The last time that much of the general populace heard of Twisted Sister, they had released a Christmas album. Seriously. And something that, by all accounts shouldn’t have worked at all, did.
But then, there’s a very good reason it worked. As much as Twisted Sister is metal and balls-out rock, they’re also a five-man swarm of an infectious great time. Their heaviness has been evident since they first emerged from “Under The Blade”, and their lighter side since the first time Mark Metcalf played the drill-sergeant of a father in the video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
Both sides collide to form a complete package in a show 16 years in the making in the new DVD, Twisted Sister Live At Wacken: The Reunion. As a replacement for Iced Earth at the 2003 festival, the organizers of the Wacken Open Air festival booked a band that was finally ready to return at full power after a decade of being separated by bad blood and six years of taking slow, steady steps toward a reunion. The show was the first proper return for Twisted SIster, and the DVD not only features their triumphant return set, but the journey that led there.
As far as the journey that leads there, there is a CD included with the set. Covering a handful of tracks from 1980 (long before the band went huge) up to the Wacken festival. It’s almost too sparse on the early stuff to be of any note, but it’s still an interesting document to have on hand to see just how down and dirty the band got back in their grittier days.
The DVD itself, however, is much more of a complete piece as far as chronicling history goes. Interspersed with the show itself are several interviews - it could technically be called a documentary, but the roughness of it almost disqualifies it from being seen as such in a proper light - with all five members of the band. Interestingly, though, none of them appear on camera together at any point. Jay Jay French explained their relationship in an interview around the time A Twisted Christmas was released. It’s more of an association between the five rather than a real relationship, but it’s enough of one to keep the band going and more revitalized than, arguably, at any time during its existence.
Rather than tell a complete history of the band (which has been covered several times in several other outlets), the documentary (?) wisely keeps the focus on the reason for the show - the band’s reunion. Starting with the break-up in 1987, the band members separately tell the collective story of how they slowly got back together. Each step - from the Speaks reunion (which involved four out of the five members) to “A Night For Jason” to the New York Steel benefit after the 9/11 incident - is laid out and discussed in detail. The interviews telling the story are one thing, but seeing some of the footage along the way, particularly of the 9/11 New York Steel benefit when it was clear that Twisted Sister knew when to be campy and when to simply explode, go a long way in telling the complete tale.