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Pain - "Live Is Overrated" (DVD)

Pain - "Live Is Overrated" DVD cover image

"Live Is Overrated" track listing:

Metalmania 2005, Poland:
1. Supersonic Bitch
2. End Of The Line
3. On Your Knees
4. Dancing With The Dead
5. It's Only Them
6. Just Hate Me
7. Same Old Song
8. Shut Your Mouth

Krzemionki TV Studio, Poland:
1. Greed
2. Breathing In Breathing Out
3. Suicide Machine
4. Nothing
5. Eleanor Rigby
6. On And On

Tavastia Club Bootleg:
1. Supersonic Bitch
2. End Of The Line

Bonus Videoclips:
1. End Of The Line
2. Suicide Machine
3. On And On
4. Shut Your Mouth
5. Just Hate Me
6. Same Old Song
7. Bye/Die

Reviewed by on February 25, 2008

"for any true fan, 'Live Is Overrated' is a quintessential purchase."

For those who haven’t heard of Pain, but call themselves Tagtgren fans, you’re in for a nasty surprise. This project is in almost no way whatsoever like Hypocrisy, nor is it much like many of the stand-out metal bands Peter has done production duties for, such as Dimmu Borgir, Dark Funeral, Amon Amarth and more. Heavier than Rammstein and more accessible than Type O Negative, Pain manages to mix in techno elements without losing the "metal" sound. The songs are sung in English, however, and maybe that’s why I don’t find Pain quite as enjoyable as Rammstein - though I speak but a few sparse words of German, the language just sounds cool!

The main feature of this DVD, the Metalmania Festival 2005 performance in Poland, is despairingly short. Spanning only eight tracks, you’d almost think that Pain played as the opening act at the concert. The saving grace of the DVD is that the main feature is not the only feature. In fact, there’s another entire concert to watch, more than half a dozen video clips, a very detailed interview with Peter Tagtgren, and more. Despite first appearances, "Live Is Overrated" actually offers quite a large amount of viewing – around two hours’ worth, as it happens.

At the Metalmania Fest, Peter Tagtgren and his live performers play eight songs that cover the band's discography, ending the show with fan favourite "Shut Your Mouth," which you can actually hear the audience demanding be played. The cameras follow Peter around on the stage, with brief but frequent glimpses of his accompanying guitarists. A definite let-down for me was that the drummer is rarely seen, and at no point is he shown long enough to gauge how good a time he’s having. Adding to this small grievance is that, while Peter himself is quite animated on stage, banging his head around, traversing the platform and making odd gestures as he sings, his hired band seem for the most part barely more than motionless. The guitarists stand at their mic’s and play, hardly bothering to act as though they actually want to be there, or even like what they’re playing. But the concert is nevertheless a good one, the crowd appear to be enjoying themselves, and you could almost say that this show has more lighting effects than actual music.

A great plus for the DVD is that the two concerts have completely different set lists, which is excellent for fans who enjoy the band further than its hit singles, and allows more of its discography to be covered. The second concert, held in a TV studio in Krakow, even features a cover of the Beatles’ "Eleanor Rigby." Better than many cover songs that try to imitate the original, Pain makes the song completely their own, not changing their sound to better suit the song, and Tagtgren sings it in his usual voice rather than ruining the cover by attempting a sub-standard impersonation. The seven video clips of the band's better-known songs add even more play time to the DVD, and though I only enjoyed that of "End Of The Line," these are a wonderful bonus for fans who otherwise might have had to watch low-quality internet versions.

Live Is Overrated also features a photo gallery, which I didn’t think much of at all, the pictures being uninspiring and, well, just plain boring. Neither would I consider using the Desktop images available, though it’s certainly a nice touch to have them there. The discography will be interesting for those who love the band but don’t know much about them, as will be the biography, which, spanning seven pages, tells quite a story. The interview is fantastic, focusing on the artist rather than the band, and Peter, who comes off as a laid-back, easy-going guy, speaks about his feelings towards Pain and Hypocrisy, the relationship between the two projects, and how he died (* back-story here). Unfortunately, through her thick accent, it is at times difficult to understand the interviewer's questions, but the insightful answers are usually more than enough to go on.

I don’t know if they forgot about the rest of the colour spectrum when making this DVD, but saying there’s a lot of blue would be an understatement. Every single screen has a blue background, and the main concert itself is completely shrouded in blue lights. But, with so much content, Pain fans will likely be too busy to notice, and considering the content, for any true fan "Live Is Overrated" is a quintessential purchase.

Highs: A vast amount of content for a bands' first DVD means it won't become boring quite so quickly

Lows: The apparent lack of enthusiasm of the hired band, and the lack of a keyboardist on-stage... Did I mention all that blue?

Bottom line: Don't buy this just because you're a Hypocrisy fan. If you love Pain, or bands like Rammstein and Type O Negative, you should seriously consider picking it up.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)