What makes a good live video? Is it the camera crew? Is it the sound guy? Is it the editor? Does the track-listing have anything to do with it? Is it capturing a significant event in the band’s history? How much do the extras live video screens and pyro count? In the end, is all that matters the performance from the group?
I bring this up, because I have very mixed feelings about British Metalcore band, Bring Me The Horizon’s Live At Wembley Blu Ray.
Lets run down the list shall we? The camera work is superb. I watch a lot of live videos and this one is no disappointment. The sound is really clear, they have faithfully captured what was played on the night (more on that later). The band play a great track listing here, with material from all their studio albums to date, including not only hits but deep cuts and mixing the screeching and blast beats of the early days with the melody and keys of their smash hit Sempiternal album and some of their greatest material from their best two albums in between. The film captures the band headlining London’s historic Wembley Stadium and as singer Olly Sykes points out on stage this was their biggest show to date and a real crowning achievement for the band. It certainly isn’t visually dull and the band put a lot of effort into videos and artwork and steam cannons. There’s a lot of stuff going on to keep up your interest. Basically, if you take all this into account, this is on paper an absolutely brilliant release and an utter must have for fans of the band.
However; and this is a big however. It isn’t a very good concert. I like this band on record. I saw them live and it was very patchy, but I figured it was an off night. I saw old videos from the early days live that were very patchy but I figured that that was the early days and they would’ve got better over time. Well; this is still not very good.
I am not the kind of person to trowel on the negatives, but there are some points that sort of spoil this release for me. The band aren’t very tight. The drums sound sort of separate from the stringed instruments. Olly’s vocals are very different to the record with too much time spent out of breath or pointing the mic at the crowd or whatever. (I’m really hesitant to slag him off too much as he gets such grief online, and I’m not one of those people, but it is an honest reflection of this concert). The balance of instruments on the night sounds really wrong, with the levels of guitars and drums sounding confused and muffled and making the songs muddy and lacking in both heaviness and clarity. (I had this exact concern when I saw them live on this album cycle, so I know it isn’t just a choice at the Blu Ray’s sound mixing stage, and it really is a deal breaker).
Its a bit of a shame really. This is a perfectly recorded, brilliant looking, historic and exciting concert from the band at their zenith, playing a career spanning mixture of material for genuine fans. On that basis alone it is the kind of thing I’d usually hands down recommend. However, it is all spoiled by the actual concert.
My recommendation would be, if you are interested in the band, get a studio album instead. Suicide Season and There Is A Hell’ are utterly essential to fans of the genre, and show you what a vibrant and important band they are. Skip this unless you are a superfan who needs to own everything. In fact if you want a live album from the band, get Live At The Royal Albert Hall instead, since it has an orchestra on it and the proceeds go to a cancer charity.