Various Artists Metal`s Darkside: The Hard and The Furious Volume 1 (DVD)
Released: 2006, MVD
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
It’s been almost twenty years since the mighty HARD ‘N HEAVY video series fueled metalheads VHS purchases/rentals. Comprised of several volumes of music videos, interview footage and behind-the-scenes shenanigans, HARD ‘N HEAVY was a mid- to late-eighties staple that went the way of the dinosaurs once grunge took over in the nineties. METAL’S DARKSIDE: THE HARD AND THE FURIOUS VOLUME 1 is the first entry in what I expect to be a series of video releases that tries to recapture the essence of HARD ‘N HEAVY with former adult film star/BC Rich Guitar model Jasmin St. Claire overseeing the production.
St. Claire claims to be a metal fan (she is married to ex-Himsa axeman, Matt Wicklund) and she does seem to have some knowledge behind her but the interview segments seem painfully awkward at times (the Satyricon chat is especially difficult) and her profanity-laden banter are lame attempts to shock or appear “cool.” This is a formally-educated woman in her mid-thirties, after all, who taught French, speaks six languages, worked for an investment banker and completed university by the age of 20 before working in skin flicks (she set the one-day gang bang world record in 1996 by having sex on camera with 300 men), so hearing her spew gems like “Britney Spears should fucking die” and “Support your local extreme metal scene or fucking die” is pretty weak. The faux attitude gets old pretty quick but her interview subjects make things interesting for the program’s 53-minute length. Cannibal Corpse, Nevermore, Death Angel, Satyricon and Damageplan all get the St. Claire workover here with topics ranging from the obvious to more light-hearted material (Ted from Death Angel thinking hard about whether he would rather have sex with Roseanne Barr or Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage) but don’t expect any mind-blowing revelations or anything you haven’t heard before. The Damageplan interview (one of the last before Dimebag Darrell was murdered) and accompanying tribute, as well as the Nevermore segment and “Corpsegrinder” chats are the real draw here.
A few extra goodies are included such as extended interviews with Fisher and Nevermore, as well as a preview of VOLUME II with footage of Exodus, Suffoction and Shadows Fall but “Jasmin’s Asylum” is a ridiculous segment with St. Claire soaking in a candlelit bathtub while expounding on such weighty topics as child-rearing, politics and censorship. At less than an hour, the DVD space should be focused on delivering metal—plain and simple—so hopefully St. Claire’s world views will be left on the cutting-room floor in future volumes.
METAL’S DARKSIDE: THE HARD AND THE FURIOUS VOLUME 1 is a decent, albeit flawed, first entry into the franchise. Like Juliya and Jamey Jasta, personalities looking to support metal and bring it into people’s living rooms should be commended, so for that, Jasmin St. Claire gets my vote. Now that she has worked the kinks out, the next entry in the series should be a more relaxed and less forced hour of metal kookiness, but VOLUME 1 will be a tough sell as it is.
1. Interview with George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse
2. Video: Cannibal Corpse "Decency Defied"
3. Interview Ted Aguilar and Dennis Pepa of Death Angel
4. Video: Death Angel "Thicker Than Blood"
5. Interview with Nevermore
6. Video: Nevermore "The Final Product"
7. Interview with Satyr of Satyricon
8. Video: Satyricon "Fuel For Hatred"
9. Interview with Pat Lachman of Damageplan
10. A Tribute to Dimebag Darrell
11. Clips from Metal's Darkside Volume II
~ Additional interview footage with George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse
~ Nevermore Plays Gun To The Head
~ Jasmin’s Asylum