A lot of less appreciative bands would have canceled this gig without thinking twice. The show that became this DVD was supposed to be a warm-up for the reunion of the classic-era Hades line-up at Germany’s Keep it True Festival last year. Less than a week before the gig it was announced that bassist Jimmy Schulman was ill and wouldn’t be participating. A few days after that an Icelandic volcano eruption made air travel to Europe near impossible.

Still, Hades did it for the hometown crowd — and themselves. Singer Alan Tecchio, guitarists Dan Lorenzo and Scott LePage and drummer T. Coombs hadn’t played together since the late-1980s. Dingbatz, in Clifton, N.J., is the band’s backyard metal club. The bass position was filled by the more-than-able Kevin Bolembach, who plays with Lorenzo and Tecchio in their other group, the sludgier Non-Fiction. The material, with two exceptions, came from the band’s first two albums, Resisting Success and If At First You Don’t Succeed, both of which I consider to be among the best metal albums of the 1980s.

First, some recollections of the gig itself. The band was way tighter than we had any right to expect given the circumstances that led to it. Tecchio is still in very strong voice and obviously loves singing the old material. LePage, who had been off the metal radar for decades, was almost revelatory in his facility with the technical demands of the music. Coombs is as good as we remember him, which is to say, pretty great. Lorenzo is simply the heart-and-soul of this band. You can’t do a Hades gig without him.

The DVD is fine visually but sometimes only passable in the sound department. Certain songs sound great. The opening “Widow’s Mite” and “Resist Success” recall aurally what it was like in the audience in April of last year. But the sound occasionally turns muddy. For example, there’s no way the drum intro to “King in Exile” sounded so much like the strange production of Metallica‘s “St. Anger.”

Still, for anyone who grew up with this band the opportunity to hear the closing trinity of “Sweet Revenge,” “On to Iliad” and “Nightstalker” played so well — and with so much enthusiasm — in 2011 is metal manna.

The DVD extras are substantial. There is rehearsal footage with Schulman but more importantly there are a handful of songs from the Non-Fiction reunion at the same venue a few months earlier. Playing together for the first time in a decade, it was also a special gig. The songs might be slower and every-thing tuned down to modern heavy rock standards, but Non-Fiction, like Hades, was another band that deserved more than it got. Thankfully both bands are still around (even if it’s on very rare occasion) to prove that fact.