Released: 2005, Skyscraper
French Canadian tech death/thrash band Quo Vadis came back strong in 2004 with DEFIANT IMAGINATION after losing guitarist/vocalist Arie Itman (though only 4 weeks before the band was supposed to enter the studio) as well as bassist Rémy Beauchamp. DEFIANT IMAGINATION, thanks to wider distribution, helped the band reach a bigger audience. Now thanks to that as well as the band’s tenacity and work ethic long time fans (hey, they may only have 3 albums but FOREVER was released 10 years ago already) get to enjoy the first live offering from one of Canada’s best.
Recorded on May 7th, 2005 at The Medley in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (the band’s home town) and creates quite a unique experience as much of what happened at this concert was not duplicated on the band’s tour. With only 3 permanent members in the band (Bart Frydrychowicz – Guitars, Yanic Bercier – Drums, and Stephane Pare – Vocals) the band is filled out by session musicians in Will Seghers (Guitar), Dominic Lapointe (Bass), and Roxy Constantin (Keyboards). The band also bring in a host of guest musicians throughout the show including a full choir, cellist, violinist and two established Quebec musicians… Oscar Souto from Anonymus (who duets with Stephane Pare on two songs) and Alex Auburn of Cryptopsy. Not to mention, there are 3 interpretive dancers in body paint who come in and dance/writhe during various songs throughout the concert. To be honest, I don’t even understand the point of the dancers, but it’s certainly something different to see.
The most important thing of the DVD is the sound and the video. The video is quite well done with multiple cameras and good film. The video grainy at all and exceptionally clear (certainly not bootleg quality) and unlike a lot of band DVDs it’s not made too look like a movie or surreal experience. The editing is well done, without much of the over cutting that I’ve seen in a lot of DVDs. There’s lots of time given to focus on different players, the crowd, and the overall show. It’s not like, for example, Iron Maiden’s ROCK IN RIO DVD where it looks as though someone with ADHD edited it. As far as the sound goes, I know that becomes a much more subjective thing as there are hundreds of different ways to have a live recording sound, with many people taking a few different sides. With this live DVD there isn’t much reverb or echo and the crowd is pretty low, making it sound as though the band’s instruments were plugged right into the recording equipment. I realize that for some that’s a no-no but I think it goes over well; the audio still retains a live and spontaneous feel with the band’s performance being spectacular. I was very impressed with Dominic Lapointe’s bass work. Then throw in Bart Frydrychowiz intensity, Yanic’s astounding drumming, and Stephane’s charisma and great voice, it all makes for a great performance.
One disappointment I think many might see is that with three full albums of material the band plays ALL of DEFIANT IMAGINATION yet ignores some great songs from FOREVER, and DAY INTO NIGHT. While that’s certainly a minor complaint, I think it’s a little sad the band are already neglecting much of their earlier albums. The one other main issue I have with this DVD set is that it is billed as a 3 DVD collection, which it really isn’t. There are really only two physical DVD’s. One DVD is the concert and is double-sided (which is a major gripe as it makes it almost impossible for one’s DVD to stay in good, playable shape for too long) while the second DVD is the full concert from behind the drum kit or Yanic-view as I call it. I honestly don’t understand the need to split the concert up into two DVDs (well, two different sides) as one would think that it would all fit onto a single sided DVD as it’s only 1 hour and 24 minutes total. Now with the concert there are basically no bonuses aside from the extra DVD of footage of Yanic behind the drum kit, which I know for some may be disappointing but with such a quality concert one shouldn’t be longing for more. On a side note, I did notice that there are no audio choices with the DVD either, so for those with surround sound and the like, it looks like you’re out of luck.
All in all though, Quo Vadis have come through with a quality DVD and a great performance. If one wasn’t able to see Quo Vadis live or even if you did, DEFIANT INDOCTRINATION is a great live DVD to have and can stand up next to some of the best as most of my personal problems with the DVD have little to do with the actual content.