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Rewarding DVD with great thrash - 95%

Tymell, August 7th, 2007

This is, putting it simply, one of the best live metal DVDs I've found, not just in simple quality (of material and recording), but in what it gives you.

The band is on top form, especially Sy, the audio is excellent quality, everything is so clear. It's just as a live recording should be: you can tell it is just that (live), but it doesn't let the audience or atmosphere overpower the band itself (as sometimes happens on such releases). The band and all aspects of it are still perfectly audible. It's a good audience on the whole too, albeit a comparatively small venue (but then, such music as this is well-suited to these sort of places, so that's fine).

I can't really review the songs themselves, that's what the reviews of the albums are for. With a DVD review I'm here to rate what a DVD does. And this does it very well, because the video itself is good, the audio of excellent quality, and it offers you plenty that can't be found elsewhere: i.e. the older material with up-to-date recording. Any live release is always in danger of just giving you what you already have and little else. This DVD really stands out because there's plenty here even for someone with everything Onslaught have released. The new songs (which at the time weren't released) fit in beautifully with the older stuff too, truly emphasising that Onslaught are back with a vengeance. To be honest, it's worth it just to hear all the old material done with modern quality and (in some cases) Sy on vocals, never mind the video. I'm an enormous fan of Killing Peace, but find the early releases good yet marred by the poor quality recordings. This totally blows that away and shows just how solid their early material is.

As a previous reviewer said, it's just a night of plain awesome thrash metal, good songs at the core performed very well. It really never lets up at all, just a solid hour+ of thrash, without break or filler. Sometimes I like variation and change of pace. But this is perfect for those craving non-stop thrash assault, to use a cliched sounding term. The camera work is very nice, it doesn't feel rushed or cluttered, a common pitfall of live DVDs. It just moves around, shifts focus, but doesn't linger too much or jump about wildly. And the bonus material is good too, a reasonable interview with Nige and Sy (nothing spectacular, but it does pick up as it goes, and was interesting to listen too as well, it wasn't just a typical interview waffling about how great everyone is), and an extra 20 minutes of live footage, from Japan this time. The 4 songs are all in the Polish show too, maybe it would've been nice to have a song or two not present in the main package, to pad it out a little, but at least they picked good ones to double. And these are extras after all.

The audience is pretty good, not the best I've seen, but good nonetheless. It does lead me to one of the two small criticisms I note though: the language barrier does occasionally get in the way, with Sy saying things that are intended to work the crowd up and get them roaring, but are clearly not understood by the majority. It's only a small thing, and Sy does seem good at what he does there, but I feel the effect would be much greater with an English-speaking audience. The other point is even less really: Sy's cries of "Burn!" during the chorus of the song of that name are a bit disappointing. It's one of my favourite bits of Killing Peace, and yet here carries none of the raw anger, bit of a missed opportunity, one that took me by surprise considering how his performance is throughout the show.

These are however small points, and the only things holding it back from a 100% score. They're not of much importance, and this DVD is very much worth it for a thrash fan. It's good for newcomers to get you into Onslaught, giving a good overview of their material, or old-time fans to add in something fresh to your collection (being their first DVD). It gives you plenty of juicy new stuff, more than just your basic live release with largely unchanged versions of old work. It's a great example of a live release, and I can't honestly fault it.

A no-nonsense lesson in Thrash - 92%

Agonymph, July 16th, 2007

Happy as a little kid on Christmas Eve, that’s what I was when I heard that Onslaught was back together. And when I saw them live in Tilburg in February this year, I was absolutely sure: this band was there to stay! On that very same tour, they recorded a show for DVD release. And no need to be subtle: the result is overwhelming.

In front of an ecstatic Polish crowd, the British Thrash quintet teaches any younger band from the genre a lesson in terms of aggression, energy, performance and all the other basics of Thrash Metal. Sy Keeler proves he is one of the best frontmen on this planet, he has the audience wrapped around his finger in no time and his voice has improved over the years. In addition, the band is tight (the small mistakes that rarely occur add a little charm to the whole thing) and the set is comprised from the most killer tracks from the past and three of the best songs from the ‘Killing Peace’ album, which wasn’t released yet at the time this show took place.

When you watch this DVD closely, you can see that Nige Rockett has simplified a few riffs here and there, but they hardly sound any different and when they do, they just sound heavier, which perfectly corresponds with the band’s current philosophy. All the older songs are played in a lower tuning, which may make them sound a little odd in the beginning, but if you don’t like these versions of ‘Let There Be Death’ (sung much better by Keeler nowadays!), ‘Flame Of The Antichrist’, ‘Fight With The Beast’, ‘Shellshock’ and of course ‘Power From Hell’, chances are quite big that you don’t even like Thrash Metal in the first place.

The bonus features are highly enjoyable too. There’s an interview with Nige Rockett and Sy Keeler which is nice, but the real treat is the bonus video footage from the 2005 Thrash Domination tour in Japan. Professional footage recorded with several cameras, sound taken from the PA system and once again a band in optima forma...this is the bonus footage that many, many DVDs need, but never get. And there’s some decent audio from 1987 as well, but I still think the band is better, tighter and more aggressive nowadays.

‘Live Polish Assault 2007’ is just the materialized philosophy of Thrash: no-nonsense, powerful, aggressive, yet friendly. This is the DVD you need to prove to people that Thrash Metal is still alive and well. There is very little doubt that Onslaught-fans will love this DVD. I know I do!