I didn’t want to bring it up, but this EP makes it clearly undeniable. More evident than ever on this 27-minute song is the continuing deterioration of Aaron Stainthorpe’s voice. It’s sad, and not the kind of sad I’m in search of when it comes to these Doom legends. He starts off with his Death snarl. The same Death snarl seemingly not long ago I was so pleased to see return to the My Dying Bride aesthetic. Yet it’s not the same. Call me a contrarian, but please take it away again. It sounds pitiful. Almost as if he’s mocking himself! Unfortunately the warbly moan that greets us next is no better. Not sure what the desired effect is here. I don’t even know how to describe it. An elderly, senile, out-of-key Peter Gabriel? Probably not even that good. At about 11:15 it should be noted that his singing improves somewhat. That is to say he actually begins singing. Still, a listen to any of the classics in this band’s storied back catalog reveals a shell of a legend here. It should be dually noted at about 11:15 I’m already tired of listening to this wretched thing. There’s nothing wrong musically with this record. It’s traditional My Dying Bride, violins and all. A style so revered, so often copied. Traditional? Yes. Respectable? Indeed. Heavy as they’ve sounded in a while? Very much so. Memorable? Sadly not. The closest it comes to being memorable is a very “Cry of Mankind”-esque guitar melody that fades out before an intermission close to halfway through. Which begs the question, why not just make this a 2-song affair? But it’s no matter. At roughly 19:45 during the second act of this cruel play, Stainthorpe unveils yet another vocal style that is so obnoxiously horrid that I have to stop now. This simply isn’t my My Dying Bride. I never believed it possible that the prospect of a forthcoming full length from these guys would result in a mere shrug of the shoulders, but it’s true. 34.788% is sounding pretty damn good right about now.
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