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Spheeris, Penelope (Director)
The Decline Of The Western Civilization Collection (Blu-Ray)
Released: 2015, Shout! Factory
Reviewer: Celtic Bob
As a teenager from a small town during the 80’s when THE METAL YEARS came out I was all over the tape like a cheap suit. It featured some of my favorite artists at the time (Faster Pussycat & Alice Cooper). At the time this documentary never made its way here that I can recall. However after viewing this new disc many parts of it were quite familiar. Also I knew there was a first part on Punk but never saw that one or anything from it. When Shout! announced the Blu-Ray set including a new third film my interest was peaked.
Luckily for me the set arrived in the post on a Friday so my evening was spent watching the first two discs and the following night was the third plus the disc of “Bonus Features”. A wonderful weekend of Blu-Ray viewing to say the least.
Admittedly I am not a Punk fan although I do appreciate a few bands such as The Clash, Ramones and Sex Pistols that fit the category along with the fact the whole Punk scene and movement made way for what was to follow with New Wave and Metal. This documentary film shows the side of a genre that is not normally portrayed in the media. In most incidents the mass media focus only on the popular or mainstream acts and artists. For this piece director Penelope Spheeris shows the grit, the real side of the movement and those that lived it. Punk wasn’t just a genre of music you listened to on your stereo in the evenings after a days work, it was a lifestyle for many and this piece of work shows that.
Similar to the initial film THE METAL YEARS shows the unglamorous side of a genre along with good. As mentioned earlier, I recall many moments of this fantastic film but other parts were new to me. Maybe I saw a condensed version on TV? Either way watching this disc was exciting and interesting. Seeing bands that I loved then and still do for the most part brought back memories of listening to that old cassette. From a drunken Chris Holmes in the pool to Ozzy making breakfast every moment of this discis interesting, even the segments with bands that never made it past L.A. showed a side of the scene that many of us never got to experience. This was a period of time where music mattered and the bands had the drive and determination to make it. Spheeris captured that spirit perfectly.
The third and final documentary is the most emotional and not so much in a musical sense but in meaning. The street kids and their struggle is the focus and she did the film from an aspect that the evening news never could. She shows the real struggles, reality and truth without being one-sided or judgmental. Fantastic and heartfelt Blu-Ray.
The fourth and final disc has extended interviews but unfortunately many of them are of terrible quality due to the original tapes being lost. This is the only downfall to the set.
Fantastic box set that every music fan must own. It’s well done and makes an impact. Highly recommended for all music fans.
1.) The Decline Of Western Civilization Part I
2.) The Decline Of Western Civilization Part II-The Metal Years
3.) The Decline Of Western Civilization Part III
4.) Bonus features
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