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This is My Dying Bride, beyond any argument. I love this song with such a passion that it seems almost irrelevant to consider the butchering of MDB's best-loved song, 'The Crown Of Sympathy' as a part of this release.
I make no pretence of owning the original but both tracks are widely available on the 'Trinity' compilation and 'The Sexuality Of Bereavement also features on most editions of 'The Angel And The Dark River'.
I was never a big fan of the death metal vocals on MDB's other songs; I thought that the mood was better captured with the mournful, lamenting vocal that Aaron Stainthorpe executes so well. Perhaps they work well on this song because they are very clear and suit the doom metal backing better than the primitive death metal they appear alongside on other early MDB releases. Also, they may be used to symbolise how the song is about unacceptable desires being portrayed in a more socially normal way, thus the disfigured vocals are a sort of smokescreen to hide the true intent behind. Of course, the band might just have preferred them.
The song begins with Martin Powell's most potent violin melody he has written to date, gradually augmented by trudging guitars and a drum beat that always catches my ear due to it sounding like such an effort to keep it going.
The pace on 'The Sexuality...' never rises much above a crawl but the riffs weave intricately around the violin and then carry the vocals through the gloriously perverted enhanced vocals with "Desire...and wine go well". Then the violin comes back and simply strips your soul of all hope.
The reason why this song is so resonant with me may be down to the fact that it seems to symbolise MDB - there is the grieving widow, the bizarre desires and some element of being always the paige and never the groom, which is a theme I hear a lot in MDB's work, especially the early releases. I would almost go as far as to say that this may be the definitive MDB song since it includes all the signature elements; the violin, the trudging pace, the themes of love, loss, isolation and despair and to me at least, gives a partial image of The Bride.
'The Sexuality Of Bereavement' is a hugely fine song; ignore 'The Crown Of Sympathy remix' and listen to the original on 'Turn Loose The Swans' instead.