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Review: Messiah - 20 Years of Infernal Thrashing Madness
20 Years of Infernal Thrashing Madness

Label: Massacre Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 193 min.

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: December 12, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
20 Years of Infernal Thrashing Madness

Rated 4.27/5 (85.45%) (11 Votes)

This DVD was a blind purchase. I had heard of Switzerland's Messiah maybe once before, and when I saw the DVD for sale at an OK price, I decided to check it out. Messiah was formed around 1984 and played Death/Thrash metal - overall some songs sound very thrash, while others are plainly death metal. The common trait between the two are the vocals which are always death-like grows (I found that this is a nuisance to the thrash songs on the DVD, the two just don't fit together very well and many songs would have benefitted from cleaner (but aggressive) vocals.) Anyway, this is some pretty underground stuff, that sure wasn't the "in" thing in the mid-80s!

This DVD contains... please sit down... over 3 hours of live footage. That's right: 193 minutes. That's huge, especially if you watch it all in a row like I did. Now the "bad" news: Live footage is all you get - no extras whatsoever. The DVD is split into three parts: 1984-1987, 1990-1994, and "Reanimation 2003". Most of the live footage presented here consists of bootlegs filmed in relatively small venues. As the footage is pretty old and was most likely neither filmed with professional equipment nor stored for long-term preservation (just a guess here), the older footage suffers from blurry video quality. Yet, I was surprised to see that stuff recorded in 1984 with some personal camera could still look this good - it IS viewable, by all means, but don't expect DVD-quality video here! :) And note that there are no overdubs on this DVD either - you get what was caught at the time. Sometimes the sound is a bit difficult to digest, but overall it's OK. Other than the bootleg material, there is a Marlboro Rock-In '91 TV show excerpt (3 songs) which is actually professionally filmed, so you see the band from several camera angles, quite a change from the preceding bootlegs! The band reunited for some shows in 2003, two of which are presented here, and both clocking in at around 45 minutes. The first one is filmed in a small venue, while the other one was film (in daylight) at the With Full Force festival in Germany. This one is professionally filmed, with good sound and good camera work (think of a show filmed at Wacken, this is similar - big stage, big crowd.)

This DVD is really for those into Death/Thrash and who won't mind the low (medium?) quality bootlegs. You'll learn next to nothing about the band here (other than the lineups in the different periods), this is simply a bit gathering of live performances. I can't say I really enjoyed this a lot, but there were enough good moments to justify the purchase.

Note that the DVD is coded for all regions (region 0), but is in PAL format (I'm not aware of an NTSC version), so North American buyers should ensure their DVD player can play PAL before buying this.

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