Megadeth-Rude Awakening (2002) (NTSC)

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Released 2-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Featurette-Underground Live Show
Featurette-Megadeth On Megadeth
Notes-Gargano On Megadeth
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 107:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:29) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christoffer Salzgeber
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Dave Mustaine
David Ellefson
Jimmy Degrasso
Al Pitrelli
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Megadeth


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Megadeth were one of the major stakeholders in thrash metal during the late 80s and 90s. Along with bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and some would say Exodus or Kreator, they forged a musical genre that would influence most major rock artists of today.

    Formed in 1983 by Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson after Mustaine was fired from a little band that called themselves Metallica, Megadeth have gone on to sell millions of records worldwide in their 19 year career.

    Mustaine's well-publicized intense nature that has lead to many line-up changes as well as his issues with drugs has meant that Megadeth's career has been a rocky one, but also one that has lead to some of the most incendiary snapshots of angst-driven metal we have seen. Always one to have a comment on politics and the dark side of human nature, Mustaine's lyrics and guitar riffs strike a menacing outlook on the world, always with a sarcastic and sinister wit. Songs like the classics 'Peace Sells...But who's Buying?', 'In My Darkest Hour' and 'Holy Wars...The Punishment Due' are some of the metal world's best-loved tracks, and two personal favourites of mine. These songs made Mustaine one of the most revered and respected figures in metal and pushed Megadeth into second spot behind the ever-popular Metallica in the metal world.

    After breaking new ground with 1986's release of the album 'Peace Sells...But who's Buying' and an angry and abusive follow up 'So Far, So Good...So What?' in 1988, it was 1990's 'Rust In Peace' that really made people prick up their ears and take notice. The political statements and aggression on this album during the American war effort in the Persian Gulf made songs like 'Holy Wars' and the classic 'Rust In Peace...Polaris' (a scathing anti-nuclear attack)  have an even greater world-wide importance. I knew Megadeth were a really important band when the respected primetime current affairs program 'Hinch' broadcast a story on Megadeth and the 'Rust In Peace' album. For anyone out there who likes any style of metal or even 'hard rock' then do yourself a favour and grab a copy of 'Rust In Peace'. Even after 12 years it is still my most loved album of all time. It does not sound dated at all and stills kicks the same goals, and asses, it kicked in 1990.

    With a solid line-up for the first time and with the momentum of 'Rust In Peace' behind them, Megadeth put the accelerator down and embarked on their most commercially successful time as a band. 1992's 'Countdown To Extinction' was a huge success and was followed by 1994's 'Youthanasia', which consolidated their stake at the top of the metal tree. Dave Mustaine had taken some major steps to cleanse himself of his demons (he announced himself 'clean' before Rust In Peace, but found his way back to drugs while on the road for 'Countdown To Extinction'.  By the time 'Youthanasia' came around, he was back on the straight and narrow) and Megadeth were, for once, a stable and powerful unit.

    After a hugely popular world tour (again excluding Australia), Megadeth released the album 'Cryptic Writings' in 1997, and then 'Risk' in 1999. It was probably the lack of interest in taking risks that sums up this period in Megadeth's career. These two albums are fairly lacklustre and radio friendly - not something that would endear them to their lifelong fans, but then their music was still not mainstream enough to endear them to 'the public' either. The end result was two albums that really do not push the band to their limits or make the listener stand up and take notice like in their crackerjack heyday. Mustaine's anger had left him, and there seemed to be less and less for the band to comment on socially.

    Between 'Risk' and the band's next release, 'The World Needs A Hero' the group fired guitarist Marty Friedman and hired session player Al Pitrelli. Before writing and recording this album, the band decided to go back to their roots and start playing the music that their hardcore fans wanted, with big guitar riffs and more of Jimmy DeGrasso's double kick drums. 'The World Needs A Hero' succeeded in giving fans this sort of music - whether it is still as relevant and inspirational as before is another issue, and not one to be discussed here. But it is at the end of this tour that we meet up with Megadeth for their first and only live album and video...Rude Awakening.

    Rude Awakening is a very comprehensive collection of most of Megadeth's greatest and most amazing songs. There is a skew towards the later material, which is a given on any tour, but these tracks, while mixed with some old classics, make for a fantastic package. Mustaine's voice struggles at times, but it is pretty understandable if you check out what he is doing with his hands!! Widely regarded as the best rhythm guitarist in the world (I am open to debate, but it is my belief that he is better than Kerry King), Dave's rhythm and the sound he gets from his trademark custom Jackson Flying V is amazing. His right hand is rock solid and his left does not miss a beat - I could not hear him make one slight error for the whole show - an amazing effort playing what he is playing plus singing as well. The rest of the band is very solid as well, but it is Mustaine who is obviously the star. Only once have I seen one person dominate a group more (Henry Rollins), but that is another story.

