The livestream event which birthed this Paradise Lost live album, At The Mill, was a pretty special ‘gig’ which, though described at the time by Sentinel Daily editor Scott Adams as essentially like being transported to a ‘knackered old sofa in the middle of the band’s rehearsal space in Bradford, England, where Nick Holmes and company just happen to be rattling through a few of yours and my fave numbers at teeth-rattling volume”, actually saw the band in an intimate setting, cut free of the usual live bells and whistles yet still able to deliver a set of precision and intensity that few who witnessed it at the time will ever forget.
The recorded document of that show, At The Mill retains much of the spirit on that night in November 2020. There are one or two audible edits that the more eagle-eared among you will pick up on, but this is no ‘Unleashed In The Studio’-style live effort. Apart from the fact that the band were, of course, in a studio when they recorded it instead of being onstage…
Still, I’m convinced that if you’ve had even a moment of time for PL (the unit of time you meant was one second, surely? – Ed) over the years you’ll enjoy this whether you saw the livestream or not. Time and again the band prove just what a compelling live proposition they’ve become, with special highlights being a fine rendition of One Second and a heavy take on the much-maligned So Much Is Lost; for the latter, removed from the context of it’s controversial album setting, it’s a chance to revel at the consistency of the band’s songwriting as the ‘electro’ anthem fits seamlessly into the set of otherwise supposedly much heavier material.
Nick Holmes impresses with the versatility of his vocals throughout, but perhaps the revelation for this reviewer that had the biggest impact was just how central to the sound of Paradise Lost is the partnership between rhythm axeman Aaron Aedy and bassist Steve Edmondson. One chugs, unforgivingly, the other churns, relentlessly, the result being one of the most adamantine bases ever created in heavy metal history. It’s this base which gives guitarist Gregor Mackintosh the space to wrench out those classic solos on every track, and on At The Mill it becomes glaringly evident just what a key role these sometimes unsung men play in establishing the sound of this band.
Not your usual live album, then, but obviously these aren’t your usual times. If you watched the livestream, you’ll jump at the chance of owning this an an audio document of the performance; but even if you didn’t, you owe it to yourself to discover just what a heavy metal treat you missed out on last November.
At The Mill releases on July 16th.