Saturday, 7 January 2012

Review: My Dying Bride - The Barghest O' Whitby

 Over their 20 year career, Bradford's My Dying Bride have been the perfect source for a band to completely bowl people over with morbidity with their most excellent gothic doom metal and are quite possibly one of the bleakest bands ever heard with songs of destruction of mankind, hatred to all those surrounding them and a desire for death and solitude. The pure emotion and intensity that their music drains from listeners has given them the reputation as being one of the most beautiful metal bands around. Needless to say, the release of the EP The Barghest O' Whitby containing a single 27 minute long song of the same name has been making fans happy. Or rather, extra gloomy.

 It wouldn't be an easy task to judge what the darkest My Dying Bride song is, but this is certainly up there. The Barghest O' Whitby is the bleakest that metal has ever sounded for a long time. Based on the legend of the mythological black dogs of Dartmoor that in 1677 appeared around the burial chamber of the huntsman Cabell who supposedly sold his soul to the Devil and whose ghost rides with these hounds today, The Barghest O' Whitby allows for a dark and haunting atmosphere to be built around the song as a means to set an appropriate tone for the unfolding doom of the song.
 The song starts off morbidly slow as dwindling riffs and an uncomfortably chilling violin accompaniment take centrefold and the immediate lyrics that emerge couldn't be more gothic if they tried. (I doubt I shall ever come back/ Moving thin and wane, an old danger/ A thorn am I with sunken back/ I am an enemy of you, traitor.) As you'd imagine, things don't pick up from there.
 However, things do pick up musically and the most exciting moments of the song are when this happens, such as the awesome moment at fifteen minutes in as a single piano led section being played erupts into a gloriously melancholic and dreamy guitar solo. The moment is simply awe-inspiring. However, it is at the twenty two minute part that really sums up the track's epicness, erupting into a full scale death metal mind-blowing session as monolithic riffs pound listeners to the ground and drummer Dan Mullins decides it's finally time to lose all control. Even if dwindling doom metal is not your thing, the entire song is worth it just for this.
 So, The Barghest O' Whitby is very much in the spirit of traditional My Dying Bride and as the longest and most progressive song they've ever created it clearly shows that this band aren't stepping down from the throne of bleakness any time soon. My Dying Bride have made a song that is very much epic.

My Dying Bride's The Barghest O' Whitby is out now via Peaceville.

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