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My Dying Bride

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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My Dying Bride As the Flower Withers album cover
3.67 | 58 ratings | 7 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Silent Dance (2:00)
2. Sear Me (9:00)
3. The Forever People (4:03)
4. The Bitterness & The Bereavement (7:28)
5. Vast Choirs (8:09)
6. The Return of the Beautiful (12:45)

Total Time 43:25

Bonus track on 1992 & 2004 CD editions:
7. Erotic Literature (5:05)

Extra bonus track on 2004 remaster:
8. Unreleased Bitterness (7:44)

Line-up / Musicians

- Aaron Stainthorpe / vocals
- Andrew Craighan / guitar
- Calvin Robertshaw / guitar
- Adrian Jackson / bass
- Rick Miah / drums

- Martin Powell / violin
- Wolfgang Bremmer / horn

Releases information

Artwork: Dave McKean

LP Peaceville ‎- VILE 32 (1992, UK)
LP Peaceville ‎- VILELP479 (2013, UK)

CD Peaceville ‎- VILE 32 (1992, UK) With a bonus track
CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILED 32 (2004, UK) Remastered with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ? for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MY DYING BRIDE As the Flower Withers ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MY DYING BRIDE As the Flower Withers reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "As the Flower Withers" is the debut full-length studio album by UK doom/death metal act My Dying Bride. The album was released through Peaceville Records in May 1992. Peaceville Records signed the band after listening to the 1991 "God Is Alone" EP. My Dying Brideīs first release on Peaceville Records was the "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" EP from 1991, which with its accompanying promotional video airing on MTVs Headbangers Ball, put My Dying Bride firmly on the doom/death metal map. Following up on a success (underground or not) is always a daunting task, but "As the Flower Withers" proved to be an even greater success for the band, and put them in the forefront of the UK doom/death metal scene along with artists like Paradise Lost and Anathema (who at this point through hadnīt released their debut yet).

The music on the album is a combination of crushingly heavy and slow doom/death metal and mid-paced and occasionally faster paced old school death metal. On this album lead vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe only uses his growling vocal style. Although the tracks feature elements and sections with both of the above mentioned musical styles, the albumīs tracks can roughly be divided into two main styles. "Silent Dance" is a short classical intro, so Iīll only mention it briefly as a great atmospheric opening to the album. "Sear Me", "The Bitterness and the Bereavement", and "The Return of the Beautiful" are all fairly long, slow, and heavy doom/death metal tracks, featuring majestic melancholic atmospheres, classical contrapoint melodies between guitars and violin, and poetic lyrics, while "The Forever People", "Vast Choirs", and "Erotic Literature" are mainly old school death metal tracks with the occassional more doomy touch.

The musicianship is strong on all posts, but Iīll give a special mention to drummer Rick Miah for his creative approach to doom metal drumming. Itīs not always easy for a drummer to make that part of a doom metal album interesting, but Miah understands the importance of variation, and to play some catchy and memorable rhythm patterns. Take for example the opening drum pattern to "Sear Me". Now thatīs one hell of a catchy rhythm pattern thatīll stick in your head forever.

"As the Flower Withers" features a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the material well. The guitar tone could maybe have been a bit more defined, but itīs a minor detail, and overall the album is well sounding. So upon conclusion itīs a quality album and a seminal doom/death metal release from the early 90s. To my ears itīs not a perfect release though, and itīs mostly a result of the uneven songwriting and stylistic inconsistency. My Dying Bride shine when they play slow doom/death metal, but when they play more "straight" old school death metal they are pretty unremarkable (or at least nothing out of the ordinary), and as half of the tracks on the album are in that style, Iīd say a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fair.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Back in 1992, hearing such a bleak, sad and beautiful intro track like Silent Dance would cause me to assume one thing...that I'm about to be bombarded with blastbeats, guitars roaring in low C and ogres growling about feasting on humans. A good portion of death metal albums had that sort of "intro" situation going on:

Intro starts..."wow this sounds like it's going to be a dark gothic ambient album." Intro ends, death metal starts..."Whoa! Never saw that coming...this is a really loud album after all!"

This album genuinely surprised me in that the first 'main' song, Sear Me, starts off with a sluggish drum beat before morose guitar melodies shamble in to join the sorrow. The vocals are pretty much death growls throughout the album, and there are some blastbeats found periodically in some of these tracks, including Sear Me. The band was considered part of a doom/goth metal revival, but personally I would consider this particular effort more of an avante garde death metal album due to retaining many aspects of typical death metal while adding a lot of strange and interesting things to the mix.

The use of violins, keyboards and even woodwinds really helps provide an extra layer of atmosphere during the slower sections, particularly that oboe in The Return Of The Beautiful which just sounds utterly suicidal and depressed. The lyrics are better written than the vast majority of other death metal lyrics in the early 90s, which really isn't saying much, but it does add to the avante garde effect.

There's variety to these compositions and they are structured quite well, although a couple of 'fast drumming parts' seemed added just to remind the listener that My Dying Bride is still a death metal band. The Forever People is a straight up death metal song which was kind of a cool bridge between the gloomier Sear Me and the apt titled The Bitterness & The Bereavement.

