Barakaldo D.F. is the latest release from Spanish folk metal (yes, you read that right) band Mago de Oz. I’ve become a major fan of this band over the past year, and have been grabbing everything they’ve released, from their studio epics to their theatrical live DVDs. I thought I had a pretty good idea what to expect from Barakaldo D.F. Instead, I could only stare in amazement at what is probably the most amazing musical performance I’ve ever witnessed.
This is what a hard rock/heavy metal show used to look like, back when Dio could battle a giant dragon on stage every night, or Iron Maiden could have Eddie towering over their stage. Mago de Oz brings that epic production back to rock music, performing in front of a massive cathedral. The band, black-clad and with enough pentagrams and Satanic trappings to make Dimmu Borgir blush, at one point had about a dozen people on stage, including three (three!) guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a violinist, a flautist, an accordion player, a keyboardist, a female vocalist/innocent sacrifice victim/naughty vixen, a pair of male lead vocalists and, um, a giant dancing pen!s. Oh, and did I mention the 20 foot inflatable guy (Jesus, I assume) in the AC/DC shirt? I’ve seen Therion and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra live, and have watched countless rock and metal DVDs, but I’ve never seen anything to rival Mago de Oz’s performance on this DVD.
Now all the visuals in the world can’t make music sound good. Fortunately Mago de Oz was up to the task. I wish I could describe their unique sound. I hear elements of Skyclad, Rainbow, Therion, Jethro Tull and Iron Maiden, if that makes any sense at all. The heavy use of violin and flute give their sound a decided Celtic touch. However you describe it, the band played their hearts out for this show. It’s beyond obvious that each member of the band gave 100% on stage that night. The fact that I love their music as much as I do even though I don’t speak Spanish and have no idea what these songs are about ought to give you some idea how awesome it is.
The DVD also features footage of a Mexico City performance that is interspersed with documentary/interview footage. I thought that was a very cool addition to an already amazing DVD.
Obviously there is an audio CD of the Barakaldo show included in this set. It’s fine, but so much of this performance was visual in nature it just doesn’t hold a candle to the DVD. I listened to it once and probably won’t ever spin it again.
Mago de Oz really outdid themselves with this performance. I’d recommend Barakaldo D.F. to just about any fan of hard rock and/or heavy metal that enjoys a good show. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything quite like this before.
NOTE: There is a CD-only version of Barakaldo D.F., but I can’t imagine why anyone would settle for just the audio of this fantastic show.