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When it comes to the topic of ‘metalcore’ bands, you go one way or the other. You either embrace whole-heartedly their propensity for soaring choruses and love of Gothenburgian guitar tones (as opposed to nu-metal ‘riffs’), or you despise the very sound of another band trying to make a career out of ripping off ‘Slaughter Of The Soul.’ Killswitch Engage have been dividing metalheads between the two, and barring a few exceptional songs, I would fall into the latter camp.
However, I took it upon myself to try and enjoy the DVD, considering some of the raving reviews in magazines (not Kerrap!, mind you, publications of a respectable ilk), and watched it within an hour of buying it. And did the latest output of Roadrunner’s darlings convert me to the way of KsE?
Maybe I was wrong to start off with the live show, because while the DVD is a million miles from terrible, the gig is… Well, watching the live performance is exactly the same as putting ‘Alive Or Just Breathing’ or ‘The End Of Heartache’ onto the stereo. Here and there you will find some truly shining gems, but for the most part the action chunders along with next to nothing worthy of mention, let alone praise. ‘(Set This) World Ablaze’ follows precisely that pattern, with the obvious exception of performances being far less professional than anything you’ll hear on record – this is of course down to Adam D, a man who has no doubt won prizes for sheer idiotic dickheaded-ness in his lifetime. Dancing around the stage in short shorts and a cape in the name of entertainment and showmanship is one thing; forgetting to play your guitar because you’re waving your crotch in every direction possible is another thing entirely (funny as hell of course, just makes your sound suck, fuckface).
Like another reviewer has already said, it’s damn near impossible to watch the entire gig in one go – you WILL end up skipping to songs like ‘When Darkness Falls’ ‘My Last Serenade’ and the truly immense ‘Rose Of Sharyn’, which thankfully offer up some form of excitement to redeem the show. It is a shame to put KsE down this way, because when you discard Adam’s occasional sloppiness and Howard Jones’ tendency to let the crowd do his singing for him (those fuckers were damn loud that night!), the band is a fantastically tight unit, and there’s no doubt that they look like they’re having the time of their lives onstage. Damn shame.
However, the real gold can be found if you dig into the mammoth documentary ‘From The Bedroom To The Basement.’ By Satan this was fun to watch. Charting the bands rise from bands like Aftershock and Overcast, through underground tours with Soilwork and Kittie, detailing former singer Jesse Leach’s departure in a frank and honest manner, right up to their performance on the Download 04 main stage (that show, on a personal note, was actually rather good), the entire documentary is edited and embellished with loving attention to detail – the band certainly didn’t fuck around when creating this. And barring the ass-kissing Century Media A&R man, it’s great to see such a massive plethora of guests come on to talk up (and rip the piss out of) KsE.
So while the live show will offer little in the way of memorable moments, the documentary is more than worthy of the retail price alone. All in all, perhaps this DVD is a little more worthwhile than it appears at face value – but if you ain’t a fan you may be advised to be cautious with your ill-gotten money. But either way, always remember: “This song is about God Forbid riding a skateboard! It’s called: ‘When Darkness Falls!!!’”