Review Summary: A distinctive way to commemorate 20 years of existence, nothing more than that.
Apparently there’s been a new trend for bands (somehow connected to Peaceville/MFN) to tour the album that made them most famous, and eventually record it on a DVD. Halifax doomsters My Dying Bride avoided the easy way, and tried to achieve something different to celebrate their 20-year career.
That being said, what do we have here" An hour and a half, two for those lucky enough to get the 3cd limited edition, of orchestral, atmospheric, bleak, dark and epic music. But, unlike your regular MDB record, this time, the band dropped all the guitars, drums and bass, and based their idea on orchestrations (provided by Johnny Maudling of Bal-Sagoth fame), synths, some electronic stuff here and there, and of course, Aaron’s voice helped by the French soprano singer Lucie Roche.
The songs are a result of My Dying Bride’s themes from previous albums, rewritten, in order to make this huge concept. So, throughout the album, you’ll be hearing tunes that go from “As the Flower Withers” to “For Lies I sire”. Of course, one cannot avoid hearing some references to acts like Autumn Tears, Elend or even Sopor Aeternus, but still, the MDB mark is definitely present here.
It’s quite difficult to point out any track, since the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, however they all share some of the most beautiful and shivering moments I have ever heard, as well as some parts that drag, but after all it's My Dying Bride we’re talking about.
In the end, whether you like it or not, you’ll realize that the metal elements are not by all means necessary to achieve the band’s goal, of delivering a magnificent dark opera. It’s also quite interesting to hear familiar melodies, and try to identify which original song it belongs to.
More than just a regular “best of”, what we have here is simply daring. A unique opportunity, with absolutely no sequel, for the band to present us something special to celebrate their existence. Sure the ghost of 1998 might be present, but in my humble opinion, once again they succeed, just like they did with 34,788…Complete.