Originally released in 1991, and transferred to DVD without any attempt at updating, Behind The Legend is one of those video documentaries that really does make the most of not-much-at-all. A straightforward retelling of the Deep Purple story is dominated by keyboard player Jon Lord and bassist Roger Glover, both of whom reel off an assortment of anecdotes and recollections, while the project as a whole is dated only by the appearance, in the final moments, of the newly recruited Joe Lynn Turner - his shortlived stint with Deep Purple is now widely regarded among the greatest miscalculations in the entire saga of the group, even by fans who actually remember it. For anyone who wasn't paying attention back then, it's hard to figure out precisely what he's doing here.
No such problems with the performance footage that intercuts the interviews. Though it is drawn from a mere handful of sources, still Heavy Metal Pioneers distils some genuine highlights from the band's archive - Blackmore's now-legendary tantrum at the 1974 California Jam is caught in livid detail, while a 1968 US TV performance of "Hush" is so grimly fascinating that it might well be worth the price of admission alone. Those outfits, those haircuts... however did this band survive?
While scandal-hunters will mourn the absence of the petty back-biting and sniping that so frequently disfigures attempts to document Deep Purple's lengthy past, Heavy Metal Pioneers winds up an entertaining trawl through a remarkable history, one that is unlikely to tell you anything you didn't already know, but at least has fun while it tries.