Although I give this DVD 4 stars, and don't get me wrong it is good, (I'll get to that in a minute), anyone expecting anything new here from Marilyn Manson, or indeed expecting the so called "technological DVD wonders" that Manson himself has been promising, will be sorely disappointed.
Firstly, there are no "technological wonders". The DVD consists of two bits of film. One 70 minute concert in surround sound and one half hour documentary in stereo. That's it. Oh it has a menu too. So it's hardly a groundbreaking multimedia experience.
The documentary "The Death Parade" is definitely treading old ground. Anyone familiar with the video release of "Dead to the World" a few years back will recognise the format here. Fuzzy backstage footage of the band with groupies, being ill and throwing stuff, footage of religious groups protesting with digitally altered voices to make them sound like pixies, all interspersed with random segments of concert footage. Whereas "Dead to the World" had some sort of substance and a point to it, "The Death Parade" doesn't seem to have any point at all other than being DVD extra's "filler". It tells you nothing new of the band and has so many music segments in it, it never becomes anything more than a camcorder montage.
Trust me, I'll get to the good points in a minute. Now, onto the main feature of the DVD. The concert, you'll be pleased to know, plays the songs all the way through, uninterupted by pesky wobbly backstage camera antics, but before I go into that, I do have two minor gripes to get out of the way.
Firstly, the songs chosen for the DVD seem to be overly biased towards material from his latest album "Holywood", which IMHO has been his weakest work to date. It's also more annoying when live classics such as "Cake and S*****", "1996" and "Last Day On Earth" are completely missing yet we have dull album fillers like "The Death Song" and "Cruci-Fiction In Space". (Footage of all those good songs is shown in the documentary so why were they not put in the concert??)
My other gripe is that although the songs play seamlessly all the way through, the actual footage shown during a song flicks randomly between different performances of that said song and is just lip synched to look best. So one minute he's got a big fluffy hat on and the next minute he's half naked and covered in mud, all in the space of one song. Because of this you never actually achieve that "feels like you are actually there" feeling, something that I felt in abundance watching the Nine Inch Nails DVD "And All That Could have Been".
Ok complaints over now really, it takes a bigger time to explain the bad points anyway. So why after all I've said did I give it 4 stars? Quite simply it's because of the music. I've always been a Marilyn Manson fan because I like listening to the music, not because he dresses in odd clothes. People into the shock image rather than the music will find little of interest here, and if you are the sort of person that goes to a Manson concert just because of that, please leave now.
What you have here is 70 minutes of superb quality, earpoundingly loud well performed live atmospheric songs. Any fan of the music will be pleased. The opening performances of "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" and "Reflecting God" rip out of your stereo speakers like some mad rabid beast, all to an insane montage of various onstage shenanigans. Worth the price of the DVD alone. Other highlights include great performances of "Great Big Wide World", "Disposable Teens", "Sweet Dreams", "The Love Song" and the fantastic 8 minute encore version of "Lunchbox". This loud and live assault of high quality performances pretty much keeps up to standard all the way throughout the concert, only really faltering a couple of times, most notably on performances of "The Death Song" and "Astonishing Panorama", the latter of which, all you can hear is the bassline and someone seems to have flicked John 5's guitar volume down from 10 to 1 and it sounds truly terrible. Despite this, it all still reminds me of how great this band can be live, and having been lucky enough to have seen them in concert myself, this DVD helps bring back a little of that magic.
All the familiar elements of a Manson concert are here, from the elaborate speeches to the typically decadent if a little cliched "smash the stage up" finale. 15 out of 17 decent powerful live performances definitely isn't bad for your money, and that's why I gave it 4 stars. The DVD may lack the interactivity or band insight of Korn's "Deuce" DVD, and loses some of the personal "feels like you're there" feeling of NIN's DVD, but what it lacks in those departments it most definitely makes up for in power and performance. Any fan of Manson's MUSIC shouldn't be too disappointed, I wasn't. Just don't expect it to change your life!