This Is Who We Are
UG Team, on april 24, 2009 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: After the success of Cannibal Corpse'sCenturies of Torment' DVD last year, the folks at Metal Blade Records have done it again. This Is Who We Are' is a 3 DVD set from As I Lay Dying and it's a monster of a package! Included in the box is an exhaustive documentary on the band, a collection of high-energy live performances, and all of the band's official videos and other enticing bonus features. Those of you who are already familiar with the recorded output of As I Lay Dying already know what to sonically expect. The California metalcore giants have always made sure their Swedish death metal inspired guitar riffs are way up front in the mix while the drums and vocals jockey for position beneath it. Engineer Daniel Castleman does a smashing job capturing the intensity of the band's live show while maintaining the meticulous precision of their musicianship. // 8
Content: The live performances span concert appearances from 2007-2008 and what we find here is a quintet firing on all cylinders. The guitar team of Phil Sgrosso (rhythm) and Nick Hipps (leads) prove that all the years toughing it out on the club circuit has done wonders for their chops. On Within Destruction the guitarists channel the speed metal charge of vintage Kreator and chop it up with the mosh pit rhythms of New York City Hardcore but their skilled playing makes it sound seamless. Vocalist Tim Lambesis is the consummate frontman, striding back and forth onstage like a man possessed. His command over his instrument and crowd is veteran-like in it's confidence and delivery. How he tears through a song like Distance Is Darkness while not losing his voice halfway throughout it is a feat in itself.
As captivating as the live content featured here is, it's the full-length documentary that really takes the cake. Like the aforementioned Cannibal Corpse DVD, the documentary portion takes us through As I Lay Dying's humble beginning to their current spot atop the metalcore scene today. Now stone is left unturned and director Denise Korycki makes sure that the film flows from start to finish at a compelling pace. Even if you're not a fan of the band, This Is Who We AreThe Beginning' is the kind of thing any fan of heavy music can appreciate. In the end, it's just another inspiring story of a group fighting for what they believe in and coming out triumphant. // 8
Production Quality: Not only does Korycki do fantastic with the story end of the documentary, visually she takes the almost certain low-budget of the production and lift it to Hollywood styled levels. Everything from the titles to the interview footage is top-notch while the editing (with Lia Starace) keeps the momentum moving forward. The concert stuff sounds and looks just as vibrant with ample shots of the crowds making you feel like the show is going down in the middle of your living room. // 8
Overall Impression: With three DVDs included in This Is Who We Are,' you'll have a lot of media to sink your teeth into. This isn't really a one sitting type of experience. The concert footage alone is enough to take in alone. You can go on YouTube and watch these performances on your computer but their panoramic sound and visual quality truly was meant for the wide screen of a television. Like we mentioned before, the documentary disc is gripping but if you don't have the patience or interest in that kind of thing, the live portion is essential for any fan of the band. With so many artists releasing DVDs these days, it's easy to get jaded and take them for granted. But when something like this hit's stores, it's quality is hard to ignore. // 8
This Is Who We Are
lintball0190, on december 17, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: If you like As I Lay Dying you will LOVE this DVD. The sound is as clean as a recorded live performance can get. I just hope you have a nice stereo/surround sound system to enjoy it! Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso play their well known licks with precision and attitude. You can hear bass player Josh Gilbert chugging along right along with the guitars. Front man Tim Lambesis screaming passion into the mics. Phil and Josh also have some vocal parts. Josh has the voice of an angel! Lol..no he seriously does. You can hear his voice soar on the live performance of "I Never Wanted". Last but definitely not least, drummer Jordan Mancino keeps the beat with his rediculous double bass skills and his mind blowing fills. // 9
Content: "This Is Who We Are" is a 3- Disc set
Disc -1 is a 2 hour documentary about the band. You see the different "phases" of As I Lay Dying. The band has been through at least 10(maybe a little exaggerated..or maybe not) member changes. Dan Ackerman, Singer of "Destroy The Runner" used to play guitar for ALID. That's just a little random fact for you lol..I never knew that though until I bought this. It is really motivating how you see how a group of kids can grow up to become international rockstars. You start to feel like you know them after it is over. They never expected to blow up how they did, they just had a passion for music and they accomplished way more than they may have ever dreamed of, like being nominated for a Grammy Award. You watch them go from playing anywhere they can in 2001 to anywhere they want in 2008. They all seem like really cool, down to earth guys.By the time Disc 1 was over I was pumped because I was ready to see them Rock!
Disc 2- Disc 2 is full of live performances. They play in venues near their home like "The Jumping Turtle" in front of 500 people, all the way up to Germany's Wacken Music Festival in front of over 10'000 people. My Favorite section is when they play at The Grove in Anaheim, CA because they have badass art up all over the stage and the lighting is just epic. Throughout the disc they perform songs from their newest CD An Ocean Between Us as well as songs from earlier albums.
Disc 3- Disc 3 includes about 8..maybe more.. Music Videos. There is at least an hour if not more of Extra Footage, and a couple more live performances. When you click the "Extra Footage" title it goes to a menu of titles. Like "Meaning" which includes the Meaning of their lyrics and the beliefs of the band. "Moves" where these two female actors/fans impersonate the band member's "Signature Moves" and their demeanor on stage while the band laughs about it. There is tons of other stuff including litle Video Bios on all of the members. I still haven't watched all of the Extra's..it is all too much to watch in one day..I tried though lol // 10
Production Quality: The Production is awesome. I'm not an expert in the field of production but I can tell you what I think lol. They did a great job of getting all kinds of different angles of the band on stage. Also did a great job of capturing the vibe of the venue, sometimes you feel as if you are there watching them. They make good use of different types of cameras. There are parts where the band might be out seeing sights in a foreign country and they are filming it themselves with a normal handy cam. Then it will shoot to a performance where it is in High Definition. There is only one thing that I think would have really made this DVD a lot better.
I wish that there were more close-ups of the Nick and Phil shredding. I mean don't get me wrong they do a good job of not favoring any member on camera more. Being an aspiring guitarist I just wanted to see their technique and style on the fretboard more than I did. That is my only complaint and really wasn't that big of a deal because I was too busy head banging and playing air guitar most of the time anyway. // 9
Overall Impression: Really the only other Metal DVD I have seen is "Children of Bodom's Chaos Ridden Years" which was legit. I think that is why I wish the guitarists got more camera time because in COB's DVD Alexi is the frontman as well as lead guitar and has ton's of solo's..I recommend that DVD too.
Although this DVD was AWESOME I was slightly dissappointed for some reason. Now that I think about it I know why! Because there wasn't a performance of "Bury Us All" and that is my favorite song next to "Forsaken" which IS on the DVD.
I love how they took the time to interview past members and go through all of the band's history which I appreciated.IT makes me like the Band alot more to know who they are and to see a little bit of their lives off stage. There all also a few "guests" in the DVD there are a few scenes with Adam D from Killswitch Engage(He helped produce An Ocean Between Us) goofing around with the band and a scene with the Frontman from August Burns Red, Jacob Luhrs performing with them.
If I lost this DVD I wouldn't buy it again..not at $40! I would when the price came down..but it is definitely a must have In your Metal DVD Library. // 8