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Hmmmmm - 78%

grimdoom, February 14th, 2009

Several things come to mind when watching the history of a band like Paradise Lost. One wants to know how they started, what was going on in their lives/minds when they started gaining momentum. One also wants to know the truth about their abrupt style change in the middle of their career. These question are answered to the point of getting the general idea on the table. This proverbial food for thought, while acceptable to the casual fan, comes across as a bit misleading to those of us who are more die hard. There are several misgivings and anyone who had read the history thread on their official page during the 'Symbol of Life' era or past magazine interviews will find discrepancies abound.

The production isn't what you would expect after watching the 'Evolve' or 'Anatomy of Failure' DVDs. They have interviews with a small assortment of figure heads such as Aaron from MDB, Barney from Napalm and Martin from Celtic Frost. These interviews are short and to some degree informative, although a few, like Barney's are more like small plugs for their own bands than of the history of Paradise Lost. These interviews are in bars, or outside and a few (thankfully) in studios. The bar interviews are hard to hear because of all the background noise as are the outside interviews. Also annoying is the presence of three Lacuna Coil members. Both singers and one of the guitarists speak of their music’s influence by Paradise Lost. This could've been done with perhaps one of the band members, but with three its as if Century Media was trying to catch the fan boys of said band off guard in an attempt to make more money. While its always nice to see the lovely Cristina Scabbia, it would've been more prudent to have a member or two of Anathema speak of the band; or perhaps Hammy from Peaceville. Once again, Century Media lowers the bar on good taste.

What would've been better would've been interviews with bands that worshiped Paradise from their inception. Bands like Avernus and Katatonia. They're input would've been more valuable then the ranting of the Italy’s most popular Metal band. Of all the people interviewed the bands second drummer, Lee Morris, isn't featured. Apparently he left the band on bad terms and apparently they linger to this day.

There are short clips of the band playing in their formative years when said bits of history are spoken of. These could've been elaborated on as most of us weren't able to see them in the 80's. Most of the information about the albums and what was happening at the time is summarized. This is also a let down as more information would've been nice. Another point of interest is that Greg does the bulk of the narration and how this is of interest is that he says he was on antidepressants during a few albums and doesn't remember much and that Aaron is his memory.

There are two versions of documentary, the regular and the directors cut. With the exception of length there isn't much difference between the two. There is also a director’s commentary which is bland and uninspired. The band should've participated in this to add things that they may have forgotten. While he does have some interesting and even funny anecdotes about Aaron from MDB and Aaron from PL his remarks are far and few between. There are drawn out periods of silence between his boundless ass kissing and reiteration of past statements.

Getting to the crux of the matter and more to what was said in the beginning of this review, Paradise Lost has said (or at least Nick and/or Greg have said) that they were "sick of Metal" and that they "turned they're back's on Metal" (on their old site as well as in various interviews). These statements are contradicted of course by the same members when referring to 'One Second - Believe in Nothing'. The band (meaning Nick and Greg since they more or less write EVERYTHING) stated that they wanted to make depressing music in a different way after 'Draconian Times' came out. That in actuality, all of their albums are the same, or perhaps have the same vibe as the messages haven't really changed, just how said messages are conveyed.

Interestingly enough, they claim to have all cut their hair on more or less the same day without the knowledge that the others were doing so. My Dying Brides' Aaron gives an interesting philosophical reason as to why its seen as selling out. Another bit that chaps the ass of the die hard fan would be that their first album was nothing more then the band messing around. They had a handful of songs that were worked out in the studio and that it was just a load of noise. This is rather insulting to those of us who love that album. Greg also points out that he hated Nick's vocals at this point calling them "stupid". Often when referring to their first few records (Lost Paradise-Shades of God) they seem bored and almost irritated. While they all mostly express good feelings/memories towards their 4th demo "Frozen Illusion" the general consensus is that they're older material was good but not that great.

They go on to tell that they got a guitar sound that they liked on 'Shades' and that "As I Die" wasn't on the original release. It was seen as a black sheep by the record label hence why it was put out on an EP. It was so popular that when the albums second press was set to go it was added as the last track. A point that is surprising is that collectively they all hate 'Believe in Nothing" citing that they had no control over how it sounded and that it was remixed twice. They all agreed that there were a few songs that when played live sounded good but over all, that album doesn't exist to them.

There is some good information all in all. Once again this is arguably for the more casual listener because of the bands lack of focus on their older Doom/Death past. After Greg's' soliloquy about how 'Host' is their best album and easily Nick's best vocal performance it’s easy to see where their hearts lie. The albums are reviewed rather quickly and the DVD is lacking vintage Demo-era/first two albums-era material. It’s not horrible however.