The Crystal Method: The Legion of Boom (2004)
"Well listen to method man
'cause if you leave on the last line
don't leave on the ground kind
born just a little too slow..."- lyric from Born Too Slow
Stars: Ken Jordan, Scott Kirkland
Other Stars: Wes Borland, Lisa Vennum-Kekaula, Jon Brion, John Garcia, Milla Jovovich, Rahzel, Hanifah Walidah, D.J. Swamp
Director: The Crystal Method
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language)
Run Time: 01h:15m:11s
Release Date: 2004-08-03
DVD ReviewLegion of Boom is the third audio release for L.A. based electronica artists The Crystal Method, and their first in the burgeoning DVD—Audio format. Assembled at a converted two—car garage turned studio in Glendale, California that Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland (they are The Crystal Method) call their recording home, Legion of Boom represents not just a pioneering leap onto the next level of audio discs, but something of a departure for the group, as well. Jordan and Kirkland refer to their new sound as "more upbeat and positive", utilizing a steady layering of the basics: rhythm, drums and hooks.
Moving ever so slightly away from the harder, more industrial sound that permeated earlier work, Legion of Boom still delivers its share of piston—like dance floor percussion amidst samples, minimal vocals and a steady wall of electronics that really flourish in the DVD-Audio format, booming and swirling around the room with the liquidity of a veritable glob of mercury. It's still easy to hear influences of AC/DC and New Order in this new work, but like early tracks such as Busy Child or really just about anything off of Vegas, the ebb and flow of any given track is likely to transmogrify and eat its own tail like some musical ourobouros.
Jordan and Kirkland are joined by a handful of guest stars on Legion of Boom, including guitar work from Jon Brion and Limp Bizkit's Wes Borland, as well as vocals from The Bellrays Lisa Vennum-Kekaula, Kryuss' John Garcia, roots rapper Rahzel and even actress Milla Jovovich, who lends some understated ethereal club credence to her appearance on I Know It's You. The first single—Born Too Slow—features Garcia doing his best Bon Scott over some rambunctious guitar licks from Borland, and the track is also included in a couple of different dub mixes, as well as two complete music videos for the song, directed by The Ring's Gore Verbinksi.
There is a general anonymity to this kind of electronic dance music—at least from a casual glance— and as it moves along its various progressions, there is that occasional stab of familiarity that perhaps comes across as cannibalistic rehashing of the same sampled blurbs or percolating funk rhythms over and over. The facelessness of performers in the dance club scene is also one of its plusses, as acts like The Crystal Method become more of an aural experience than a vanity band project, and though you might not walk away humming any of the cuts, the experience of letting the full capabilities of DVD-A wash over you is a wonderful thing.
In this case, the medium is infinitely more powerful than the message.
Born Too Slow
The American Way
I Know It's You
Weapons of Mass Distortion
Bound Too Long
High and Low
Born Too Slow — EK's Spider In The Corner Alt. Dub
Born Too Slow — Deepsky's Green Absinthe Dub
Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A-
|Aspect Ratio||n/a - n/a|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
|Advanced Resolution||Type||Remote Access|
Audio Transfer Review: DTS Entertainment has released Legion of Boom in DTS-ES 6.1 Surround for suitably equipped systems, 5.1 DTS for DTS-Capable systems and a fallback 2.0 PCM mix that is basically for all other players. The DTS mix is sampled at 48k, with a bit depth of 24, while the PCM mix is sampled at 48k, with a bit depth of 16. The PCM tracks will satisfy in a pinch, but it is the DTS presentation that will serve as a no brainer tool of conversion for those on the fence about the merits of DVD-A, because the electronica dance tracks of The Crystal Method are tailor made for the format, and the presentation is flawless. The mix utilizes all available channels so that the rhythms, accents and vocals come at you from all angles, often racing and lapping itself as a given track builds in intensity.
Audio Transfer Grade: A+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 14 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Extras Review: The extras are presented in DTS as well, and include two music videos for the song Born To Slow, the original (03m:52s) and the director's cut (04m:33s). The differences are not overtly major, but it is a work by Gore Verbinksi, and he approaches the visual element with more than a passing nod to the look of The Ring.
The Making of Legion of Boom (10m:58s) is brief look at the creative process, featuring interviews with Kirkland and Jordan in their studio, while Mix Breakdown - True Grit offers the chance to hear a given track in the four stages of its development:
Drums Drums and Bass Everything but vocals Final mix
A Photo Gallery of 24 images is also included.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsThis is an impressive DVD-A release, one that propels The Crystal Method onto that next plane of electronica trance coolness, and the vague sameness of some of the tracks is overshadowed by the stunning presentation.
Rich Rosell 2004-09-16