Review Summary: A great live album from a great band.
I'll admit it. I'm somewhat of a TFK fanboy. I have every album, every EP, I've seen the band twice, I have homemade merch, I've listened to them for five years, I have a shirt, a pick from Trevor, etc. The band has changed my life in so many ways. And while this live performance doesn't fully do a TFK live performance justice, it gets really close, both in the CD and the DVD.
I'll first review the CD and go over the setlist, then move on to the DVD. Filmed/recorded in Alberta, Canada, this is the homeplace of the boys from TFK, enabling them to play more classic songs. The DVD was formed a year or two after the 2009 release Welcome to the Masquerade, so there are a good deal of songs from that release, including "Welcome to the Masquerade" "Breathe Into Me" "E for Extinction" "Scream" "Fire It Up" "Already Home" and opener "The Invitation." There are also some tracks from midway through the band's career, from the 2007 album The Flame In All Of Us- "Falls Apart" ballad "What Do We Know" "The Flame In All Of Us"- and the 2005 album The Art of Breaking- "Move" "Absolute." Finally, there are even some tracks from the bands early albums- "Rawkfist" from the 2003 release Phenomenon and closer "Puppet" from the 2001 release Set It Off. I'll discuss these tracks further later in the review. The quality is great. All the band members can be heard equally and proficiently on their instruments, no band member drowns out the other. Enough of the crowd noise is featured to give the accurate feeling of a live show but not ruin the performance or drown out the group. The length of the setlist is also a bonus in itself: not too long, not too short, clocking in at fourteen tracks. Finally, it's cool to hear Trevor interacting with the crowd. Whether it's telling them to throw up their rawkfist, sing out, scream, jump, he is a very engaging frontman. And yes, I can fully attest to this. Now, on to the DVD.
A TFK live show normally consists of mainly lights and special effects, like a video screen in the background displaying a theme that goes along with the song playing, and some flame chutes. This is no different. From strobes to cool sweeping effects with the lights to fitting visuals and occasional flame bursts, the show visibly has it all. One of my favorite parts about a TFK live performance is that they use these elements effectively, but don't overuse them (I'm looking at you Skillet). All of the band members also look sick in their custom made TFK suits, all bearing the TFK flame/mask hybrid logo. Vocalist/studio guitarist Trevor McNevan has some amazing energy. He headbangs, jumps, runs, and all-around moves with power and infectious energy. His vocals also sound as clear-if not more clear- as they are in studio, and he delivers both his cleans and occasional harsh vocals correctly and brilliantly. Unlike other frontmen, he doesn't forget lyrics, and does an amazing job engaging the crowd. Bassist Joel Bruyere is equally as skilled live. His backup vocals sound great, and you can actually hear his bass lines. He also has a smile on his face for most of the performance, showing that he is truly enjoying it. Drummer Steve Augustine is the same. Along with doing some tricks with his drumsticks, he headbangs and grins his way through the performance. You probably noticed that Trevor is only doing vocals this performance. Though he does play guitar for the group in studio, normally he pulls in a guitarist from another group to play live (it's currently Andrew from Disciple, by the way). At the time, it was Nick Baumhardt, who I don't think is part of a band but works independently with artists as a guitarist. He had a little bit of a weaker performance than everyone else. While not making mistakes in the least, the dreadlocked man wasn't as into it as the other three. He did do a good deal headbanging and moving, but at times seemed like he was there because he had to be there, not because he wanted to be there. Past that, the cameras were used to maximum effect. Mainly using different angle shots, the cameras caught the members of the band both equally and at their best - Trevor's face in the camera at the end of "Extinction" and Nick's playing at the very end of "Extinction" being great examples. There are also just enough crowd shots to still give the feel of a live show, and it's cool to see fellow TFK fans rocking out.
Overall, this is a great live show that I would highly recommend. Better yet, go see the band for sure. Thanks for reading!!