April 19, 2008

CD Review: Gigantour 2

The year was 2005; Megadeth mastermind Dave Mustaine got an idea. Inspired by the old school cartoon Gigantor, the old school thrasher got the idea to put together a reasonably priced package tour of guitar driven metal and deliver it unto the open, welcoming arms of the masses. The tour gathered a number of the top names in metal and proved to be a success. What do you do in the wake of success? Why create a sequel, of course!

Mustaine followed up that initial success with a new package of bands in 2006. Now, nearly two years later, we can experience that tour in our homes with this CD, featuring fourteen tracks of rocking goodness. Now, I do not feel this line-up matches the excellence of that first go around, but there is absolutely no denying the quality that it contains.

There is also a DVD of the tour coming out as well, and lest you think one is a copy of the other, there are some differences. It is true that there are a number of the same cuts, the CD switches up six of them and adds one extra. So, the completist is going to need to pick up both releases in order to have it all.

The CD begins with "Rachel's Day" by The Smashup, and the first of the songs that does not appear on the DVD. This is one of the better songs from their debut LP, and it is a strong rocking song, although it is not quite metal. This screamo/post-hardcore act is an odd choice to have included on this tour, but they more than hold their own. They bring a touch of the Taste of Chaos scene to the predominantly metal style of most other Gigantour acts.

Sanctity follows with "Zeppo." Between the cut on the DVD and this track, Sanctity has become a revelation. There is something very attractive about their sound. It is straight up heavy metal with a bit of a southern tinge and a touch of Lemmy in the vocals. These guys are destined for great things. Heavy riffs, speedy solos, growled and clean vocals, all elements adding up to a strong new voice on the American metal scene.

Canadians Into Eternity are beginning to make waves with their brand of metalcore. There are touches of death metal to sound, and it is rather electrifying. Just listen to "Timeless Winter" and try to ignore the passion and the intensity of their music. They are hard to ignore, they just grab a hold of your head and stare you into submission.

Old school thrashers Overkill headlined the second stage. Here is a band that has been steadily releasing albums ever since the emergence back in the mid 1980's. They have been on quite a roll over the past couple of years, with a new album, constant touring, and a new concert DVD of their own. Their slot on Gigantour certainly did not hurt their roll. Their two songs here are pure thrash from the old style, yet still sounding perfectly at home alongside the youngsters that opened up before them. This is a band that should be seen live, these tracks are proof of their ability to throw down anytime, anywhere.

The main stage starts with Arch Enemy, a female fronted death metal act represented by a pair of songs. I am relatively new to them, but that will not stop me from being impressed by their sheer heaviness and ability flat out tear it up on stage. The songs here are the same two as on the DVD, and the sound great. The aggression nearly bleeds through the speakers as their sound an scarcely be contained.

Slowing things down, if only momentarily, is Opeth with "Window Pane," which is different from what appears on the DVD. This band is flat out amazing, and I seriously need to dig into their music some more. This song is beautiful in its mellow flow and the technical skills on display. It does not quite fit in with the rest of the bands, and may not have been the best choice for this compilation, in terms of continuity, but it really is a fantastic song. You cannot deny its beauty.

Lamb of God rounds out the opening acts, and are represented by three songs on the CD, up one from the DVD. The middle song, "Red Neck," is added on this disk, in between "Vigil" and "Now You've Got Something to Die For." These guys truly rip it up. There are definite technical skills, but that is not what they are about. Lamb of God is about getting in your face and stirring up some adrenaline. Their performance is spot on and guaranteed to get some head banging started wherever you happen to be.

Megadeth rounds out the CD with a trio of cuts, beginning with one from their 1990 album Rust in Peace called "Take No Prisoners." This is a great old school track from one of the greatest metal albums ever unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. The performance is pure old school thrash; it feels fresh and nowhere near being eighteen years old! That is followed up with "The Scorpion" from the 2004 release The System Has Failed. This song is not quite as thrashy and plays up other elements of Megadeth's sound. It is a strong song and its performance is excellent. The final song is from their latest release, United Abominations, and features Dave Mustaine in full political mode. The song goes by the name "Washington is Next" and is a flat out strong song. Megadeth is a band that has always been on the scene, but the past few years have seen them come back stronger than ever, and that is no better evidenced than through their live performance, perfectly captured here.

Bottomline. Stronger than it appears, the 2006 version of Gigantour offered up a number of gems and brought a good variety of metal to the masses. This CD gives a good taste of what went down with a selection of the respective bands better cuts. Combine this with the DVD and you have a nce package commemorating the tour.


Track Listing (*not on DVD):
01. THE SMASH UP - Rachel's Day*
02. SANCTITY - Zeppo*
03. INTO ETERNITY - Timeless Winter*
04. OVERKILL - Thanks for Nothing*
05. OVERKILL - Long Time Dying*
06. ARCH ENEMY - Nemesis
07. ARCH ENEMY - We Will Rise
08. OPETH - Window Pane*
09. LAMB OF GOD - Vigil
10. LAMB OF GOD - Red Neck*
11. LAMB OF GOD - Something To Die For
12. MEGADETH - Take No Prisoners
13. MEGADETH - The Scorpion
14. MEGADETH - Washington Is Next


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