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I've never actually seen My Dying Bride live so when I saw this DVD in a music shop last year for a small price I purchased it and I never got dissapointed of it. I usually play it about once a week at least and watch a concert or some promotional videos.
This DVD is very rich in material, when I get to think about it. We have all the My Dying Bride promotional videos up to (and including) For You. The best of them is of course The Cry of Mankind in which Aaron impersonates Jesus, with the crown of thorns, half naked covered with blood and everything. The theme is perfect since the song is about Jesus. Then we have the highlight of the DVD, the concert in Krakow from 1996 along with Anathema (I think Peaceville released their concert as well) and I liked the camera work and the quality is excellent, but if there is anything I have to complain about is that Aaron's vocals are too low. I tried it with head phones and the vocals were improved, but I don't want to sit with head phones every time I want to watch this show. The set list was great all the classic songs from the first three albums (and EPs) are there and they are very well performed, flawless almost and except for the vocals the sound was excellent.
Now to the extra material which consists of even more shows with the band. Here we get a full show in Netherlands from the end of 1993 if I recall correctly and the first song suffers unfortunately from sound difficulties and even My Dying Brides appologizes to the crowd (it seems they got there late and a full sound check was not possible), but otherwise the show runs without problems. Taking in consideration the recording is semi-proffesional and it was filmed in 1993 the quality is good, but not great. It is also too dark and the camera is mostly filming Martin and Calvin and the smoke doesn't really help on seeing the band, which is frustrating. However this is a piece of musical history shouldn't be missed. The setlist consists of songs from the first two albums (and some EPs of course) and as a perfect closing of the show Aaron and Martin performed the Turn Loose The Swans version of Sear Me with keyboards in playback and Martin with live violin. It was totally awesome.
Another extra material is one single song Sear Me (the debut album version) which has the lowest quality of all the My Dying Bride material. But it was recorded in 1992 so I say we just live it there. Not much in comenting it. The third and final extra feature show is the famous festival show at Dynamo festival in Eindhoven. The bad states that they haven't played live for 9 months before the show so they were rusty and I agree. The show isn't flawless, the guitar makes it's small misstakes here and there and Martin has some sound difficulties with the violin on the first song, Your River. But the vocals are better than the Krakow show I tell you no lie. You can actually hear what Aaron sings. All in all there are just four songs they perform live here (three songs from Angel and The Dark River and one from Turn Loose...) and they are great. The quality is very good too, the stage is bright without smoke effects so you can clearly see the band (however some camera work I don't like when they spin the camera, but I guess they just wanted to amplify the feeling of the show). And then some other extra material we have a picture gallery with music in the background. I really don't have a comment on that one, it's just pictures of the band and some artwork for their albums.
One think I wanted to talk to in particular is the intense feeling of each show which is thanks to Aaron. He claims that he hates to be on stage performing his songs because every song reminds him of the suffering he felt when writing the song and the lyrics are very personal. I can fully agree with that, Aaron looks really in torment when he is on stage, like he's almost going to burst into tears any time soon. I never seen such a dedicated singer that puts a full effort and puts himself out live the way Aaron does. It's truly extraordinary.
In the end I have no problems that the disc features old material since the fans need this stuff anyways and this can be something for people who want to try My Dying Bride before purchasing an album. Another thing I can complain is the programming of the disc. In some menus when I want to see for instance Your River on the Dynamo show it skips automatically forward to A Sea To Suffer In so I have to go back to the menu of the show and pick Your River again and then it rolls nicely. That was pretty much it, a full description of the material on the DVD. Go buy it now!
There arent too many DVD's available that when you begin to watch them you feel fullfilled right away with what you have just bought.
That is the way I felt when "For Darkest Eyes" hit my DVD player. With music vidoes that will never have a place on "Kerrap" TV, set it the deepest hills of my native Halifax, England, My Dying Bride put the town where I was born and raised on the metal map by releasing some of the greatest albums from the Peaceville label. "For You" plays like a dead mans lullaby and is surely the highlight from the underrated "Like Gods Of The Sun" full length.
My Dying Bride have shown with this release that even with tacky music videos and broad northern accents to introduce songs, that they can create a doom atmosphere with there music like nobody else.
This is an almost flawless portrayal of the Brides music, and gives songs from throughout there career, including the amazing "The Forever People" from the great "As the Flower Withers".
This is a great DVD, not perfect, but I doubt that My Dying Bride want to be perfect, flaws and all, this is top notch!