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Dark Tranquillity - Where Death Is Most Alive (DVD)

Dark Tranquillity
Where Death Is Most Alive (DVD)
by Mike Novak at 05 December 2009, 9:53 PM

They just don't make them like they used to. One would think with the vast improvements in sound and video quality that live albums and DVDs would be of far superior quality to those made in the 70s. However, this is most definitely not the case. Sure, there have been some Metal DVD releases from the past ten to fifteen years that I enjoy greatly, but the vast majority of them are pointless wastes of time. What is the cause of this? Part of it is the improvement of studio recording technology, where bands with even a small budget can produce an album that sounds excellent. TESTAMENT's early albums sounded terrible, where the riffs were buried in the background, which is why their 2005 Live In London DVD was such a treat, because we could hear those songs at full intensity and realize just how heavy they were. Another part is that in an effort to improve the sound, modern live albums come off as sounding too slick and the songs, too much like the original studio recordings. What is the point in hearing an awfully similar version of a song that you already own? One of the draws of seeing a good modern live band is the rawness, the energy and the emotion that goes into the performance, something that's lost on many modern live releases, regardless of whether they are audio or video recordings.

So after that introduction, we come to DARK TRANQUILLITY's Where Death Is Most Alive DVD. It's no secret that DARK TRANQUILLITY is arguably the first Melodic Death Metal band as well as one of the most prolific bands of the genre. Some may not know that this is actually their second live DVD. Their first, the vastly flawed Live Damage, had some major problems that made it far from essential (any rudimentary search will allow to you discover further details).

Where Death Is Most Alive finds the band in top form, having released 2 highly acclaimed albums in the past four years. Even though the concert is not performed on their home turf, it is obvious that DARK TRANQUILLITY is performing for some of their most die-hard fans. One memorable shot is of band leader Mikael Stanne leaning over and looking eye-to-eye with a passionate fan as they both sing the lines of a song that is obviously one of this fan's favorite songs. In fact, the camera-work is excellent here throughout. There are no shortage of memorable shots, yet there aren't dizzying switches between cameras like there are on many IRON MAIDEN live DVDs.

Their set is an excellent mix of old and new songs, which is fine because they've been solid throughout their career. The entire band performs with such vigor and passion that it is difficult not to get caught up in it. These two sentences are especially admirable in light of a recent University of Gothenburg study that found that 49 out of 50 Melodic Death Metal bands are boring as hell. The sound is perfect; it captures the heaviness and intensity of the band with full clarity without polishing it too much.

The second disc is full of extras, including a documentary about the band as well as a bunch of promo videos. The real treat comes in the second half of the disc which includes live performances of the band ranging from the years 1991-2007. One can go back and witness what the band was like when they had just formed; two years before their debut. Obviously, the footage is very raw, but so is the band. The majority of these clips are only worth watching once or twice, but are useful because one can watch the band progress and grow as the years go on. I would just like to note that the second disc did not work in two of my DVD players and was choppy on the third (but played just well enough that I could accurately review the material), but I am going to give Century Media the benefit of the doubt and assume that I just received a defective copy.

So is this two-disc release worth the money? Hell yes! I came into this being only a mild DARK TRANQUILLITY fan, but now I cannot wait to see them when they come to America to tour again. Despite the 10/10 rating, I would still say other releases this year, such as the new ALICE IN CHAINS, AMORPHIS and MASTODON albums, would be considered more essential, but I see a perfect score as an indicator that the release gives everything the person possessing it could expect, and then some. With a flawless performance, great sound and camerawork, and plenty of interesting extras, I see this as being a perfect example of what a live DVD should and can be.

5 Star Rating

Disc 1

The Treason Wall      
The New Build      
Focus Shift      
The Lesser Faith      
The Wonders At Your Feet      
Lost To Apathy      
Inside The Particle Storm      
Nothing To No One      
Insanity's Crescendo      
Dreamlore Degenerate      
Misery's Crown      
My Negation      
Yesterworld/Punish My Heaven      
The Mundane And The Magic      
Final Resistance      
Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)

Disc 2

Out Of Nothing - The DT Documentary      
ThereIn (Promo Video)      
Monochromatic Stains (Promo Video)      
Lost To Apathy (Promo Video)      
The New Build (Promo Video)      
Focus Shift (Promo Video)      
Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive) (Promo Video)      
Misery's Crown (Promo Video)      
Only Time Can Tell (1991)      
The Dying Fragment Of An Elderly Dream (1991)      
Soulbreed (1991)      
Yesterworld (1992)      
Alone (1992)      
My Faeryland Forgotten (1992)      
Nightfall By The Shore Of Time (1992)      
Skywards (1992)      
Shadow Duet (1994)      
Crimson Winds (1994)      
Razorfever (1997)      
Constant (1997)      
Tongues (1997)      
Feast Of Burden (2001)      
Indifferent Suns (2002)      
The Sun Fired Blanks (2002)      
Hours Passed In Exile (2002)      
Damage Done (2004)      
One Thought (2004)      
The Endless Feed (2007)      
Blind At Heart (2007)
Mikael Stanne - Vocals
Niklas Sundin - Guitar
Martin Henriksson - Guitar
Daniel Antonsson - Bass
Martin Brandstrom - Keyboards, Electronics
Anders Jivarp - Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records


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