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My Dying Bride - As The Flower Withers CD (album) cover


My Dying Bride


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.66 | 54 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars My Dying Bride are an interesting addition to Prog Archives. Evidently not one that goes without debate, but it isn't so difficult to defend that they have their place here. For sure, they are worthy of your attention for more reasons then just for the mutilated naked ladies on their album covers.

Now this particular album might be an acquired taste for prog fans, this is Doomsday's soundtrack, and as you might expect from such an event, there's nothing here that will make you feel comfortable about it. It's oppressive, heavy, droning and nihilistic. But there are elements that hint at an artistic vision that reaches far beyond normal metal limitations. The violin for instance adds an interesting angle to this dark well of depression, the keyboards add a symphonic flavour and most of all the song writing is ambitious and often adventurous, alternating between slow dirges and fast blast beats.

After the classical romantic intro that reminds me of the late romantic German composers, Sear Me kicks off this doom beast with a solemn drum pace and beautiful lyrical guitar leads complemented by violins. It's a great harmonious and melodic start of a crushing track. Heavily reverbed death vocals foretell that this album won't be an easy ride. And indeed, after a little under three minutes, MDB shift the gear to a blast beat infested death metal attack. Aaron spews out Latin lyrics with a vile hate and disgust. This thunderous track closes off by repeating the opening theme.

The Forever People is another insanely intense head-banging doom fest. The band plays tightly through the uncompromising material. MDB is a skilled unit, nothing like the rather sloppy performances on the first albums of Anathema and Paradise Lost.

15 minutes in and I'm completely won over into this filthy decadence. But then comes the unworldly beauty of The Bitterness and the Breavement, a spine-chilling violin leads through this tormented doom sludge. The guitars are tuned down to levels where melody becomes barely audible; the pace is so slow that the repeating pattern becomes hard to follow. Halfway in, they give the final blow to the last remainders of your resistance against so much negativism. A short flare of deadly chromatic riffing and Aaron's inhuman throat are sure to leave you alone and bewildered amidst the ruins of civilisation. But then comes that romantic violin theme again, almost teasing us with hope that there is life after death.

I'll better leave the three remaining tracks for someone else to dissect into their smallest possible pieces. Suffice to say that Vast Choirs has a loose structure that can not be discarded for being just metal. This is post-metal, assembling an entirely new kind of music out of the remains of what one was heavy metal. The Return of the Beautiful goes a step further into deconstructing traditional rock structures. Melody and recognizable repeating patterns give way to a raw, primitive and darkest emotion. Again, MDB adds that symphonic flavour with a sad lyrical theme on something that sounds like a horn. Erotic Literature ends on a majestic, almost heroic war marching pace.

Rating this album makes no sense. This music can as easily serve as a showcase for one star abomination as it can be justified as 'essential in any music collection', if only as a testimony of a musical journey into to the darkest and most foul corners of the human soul.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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