It’s a completely different experience, this livestreaming game. Not least because, as I’m watching Brit doom/death legends Paradise Lost at one in the afternoon in the Sentinel Daily office, this might well be the first time I’ve seen the band without the benefit of seven or eight pints in the bank. Like I say, quite a different experience…
That said, I’ve never heard the band live in quite such an intimate setting, either – the gift of technology transports the SD office in Canberra, Australia 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. Here, without eye-scorching lighting or chest-constricting dry ice, you get to see the band going about their live business with a clarity you just can’t get in the live arena.
It’s no substitute for seeing the band in the flesh, of course, but it might give you a new perspective on things; the grim faced precision of Gregor Mackintosh as he wrenches those memorable lead lines out of his Flying V, seemingly impervious to the unforgiving barrage of riffage coming from Aaron Aedy‘s amps just a few feet to his left as the band deliver a crushing version of newie Ghosts from the recently-released Obsidian opus for instance, or the superb way the band lock together on the galloping romp of The Enemy from 2007’s sometimes-overlooked In Requiem. These are things often lost in the booze-and sweat addled general admission areas, and it’s great to be able to see the band in action in close quarters like this.
As I Die is a particular highlight, Holmes conjuring a bowel-rattling roar at the song’s end, and the band as a whole seem to get a real charge out of following track Requiem, again from 2007’s In Requiem. Aedy and bassist Steve Edmondson indulge in some restrained neck flexing, grooving to the salvos of effortless drum precision being laid down by Waltteri Väyrynen, who has been thoughtfully shielded from the rest of the band by some strategically-placed perspex. As a veteran of literally tens of band rehearsals spoilt by a shitty sound mix myself, this has to be a good thing, and it has to be said that the mix throughout this livestream is absolutely spot on, allowing ample room for all the instruments to breathe and take their rightful place in the listener’s ears. And the listeners’ neighbours ears, too…
Embers Fire sounds stentorian and heavy, the camera focussing on Mackintosh as he plays the song’s fantastic solo with deathless panache to finish the set, leaving the viewer wanting more, which of course is always a good thing.
But wait, there is more… if you purchased the VIP version of the stream, the band returns after a thirty second break to crush the life out of your lungs with the stately, adamantine doom of Beneath Broken Earth from 2015’s The Plague Within, followed by a raw take on So Much is Lost from 1999’s opinion-dividing album Host. Here, with the band working together in their natural habitat, the song sounds as connected to the rest of the band’s canon as anything else played tonight, the synthesized bleeps and belches still present but now working in harmony with the inherent heaviness of the song. The ‘encore’ portion ends with a thoroughly desolate reading of Darker Thoughts from Obsidian before a pre-recorded interview with the band rounds things out.
So, no real substitute for the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd, I know, but it has to be said that Paradise Lost pulled out all the stops to create something memorable from what was essentially five blokes in their rehearsal room playing some tunes – Unfortunately the StageIT platform on which the session was played is a live, non-archived one with no replay facilities, so unless some tech-geeks were able to rip the live vision to their computers as it happened, you probably won’t get to see this if you weren’t there at the time. Which is a shame, because the band were in rare form tonight.