comments about the annoyingly rapid shot edits made me think about the synch issue. I began to wonder if DT performed the show at least twice and spliced later shots from different angles into the “master” version. I conclude this because you’ll see shots that are in synch cheek by jowl with shots that are hopelessly out of synch. In all honesty, if that is what the producers have done, they’ve made a pretty good job of it. The (yes, annoying) rapid edits whip through most of the dodgy bits so you don’t notice them all that much.
I can only guess they’ve done this to give the show some pace and energy. Let’s face it, the audience is definitely not involved and poor Mikael Stanne is having a hard time whipping the Polish punters into anything remotely resembling a frenzy. If you’ve seen DT live or flip to the bootleg sections of the DVD you’ll see the band, and Stanne in particular, in their element. So the edits are there to give the main concert – shot in a TV studio for heaven’s sake – a bit of kick.
Once all that is considered, you’d have to admit that the music in the main concert is first-rate. Tight as a fist and very well recorded. To get a bit of real concert vibe the bootleg sections, also shot pretty well and with decent sound, make up for the lackluster atmosphere of the main show. Better than most of the stuff on YouTube, at any rate.
All in all then, it’s not a bad package. If you love DT this is a terrific “best of” collection and, as far as I know, the only DT DVD. As such it’s definitely worth having, in my book.
Apparently there were no reviews for this DVD, and I just bought it (well, actually two months ago), so why not make an own review?
I first discovered Dark Tranquillity when they released their Character album, and I enjoyed it. I got the other albums and listened to them a couple of times too but none of them was, in my opinion, as good as Character; the only one that could compete with Character was The Gallery and Projector. Sadly enough, they don't play any Character material (but that's pretty easy to understand because this DVD was released two years before Character) and not especially much of The Gallery material either (just one track: Punish My Heaven). I'm not saying that Dark Tranquillity's other albums sucks, because they rule... but not as much as Character, The Gallery and Projector. Ok, now to the DVD.
This it starts with a keyboard intro, and the Dark Tranquillity logo and a sign that says "Staining Poland, Live in Krakow 2002" rolling on the screen closely followed by the DVD cover panning over the screen from the left. It looked fine untill the Staining Poland sign appeared, which looked like something done in Paint in one minute. And it's the same thing when the DVD cover appears, it looks very unprofessional. Well, enough about the unprofessional video editing. The intro bursts into the track called "The Wonders at Your Feet" and Mikael Stanne, the second greatest metal vocalist (after Tomas Lindberg), jumps up on the stage and starts with the ordinary brutal scream, "Alright!". The performance and sound quality is great and Mikael Stanne looks happy as usual. But something strikes my already from the start, do they have to make those extremely fast clips between the band members? That's bad because of two things, 1. I wanna see how they play and how they make anything sound so perfect, and 2. It's pretty fucking annoying. And the worst thing in the whole song (maybe on the whole DVD), when Niklas Sundin does his solo, isn't you supposed to see him then? It seems as they show everyone but Niklas Sundin. That's the third annoying thing on this DVD, and the first track isn't finished yet?!
The next track is "The Treason Wall" which is in my opinion one of Dark Tranquillity's worst songs. Nothing special here, only Mikael's fantastic vocal performance. It still seems as the video editing guys don't get it, it isn't cool. I also notice the white flashing lights, for gods sake, please lay off the fucking lights. It looks really weird if you watch it on the TV or the computer because it looks like the lower part of the monitor/screen updates later than the upper part and it makes the whole movie to look "laggy". I don't think that I have to descibe every track one by one, so I just pick the best ones or the ones I feel that it's worth to comment. Two tracks after "The Treason Wall" is "White Noise/Black Silence" which is one of my favorite track of the Damage Done album. I actually think it sounds better live, so this one is really fantastic. After this great song comes Haven, the mediocre title track of the album with the same name (damn, that sounded stupid). Finally a The Gallery track! "Punish My Heaven" is a great track, but I would prefer Mine Is The Grandeur Of Melancholy Burning instead. I gotta say, this track really spanks ass live, but Mikael Stanne messes up one of the cooler parts of this track, the "That's right! You'll suffer my punishment!" part with some other style (or whatever you should call it) of saying it. When the Spanish-like sound that reminds me of tap dancing (even if I'm pretty sure it isn't) kicks in it's a shame it's set to a so low volume.
