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Bask in my growing sorrow - 100%

Inhuman_Abomination, October 17th, 2020
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Peaceville Records

My intro to My Dying Bride came in at Angel And The Dark River and Like Gods OF The Sun, with all the sombre tones and sickly morose violin. To me, My Dying Bride represented the perfect blend of heavy doom and gothic/romantic direness; without falling into cliché tropes. My version of Angel And The Dark River came with the bonus disc of Live At Dynamo ‘95, with two songs I hadn't heard before. There was one track that really stood out on that disc, and that was the 'The Forever People'. A song that I couldn’t find on any other releases, as extreme metal was a hard find in the mid-nineties. Being the young lad I was; I was seeking out everything that was heavy and harsh, or different in the metal realm. I would religiously search the music stores to find new albums to listen to, and low and behold I found this “import” CD. It cost an unholy amount of money, but it had that track on it, and I wanted it.

At first listen, I didn’t know what to think. I could tell that it was them, the riffs were undeniable, but there was something off... way off. It was gross, but I couldn’t stop listening to it. The intro, ‘Silent Dance’, was deceiving. It gave you the sense that this was going to be a sad affair. That should you choose to continue listening, the feeling will be that of a funeral or the loss of something dear to you; and the onset of ‘Sear Me’ backs up that sentiment. The song’s opening riffs are a dirgy lamentation, with melancholy violin and guitar harmonies. These sombre moments did nothing to dissuade you from your initial instincts. However, things turned violent quickly, as the song morphed into gross death metal. You are dragged from sadness to pure anger, followed by a bleak nothingness that accompanies you to the bottom. The dynamics of this song become a reoccurring theme throughout the album. The songs ‘The Bitterness And The Bereavement’, ‘Vast Choirs’ and ‘The Return Of The Beautiful’, together with ‘Sear Me’, make up the main body of the album. These songs are rife with filthy death metal, bleak doom passages, blasts when needed, and frantic leads to punctuate the intensity. ‘Vast Choirs’ stands out as the masterpiece of this album, and ‘The Return Of The Beautiful’ being the unofficial title track. ‘The Forever People’ and ‘Erotic Literature’ are the maverick tracks on the album. They are the shortest songs on the disc, well short for My Dying Bride, clocking in at just over 4 and 5 minutes respectively. These two songs are also the least schizophrenic, being almost straight up filthy death metal as the main focus, but no less stellar than the rest of the songs.

Having recently gone over the entire discography ever since the release of Ghost of Orion, I always come back to this release. For me, As The Flower Withers is the rawest and most violent version of My Dying Bride. The songs have that aura, that to me, the band name embodies, that aura being of grief, sorrow, anger, and bleakness. Coupled with the fact that the playing is loose enough to be raw and unhinged, but tight enough to not be an unlistenable mess. It always surprises me to see this album rated so low on the archives. Perhaps people are put off by the fact that Aaron doesn’t do any clean singing on it, or that Martin Powell was used as an enhancement, instead of a main attraction that he would be on later releases; but never the less, As The Flower Withers is perfect in my mind.