2013 Best Heavy Metal DVDs

1. Dream Theater – ‘Live At Luna Park’

Dream Theater - Live At Luna Park
Eagle Rock Entertainment

 The DVD was filmed in August of 2012 in Buenos Aires, Argentina during Dream Theater’s “A Dramatic Tour Of Events.” Several songs from 2011‘s A Dramatic Turn Of Events are part of the setlist. They also sprinkle in classics from throughout their career, such as “Metropolis Pt. 1,” “The Silent Man,” “Pull Me Under” and “The Root Of All Evil.”

There’s a good amount of bonus material included as well. The most compelling is the documentary. In addition to going behind the scenes of the show and DVD, it also shows the audition process for their new drummer and the selection of Mike Mangini, which is really fun to watch.


2. Epica – ‘Retrospect’

Epica - Retrospect
Nuclear Blast Records

 The Dutch symphonic metal band Epica celebrated their tenth anniversary earlier this year with a special concert in Einhoven, the Netherlands. The three hour extravaganza is captured in the massive 2 DVD/3 CD Retrospect. The band was augmented by a 70 piece orchestra and a choir. It was a huge production with Epica performing songs from throughout their career.

One of the many highlights of the show was when three former members of the band returned for the song “Quietus.” It was cool to see original members Ad Sluijter (guitar), Yves Huts (bass) and Jeroen Simons (drums) on stage with Epica again, even if for just one song. Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ReVamp) also sang with Simone Simons on two songs.

3. Sabaton – ‘Swedish Empire Live’

Sabaton - Swedish Empire Live
Nuclear Blast Records

On the heels of last year’s Carolus Rex comes a new live DVD/CD from Sabaton. Swedish Empire Live is their performance at 2012‘s Woodstock Festival in Poland. It’s the band’s second live album, but only two members remain that also appeared on 2011‘s World War Live: Battle Of The Baltic Sea.

Usually documentaries are used as bonus material on a DVD, but Sabaton incorporate it into the main feature. The first 15 minutes or so chronicle the recent lineup changes and run-up to the festival before the band’s set begins. There’s also some documentary footage at the end, after the concert ends.

4. Nightwish – ‘Showtime, Storytime’

Nightwish - Showtime, Storytime
Nuclear Blast Records

 Nightwish’s 2012 Imaginaerum tour turned out much differently than they or anybody else could have anticipated. Several months into the tour, vocalist Anette Olzon abruptly exited the band, and was replaced on extremely short notice by  Revamp’s Floor Jansen. By the time Wacken 2013 rolled around, Jansen had done a fair amount of shows with Nightwish and was comfortable in her role. Since then she has been named the band’s permanent vocalist.

The centerpiece of the second DVD is a nearly two hour long documentary called Please Learn The Setlist In 48 Hours. That, of course, refers to Jansen having that amount of time between the time she was asked to fill in and the first show. The documentary, originally set to be a straightforward tour chronicle, turned pretty dramatic.

5. Judas Priest – ‘Epitaph’

Judas Priest - Epitaph
Legacy Recordings

 Filmed in London in 2012, the nearly two and a half hour show includes at least one song from every Rob Halford Priest album. From the early days there’s “Never Satisfied” from their 1974 debutRocka Rolla, and their latest album Nostradamusis represented by “Prophecy.”

Someone who played on every one of those albums is K.K. Downing, who left the band in 2011. It’s strange to see a Priest show without him on guitar. Newcomer Richie Faulkner has some huge shoes to fill, and he does a good job. He seems to be having a lot of fun on stage and enjoying playing with such a legendary band. He adds some youthful exuberance to the mix.

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