My Dying Bride - _An Ode to Woe_
(Peaceville, 2008)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
Watching this twin CD/DVD live set from the leading band in British doom metal, one can't help but wonder how much longer My Dying Bride will be around. With a long and highly distinguished career behind them, this Amsterdam gig features only two of the band's founding members: vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan. It's impossible to tell how motivated they are at this point to produce new material, but with so many formation changes lately I'm getting rather pessimistic -- this time it's a(nother) new drummer and a new bass player (whose work can be heard louder and clearer than usual, ironically). While their individual performances can't really be faulted, _An Ode to Woe_ turns out to be a superfluous addition to the MDB live catalog when compared to the vastly superior _The Voice of the Wretched_.

"To Remain Tombless" and "My Hope, the Destroyer" ensure the setlist starts focused on MDB's present, with the strong introduction of death growls on the latter proving a high point. _Like Gods of the Sun_ then gets an unexpected degree of attention, with "For You" and the title track being aired either side of the more recent "The Blue Lotus". Another new track, "Catherine Blake", paves the way for the classic "The Cry of Mankind", from _The Angel and the Dark River_, which is sadly ruined by the poor keyboard work. The band continues to hop back and forth in time, with "The Whore, the Cook and the Mother" followed by "Thy Raven Wings" and then another classic in the shape of always awe-inspiring "The Snow in My Hand" from _Turn Loose the Swans_. The pace quickens with "She Is the Dark", which is followed by the longest song in the shape of "The Dreadful Hours". The CD ends here, while the DVD closes with a rendition of the energetic crowd pleaser "The Forever People" [Probably nothing to do with the awesome '70s Kirby comic of the same name, but we'll check anyway and get back to you - proofreader PS] from their debut _As the Flower Withers_.

The assured performance of vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe is easily the best thing about _An Ode to Woe_, which is otherwise rather bland. The track list is inferior to _The Voice of the Wretched_, as is the sound quality and overall performance. The DVD side helps a little thanks to the added atomsphere of the venue, and this is still a decent live record, but certainly not MDB at their best.


(article published 13/7/2008)

7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: Thus Spake the Wretched
1/14/2002 A Bromley My Dying Bride: The Hand of Doom
12/9/1999 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride Returns to the Bleak Rainy Moors
11/19/1998 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride No Longer Wears Black
4/9/1997 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Behold the Bride
3/14/1996 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Dying With Pride
11/27/2012 P Azevedo 8.5 My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures
6/15/2009 K Sarampalis 6.5 My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
10/23/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - A Line of Deathless Kings
9/26/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - Deeper Down EP
12/17/2005 Q Kalis My Dying Bride - Anti-Diluvian Chronicles
10/10/2005 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - Sinamorata DVD
3/23/2004 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 9.5 / 9 My Dying Bride - For Darkest Eyes DVD
Anathema - A Vision of a Dying Embrace DVD
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - The Voice of the Wretched
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours
8/12/2001 P Azevedo 8.5 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk II
1/10/2001 P Azevedo 8 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk I
12/9/1999 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Light at the End of the World
11/19/1998 P Azevedo 7 My Dying Bride - 34.788%... Complete
2/4/1997 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - Like Gods of the Sun
3/14/1996 A Bromley 8 My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River
7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride / Mysterium Catharsis in Doom
3/13/2001 V Anderson My Dying Bride / Katatonia / Soundisciples / Beyond Dawn / Thine The Snow in Their Hearts
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