When I, as avowed ICED EARTH fan, got the double DVD "Gettysburg (1863)" into my hands, I was highly excited, hoping for, no, even expecting another quality release from the band around Jon Schaffer! After a lot lesser known bands have been throwing out DVDs to the left and right, it was only a matter of time that the band from Indiana followed suit in handing their true fans a little tidbit, the whole thing has been named after the great epos off their latest album "The Glorious Burden", so basically all signs are go, right?
Well, sometimes the anticipation let’s you get ahead of yourself, just to bring you down to the hard ground by the facts. On the first DVD we have a video for the quasi title track “Gettysburg”, offering us, of course, the music and changing images of generals of the battle, maps, a bit of nature, the battlefields, shooting cannons, computer generated fire and – well, that’s it, you never get to see the band even once, as add-on it would be nice, but like this it leaves a lot to be desired.
Add to that the "Battlefield Tour", a sort of history lesson with Jon and civil war expert Ted Gajewski, which is well done and gives the unknowing (like myself) a pretty good overview of the Gettysburg battle, but on the other hand is a bit too long with 80 minutes and at times seems a bit oddly planned out. The feature about Jon’s store "Spirit Of '76" is, at least for my taste, superfluous, while the photo gallery and the trailer don’t add anything to the value either.
Besides the videos for "When The Eagle Cries" and "The Reckoning” the second DVD contains a long interview with Jon, where he lays out his opinion pretty well, but overall seems a bit too narrow-minded (or strong-willed) and at times almost appears to be somewhat arrogant, which surely won’t do his image much good.
So all in all the question arises, if "Gettysburg (1863)" is worth being bought and I have a really hard time issuing a recommendation, because overall there is too little that would appeal to anybody else than die-hard ICED EARTH fans and American civil war buffs… (Online April 6, 2006)