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Cadaveria - Karma DVD Review

Cadaveria - DVD Review
Karma (2-DVD)

Cadaveria - Karma


Scarlet Records
English / Italian
Multiple segments
PAL Format
10 / 10


It’s a little hard to classify this production. Mainly because there is nothing to compare it to, at least not to my knowledge. Now lots of people put out DVDs. Typically, they focus on musical performances, either live or more traditional video productions. Some actually attempt to provide some “back stage” or “travel” related footage. Nightwish has several, Within Temptation, Therion to name a few. But, these are generally expensive undertakings; you don’t do them on the spur of the moment. And, the focus is almost always some kind of live performance, maybe a couple live performances.

Well, Karma is a little different. It’s 2 DVDs, with a total running time of 2:40. That’s a LOT of material. And, it has a much broader focus than anything else I’ve been exposed to. Now, I suspect the reason for this is relatively simple. Cadaveria, and here I’m talking about the singer Cadaveria, not the entire band, is a videographer. She makes videos for a living, beyond her musical career. And this production, although it covers videos and live performances, goes way beyond that. You get the ENTIRE business with this one. Each of the DVDs is organized around a theme. The first one looks at things from the perspective of the recording business. You’re exposed to the nuts and bolts of how a recording is put together, drums, guitars, vocals. You’re in the production room, watching the dials and switches being utilized in the process. You get to see photo sessions and, given the relatively extreme nature of the band’s visual style, these are more than a little entertaining. And, thrown into the mix are a number of solid Cadaveria videos covering a number of releases. And these are, in my opinion, among the best of the breed. When you’re a videographer / musician, it gives you a certain duel perspective on this part of the business that virtually no one else has. And the results here demonstrate that interest and capability.

The second DVD is more focused on the live end of the business. I actually found this one to be more of interest. I’d never seen live footage of Cadaveria so her performance last October at MFVF 11 was one I had been very much looking forward to. And, again in my opinion, it was one of the best, if not the best, performances of the entire Festival. It certainly vastly exceeded my expectations. You know, you can make anyone look good in a video, I myself can do an engaging impersonation of Elvis with the right special effects and some cleverly applied makeup. . . “Thank you, thank you very much. . “. But, when it’s just you and the live audience, well, you either have it or you don’t. And I walked away from that MFVF performance with the distinct impression that Cadaveria was better live than in her video productions. Not something you can say for everyone. So the focus here is those live performances, but also a lot of backstage footage, interaction with fans, getting ready to perform, and setting up, that sort of thing. Beyond that, we do get travel segments, time on the bus, visiting some exotic locations, meeting people. And, in one truly unique segment in Mexico, we see the band cavorting around a motel pool acting like regular people. I guess this one struck me primarily from the perspective of seeing our lovely Italian relaxing in a bikini. Now, having been an ocean lifeguard on several of the beaches in South Florida, I’ve seen more than my share of bikinis, filled out regularly by some spectacular flesh. But, when it’s a person who you’ve previously only seen covered from head to foot in black leather and lace, it’s a bit shocking to see her dressed for the pool. Not that I’m complaining, you understand.

The entire production begins on DVD1 with an introduction by Cadaveria, dressed in what I can only guess is the attire she wore at MFVF 11. She goes over the entire work, describing what you can expect on both DVDs. I guess this one is interesting based on the vocals as much as anything else. I’ve spoken to Cadaveria several times both live and via Skype communications. And, although she is more than fluent in English, there’s still that Italian accent. I remember as a kid listening to some of the big name Italian actresses, Gina Lollobrigida, for instance, and being entranced by that accent. Every words seems to end in “a”, no matter what precedes it. Cadaveria has the same tendency. Took me a little while to get used to it, but its kinda fun doing it. It’s actually easier than some accents and it does carry through to the lyrics in her music. Which are, by the way, some of the best I’ve ever read. I can’t always follow them in the recorded productions but once you get to read them they are fantastic. She’s a solid poet. But, anyway, once the intro is completed, we get into production issues. This is the “hard work” that is required to produce a recorded product. I actually wish there had been a short bit on writing; I’d love to hear more on her perspective on that component, although I’ve talked to her a little about it before. Maybe that’s just a personal interest for me.

