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Music DVD Review: The Haunted ‘Road Kill’

NOTE: For this review, I’m only reviewing the DVD of The Haunted’s Road Kill, which features a live performance in Amsterdam, a biography of The Haunted whilst out on the road and touring and several official music videos. I am not touching the audio CD that came along with the DVD, even though it has more live tracks as well as some bonus, unreleased studio tracks. I’ll say this though: If the audio on the CD is anything like the audio of the live concert, you have nothing to worry about. 
I’d like to take a quick second to acknowledge that this is the first review I’ve done with a friend of mine, Bill, watching and giving his input. He and I started a blog about six months ago and, though it has fallen into disuse, he plans on starting it up again. So, keep an eye out there as I’ll be doing some extra little bits here and there for the blog for stuff that you wouldn’t see me do here. But on to the review.

The menu is clear-cut and dry but there is an irritating little bit when you choose to play the live show: The list of all the songs is brought up with an icon next to the song you wish to choose. However, the icon does not appear next to the ‘Play All’ option, making it hard to know if you are on it or not. Just a wee bit on the frustrating side and it also begs the question, “Why was that left out?”
So, let’s start out with the live performance. The Haunted played at the Melkweg in Amsterdam and the DVD shows them perform 10 tracks. Immediately, I was curious as to why the DVD didn’t have all 16 songs available to view. There were some great songs left out that I would’ve loved to been able to watch. Alas, I cannot explain why this is the case. But, I’ll make do with what they did put on there because they are some of my favorite tracks from the recent releases. And that brings up another quick note: All of the songs in the live performance are from ‘rEVOLVEr’ through to ‘Versus’. There is nothing from the older albums. 
The video quality of the performance is not bad but nothing astounding either. There is a haze over the entire footage that can probably be attributed to the stage lights passing through a mixture of fog and smoke. The video is also a little bit grainy at times. The edits and cuts are very stylized and make the concert seem more like a music video being recorded rather than a live show. What is missing for about 98% of the show is some shots of the crowd reveling in the music. I enjoy seeing people rock out, hands waving, fists being pumped, etc… but it’s only at the second to last song that we really get our first solid look at the crowd. This omission lost a lot of the atmosphere that a ‘live performance’ should have.
The audio is near studio quality. Hell, if you pick this up just for the live CD, you pretty much have an awesome compilation of some great The Haunted tracks from each album. Each instrument sounds very solid with crisp attack and great presence. If you don’t own a subwoofer, this DVD would be a good reason to pick one up. Peter Dolving’s vocals are also impeccable and, what is just as amazing is how consistent and solid he is throughout the performance. Bill was convinced that this wasn’t a live recording because of how good Peter sounded. 
But, just like the video, the atmosphere of the crowd was missing from the audio. During the songs, there is almost no crowd noise or any kind. The cheering in between songs is also limited and omitted once the next song starts. This only adds to the feeling that this live performance is just one long music video. 
Overall, the live performance is a great way to see how solid The Haunted are when playing live. However, as a live performance DVD, I wouldn’t recommend it, as the atmosphere of this being a live event is all but lost. But, there is still the biography ‘Road Kill’ to check out!
‘Road Kill’ is basically a look at life on the road with The Haunted from 1999 through 2008. There are interviews with bands The Haunted have toured with, ex-vocalist Marco Aro as well as many members of the road crew of The Haunted. All of the footage was shot by members of The Haunted, which was then edited and arranged by guitarist Anders Björler. The result is a very entertaining, often hilarious, well laid out biography that never lost the interest of Bill or myself. 
The video changes from pretty solid to some clips looking very dated. There are some tearing issues with the older clips, but that is to be expected given that the formats were probably different and I’m sure that technical issues arose. The video also has a grainy feel to it throughout. The subtitles are easy to read but there are quite a few grammar and punctuation errors. However, there is nothing that will make your reading experience want to tear your hair out. 
The audio fluctuates greatly, so make sure to keep your remote handy, as you’ll probably end up adjusting many times throughout the course of the view. 
Overall, even with the audio and video issues, ‘Road Kill’ is a very entertaining watch with some honest and harsh realities about the so-called ‘glamour’ of being a touring band. 
The rest of the DVD is six official music videos that The Haunted have released from 2004 on. It’s nothing that you can’t find on YouTube but is still nice to have in one place. 
To conclude, the live performance lost a lot by eliminating the atmosphere of a live event but is somewhat redeemed by the fantastic sound quality. The biography suffers from audio and visual issues but is redeemed by never being boring. This is definitely a must buy for any fan of The Haunted and is also not a bad start for those looking to get into the band. 
4 out of 5 skulls