The next one is "Monochromatic Stains", the best track of the Damage Done, which sound better recorded in the studio even if it also sounds good live. Nothing special here. The following track is from Projector, yay! "Undo Control" starts as the usual with the string picking and then Mikaels calm singing, instead of the female vocals on the orginal. When the song really starts with the "I resist without control" part that sounds really heavy on the studio recording but live it sounds really lame. It gets better, the killer riff (when Mikael sings "Claws that set in sleep´ December"), but that doesn't save the track from being shitty live. I don't understand why they choosed to play this one live, it sounds much worse live than on the album, why didn't they pick "Auctioned" instead? It's 100 times better, and would be cool to see live. After this disappointment the great track "Indifferent Suns", my favorite from Haven, beggins. It sounds really good live, with those kick drum hits so perfectly fitted to the melody. It sounds as good as one the record, and probably the best track on this DVD. Only one bad thing about this, the camera man that shoots Anders Jivarp (the drummer), and filming like he was drunk or something. After this "Format C: For Cortex" follows, one of the better Damage Done tracks. It sounds great live, and Mr. Stanne sings (and growls) great as usual.
Now my favorite track of all time, "Lethe" from The Gallery! The most disappointing things about this one, is that Mikael doesn't sing those "despair-ish" vocals (something like that) as good as on the record. I've seen a live video from '96 (or maybe '97), and on that one he sings those completely perfect. Well, it's still really good. The last kick ass track on this DVD is ThereIn, which is performed really good and Mikaels fantastic clean vocals sounds perfect live.
Another very annoying thing that I forgot to write about earlier is that the audio isn't synced with the video especially good.
This DVD also includes the "Monochromatic Stains" and "ThereIn" video together with some bootleg tracks recorded with a decent video camera, and it sounds really cool, more "raw". There's also some photos, pictures and desktop images included and a pretty interesting Interview with Mikael Stanne. In my opinion they could replace the photo gallery, the bootleg videos with some studio footage. It would be really cool to see how they work in the studio.
Just a quick summary: Good performance, shitty editing. It was pretty hard to decide a rating for this one, but I think the performance compensates for the lousy editing.
Best tracks: Lethe, ThereIn, Punish My Heaven, Indifferent Suns.
This DVD suffers. It wants to die. It begs for mercy. The only problem is that the music is good. Don't get me wrong at all. But just the way this show turned out was amazingly fucked.
The concert's got a great setlist, covering everything that DT has done for the exception of their collection of early EPs and Skydancer. The actual performance of the songs is great and spot on. So what's the problem? I'll give you two.
1) The crowd ain't into it. I don't know how many people were there, but after every song, it seems only 5 people cheer at a time. What the hell? It looks to be a closed set type deal, which really hurts the crowd interaction. And if you've been at a Dark Tranquillity gig, you know that Stanne likes to interact with the crowd. Case point, when the bridge section to Hedon comes on, and Stanne is doing the "Hedon...Hedon...Hedon...Hedon" part, he lets the crowd sing half of the Hedon chant...well there's no chant. Barely any clapping. There's no life.
2) This is the bigger problem. The video images and the audio are not synched correctly. Therefore, the song is playing, but the images are at least 3 notes behind, and at first, for the first part of the show, you can't really tell, but once it gets to around 'Lethe', you begin to notice it a whole lot more, especially with Stanne's vocals and Anders Jivarp's drums. It's horrible. And afterward, you'll LOOK for it yourself, and you'll notice that Niklas, Martin and Peter are all off as well! It's really no fun.
The extras are pretty decent, with a whole bunch of bootleg songs, and my only complaint is that they put boots of the same songs already on the DVD. Couldn't you guys at least put some other songs? The interview was crap though. It was so cut and pasted it wasn't funny, and the interviewer was not very fluent in speaking English, so his questions were a bit hard to understand.
Now onto the gig itself (the sound at least). The first few songs sound great. Wonders at Your Feet, Treason Wall, and Hedon (for the exception of the chorus Hedon part) sound great. It flows pretty well until you hit Punish My Heaven, to which you end up alternating between a slow and a fast song, and it gets pretty sluggish. This goes on up to Lethe, where you hit this cog of songs that are pretty slow, and depending on how much you like their slower, clean vocal stuff, you'll have a different reaction. Although I don't mind those songs, I think the setlist could have been a bit better put together. The final two songs do rev up the spirit of this show, but it's a bit too late don't ya think guys?
If you are a hardcore DT fan like me, this is a decent buy, but for "normies", nah, you might want to save your money unless you find it used for cheap.