Well, anyway, this segment talks about both music production as well as video production. One of the more interesting videos presented is Spell. It’s interesting to see how some of these things are produced. Obviously, there are some special effects here, probably more than what you would expect from a typical music video, but, remember, Cadaveria has a much background here as she does with the music. You also get some footage that demonstrates what is required to get the visual effects that turn Cadaveria from the young Italian woman into the “Horror Metal” front woman. Again, this takes time and effort, something we don’t always consider. For much of this DVD we get Cadaveria music either as the focus or as background to other activities going on. So, you’re not getting shortchanged on that component. And, after all, that’s a large part of what we came for.

The second DVD takes us on the road. There’s footage from Toulouse, France in 2009, from Mexico of the same year, from Romania in 2011, Turin, Italy, 2012, The Sun Valley Metal Fest, Italy and Piacenza, Italy, also 2012. And finally, from Maratona Rock in Italy in 2013. A lot of this is live footage from the road. Lots of lovely video, but the folks tend to speak in Italian which I can understand a little since there is some similarity to the Spanish I’m more familiar with. But, you get a LOT of live performing footage, certainly some of the first I’ve actually seen. The first comes in France, a rendition of Spell. . . without the water. Cadaveria is a consummate live performer. And, although she is often viewed from that “Horror Metal” perspective, all black with streaked makeup, that hasn’t always been the case. In this performance, for instance, there’s no dramatic costume, not penetrating makeup. A relatively conservative outfit, at least for her, where she lets the music and the vocals do the talking. And, of course, Cadaveria’s vocals are definitely NOT conservative. She does have a pleasant traditional voice, but that’s not what we came to hear. Cadaveria is the BEST female growler in the business. She’s had that title, IMO, since her days with Opera IX.

The following segments take us to various geographic points around the world. We see castles, highways, various stages and lots of interesting people. We see airports, busses, cars and the occasional bar. This is life on the road. Of course, it has its high points, but, one could argue that you’ve seen one motel, you’ve seen them all. However, seeing mule drawn carts next to you as you drive down the road in Mexico is probably not something you see every day. But the band seems to have a special place in their heart for Mexico. And Cadaveria dresses for the part, in a slinky black Gothic outfit, accentuated by that long flowing black hair, black gloves and eye makeup. She ain’t the Queen of the Night for nothing, ain’a. The band pounds out heavy metal, Cadaveria screams from the depths of hell. And she’s a dynamic live performer, no reserved classical Gothic here, she jumps around, prowls back and forth on the stage like a caged black panther. Classical opera? Not here, this is crunching Death Metal, done at the top of the category.

The final section begins with some TV material, an interview and some stage footage. Then we move to Maratona, Italy, a live performance beginning with Blood and Confusion. Again, Cadaveria is outfitted in full blackness, as is the band. More in line with what we got at MFVF XI, although Cadaverial went even further in the outfitting department for that one, as seen here. This is some outstanding material, even though the performance was outside, clearly in the rain. But, you get to see the band at their best; I just can’t begin to imagine how you can beat this with ANY music video, no matter how hard you work the theme. The concert continues with other favorites, Flowers in Fire being a personal favorite. This one is as dark as it gets, I always liked the video for the song but it takes a back seat to seeing it done live. Cadaveria’s performance is mesmerizing.

Well, as I said earlier, I’m not sure how you give this thing anything less than a 10/10. I mean, it’s hard to find anything better since I don’t think there’s anything out even remotely like it. You get great music, you get the live performances that you probably didn’t see much of, if anything, before. You see the business end of things, the personal. And you get Cadaveria in a bikini. Where’s the downside?

There may be one downside, however. The production I received is PAL format, that’s European, not US. Not sure if they have both but, if you’re in America, unless you have a zone free player or a Mac, it’s going to be difficult to see the material in that format. Zone free players run about $41, Macs a little more. But, they may have both, check before purchasing. Other than that, have at it. This is one of a kind.