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My Dying Bride – Manuscript (Peaceville)

Masters of a different reality, My Dying Bride inhabit another world. Theirs, as their name so accurately suggests, is one where fleeting happiness and joy is quickly subsumed by tragedy and despair. It is a world in which they have lived for more than twenty years, quite possibly even for their entire lives. And they most surely aren’t going to change it now.

Less than half an hour in length, Manuscript is probably just too short to be viewed as an album and maybe a little too long to be thought of as an EP. What is not in dispute though is that the four tracks therein capture perfectly everything that My Dying Bride is; a huge twin-pronged guitar and violin-driven metal behemoth striding across the battleground of its very own Armageddon. The title song sets a scene of devastation and emptiness from which, some fleeting, tender moments in the song’s coda apart, you can never escape.

Possibly lost in translation, Var Gud Over Er would appear to question the very existence of a supreme being, though My Dying Bride’s land is surely one wherein there is no God or no religion.  It is a heathen, barren landscape upon which they will probably roam for all eternity. A Pale Shroud Of Longing extends their sombre message amidst a swirling fog of soaring guitars, desolate violin and disembodied vocals which eventually bleed into the membrane of the concluding Only Tears to Replace Her With.

There is to be no salvation or redemption in My Dying Bride’s world for this is thirty minutes of your life that you will never see again. Yet out of that journey there does emerge a strange feeling of warmth and reassurance, a deep yearning to return to the very beginning to do it all over again.

Rating: ★★★★☆

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.