    Megadeth's performance is inspired throughout this disc. From the terrific opening with 'Dread and the Fugitive Mind', through classics like 'Devils Island', 'Hangar 18' and the completely mind-blowing encore of  'Holy Wars', Megadeth are at the top of their game. It has been 19 years in the waiting for a full live album from Megadeth, and it does not disappoint.

    Sadly, only a couple of months after this show was recorded, Dave Mustaine seriously injured his arm, which caused some severe nerve damage, more specifically, a radial nerve injury which put his guitar-playing career at an immediate end.  He issued a statement in March 2002 announcing that he has plans to quit the band, forcing the immediate termination of Megadeth's recording career. Mustaine plans to adapt his skills to other parts of the music industry, while the fate of the other band members at this stage seem unconfirmed. There have been rumours on the internet and in street press that David Ellefson may fill the vacant bass slot in Metallica....we can only hope.

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

Track Listing

1. Dread And The Fugitive Mind
2. Wake Up Dead
3. In My Darkest Hour
4. She Wolf
5. Reckoning Day
6. Devil's Island
7. Burning Bridges
8. Hangar 18
9. Return To Hangar
10. Hook In Mouth
11. 1000 Times Goodbye
12. Mechanix
13. Tornado Of Souls
14. Ashes In Your Mouth
15. Sweating Bullets
16. Trust
17. Symphony Of Destruction
18. Peace Sells
19. Holy Wars....The Punishment Due
20. Sweating Bullets
21. Trust
22. Symphony Of Destruction
23. Peace Sells
24. Holy Wars

Transfer Quality

Video

    Unfortunately, this is where my glowing review of this disc ends...for the moment. The video transfer is extraordinarily bad, containing monumental amounts of video artefacts, too many to list here in their entirety so for the most part I will list a small number of artefacts that are the worst examples of each flaw. This disc is presented in the NTSC format. At the time of publication, there is nothing stated on the packaging about this, so please make sure that your display device and DVD player is capable of handling an NTSC signal. Update - I have just been informed by Warner that there will be a sticker on the packaging informing shoppers that this is an NTSC transfer.

    The video is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is obviously not 16x9 Enhanced.

    The sharpness of this disc for the most part is acceptable in comparison to the rest of the features on this disc. For most of the close-up shots of the band the resolution is good and there is a reasonably sharp picture. There is one camera on drummer Jimmy DeGrasso that appears very grainy and dirty due to a lack of light. The ambient light on offer for the concert is obviously very little, so there are a lot of unclear shots where the band and the crowd appear very grainy.

    There are a lot of problems with shadow detail due to the nature of the concert, but that is to be expected. From what I can tell, there are no shadow detail issues that are directly related to the DVD mastering process. This disc suffers terribly from low level noise. At first I thought that this low level noise was some horrible aliasing, but upon further inspection there are huge amounts of low level noise spread throughout the show. The worst examples are at 22:54, 28:57, 37:19, 37:43, 50:44, 83:18 and 85:50. There is one point at which edge enhancement is noticeable- at 2:13.

    Due to the lack of shadow detail and the constant changes in lighting, the colours in this transfer vary so often that it is hard to grasp whether they are steady throughout. Colours seem constant enough and there are no instances where colour bleed or other related artefacts are present.

    There are a lot of MPEG artefacts on show here in the form of pixelization or macro-blocking. This disc has clearly been overcompressed, with the 448kb/s soundtrack and quite a lot of material to be found of the disc. The pixelization occurs throughout the show, but some of the examples are 0:07, 6:36, 7:20, 18:39, 22:32, 35:13, 37:40, 51:59, 83:50, and 95:42. Aliasing can be found on every shot that contains guitar strings - like Venetian blinds, these shots are obvious danger areas for aliasing. Some specific references are 2:38, 3:37, 6:31, 37:54, 93:42. There are no film artefacts.

    There are no subtitle tracks on this disc.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 14 and 15, at 63:29. In between songs, this makes for a decent placement of the change.

