GHOULUNATICS - Blood Curdling Years (DVD)

By Johnny - Turn Down the Suck - 05/03/2005

GhoulunaticsBlood Curdling Years is the first DVD by a Quebec metal band and it sets the bar high. Containing one full show, half of another, bits of 60 others, two videos, lots of photos, and a slew of backstage/behind the scenes/making of/on the road/etc footage, this disc delivers both quantity and quality.

The main feature on the disc is Ghoulunatics’ performance at last year’s Trois-Rivieres MetalFest. It’s a solid show with a set list drawn mostly from Sabacthany and King of the Undead. The picture is clear and the sound is good. And just in case one concert isn’t enough, about half of their Halloween 2003 show is also included on the disc. For this show, the band gets all zombied up and plays in costume. Sure it’s a little cheesy, but it’s also pretty fun. The only problem with this show is that it was already used for last year’s It’s A Live! album. Seven of the songs from It’s A Live! are on this disc. This overlap takes away from both releases. It’s understandable that the band would want to put this show on the DVD, but then why make a live album out of it as well? Despite this questionable decision, the Halloween 2003 show is still quite good.

The other major part of the disc is the Band History section. It’s 50 minutes of miscellaneous footage from the bands career and there is a lot packed into it. It has clips of 60 some shows, studio sessions, the road, and more. The amount of stuff is almost overwhelming, and with so much, it could easily have turned into one giant mess of crap. Luckily, they did a pretty good job of putting everything together, making it easy to handle and enjoy. While not all the footage is great, most of it pretty good and all of it is watchable. In the Band History section you’ll find things like a discussion of their contribution to the Flashback compilation, appearances by various people in the Quebec metal scene (my favourite being Neuraxis’ Ian Campbell describing the Ghouls as Quebec’s Nashville Pussy), a cover of BARF’s "Estie De Sale", and maybe even yourself -- with clips from so many shows, you’re bound to be in there somewhere**...

The only thing that seems to be missing from the history section is a more in-depth discussion with the band members themselves; there is some, but not enough. Besides the part about the Flashback comp and a short piece for, there are only small scraps of the band talking here and there. I don’t even think that we hear Pat Gordon (guitar) or Brian Craig (drums) say more than a word or two on the whole disc. A stronger interview element would have been nice.

Besides the overlap with It’s A Live and the lack of band discussion, it is a very strong disc. While it is not as essential as their studio albums, I recommend Blood Curdling Years to anyone who considers themselves a Ghoulunatics fan -- it’s worth your $20.

**Yes, I’ll admit to watching some parts zoomed-in and in slow-mo in order to spot myself. And there I am, right around the 47.5 minute mark. There’s nothing wrong with being petty and self-centered...

Disc contents:
Trois-Rivieres MetalFest 2004: 11 songs, 40 mins.
Halloween 2003: 7 songs + backstage/behind the scenes footage, 30 mins.
Band History: 60+ shows, studio sessions, backstage, and lots more, 50 mins.
Videos: "Melodrame", "Grave Concern", and making of "Grave Concern"

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