To call MY DYING BRIDE one of the most influential Doom Metal bands of all time is definitely one of the most widely agreed-upon statements and “An Ode To Woe” is their second live album after 2002’s “Voice Of The Wretched” and it comes in an absolutely beautiful DigiBook format, complete with DVD, and it shows the British gloomsters at their best.
Recorded live at Amsterdam’s Paradiso in 2007, the sound quality is pretty good, the vocals sometimes get a bit low in the mix, but that is something that is excusable, given that otherwise you are able to hear everything, even the bass. Now why release another live album after six years, with only two studio releases in between, you ask? Well, this new compilation concentrates more on the newer songs, with a few older tracks thrown in for good measure, so with the exception of two songs, which can be found on both releases, we get a pretty decent turnout in terms of song choice. Other than that, form your own opinion.
The songs are pure late MDB, mostly borne by Aaron’s trademark voice, which you will be able to recognize among hundreds, if not more, giving the songs this unique vibe of melancholy, bleakness and despair, enhancing the already at times almost hypnotic effect the songs have on the listener, as prime example I just have to mention the all-time classic “The Cry Of Mankind” (here obviously in a shortened version), this riff is just not from this earth... A true surprise, though is the inclusion of “The Whore, The Cook & The Mother”, taken off their more experimental “34.788%... Complete” album (also shortened), a release that most die-hard fans still cannot fully grasp (or don’t want to), as well as the inclusion of “The Snow In My Hand” off 1993’s “Turn Loose The Swans”, I had not expected such an old track to be found in the setlist, a very pleasant surprise it is, though!
The DVD is basically the visual companion to the CD, plus the bonus track “The Forever People”, the camera work is a little uninspired and the whole thing is very centered on Aaron (he is a very charismatic frontman, though, who lives out the lyrics of his songs, mind you), but the ambience of the Paradiso is just so fitting for a band such as MY DYING BRIDE, as it is a former church that was rebuilt into a concert venue, so the almost perfect surroundings for the compositions of the British.
An excellent live document that thanks to the DVD and the very nice packaging, if it warrants your money will greatly depend on how much you have to spend and how much you like the Doomers, if you decide to go for this, though, it will be worth it!
(Online August 7, 2008)