Released: 2013, Peaceville Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Listening to My Dying Bride’s latest EP, THE MANUSCRIPT, I had a persistent, nagging feeling that the Brits had somehow developed time travel technology and had transported themselves back to somewhere between ’93 and ’95. Because that’s exactly what THE MANUSCRIPT sounds like – that sweet, sweet window of history that was home to albums like TURN LOOSE THE SWANS and THE ANGEL AND THE DARK RIVER. In actuality, the four tracks included on THE MANUSCRIPT were all recorded during the sessions for their last full length, A MAP OF ALL OUR FAILURES. But as much as I enjoyed that record, the four tracks included here are textbook MDB at their absolute best.
I’d go so far to argue that the opening title track is one of their finest ever. It recalls the stripped down, no nonsense melancholy that made me fall in love with this band decades ago. Very much driven by a traditional MDB weeping guitar harmony and Aaron Stainthorpe’s yearnful beckoning, the occasional violin strings only to enter the arrangements as an accent. It’s proof positive that MDB can still create depths of musical atmosphere without relying on orchestration in order to do so. “Var Gud Over Er” shows Stainthorpe in full on death growl mode, with the rest of the band baring their collective teeth in a sort of angry, dark antagonism. “A Pale Shroud of Longing” is a more traditional MDB epic, going through several distinct movements (the gothic build, the contemplative, orchestral segue, and the measured crunch of an emotive coda), while “Only Tears to Replace Her” is a sort of spoken word piece. Stainthorpe recites his dark, romantic prose against a hauntingly, harmonious musical backdrop, for a unique and memorable closing. There is quite simply no other band like My Dying Bride.
Sufficed to say, THE MANSUCRIPT should be a no brainer purchase for fans of My Dying Bride; it’s got everything you love about the band and then some. And if you could still possibly be on the fence or unaware of MDB two decades into their career, THE MANUSCRIPT is a beautifully concise and non-committal introduction to one of the most important bands in the doom genre. THE MANUSCRIPT releases on May 13 through Peaceville Records.