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Paradise Lost : Evolve

When I first heard about this DVD I was a bit sceptical, but seeing the track list I decided to buy it anyway. The DVD offers both older and mid period fans a lot of material of Paradise Lost going through their "evolution". It does not cater to the fans of the earliest material, nor of the newest material, but none the less it offers a good overview of the bands work.

The DVD comes with a small booklet (4 pages) in which one of the lesser known members, Aaron, takes the time out to explain the meaning behind this DVD. There he makes the totally ridiculous claim that they invented gothic-metal. Not one gothic-metal band (Trail of Tears, Within Temptation, etc.) sounds like any period of Paradise Lost's music, but I guess with them releasing an album titled 'Gothic' once, and with a lot of gullible people walking around, it’s a good way to create a bit of a myth around your own band, however historically inaccurate it is.

The DVD showcases "specially selected material", in other words two video tapes and all the video clips have been put on DVD. The video-tape quality is very clearly noticeable. In fact between two of the video clips they cut the videotape erroneously and you get the beginning of 'True Believe' at the start of the previous video, to then see the video be put on pause before the clip ends. After this you can finally select 'True Believe'. Video clips have also been taken from the tapes of the live recordings.

The Harmony Breaks live set, which is recorded at The Longhorn, Stuttgart on the 5th of September 1983, is quite nice. It has a very odd start, where we are bored for about 1 minute looking at a logo and then a bad cut to the actual gig. The band still clearly played metal, had long hair and weren’t afraid to show it either. The sound quality and the selection of songs are really nice as well. Only downside is the fact some idiot director decided to cut out of the concert every so often to Paradise Lost sitting around a campfire talking about the upcoming song. Mostly making complete fools of themselves.

The explanation about the title of 'Widow' is exceptional, according to Nick Holmes he was inspired for the title name by a woman who loses her husband and a certain spider called a black widow. *gosh* Teach us more Nick! Teach us more!

Overall it is a good gig, but it doesn’t really pull you in or anything. Perhaps however I am a bit biased, as I never understood the true excitement about seeing a metal band on your TV screen. It just never seems to have the feel of a real gig (obviously). Why do I buy such DVD’s then? I often wonder the exact same thing. Killer edition of 'As I Die' however.

Next are 5 promotional video clips Paradise Lost recorded at the time. This is the point where the videotape is cut wrong. This time between 'Pity the Sadness' and 'True Believe'. All the video clips more or less have the same message, the band playing their own music. Nothing grand or spectacular, but some absolutely killer songs and that is in my mind all that matters.

After this we are treated to the "home videos". This mostly showcases the band in the recording studio (two recording sessions) and acting very goofy and the band on the road at Donington and their tours of that time. Especially Nick Holes in the recording studio goes all out to act goofy and even plays a little guitar and other odd stuff. It is an okay watch and it’s cool to see how a band records a new album. Although the studio shots are to short to really give you a good insight into what happened. It quickly switches to the on the road stuff. Which is close to horrible to watch, you see small 10 second outtakes of the band performing, which totally kills any kind of atmosphere those songs had. When it goes back to the second recording session (of 'One Second') it becomes a bit more interesting. Overall however these home video’s rush through so fast you don’t learn that much about what is going on at all.

The One Second Tour was filmed at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London on the 28th of January 1998. I myself saw them on this tour when they hit The Netherlands. When I attended the live show I was pretty disappointed, but seeing it back on DVD (of a London show) it looks and sounds a lot better. Of course if you’re only into the old style of Paradise Lost, this gig will be wasted on you as they mostly play new material. What you get to see however is a solid show of a well oiled entertainment machine. Although they do still focus more on the music and don't make a true spectacle of things. (In this they can still learn a lot from people like Messiah of Candlemass. Now that is a stage presence!).

The only old song they played was 'As I Die' and even though it is their own song they should be shot for even daring the play this song again! I don’t mind them playing it, in fact I welcome it, but not like this! Clean vocals, weird sound effects and even changing the lyrics to fit the live set. There are only a few instances where a band has butchered one of its own songs this badly, and that for such a classic. While I to this day like almost all Paradise Lost releases, including the newer ones, this truly is a crime they should never ever commit again. Play it right, or don't play it at all!

The last things to be found on this DVD are the video clips of the 'Draconian Times' and 'One Second' era. It’s clear that the band got a bigger budget with each video and they look more professional. There also is more "story telling" in most of the video’s (except for the first one) and less just the band playing their own music. Good solid music and okayish video clips. It is nice to see them if you never saw them, but personally I have nothing with bands making video clips and much prefer to just listen to an entire CD.

Overall this DVD does exactly as it promises, it overloads you with Paradise Lost music to show you some of their changes - wether you can call it "evolution" or not - throughout the years. Despite me being very critical of this DVD, I think it is a worthy addition if you enjoy this type of thing. It’s worth your money also, given the huge amount of material you get. The overall execution of the DVD is somewhat lacking at times and it seems to have been put together hastily. But that should not keep you from getting this if you are a Paradise Lost fan (like me).

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
Harmony Breaks concert 1993:
1. Mortals Watch the day
2. Joys of the Emptiness
3. Your hands in mine
4. Widow
5. Shallow Seasons
6. Pity the Sadness
7. As I Die

Promo videos:
1. As I Die
2. Pity the Sadness
3. True Belief
4. Embers Fire
5. Widow

Home movies:
1. One Second Live 1998
2. Say Just Words
3. Hallowed Land
4. Blood of Another
5. True Belief
6. Disappear
7. Lydia
8. Dying Freedom
9. Mercy
10. Shadow Kings
11. The Sufferer
12. Remembrance
13. Forever Failure
14. Soul Courageous
15. One Second
16. This Cold Life
17. Embers Fire
18. As I Die
19. The Last Time

Promo videos
1. The Last time
2. Forever Failure
3. Say just words
4. One Second

Duration : Approx. 180 minutes

Visit the Paradise Lost bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Aldo Quispel
Rotten Copper
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