Reviewed: June, 2020
Rating: 2.5/5 (Just the DVD)
Over the years I’ve done a number of more ambitious series of reviews instead of simple stand-alone reviews. This is perhaps my most ambitious project yet. This series of reviews was born out of three seemingly dissimilar and unrelated components; my viewing habits, a stockpile and the global pandemic of 2020.
As a habit and personal preference, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I prefer to read and listen to music. Over the years whenever I have bought a CD, often it will come with a bonus DVD. I would listen to and enjoy the CD and because I don’t watch much TV I just started putting the CD’s with a bonus DVD in a pile, thinking to myself, “I’ll watch the DVD….‘someday’. Over time the pile grew and grew and grew.
Secondly, it has long been a personal goal of mine, and Metal-Rules.com, to review every Hard Rock and Heavy Metal DVD on the planet. Over the years we have reviewed hundreds of stand-alone DVD’s, more than almost every other Metal webzine. However these little bonus DVD’s that come with CD’s are often, dare I say it, are largely inconsequential or ‘throw-away’ DVD’s, with not much substance other than a video or two, or maybe a brief ‘making of’ the album at hand. They are neat for the die-hard fans who want to shell out a couple extra bucks for the deluxe version of the CD but mostly they are not a big deal, very often there is not enough true content to release on their own.
At the tail end of March 2020, like many thousands of people, I lost my job due to lay-off’s precipitated by the global pandemic. In my first real full-week of self-isolation, it was April 1st in the evening, and I was sitting thinking, “How am I going to keep myself productive and occupied these next several weeks?” And there it was, sitting on my desk, staring me in the face as it had all these years. A pile of EXACTLY 50 CD’s with bonus DVD’s that needed reviewing! That ‘someday’ had suddenly became, ‘now’.
And so begins… The Covideo Chronicles. (Covid + video…get it?) By the time you read this I will have reviewed all 50 DVD’s sitting in that pile and compiled this series. 50 DVD’s. 50 days. 50 reviews. Some of these bonus DVD’s are full concerts and documentaries, some are merely a few minutes long. My goal was to do a very quick synopsis of the DVD (not even the CD) just the DVD. I’m quite sure many of these albums have already been reviewed over the years here on Metal-Rules.com. In fact, the longest part of these reviews will probably be my rambling introduction.
These are in no particular order. I was thinking of doing them chronologically by release date or maybe alphabetically but in the end I decided to review what I felt like watching that day. This exercise was a simple daily task, it kept me keep me amused and primarily I’m glad to get that damn pile off my desk. Enjoy!
Secret Sphere, along with DGM, Eldritch, Labyrinth and Vision Divine are part of the Big Five of Italian Progressive Power Metal bands. You might wonder why I don’t include Rhapsody but they are a different creature altogether.
After eight albums, Secret Sphere have finally released a live album, and what ever better place than to record it in Japan? This nice appointed Double Live album comes with a bonus DVD of the show. This is the first release for Secret Sphere on the Frontiers Records label.
The concert was filmed and recorded at the Wild Side Club in Tokyo on January 12th, 2015. It is a smaller club gig that runs for about an hour and 20 minutes. There is about three minutes of footage of the band arriving at the venue, warming up backstage (which looks tiny and cramped) and then it is straight into the concert. The band was touring for their 2012 album PORTRAIT OF A DYING HEART and accordingly there were six of the ten songs on that album in the fourteen-song set-list. The rest was mostly newer stuff, only two songs appeared from the first four albums. Maybe that is because the new vocalist Michelle Luppi (ex-Vision Divine) only wants to sing the stuff from the studio albums he was on.
The sound quality is excellent, the performances are tight and the footage is ok. However, the whole concert is very dark. It is really hard to see. The lights really aren’t adequate to illuminate the band. It is about a three or four camera shoot in really tight quarters. There is even a still camera shot from the sound desk but there is a light shining right into the camera! It looks really bad and unprofessional. I understand that the label or band maybe didn’t want to spend a ton of money on production and they wanted to just capture the band on a cool trip to Tokyo but this is a bit weak.
The DVD has no other features other than the concert. I really like the band and enjoyed the show, great songs, high energy, but it is a very plain DVD. I’ll listen to the concert again but the DVD won’t be in high rotation.