The Black Dahlia Murder- Fool 'Em All (Metal Blade DVD)

The Black Dahlia Murder are back with their second DVD, but does it hold up?

Fool ‘Em All is the second DVD by The Black Dahlia Murder and in the interim years since the last one, the band has gone through some significant changes in terms of their lineup.

Disc 1’s documentary ostensibly deals with the band’s jaunt on last year’s Warped Tour in the US, along the way allowing us to get up close and personal with each member of the band through introductions and interviews.

It’s all rather standard fare for a band documentary but it’s kept afloat by the band members themselves. Each of the Black Dahlia band members has a warm and engaging personality that makes getting to know them an absolute pleasure. Watching them rough house with each other, partake in certain substances and generally have a good time certainly endears the guys to the viewer rather quickly. Seeing them take part in Warped Tour was also rather amusing- a highlight would have to be the band asking groups of greasy ignorant teens if they know what death metal is, to hilarious response. 

The last quarter of the doco also shows the band on their subsequent European tour. I won’t spoil it completely, but them meeting with some legendary Swedish musicians is probably my personal highlight. Overall, if you’re a TBDM fan, I’d say the doco is definitely worth your time.

The second disc of live performances however, is unfortunately something of a letdown. While the picture quality, audio and track selections are all fine, the editing of the disc is where it’s all let down. Firstly, it suffers from Jumpy Camera Syndrome, a chronic disease of the 21st century, whereby a cameraman is unable to focus on one shot for more than 1.5 seconds. This is a very common affliction for many live DVDs, but here the jumping is obnoxiously constant. Your brain doesn’t even have time to register what you’ve seen on screen before it’s jumped to something else.

As off-putting as jump cuts on their own can be, this isn’t the worst thing about the live performances. The absolute worst part of this live disc is the fact that the footage is so obviously culled from multiple shows. This is a cardinal sin in my book because it takes the most important aspect of a live performance out of the DVD: the actual live performance. They don’t even make any attempt to hide this, as you can clearly see vocalist Trevor Strnad go from wearing a black shirt, to shirtless, to wearing a coloured shirt, to having a beard, to being shaved, all within one song. I can understand compiling whole songs from multiple shows but this and the constantly jumping camera completely kills any kind of energy and atmosphere the band’s live show could deliver. They’d have been better off simply releasing the audio as a live album.

I feel bad for ragging on the band so much because they’re such lovely guys and I do quite enjoy their music. The only advice I’d offer to them is to please for the love of god hire a new director for the next DVD.

Fool 'Em All is out Now on Metal Blade Records.