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I have always found My Dying Bride more interesting in the days when they released EPs and singles and so on, since it gives a younger fan like myself a lot of material to explore and preserves some mystery about the band for much longer than the commonly available full-lengths are capable of. Sometimes the EPs contained hidden gems and obscure oddities, though occasionally they only amount to the value of their own curiosity. 'I Am the Bloody Earth' is more of the latter.
This is more or less a companion EP to 'Turn Loose the Swans', since the title track was recorded during the same sessions as that album and the other two songs stem from the same group of recordings, though were probably assembled later. On first listen, it's immediately apparent why 'I Am the Bloody Earth' wasn't included on the album: it sounds like Bride, but it doesn't achieve that album's aesthetic mix of decadence and hopelessness, though it does retain the same basic elements and disregard for conventional song structure. The doom death styling is slightly simpler, with the mildly creepy stop start opening paving the way for a grave violin melody (it actually sounds more like cello, but no such instrumentalist is listed) that remains the most memorable thing from the song despite decent verses and a nice riff. This is the last time the band elected to use death metal vocals for many years and they work well here, even if the sudden pauses in the first half of the song feel too abrupt as a result. The atmosphere is good when the song gets moving, but the distorted vocals in the middle and the relatively short running time (subtracting the intro, it's about five minutes) means it doesn't quite have the impact of an epic like 'Turn Loose the Swans'. A good listen, and comparable to the single 'The Sexuality of Bereavement', recorded and released around the same time.
Transcending (Into the Exquisite)' is an odd track for Bride to have made, yet an obvious choice for release on EP. The main purpose was purportedly to create a remix from various parts of several songs on 'Turn Loose the Swans', but the end result is not a medley and more of a complete remix in the vein of Fear Factory's early industrial output, like 'Fear Is the Mindkiller' and 'Remanufacture'. The sound doesn't suit Bride, since they have always profited from human elements and an organic sound that builds atmosphere and emotion. Take that away, and we are left to rely on riffs and rhythms, and I don't recogise many of the parts in this remix beyond the vocals and a little of the quieter section. Much of the material sounds rerecorded, particularly the vocals, and the representation is unflattering for the band Electronic beats and processed instruments predominate, meaning that this remains purely a necessity for collectors.
The final track is another remix, and one which plays more easily on the ear, though the actual purpose of remixing such an elegant song as 'The Crown of Sympathy' remains unclear. The original was stately and sweeping in its 12 minute entirety: this new version is similar, changing no important aspects of the song's structure or delivery. There is a small introduction of echoing voices now, an emphasised drum beat and clang of keys in the opening part, while the vocals are now electronically distorted in the quiet section, plus the twin guitar harmony that ends the song is abridged, making the overall running time shorter, though at 11 minutes, still not exactly single material. The whole thing seems slightly pointless and doesn't change the song enough to improve anything.
As such, this EP remains rather a head-scratcher for Bride fans. It isn't worth trying to buy the original, unless you collect, and the songs are available on the 'Trinity' compilation with the exception of 'Transcending', which is common enough on newer rereleases of 'Turn Loose the Swans'. The title track is worth owning for all Bride fans, but this release will never be anything more than experimental and inessential.
My dying bride has never really done all that much for me, Sure I've liked a few songs, but for the main part they've been a fairly boring band, with a horrible vocalist/lyricist who makes it hard for me to get into the music. This fairly long, three track EP consists of one original song, only released in a couple of live releases and compilations, and two remixes, or so I'm told. One is available one a few compilations and singles, and the second is basically a one off. Transcending (Into The Exquisite) is only released as a actual track on this release, despite appearing on the re-release of "Turn Lose the Swans", this is for a reason.
I Am the Bloody Earth is actually a pretty damn impressive song, a little bit more upbeat than usual, but mixes the quality aggressive tones and growling of their first release, with some of the catchier riffing of "The Cry of Mankind", as well as some very well implemented violins. The other doom song, the Crown of Sympathy (Remix), is obviously a remix of the song of the great album "Turn Loose The Swans". Honestly, without listening to the two tracks next to each other, they both sound exactly the same. Same slow dirgey riffs, with the same half-spoken delivery. Even the horribly boring middle section is still there. I'm not 100% where they dropped a minute and a half of the song. All the important landmarks of the song that you loved are still there.
So, this bite sized chunk of doom probably seems fairly strong at this point doesn't it? With two good Doom/Death tracks from the bands golden era on each end, there's a solid 17 and a half minutes of enjoyment to be had. Which leads us to the problem; Transcendence (Into the Exquisite). This thing is so far from exquisite so quickly it seems like some kind of cruel joke that the band named it the way it. Supposedly, it's a bunch of riffs from the album Turn Loose the Swans, which have been viciously violated and deformed by a technoviking. I couldn't tell you any of the riffs, because they are all so very, very butchered. The guy they got in to destroy these songs, Stevie Dachau, is clearly into house or techno music, because he's basically taken doom, a slow, crushing genre, and tried to couple it with the dance beats and touches of house music. A three year old who has never heard music in either genre could tell you that the only possible result is a bad one. Think, a Fear Factory remix album, just with My Dying Bride music. Yes, it's that bad.
Where this EP really fails is the complete lack of worthwhile listening. The first song is brilliant, and easily rates as one of my personal favourite bride songs. And while the final track is good, it's completely redundant, and serves no real purpose. And the other song, is just a horrible waste of disk. This just further increases in the impact the unimportance of Crown of Sympathy, because you'll want to skip this song, but you've got nothing worthwhile to skip forward to.
The first track is the sole reason for wanting this, but it's really not worth hunting this release down, far better off just finding one of the compilations that the song appears on.