Cradle Of Filth - Peace Through Superior Firepower DVD - Roadrunner Records 2005
Running Time: 3 Hours +

I've gone on record in the past with my opinion that concert DVDs usually disappoint. Sure, you get your 666 camera angles, your front row seats, and your decent live sound mix. What you miss, though, is the blood, sweat, and tears of a great live show. Of course, not getting a black eye from a stray elbow in the pit is a good point as well, but again, isn't that what makes metal...well, Metal? It's really come to the point that of late, I'll forego the purchase of any DVD featuring strictly live material. Still, there are exceptions to every rule. Along with Fear Factory's career (at the time) retrospective Digital Connectivity, and Pantera's 3 Vulgar Videos From Hell, Cradle Of Filth have always put out quality DVDs, including - along with the obligatory live set - a veritable cauldron of bonus features, making most anything DVD-related a worthy purchase.

And, so, is the latest, Peace Through Superior Firepower. We begin with a concert recorded during a stop in France on the Nymphetamine tour. If you caught the band on its massive Babylon AD jaunt, then you know the overblown Circque du Satan vibe. Fire, dwarves, trapeze artists, and everything except a firebreathing demon from the 17th dimension of Netherhell completed the menagerie. This time, things are scaled back a bit. Worry not, Filthians, there's still a scantily-clad rope artist, a couple mis-shapen gargoyles, and about as many spark-shooting freaks to hold your attention. The set is expansive, ranging from a torrid 'Her Ghost In The Fog' to the epic 'The Forest Whispers My Name'. Dual leads swoop and dive through '13 Autumns And A Widow', and the encore 'From The Cradle To Enslave' finds a towering headbanging skeletal creature joining the fray. All in all, a wide range of Cradle material.

As far as bonus features go, we get the sixty-plus minute 'Postcards From Vulgaria - A Shockumentary'. While neither particularly vulgar or shocking (aside of course from the gargling of red fox piss), it's an entertaining portrait of the band, and does nothing if it doesn't "humanize" the bastards. I dare say any parent actually watching this snippet would likely as not wonder where the rituals to Satan are, and where all the bloodied virgins are being kept hidden. It's an episode of Viva La Bam at times too, the elder Margera showing up and proceeding to bore the viewer plumb stupid with the same crap that makes me change the channel every time I catch an episode in progress. Still, the part where the lovely Sara (touring background vocalist, and in person quite charming) is awakened from an "early night" by a pranking Martin is priceless. To all those aching to see the bitch-slapping of a member of Cradle, here's your chance. Enjoy. A mostly forgettable Virgin in-store appearance follows. Really, what does Jared (aka Leviathor) watching a DVD in Schaumberg, IL care for seeing someone else get their shit signed? The six most recent Cradle concept videos round out the package nicely.

As said, giving the viewer more than just a live show can move a DVD from "good" to "great". If you're a fan, this is a mandatory addition to the waist-high pile of Cradle merch already spilling out from your room (oops! I'm sorry…lair) and into your parents' (tenement's, castle's) hallway. If you're not a fan, I'm sure you didn't make it this far into the review. On the off chance that you did…piss off.

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