Sound — 8
First things first, I'm not only reviewing Live In The LBC, but Diamonds In The Rough, as well. With that out of the way, let's start with the sound of the DVD. It was a fairly good quality of sound. I only have 3 live DVDs thus far, and the sound of this DVD blew "St. Anger - Live" and "Nirvana - Unplugged" away, completely. It was mixed nearly perfectly! My only complaint is that M. Shadows' microphone is a little too quiet, and you can hear the backing vocals over him. The DVD, overall, sounded very good, with a good sound guy, who mixed it near perfect, and the guitars and bass remained in tune through the whole set. I couldn't have mixed it better myself. The inclusion of a real organ on stage for the first song was a huge plus for the sound, as well. The only overdubs were for the encore, which is 90% orchestrated, anyway, and the intro for Afterlife, which slightly bothers me, as the album is advertised on the cover as having no overdubs. Also, a small complaint, they mixed Gates' guitar and mic over to the left channel and Vengeance's guitar and mic over to the right channel, and the television in my bedroom only has mono, thus, I had to plug in the red AV jack so I could hear Gates' lead guitar, and Christ's bass, which closely matches the rhythm anyway. Now for the CD. It was mixed very nicely, nothing seemed out of place to me. I thought the inclusion of bass, which the band has been leaning to lately, was very nice, since Christ's basslines have usually matched Vengeance's rhythm. I also liked the use of piano and synthesized sounding guitars, which sort of threw me for a loop, the first time I heard the record. Overall, my only complaint is the over-distorted guitars on Walk.
Content — 7
Live In The LBC: 01. Critical Acclaim 02. Second Heartbeat 03. Afterlife 04. Beast & The Harlot 05. Scream 06. Seize The Day 07. Walk 08. Bat Country 09. Almost Easy 10. Gunslinger 11. Unholy Confessions Encore. A Little Piece Of Heaven May I say, the track list was a bit stock for me? I thought the only new and interesting songs were Gunslinger and A Little Piece Of Heaven. I would have been very happy at the inclusion of Brompton Cocktail, or Unbound (The Wild Ride), or perhaps Dear God, which I was expecting on the DVD. On a happier note, Shadows returned to his roots to scream on Second Heartbeat, which it turns out, Zacky Vengeance played lead for, and Synyster Gates played rhythm for, and just played the solo, which he also messed up the beginning bars of, which bothered me. Also, for Walk, M. Shadows complained about having to sing Pantera again, and called a fan, Matteo, onto the stage, to sing it for him, which turned out better than I thought. Matteo was actually a very good singer. Another complaint with the DVD, the encore, A Little Piece Of Heaven was undermixed, to be honest. The overdubs of the orchestra, the lead instruments, were too quiet, giving way to the loud guitars, which threw me off, as well. Diamonds In The Rough: 01. Demons 02. Girl I Know 03. Crossroads 04. Flash Of The Blade 05. Until The End 06. Tension 07. Walk 08. The Fight 09. Dancing Dead 10. Almost Easy (CLA Mix) 11. Afterlife (Alternate Version) I was, overall, disappointed with this CD, to give you my honest opinion. It kicks ass, yes, but it was still a disappointment to me. Crossroads, Flash Of The Blade, and Walk, have all been released for over two months, with Walk being released in 2007, before the self-titled album, and Crossroads being released in January, and then them giving us choppy remakes of Almost Easy and Afterlife really burned me. The CLA Mix of Almost Easy was so close to redeeming the album, until I heard the dreadful mix of Afterlife they forced on us. The sad truth is, they wouldn't have done this if they has more than six new tracks. Now let me get down to business with each track. Demons, nothing special for me, didn't really like it. Girl I Know, great song. Finally, a song about a slut. I can relate to this, because I know a girl just like that. The driving riff and the shredding leads make this a hell of a song, and is more fitting for a strip club than Scream is. Also, the solo appears to be played through a DigiTech whammy pedal, making it seem very Rage Against The Machine esque. Crossroads, not a cover of the Eric Clapton classic, but a song with a different name. Crossroads is a great song, and should have made it onto the self titled album, but it was released in January of 2008, and this album was released in September. Makes you wonder why it's on here. Flash Of The Blade, a cover of the Iron Maiden classic from Powerslave, released two months ago on Kerrang!'s Maiden Heaven album. The overall effect of the song was nice, and I really liked it, but I'm still wondering why it's on here. Until The End, this song is my favorite new song on the album. I think this song should have replaced Lost on the self titled album. This song gives you a nice view into the life of M. Shadows, through his lyrics, though, the second half of the song gets a little weird for me. Still love it. Tension, nice song. I think the song sounds a little mainstream, but it's great for radio airplay then. I'm sure it will be getting it some day soon. Walk, a Pantera classic. This song is actually older than I am, and the Avenged Sevenfold cover was released over a year ago. What the hell is it doing on this album? It's a great cover, minus the over-distorted guitars in the main riffs, but I still think it should be left off this album. The Fight was pretty decent, I guess. I thought it sounded a bit like hardcore punk, with palm muted power chords and vocal delay. It could get some radio airplay, I bet. Dancing Dead was pretty decent. I like the vocals, even if I don't care for the guitar. The vocals made this song, for me. If the vocals were different, I probably wouldn't like this song. Almost Easy (CLA Mix) was the redeeming point of this album. Almost Easy was released over a year ago, so I thought this was just going to be a lame rehash of that old song, that gets so much airplay. The vocals were actually better on the CLA Mix than the studio version, and the drums seemed more vivid and alive to me, and they even managed to leave in my favorite part of the song, the cymbals in the beginning. This if my favorite song on the album overall, and I think the effect on Matt's vocals that makes it delay, and sound like he's drowning, is epic. I also love that he started his new style of screaming on here. I also love the added reverb to Synyster's guitar solo. This song is the best part of the whole DVD/CD set. Afterlife (Alternate Version) was a terrible excuse for a b-side. The new string section raped this song. This song completely killed this album for me. It was almost redeemed by Almost Easy (CLA Mix), but this song was just terrible. I loved the new bridge, but the strings through the whole song, and Matt doing the laugh track after the solo instead of The Rev really bothered me. All in all, the DVD was epic, but the CD was lacking.
Production Quality — 10
One should probably know that I only have three music DVDs, before they read this. I have Metallica, "St. Anger - Live", which was live in the studio. I have Nirvana, "Nirvana - MTV Unplugged", which was live at MTV, with all acoustic instruments. And I have Avenged Sevenfold, "Live In The LBC", although, "All Excess" contained some live performances as well, but they were terribly mixed. Of the music DVDs I have, I'm going to have to say that "Live In The LBC" has the best production quality, but the worst cameramen. Seriously, the cameramen can't stay still for just 10 goddamn seconds. I did love how the DVD was shot like a music video, though. It was very neat. I hate the mixing of Synyster's guitar 100% left and Zacky's guitar 100% right, though, because as I said, my bedroom TV doesn't have the red AV-jack, so I have to put that into the audio AV-jack. Live In The LBC was produced nicely. I heard no nasty studio mistakes, or anything of the sort. No complaints.
Overall Impression — 8
Well, my overall impression is that this is definitely worth buying, if not for the DVD, just for Until The End and Almost Easy (CLA Mix). The set, as a whole, was worthy of about an 8, and I'm going to have to say, it's only because of the overwhelming amount (almost half) of old songs on Diamonds In The Rough. I'd still buy the CD if my copy were stolen. After all, I got mine for $12.75 on Amazon.com, so it was a bargain.