Megadeth-VH1 Behind the Music (2001) (NTSC)

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Released 18-Feb-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Audio
Music Video-Moto Psycho
Featurette-Bonus Footage
Discography
Biographies-Cast
Web Links
DVD Credits
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 76:29
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Dave Mustaine
David Ellefson
Jimmy Degrasso
Al Pitrelli
Case Click
RPI $39.95 Music Megadeth


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Sometimes, when one is dealing with the history of a given band from a given scene, they find others to which said band's history is inextricably linked, and such is the case with Megadeth. You see, Megadeth were formed by a guitarist named Dave Mustaine after he was kicked out of a certain other little band by the name of Metallica, and for a long time since then a rivalry has existed between the two bands, not to mention a war of words between their fans. If you have read my review of the S&M double-DVD set that was released last year, then you will be able to predict with some certainty which side of the fence I sit upon.

    Although I haven't really followed Megadeth's output that closely (in fact, prior to viewing this disc, I had only heard one of their songs in its entirety, in spite of the fact that In My Darkest Hour was one of the first songs I learned to play), I feel confident in saying that Megadeth is by far the better band. The rampant egomania and cash-hungriness, not to mention the extinguishing of musical emotion, has not set in so firmly with Megadeth as it had in Metallica since 1991. Granted, the music made by both bands is generally far too repetitive and bland for my taste, but Megadeth's body of work comes far closer to something musical by a long way.

    Megadeth were formed in the early 1980s by former Metallica lead guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson, who met as a result of one playing while the other was hung-over, at least according to this documentary. After adding Chris Poland on guitar and Gar Samuelson on drums, the band soon recorded their first full-length album, subtly titled Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good. Like Metallica's first album, this debut only bears a moderate resemblance to the direction that Megadeth took on their second album, Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?, partly because of a huge difference in the total budget allocated to the recordings. Behind The Music concerns itself with how Megadeth were formed, what Dave Mustaine was doing before he formed the band, and the hell that the band members put themselves through since then. Interviews with ex-members such as Marty Friedman, as well as Dave Mustaine's former bandmates James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are included for good measure.

    One of the most revealing insights in this documentary, in fact, is the circumstances under which In My Darkest Hour was written - Dave Mustaine sat down and wrote it within hours of hearing that Cliff Burton, indisputably the only real talent in Metallica after he left, had been killed in a tour bus accident. Learning about Dave Mustaine's upbringing and how it heavily influenced his musical career, not to mention his drug addictions, has left me with a newfound respect for the man. If learning about the ins and outs of a musical scene where cheesiness and commercialism has become more a way of life than a trap to avoid, and how one of the earliest bands to emerge from there managed to do the latter, then Megadeth - Behind The Music is for you.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Most of this feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with occasional concert footage and music video footage shown in an approximate 1.66:1 or 1.78:1 ratio. Note that this disc is presented in NTSC. The concert footage, and indeed a lot of the behind-the-scenes footage, was taken in a clandestine manner using video camcorders, and it is of relatively poor quality as a result. Having said that, the contemporary footage, especially the interview footage, is of surprisingly good quality.

    The sharpness of this transfer varies according to the age of the material being presented, but the most recent footage is very sharp indeed. The older footage taken from concerts and music videos dips somewhat in sharpness, but this is more because of the way in which they were shot than anything to do with the transfer. The line structure of the video in a 1.66:1 snippet of concert footage at 16:07 is clearly visible. The shadow detail of this transfer is acceptable considering the source materials, although it is not really there when it is needed. Low-level noise is often present in the concert footage, with a shot of the Los Angeles skyline at 5:35 showing the most distracting video noise in this feature.

    The colours are well-represented during the contemporary footage, such as when David Ellefson is taking the cameraman for a tour of places where he and Dave Mustaine lived and made music. During the aforementioned concert footage at 16:07, and a candid shot of Dave Mustaine making disparaging comments about glam (he rightly calls it an acronym for "gay L.A. music") at 13:12, colour bleeding is easily evident. Again, this can be attributed to the quality of the source material rather than the transfer.

    MPEG artefacts were not apparent in this transfer, and indeed the bitrate of the transfer is almost always up there at the maximum ten megabits per second that the DVD-Video specification allows for. Film-to-video artefacts were occasionally noted in the form of aliasing on the edges of buildings and fences, with the most objectionable instance coming in the edges of a television set at 40:50. Video dropouts were occasionally noticed, usually during the archival footage of concerts, with lines of static appearing in the picture for a single frame. Film artefacts were not noticed during this transfer, not even in the later music video footage, which appears to have actually been shot on film.

    There are no subtitles present on this DVD, which will more than likely annoy those out there with hearing impairments, but I dare say that this disc is not likely to appeal to them, anyway.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks available on this DVD, both of them in English: the first, and default, soundtrack is the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with a bitrate of 448 kilobits per second, while the second is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix with the bitrate of 192 kilobits per second. I listened primarily to the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but there is only a minimal difference between the two.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to make out at all times, with the audio obviously being carefully mixed so that the music doesn't get in the way of the narration and vice versa. I did not detect any noticeable problems with audio sync, save for the usual problems with lip movements and vocals not quite matching in the footage taken from music videos.

    The music on this disc consists of songs written by Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich, to name the sources cited most often on this disc. The early part of this documentary features music written by all three of these people, which appears on Metallica's first album, subtly titled Kill 'Em All, but once the style settles down to talking more about Megadeth, the primary writing credit can be attributed to Dave Mustaine. As I have already indicated in my plot synopsis, I tend to find Mustaine's music much more interesting and less formulaic, but that's a personal preference.

    The surround channels were barely used by this soundtrack, with only a subtle amount of audience noise making it into the rears during the concert footage, with the interview and contemporary footage being particularly front-heavy.

    The subwoofer, on the other hand, was used quite frequently to support the music. While it was not used particularly heavily, it produced a rather light rumble that served to remind that was something going on in the lower registers of the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are two things I have to mention in regards to the content of this disc - first, I am flat-out amazed that this disc is rated MA, considering its rather light and inoffensive content. Secondly, I would have liked to have had a second layer full of the videos for such songs as Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?, simply because these videos are rarely seen on television. What we do get on this disc is passable, however.

Menu

    The menu is static, accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. It is very easy to navigate.

Music Video - Moto Psycho

    This three minute and fifteen second music video is rather repetitive, and definitely doesn't showcase Megadeth at their best, unfortunately. It is presented in an approximate 1.78:1 ratio, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

Featurette - Bonus Footage

   This ten minute and thirty-one second collection of unused interview footage is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and is chaptered.

Notes - Vital Statistics

    This submenu contains biographical information for the current Megadeth lineup - guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine, guitarist/vocalist Al Piterelli, drummer Jimmy DeGrasso, and bassist/vocalist David Ellefson.

Web Links

    Links to the official Megadeth web site, the Sanctuary Records Group site, and the VH1 website. A pox on the things.

DVD Credits

    A listing of all the people responsible for bringing this collection of footage to our beloved format.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There are no differences between the Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this DVD.

Summary

    Megadeth is one of those bands doomed to be under-appreciated by the world at large, but as long as they continue to churn out the music that they want to, they will be the better band simply for not descending into crass commercialism. Behind The Music doesn't actually offer much music as such, but it does offer an interesting insight into the myriad of things that influence the core of this band.

    The video transfer is of generally good quality.

    The audio transfer is very good, but very frontal.

    The extras are adequate.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Thursday, January 31, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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