It's definitely a noteworthy album as it helped kickstart a whole new generation of doom metal escapades, although with Aaron primarily just growling throughout this album, it's more pf an acquired taste than some of their later offerings where 'clean' singing becomes the dominant voice of the material.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Perhaps the most classic album of the goth romanticed metal group, and was also very much played at the teenage parties I went passing out. The beginning's cinematopic intro gives powerful first impression, and sets wonderful tone for the upcoming songs. The most successful compositions like the iconic "Sear Me" really reach fine spheres of grandiose power, shimmering from melodically solemn themes, repeated with hypnotic power on long structured compositions. "The Return of The Beautiful" stands as the most convincing song of the album, exploring furthest the possibilities on song writing, adventuring on catacombs of aural moods, and also implementing yet deeper violins, synths and audio effects as supporting elements enhancing the narrative characteristics of the composition. The overall rhythmic solutions or instrumental arrangements are not very complex, guitar driven and partly in Latin growled pieces focusing mostly to atmospherics. Very slow and vast riff swamps find fine dynamic counterparts from more rapid sequences. With the faster drive the band manages to conjure pleasant catalysts for catharsis also from slightly lesser magnificent tunes, like on "Forever People" or "Erotic Literature". Most possibly due my own age I have grown to like these late 80's & early 90's heavy metal tones on the sounds, and growing up with Carcass, Napalm Death, Sepultura, Autopsy and the other rock'n'roll groups for the depression era suburb kids allows this larger capacity of enjoyment. There are few poorer moments on the album lowering slightly my overall appreciation for this groundbreaking record. Some tracks like "Vast Choirs" has in my opinion lost some rawness and originality from the original demo take, so I consider that always working of some things further won't make the outcome appear better. But on the whole I believe the work here lead towards yet more successful long-player album following this record.
Review by Warthur
4 stars Although subsequent albums like Turn Loose the Swans seem to be regarded as the peak of early My Dying Bride, it's actually this debut album of theirs which has won me around to their brand of death-doom. I suspect the reason it's often overlooked is that it has a somewhat simpler, stripped-down sound: there's still some violin, but it's not especially promiment, and the vocals only come from Aaron Stainthorpe and they are mostly in a death growl. But with their sound pared back like this, you can really appreciate the group's ability to switch between slow, doomy gloom and faster death metal-oriented playing at the drop of a hat. It isn't without its issues - in particular, I think Rick Miah's drum sound is occasionally a bit thin - but it's a solid start for the band and enough to prompt me to take a second look at them.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars After the attention getting debut of their first EP "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium," MY DYING BRIDE released their first full-length debut AS THE FLOWER WITHERS the following year in the vein of that EP's title track. This album is by and far the heaviest and most brutal of any in the MY DYING BRIDE discography with heavy emphasis on the blistering guitar riffing and pummeling bass and percussive attacks. The trademark lugubrious violins of at-the-time session musician Martin Powell are a vital part to the band's sound at this stage but all hasn't integrated together seamlessly quite yet. At this stage the classically oriented sounds as heard in the symphonic intro "Silent Dance" as well as segments within the larger tracks such as "The Bitterness And Bereavement" and "The Return Of The Beautiful" are more than present but it is quite apparent early on in "Silent Dance" that MY DYING BRIDE was very much an early pioneer of the death-doom metal sound along with contemporaries Anathema and Paradise Lost. AS THE FLOWER WITHERS is also the only full-length release where lead vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe exclusively utilizes his death growls which contribute to the overall soundscape giving a more dirty and raw metal feel as opposed to the slicker, more romantic Gothic utterings of his later clean vocal style.

While the longer tracks tend to portend the future of where the band was heading, some tracks like "The Forever People" are exclusively rooted in the death metal past with unapologetic heaviness and aggressive bombastic ear assaults sans any trace of symphonic effects of wailing violin. On the more progressive tracks like "The Bitterness And The Bereavement" the band utilizes all of their magic in one behemoth of a composition with sensual tear inducing violin wails meeting Sabbath inspired doom guitar chords stomping so hard that it registers on the Richter scale while the suffocating atmospheres deplete all the remaining oxygen from the room. As if the sophistication of their dread-inducing instrumental talent wasn't sufficient enough, MY DYING BRIDE has always delivered the most thought provoking lyrics based in painful romances, utter despair and complete collapse of faith and all of that was already present from the beginning having been fully developed at this stage as perfectly heard on some of the most sophisticated tracks such as the outstanding masterpiece "The Return Of The Beautiful" where all of their early and later sounds play together in perfect harmony.

AS THE FLOWER WITHERS is one of the most woefully underrated albums of MY DYING BRIDE's entire discography. While they pretty much steered their distinct sound exclusively into the atmospheric doom metal arenas starting with "Turn Loose The Swans," there is something mysterious and profound about this one. Not only does it retain the primeval ooze effect of nascent metal's birth pangs but has an intense energetic delivery absent from subsequent releases. The exclusive use of death growls may dissuade the fans of the romantic clean approach but i find this early sound of MY DYING BRIDE to be equally as compelling to experience upon returning visits. The progressive touches and the sophistication of the compositions puts this on a whole other level of the day and the dual guitar assaults of Andrew Craighan and Calvin Robertshaw are allowed to shine like on no other album that came after and even delved into Morbid Angel territory with blistering riffs and squealing solos on "Vast Choirs." While i'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite album from MY DYING BRIDE being that their canon is so incredibly consistent, i ,in no way, can rank AS THE FLOWER WITHERS as an inferior product. On the contrary i find this to be a stimulating attack of the senses that offers a higher octane value than anything that would soon follow.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This, the debut album from My Dying Bride set a new standard in doom metal. Together with Candlemass, Anathema and Paradise Lost; My Dying Bride kickstarted doom metal again. Of these three bands, Candlemass were more a Black Sabbath clone, Anathema ventured into indie rock and Paradise Lost w ... (read more)

Report this review (#258685) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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