    In essence, the video transfer of this disc is one of the worst I have seen. Quite literally, there is barely one shot in this transfer that does not contain some sort of artefact, from grain to aliasing to pixelization to low level noise and edge enhancement, this one has it all.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer of Rude Awakening is a dramatic improvement on the video. This is great news considering that it is the music that is the raison d'etre of this DVD. The signal is very strong at all times and the quality of the sound is superb. All the channels are used well and I was very impressed with the general feel of the transfer.
 
    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack recorded at 448kb/s. There is also an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. I listened to the fantastic 5.1 soundtrack only.
 
    The vocals were clear and precise at all times. Dave's voice struggles from time to time, but the words that he is saying always sound strong and never muffled or dead. There are some issues with audio synch, but that is due to the concert being taped over two nights, on the 16th and 17th of November 2001. Obviously the director has pieced together the best looking footage with the best sounding audio.

    The tone that is present from the band's equipment is simply brilliant - the mastering of the audio for this DVD is spot-on. It gives a very strong feel and a real live sound. This style of music really gains something when played live, and obviously loud - it sound terrific in this format.

    The surround channels are used very heavily throughout the disc, with constant crowd noise and a slight echo of the music to really put the listener at the concert. The only fault that I could find regarding these channels were that they were inconsistent in their volume. I do not mind when the surrounds were brought up a bit to enhance the experience of 'being there', but a few times on this disc the surrounds were raised and lowered too sharply and it give a very inconsistent feel to the show. The best example is at 90:29 when the crowd is singing the chorus of 'Peace Sells', but then the surrounds are sharply dropped when the song continues. This also happens at 95:37 during the intro to 'Holy Wars'.

    The subwoofer gets a bit of a work-out with Jimmy DeGrasso's kick drums, but it is used for little else. This does not really effect the presentation of the show however, as it is plenty loud in every other channel.

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

Extras

    There is a solid selection of extras here, but the back cover is very misleading. It states that '(the) DVD extras include interviews, b-roll footage, studio footage of the recording of 'The World Needs A Hero' and bonus concert footage.' All this is quite misleading because most of the things that are mentioned in this spiel are very brief aspects of what is actually included within the extras. The features that are found under the 'Special Features' menu are as follows;

Underground Live Show  (20:33)

    This is actually the same concert as the main feature, but presented with an even worse video transfer. It is so bad that they could not include the footage in the main programming of the DVD and called it an 'Underground Live Show' instead. Also, this is not 'bonus' concert footage, because these songs are on the track listing for the original concert which is listed on the packaging.

    As mentioned, these tracks suffer from horrific grain and are very dark. I am sure, however, that some of the darkness and grain have been added to the footage in post production to enhance the 'Underground' nature of it. The songs that are presented are 'Kill the King', 'Angry Again', 'Almost Honest', 'Train of Consequences' and 'A Tout Le Monde'. All are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and have a 448kb/s English Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack.

Megadeth on Megadeth  (12:54)

    This group of interviews includes the band talking about what prompted them to make this live video. It contains some very short clips of the band rehearsing in the studio (presumably this is the 'studio footage of the recording of 'The World Needs A Hero') and they last for only a matter of seconds - hardly worth the effort of printing this on the packaging!  Otherwise the interviews are informative and add some perspective to what the band has been up for the last few years.

Gargano on Megadeth

    This article, by rock journalist Paul Gargano, is an interesting account of Megadeth's career. It is over 9 pages of text and is worth a read.

Menu

    The menu presented here is very stylish. It has moving graphics of the band's name and it plays the intro to either 'Symphony of Destruction' or 'Trust' depending on how you access it.

R4 vs R1

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

    The content of the Region 1 and Region 4 discs are identical. The only Region 1 review that I could find of this disc stated that there were no video artefacts to be found, indicating a potentially different transfer to our Region 4 release. Considering the fact that our Region 4 release is an NTSC transfer,  this is something that I find very hard to believe and it is my thought that the transfer of both discs is identical as well. This would make the Region 4 release the version of choice simply because of the cheaper price tag.

Summary

     Rude Awakening is still a disc that I would urge Megadeth fans to buy. Despite its terrible video transfer, the audio is superb and really catches the spirit of a Megadeth live show. Particularly in light of their recent demise, this concert is one to cherish and hold onto as we may not get another disc of its kind.

    The video is amazingly bad.

    The audio is of great quality.

    The extras are interesting.

    The band's performance is simply amazing and is a great tribute to their legacy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

Other Reviews
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Comments (Add)
Mustaine's arm - Liam REPLY POSTED
Ermm... - Dean M (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Megadeth are gods!! - Ironcross REPLY POSTED
All you need is PAL - Anonymous