Reviewed: June, 2020
Released: 2013, Frontiers
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 1stin 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 in 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!
NO MORE HELL TO PAY was a bit of a third comeback for the band. After the first reunion around 2003 the band had done a couple of weaker ‘modern’ Metal albums, a live album, a covers album and a greatest hits re-recorded album. After 10 years of messing around, in 2103 they signed to a new record label and it was time to put up or shut up. Stryper rose to the challenge and came roaring back with one of their heaviest, fastest and best albums to date.
The bonus DVD isn’t much, in terms of content, the main feature is only 21 minutes long. The documentary is your standard ‘making of’. The band (all original members!) congregated in Massachusetts at a big, isolated home studio and banged out the album mostly off the floor and you can tell. There is a bit of behind the scenes footage but most of the time is spent on a single camera interview, doing a song-by-song break down and explanation of the tone, tempo and lyrics of each. Michael Sweet does most of the talking but each member gets a say. There are a couple of low budget videos as well, one for the title track, shot in the desert, and one for ‘Sympathy’ which is an in-studio thing.
It’s cool, the graphics are well done and it is a quick, easy viewing. It is nice to see the band back in action. At one point bassist Tim Gaines says, (paraphrased) “This is the album we should have put out after AGAINST THE LAW.” (1990) and he couldn’t be more correct.