(Metal Blade)

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RATING: 8.5/10

So many DVDs come with the obligatory footage of band life on the road and all the goofy shenanigans that come along with it. Sometimes it is funny, if only in parts, but too often it seems like little more than home-movie filler. "Majesty", THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER's first DVD, not only succeeds as an uproariously comic example of life on the road, but it is actually done in a documentary format as the DVD's centerpiece that works incredibly well.

Disc 1 combines loads of footage from the road with live performances and informal, yet informative, band interviews and it all flows in a way that will not only keep your attention, but that will also have you busting a gut over this troupe of always-on, always funny musicians, core members vocalist Trevor Strnad and guitarist Brian Eschbach the undisputed ring leaders. Presented in a professionally shot format, the story of the band is told by the members in their natural environments (usually on the road) and in relaxed settings. The hilarity is genuine and everyone from Metal Blade head honcho Brian Slagel to tour managers to roadies is involved, as all are considered part of the close-knit family that is THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. The weed burns, the drink flows (as does the piss, sometimes into empty water bottles stored in a van), and laughter abounds. If you think a guy in a gorilla suit is funny, just wait until you watch "Majesty". I'm still laughing about it. Then there is that whole thing about Rob Lowe and a video camera; you'll have to watch it to find out.

Disc 2 features 11 songs performed live all over the world with high quality sound and camera work, including individual songs played while the camera moves from one stage to the next. Onstage the band is adrenalized and just as funny, whether in costume or with the assistance from the aforementioned ape and props like inflatable penises. And let's not forget that for as much fun as the guys are having, this is one serious band from a musical standpoint, as evidenced from three strong studio releases and scores of tight live performances. Also included are six music videos, often just as interesting as the documentary and live footage.

"Majesty" is one of the few music DVDs that I'd have no hesitation about watching again. It is that entertaining. It is also one of those DVDs that will renew your interest in the band and have you searching for the albums in your cluttered basement so you can get the full sonic treatment, which is exactly what I did. If nothing else, the DVD should result in a precipitous increase in revenues for the ape suit industry. I'm buying one, damn it!


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