The Voice Of The Wretched
Review by Allan on May 23, 2002.
Honestly, I’m not an expert on live albums. I haven’t ever owned any, only heard maybe a few tracks, and have usually steered clear of them. Also, I have never had the pleasure to witness My Dying Bride’s magic in a live setting. Regardless, I was very impressed when I began a journey through “The Voice of the Wretched”. I’ll go as far as to say that this album encapsulates the elements of My Dying Bride as well as, if not better than their studio albums; I can only imagine what it’s like in a real show setting.
“The Voice of the Wretched” is what I would consider the bands first live album. They did release a bonus disk with “The Angel And The Dark River” that showed the band playing songs at Dynamo, but I wouldn’t really consider that a live album. So for their first live album, it does an excellent job of covering material from all albums, excluding “As the Flower Withers” .
Nearly every single nuance is paid close attention to by the band, starting with the major elements and then moving in. The material from each album has a colder, harsher sound than it does in studio which enhances the atmosphere to a certain degree. Since the songs are all from different albums, a problem might be whether or not the album flows well. Even though it’s not as seamless as a studio album, it does seem continuous and not too rigid. Where violin once was, there is now keyboard. It’s surely not as beautiful as a violin, but it is fairly accurate. The production allows each instrument to be heard clearly. Whether it’s Aaron’s vocals over the distorted guitars, or a sweet piano melody, everything seeps through the layers of music. The atmosphere is still here, of course, and it’s as powerful as ever. How you could have that without My Dying Bride doesn’t seem conceivable. It’s just as powerful on here as it is in the studio albums. Everything comes together with sincerity, whether it’s the heaviest riff or the lightest progression.
Every musician on this album plays with tons of emotion, as if their instrument is a part of themselves. Singer Aaron Strainthorpe lays down his vocals in agony and despair, hitting each song’s notes right on. His stripped down approach fits the music very well. Whether it’s the bass, the guitars, or the keyboards, the members all act as a cohesive whole that pay attention to each other instead of worrying about only themselves, in turn creating something that is natural instead of something forced and mechanical.
Bottom Line: Any body that hasn’t had the chance to witness My Dying Bride live, this is probably as close of a representation as you will get until you see them. It serves as a great piece of work until the band releases their next album.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.8 out of 10