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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Multi-Channel Music > Crystal Method - Legion Of Boom (DVD-Audio)

Crystal Method: Legion of Boom (DVD-Audio)


PCM Stereo: B     MLP 5.1: A     DTS-ES: A     Music: B-



What makes music memorable?  What type of music stands the longest test of time?  My suggested answer to that is the type that evokes the most emotion from its listener.  A certain tune that can inwardly reflect a certain time period or change, or even a song that upon multiple hearings can change, morph and grow with its listener.  This is particularly one reason why I am not a big fan of Techno music or even the crossover type of industry techno rock music such as The Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim, or to some degree The Crystal Method.  This is not to say that I don’t like certain songs by these groups/artists, but over a course of time I rarely take the time to re-listen to their music.  It exists usually for a certain moment and when the moment is over it dissipates in time. 


Now that I have said that, one might wonder what my reaction was to The Crystal Methods breakthrough into the DVD-Audio world with their newest album Legion of Boom.  Let me clarify at this point in time that I am a huge supporter of DVD-Audio or similar formats that allow its viewer to experience the music in a whole new sonically challenging way.  Techno music translates incredibly well in surround sound that is for sure, and since its very basis is involving it’s listening into a sound environment that can completely take control of their emotions.  Music such as this always involves lots of low end sound gravitated by synthesized bass and usually layers upon layers of sounds building a huge wall of chaos.   


This makes for a quick adjustment as The Crystal Method’s ensemble of sound can now be totally transferred to its listener through multiple channels and various mixing and other techniques to create a whole new environment.  The album itself is pretty standard fare and does contain a few stand out songs such as the track Born Too Slow, which also contains a really interesting video that can be accessed on the DVD-Audio’s extras portion.  So then comes the simple question, which is, “Should I buy this DVD-Audio”?  The answer to that is a loaded one because just like buying anything you must weigh your decision based upon what your expectations are.  Personally I think it’s a fun album that you will most likely wear out pretty quick and then go a few months without even thinking about or maybe just whipping out now and again to blow away your friends with just how awesome the sound is, but other than that there is little reason to suspect that this album is worthy of relentless hours of playing.


From a strictly sound perspective this is a keeper, essentially for its rockin’ nature and ability to create massive spaces of sounds that range from the thudding subwoofer all the way to higher end sound effects that loop in and out channel to channel allowing the viewers head to literally spin in awe.  This of course is if you take full advantage of the multi-channel mixes available here, which are DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 and the 5.1 MLP mix for DVD-Audio specific players.  Otherwise you can listen to it in uncompressed PCM, which is also very tight and solid, but squeezes all that sound down to two channels.   Here are a few things though to keep in mind as far as this DVD-Audio is concerned.  The best track by far is Born Too Slow, which not only contains a music video, but that track has two bonus remixes, but they are only available in DTS-ES or PCM playback.  This ‘making of’ featurette however is capable of playback in DTS-ES, which is a surprise since most stuff like this is kept to standard stereo. 


One thing that I will say about The Crystal Method is that when they do something right they really nail it, but it seems like their more experimental and tricky stuff is what never really latches on.  Most of their memorable work is the simplistic and easily converted to radio play.  I hope that this DVD-Audio experience for them has challenged them in a more sonic sense for future endeavors and it’s really great seeing artists becoming more ambitious with their work, no matter how average the material can be.  I had anticipated a bit more maneuverability within the sound mix on the 5.1 and 6.1 mixes, but surprisingly the audio mixer decided to keep the sound nice and tidy with a solid build of sound, rather than chance it by getting too fancy with all the channels.  In some regards this is a foundation mix with some tweaking that enables certain sound effects to venture, but the predominate sound is laden through each channel with a equal amount of ‘pressure’ keeping the sound at all sides of its listener. 


The supplements are pretty interesting, including the remixes and the video, which was shot by Gore Verbinski (yes, the guy that directed Pirates of the Caribbean).  One will certainly be pleased with the overall audio presentation with the main difference between the MLP and the DTS-ES is having that discrete rear mid channel and the MLP appeals to viewers concerned with more high-end, while the DTS-ES is for those that like a little thump with their DVD-Audios.  Legion of Boom will not go down as a great album by any stretch and it’s a bit more light compared to Tweekend, the groups last album, so while it lends itself over nicely to a format like DVD-Audio its no telling what the general consensus shall be.  Personally, I’ll hang onto it for a quick refresher now and again, but it most likely will not leave the lasting impression that its creators intended.



-   Nate Goss


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