Having jumped on the COB bandwagon but one year ago, I was excited to see a live DVD was on the way. Now I see what all the fuss is about!
First of all, COB have the inspiration, the insane level of skill, and a natural songwriting talent that set them in a class all their own in the metal world. Making such extreme heavy metal so easily listenable is not an easy feat. "Stockholm Knockout" proves that you don't have to be a Satan worshipper to enjoy some harder-edged metal. The fans in the crowd are rabid, but are having such an optimistically good time that it infects you as you watch them from the comfort of your couch.
Alexi Laiho leads the charge, shredding and growling through his songs while simultaneously being offset by lush keyboards and lethal, pinpoint precise drumming. While the band does stumble, albeit rarely, I believe it to be more a case of the sheer fun which acts as a distraction, especially in Alexi's case.
The sound quality is another matter. I was overjoyed when I cranked up my 5.1 receiver and listened to what is perhaps the perfect heavy metal mix I've ever heard on live DVD. Drums are thundering, and in the forefront, but give way to the high frequency guitars, all without drowning out the vocals. Being such a mercilessly strict audiophile, I tried my hardest to pick out any mismanagement of the sound levels, but I must say that whoever was behind the mixing board that night got it right!
If the concert, in all it's glory, isn't enough, the DVD offers up plenty more. The behind-the-scenes documentary about COB's history is almost worth the price by itself. To finally see the band in a more personable light (which includes individual interviews and behind the scenes craziness) is a gift, as far as I'm concerned. Watching one member of the band being interviewed, while another member cooks up hot dogs on the barbecue in the background, while dressed in a leather jacket with a Heineken in his hand is absolutely hilarious, and a testament to how tongue-in-cheek the band is. COB might be heavy and scary to a new listener, but these are a bunch of zany, crazy big kids who are having the time of their life touring almost 24/7 for insulting pay, unfair lack of exposure and respect, and the occasional mishap.
Ever the thankless soldiers that continue to pave the heavy metal groundwork, COB are given what they deserve: a properly treated live DVD that will blow your mind, and your eardrums!