Released: 2011, Peaceville Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Opening with the snap of thunder and the howl of the wilderness, ‘The Barghest O’Whitby’ could be the soundtrack to your classic horror film – a feeling that the ominous deep of the strings and eerie squeak of violins does little to dispel. You can almost see the dismal moors and brooding sprawl of the castle/manor/graveyard (delete as applicable) and hear the shuffle of the ever-so-odd assistant as he opens the doors and ushers you into My Dying Bride’s realm of all things doom.
Long time stalwarts of the gothic gloom genre, My Dying Bride have drawn upon the rich pickings of superstition and folklore to create the 27-minute EP ‘The Barghest O’Whitby’, which is described as a ‘chilling tale of a supernatural entity hell bent on revenge’. Lovely stuff.
With 20 years of experience behind them, it’s hard to deny that the band have got their craft honed to a stake-sharp point and so ‘The Barghest O’Whitby’ retains that heavy atmosphere, and glorious misery that My Dying Bride must have shares in. Holding anyone’s attention for nearly half an hour is a challenge, which may explain why the EP feels more like a performance than a song, tracing the highs and lows of the tale at hand. Just like the eye at the centre of a storm, ‘The Barghest O’Whitby’ tapers off to just the haunting ring of a few notes at the mid-way point, before the clouds roll back for a climax full of feedback and anguished vocals.
Of course the downside with what is effectively one 27-minute long song is that you have to have the time to invest in it to truly appreciate it - it’s not really something you can sling on for ten minutes on the bus, unless you disregard the intricacies of storytelling. In which case, shame on you.
That said for those with the attention span and a penchant for gothic melancholy, there could be worse things to do of a stormy evening then to put aside the Edgar Allan Poe and tuck yourself into bed with My Dying Bride. Keeping the lights on is optional.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs