The Big Four: Live from Sofia

Give your home cinema a good thrashing with a disc designed to drive metal-hedz wild

The Big Four: Live From Sofia is an indispensable BD platter for thrash metal hedz, as it captures the only time these titans of the genre (Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica) have shared the same stage. Filmed at the Sonisphere music festival in Bulgaria, and running for five hours, it’s a non-stop barrage of razor-sharp riffs, pounding kick drums and snarled vocals that’s guaranteed to leave fans grinning from ear to ear.

The undoubted highlight is when all four bands join forces to cover Diamond Head’s Am I Evil? – which is kinda like seeing James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Ridly Scott and George Lucas getting together to make a short film. Only better.

Picture: The only disappointing element of Universal Music’s two-disc BD is that it offers a 1080i – not Full HD – 1.78:1 transfer. However, despite some noise, it still impresses; when one of the numerous cameras gets close up to our axe-wielding heroes, there’s sharpness and detail aplenty – Joey Belladonna’s haggard face is clear enough here to give young’uns nightmares. The teeming rain that adds an air of menace to Megadeth’s set is captured well, too. It’s only when the camera pans back to take in the 60,000 fans packed into the stadium that detail is lost.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: The BD offers two sound choices: LPCM stereo or DTS-HD MA 5.1 It defaults to the former, but I’d recommend opting for the latter, as this mix really makes use of the additional sound channels. The front LCR stage has an excellent dynamic range and width; vocals are nailed solidly to the centre channel, while squealing guitar licks slice through from the left and right, underpinned by taught bass. The rears, while naturally featuring the bellowed chants of sweat-drenched Bulgarian metalfiends, also reinforce proceedings by doubling up the rhythm section. One of the most authentic live music BDs we’ve ever heard – and perfect for playing at neightbour-bating volume.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: There’s only one bonus feature here (although with five hours of concert footage I’m not complaining), which is a 45-minute behind-the-scenes doc shot before the concert kicked off. Fans can see Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Metallic’s Lars Ulrich discussing the school run, Anthrax putting superglue on their fingertips, Slayer’s Kerry King trying to work out what to eat from the buffet, and more. A bit directionless, but worth a look at nevertheless.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: This brutal live music Blu-ray is a must-buy for thrash-lovers

Universal Music, All-region BD, £29 approx, On sale