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After three full-lengths, we get the first Grailknights DVD. Since Grailknights’ performances are about more than just the music itself, this DVD is great for people who have never seen the Knights live. I’ve seen the band live two times already, and this DVD contains all the fun things you expect at a gig of theirs: Dr. Skull and Morph stealing the Holy Grail! Heroic poses! Beer Beauty, the wonderful beer brewing steed! Metal! More heroic posing! Lots of shout-along moments! The Battlechoir’s heroic posing!
A quick glance at the chapters reveals a balanced setlist with songs from all three albums (although all the third albums songs are played at the beginning of the show), a cover (Holding Out For A Hero, what else?) and a new song, Sea Song. In between the songs there are the more theatrical chapters such as Grailrobic - Superheroic workout, where the Knights and the Battlechoir (the audience) perform heroic poses together.
The show begins with a shot of the Holy Grail on its pedestal, which then is stolen by Dr. Skull and his henchman Morph. Skull disappears, and a tune like that for a television series starts to play. Enter the Grailknights, dressed in capes and Batman-like body armour. They take their place, do some heroic posing and take off with Grailquest Gladiators. It’s clear, the band is ready for tonight! What follows is a most amusing 1.5 hour mix of metal and acts.
The band plays a show with much enthousiasm and the songs sound great. The old songs don’t disappoint compared to their full-length versions, although I find it a pity that all Alliance songs (with a little more power metal in them) are played at the beginning of the set. Sea Song is a great new song: Sir Optimus Prime changes his guitar for an accordion, adding a folk element to the show. It has got a typical shout-along part and process to be a real live song. Grailknights at their best!
This DVD is the first feat since the arrival of Baron van der Blast. The drumming Yellow Knight proves to be an excellent replacement for the Duke of Drumington, especially during his drum solo. On top of his musical abilities, the Baron possesses a very entertaining set of facial expressions as well as the necessary heroic poses.
The audio mix between the different instruments and the vocals is good. Even the accordion comes through in great quality. The video recordings, taken from several cameras, provide a good view of the stage, the drumkit, the audience and the occasional heroic pose. But there is no such thing as a perfect recording: at times the smoke machines on stage hide the band members. During the Cyborg Skull act the smoke hides even Cyborg Skull (in fact a Tron version of Dr. Skull) completely. When the light from the spots is dispersed by the mist you can’t see much either, but except for the Cyborg Skull act it doesn’t happen often. All acts are in German, but luckily there are subtitles in English. At some points the time these are too fast: while half of a longer sentence has been spoken, the corresponding subtitles have already disappeared. Not really a problem, the translation comes through, but still a minor remark.
This DVD captures the atmosphere of a Grailknights concert rather well, all the elements are there. The recordings are excellent, and the music itself doesn’t disappoint. I’d recommend this DVD to any Grailknights fan, since the band is about more than just the music. And if you will excuse me, I’m going to work on my heroic poses.