Bands could learn a thing or two from ARCH ENEMY about releasing a debut DVD. The Swedish metal giants do pretty much everything right on the double-DVD "Live Apocalypse". Diving right in, Disc 1 contains the DVD's main feature, an outstanding live set recorded at the London Forum on December 17th, 2004. The 18-song performance stimulates the eyes and ears to the nth degree. The sound mix of Andy Sneap is phenomenal. Each player is heard with the utmost clarity and the overall sound is bombastic. It may not be surprising that the playing of each member is technical and precise, but it is the guitar work of Mike and (the now departed) Christopher Amott that really shines here. I wouldn't say that the skills of either have ever gone unnoticed, but the DVD brings to light in a big way the enormous talent of each brother. Drummer Daniel Erlandsson is already well known for his percussive prowess, and is allotted time for an accomplished drum solo. He joins the equally adept bassist Sharlee D'Angelo in not only providing a fat low end, but also coloring each of these songs. And then there is Angela Gossow. I won't belabor the point of her status as one of metal's premiere female growlers; everyone knows it. What is worthy of note though is her commanding on-stage presence. The fire in her eyes is inspiring and her bond with the rabid crowd is magical.
As for the song selection, well, it is about what one would expect from a band with such a vast catalog. Heavy on selections from "Wages of Sin", "Anthems of Rebellion" and "Doomsday Machine", the group also reaches back for performances of "Bury Me an Angel" and "Fields of Desolation" from 1996's "Black Earth", "Bridge of Destiny" from 1998's "Stigmata", and "The Immortal" from 1999's "Burning Bridges". Disc 1 also includes bonus live footage from a December 13, 2005 performance at the Manchester Academy 2, which is also of good quality.
In addition to the requisite videos for "Ravenous", "We Will Rise", "Nemesis", and "My Apocalypse", Disc 2 contains a ton of entertaining material. A "mini-movie" about the smashing 2005 U.K. tour and a predictable, but entertaining, look at life on the road called "Tour!Tour!Tour!" make for good times. The highlight is the video shoot for "My Apocalypse", which provides a very informative look at the painstaking particulars of video creation. Band interviews are also included in the segment. "Gear Talk" with Mike Amott and Daniel Erlandsson offers plenty of tidbits about each members' equipment, sound, and set-up. Finally, the multi-angle shots from the Forum show allows the viewer to focus in on a single member of the band for a handful of songs.
It should be obvious by now that "Live Apocalypse" is a must-have purchase for ARCHY ENEMY's ever-growing army of fans. The package even comes with a large, two-sided poster. This is quality metal entertainment of the highest order. Get it.