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Editor’s note: Spoilers.


Leave The World Behind is ironically both the title of the first breakthrough single released from Swedish House Mafia, and fittingly the name of the documentary film that chronicles their break-up and final tour. Few know the actual details of what caused the breakup between each Steve Angello, Axwell, and Sebastian Ingrosso. Perhaps this documentary will shed some light?


Shot like a music video, Leave The World Behind captures the undeniable energy that Swedish House Mafia brings to the stage. You’ve seen concert documentaries before, but this is something on a different level. It’s not the fancy editing and camera filters that make this look like the most incredible concert experience ever, because it actually is that. Director Christian Larson successfully captures that magic to celluloid, documenting the pinnacle of this genre.


Interspersed with behind-the-scenes tour footage, you don’t really get the idea that the band members are seriously fighting with one another. It is clear that there is some unfinished business there, but the documentary never really shows the members come to blows. The closest thing to this is Steve Angello going out and getting a tattoo, while Axwell and Ingrosso are trying to finish “Don’t You Worry Child”, during a flashback sequence from 2011. Phife Dawg clocking Q-Tip, this is not.


Much of the rest of the film actually focuses on their daytime friendship, which appears to be healthy, as the band members hang out while on tour, visiting zoos and having dinner together regularly. Where’s the beef?


Among solo interviews however, you do get the idea that everything isn’t all good, as each member seems to make offhand comments about how the group simply isn’t working. Manager Amy Thompson reveals that their reason for the split is that the members feel that the brand itself has become “evil”. When asked about the reasons for the breakup in a television interview, Angello kurtley responds that those issues simply won’t be discussed, publicly or privately.


One downside to the doc is that many of the scenes are in Swedish, and the subtitles simply read “In Swedish”. For a film that is centered around the question of why the group split, the half that is left untranslated still leaves questions marks about each member’s motivations. But you can read in between the lines, for the most part.


As the trio embraces at the end of their final show at Ultra Miami, it is clear that they have a lot of love for one another, despite whatever happened between them behind the scenes.


Aside from the reality-TV like lure of watching this film to see what the breakup was about, the larger, more historical importance of it is that it captures electronic dance music culture at its highest peak. Swedish House Mafia were largely responsible for EDM’s mainstream explosion, which is chronicled here in several different countries, showing you just how vast the scope of this band is. Their departure has impacted the genre as a whole, with many artists trying – and failing – to replicate their forumlas over and over again. Even their own solo works from the last year, since the break-up, have not matched that of them as a group, which speaks loudly at just how important they are together, as one.


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