Gigantour (CD & DVD)

Various Artists

Image Entertainment, 2006

REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/01/2007

In 2005, Megadeth founder and speed-metal icon Dave Mustaine founded Gigantour, a celebration of heavy metal intended as an alternative to the more mainstream festivals like Ozzfest and Family Values. Mustaine’s goal was to "put together a festival that consisted of positive bands that play heavy music in a high energy environment."

The second go-round, 2006’s tour was captured in audio and video, and the two formats both offer a rousing and diverse selection of a heavy music.

Opening the set is a wonderful discovery that I have become enamored with, Virginia’s Bobaflex. A frantic mix of metal, funk and pop, Bobaflex is one of the most unique bands I have personally heard in a long time. Seamlessly mixing up speed-metal and funk, all the members of the band are vocalists (and good ones) which adds some tasty vocal harmonies not usually found in a band this heavy.

The core of the concert is some metal bands of various flavors that are fairly well known in metal circles, including Nevermore, Dry Kill Logic and Fear Factory. These bands sort of run together without presenting a unique musical experience. The furious riffing and “cookie monster” vocals just don’t always grab me and the middle portion of the concert became a bit dull. Fans of these bands will probably delight in the excellent visual production (on the DVD) and sound quality, but potential new converts probably won’t find much to enjoy unless they’re already fans of death-metal thrash.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Symphony-X offered a more enjoyable set. I particularly liked the way they weave some progressive elements into their music. I like their more controlled sound and “Of Sins And Shadows” is a particularly good number from their set, and probably the best of the middle pack of bands from this show.

One of the highlights of the CD (not the DVD) is a performance by the reformed Anthrax with two stunning tracks, including one of my personal faves, “I Am The Law.” Sadly, nay criminally, there is no performance by Anthrax on the DVD version. To whoever made that decision, a rousing “YOU SUCK!”

The real meat of these two releases is the two headliners, Dream Theater and Mustaine’s own Megadeth.

Dream Theater’s performance is brilliance and musical mastery incarnate. Though they are relegated to two songs, combined they clock in at over 20 minutes of instrumental prowess that is unrivaled by any band I have heard or seen, probably ever. Guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung in particular are juggernauts of technical prowess and watching them on the DVD is like seeing gods at work. Their technique and style are amazingly flawless and intricate without ever sacrificing the substance of the music. Throw in drummer Mike Portnoy’s amazing skills and you have a performance that will leave you dumbstruck.

Last up is the headliner Megadeth. I was pleased to see that Dave’s recent injury and recovery hadn’t seemed to affect his skills one bit. Their three song set is very tight and powerful and should delight even casual Megadeth fans. Of special note is an excellent performance of the moving “Tout Le Monde,” arguably Dave’s finest songwriting effort ever, with the Toronto audience joining in with gusto and power on the chorus en Francais.

End to end it’s a good listen, but I enjoyed the video more overall despite the exclusion of Anthrax’s performance. The inclusion of Dave introducing each band and explaining why he chose them is fun and insightful, as are the random behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the various artists.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2007 Bruce Rusk and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Image Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.