What have the Romans ever done for us?
The Aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads, ok so no more Monty Python I promise (maybe not). Look at stadiums and then look at the Coliseum in Rome, they certainly bare a lot of remarkable features, the Roman architecture has definitely been a major influence. As have our concert halls, some of which have retained an amphitheater ambiance to them so too actually to play in an original amphitheater is some feat and Paradise Lost have certainly done something special in life.
The DVD itself is split into two parts; the first begins with Paradise Lost accompanied by an orchestra and choir. The band mention in the documentary that the songs were chosen were the ones that already had orchestral sections or easily adaptable to that stream of consciousness.
The energy of the music is really enhanced by the orchestra and choir, opening with `Tragic Idol’ through to `Gothic’ the Plovdiv Orchestra brings something new to the Paradise Lost machine making it more grand and epic, which is certainly helped along by the awesome setting. `Last Regrets’ is a great example, adding the choir during the choruses it enhances Nick’s vocals, it really adds to the music and the overall grandeur of Paradise Lost’s music.
Personally, I would have loved to see more involvement with the choir, extra songs or a longer set list as it’s a cool thing to watch. The only other issue and is one that unfortunately does sit through the entire show is the disconnect between the audience and Paradise, not that the audience lack anything in terms of sheer volume and I suppose not destroying an ancient amphitheater in a cloud of dust and moshing is probably for the better.
2nd Part- Let’s get loud, let’s get heavy.
Even without the colossal orchestra, Paradise Lost injects the amphitheater with sound and a killer light show and from the get go songs like `The Enemy’ hits a far heavier resonance than the previous songs, mainly due to not drowning out the orchestra with heavy guitars and some immense amp stacks.
There are parts in the latter songs however that could have benefited with remnants of the choir to add to the huge sound, `The Enemy’ is a specific example of where the choir would have been perfect during the chorus or for the female lead on `Isolate’ would have been enhanced with a choir member combining with Nick, anyway it’s still sounds fucking immense.
You’ll notice pretty much that the set gets heavier, starting with `The Enemy’ the tone just gets all together more metal and more aggressive, it’s just a shame the audience aren’t down in the pit sharing body fluids and scars in a mosh ball.
Still Paradise Lost show their wealth of experience being able to captivate the audience in this impressive but unfamiliar locale with the audience still shouting and screaming as they’d do for the band if they were holding it in the HMV Forum or Underworld although imagine this as more guys at the back screaming and holding their beers aloft. The band has the audience going for it on the steep steps of the ancient arena.
Starting with `Enemy’, Paradise Lost lifts the crowds energy level with a high octane delivery, the guitars of Greg and Aaron lock in tight and sound heavy as fuck, plus it’s always nice seeing Adrian pounding away at the drums rocking his slicked hair and 50’s American shirt.
The tracks speed through which is a shame as you’ll definitely want this on repeat, from a guy that unfortunately never really found Paradise Lost however due to this and their last album `The Plague Within’ they have certainly turned me into a fan. They have achieved the ability of taking their tracks like `The Last Time’ and make it sound huge and add that into such a unique location, it’s definitely a piece that all Paradise Lost fans should pick up.
There’s a short documentary showing off Paradise Lost’s journey to the Amphitheatre, it’s pretty much what you’d expect a bit of chatting from the members through to the building of the set and the issues that plagued the Paradise Lost crew in Bulgaria. Certainly, it delves into the world of a touring band in a unique situation and one that Greg specifically makes note that `there can’t be any room for cheesiness and it has to be done right with the right songs’.
It certainly appears that more and more bands from our beloved genre are experimenting by adding orchestrations into the mix and to do it with a live orchestra just goes to the next level. Metallica, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir and now Paradise Lost have been added to that list, expect lots more.
9/10- Paradise kicking ass in the ancient world.
Stand out tracks:
With Orchestra- `Gothic’ and `Last Regrets’.
Without Orchestra- `The Enemy’ and `The Last Time’
1. Tragic Idol
2. Last Regret
3. Your Own Reality
4. Over The Madness
5. Joys Of Emptiness
6. Victim Of The Past
7. Soul Courageous
1. The Enemy
4. Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us
5. As I Die
6. One Second
7. True Belief
8. Say Just Words
9. The Last Time
Places on the Net: