This video release was filmed at La Gaité Lyrique in Paris, a 750 or so capacity venue, in front of a crowd who seemed to be a bit bewildered at first, but were really getting into it as the concert progressed. The video is released as a collector’s pack along with two CDs of live recordings from the Roadburn Festival in 2013 and 2016. The video covers much the same ground as the two CDs, with the second Cd being exactly the same as the second part of the concert.
This is one of the best-produced music videos that I’ve ever come across: the quality of the camerawork is superb, the choice of which shots to use and the way that the whole thing is put together is excellent. The sound quality is perfect, all in all it’s a technical triumph.
However, I have to question the decision making process here. Had the person who decided to release a video of the band ever seen them live? I have, and my main memory of the night is of the guitarist who played the entire gig facing a wall. What I’m trying to say is that they are (or were then, quite a few years ago) not the most exciting band live. Whilst I’m pleased to say that things have moved on a bit, or in other words nobody faces the wall, there’s still a massive issue for me: the entire show takes place in either darkness with flashing lights or with one bright colour of light, but the band being shown in silhouette. And of course, there’s loads of smoke….
So, visually, not the greatest treat. What about the music? Fortunately that is absolutely superb. From the opener, The Sweep, the tone is set: dark brooding atmospheric post-metal. And it continues in that vein for a massive one hour and fifty minutes.
It’s also nice to see a band who aren’t afraid to play tracks from older albums (in this case going right back to “Somewhere along the Highway” and in fact playing it in its entirety as the final part of the evening). It all fits together really seamlessly as a performance, and a great deal of thought has clearly gone into the sound that they are looking for. From the hopeless “no way forward” lyric of Lightchaser, through several layers of intense gloom, misery and darkness to the haunting “And with her came the birds” which is both beautiful and sinister this is an incredibly intense performance.
Finishing up with fifteen minutes of “Dark City Dead Man” which is a beautifully paced demonstration of how to build menace for three minutes before ever a word is screamed, this is a pretty amazing release to listen to. Still not convinced about watching it many more times, although as I said before, technically you can’t fault it. All told, well worth getting hold of!
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