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My Dying Bride - The Thrash Of Naked Limbs LP (Black vinyl)

€14.90

Though released in the same year (recording time differs by about 9 months), this EP is a world away from 'Turn Loose the Swans'. I don't particularly want to compare them (partly because I've been avoiding reviewing 'Turn Loose the Swans') and I don't think that either of them come out perfectly from that clash, though 'The Thrash of Naked Limbs' is bound to lose the most. For starters, this sounds much rougher than anything Bride subsequently released and bears some of the hallmarks of the death metal sound that they were fast leaving behind. Those keener on the grimy, primal pollution that was breathed up from the earlier EP and the debut album would do well to check this out.

There are three songs on this EP, all of which reach 6 minutes, give or take. The title track is the most worthy song and has an excellent doomy riff set right from the off, using four or five different riffs at minimal pace, occasionally sped up to a slow-medium chug and sometimes benefitting from the wail of the violin which was key to Bride's appeal until it became overused and cliched. The lyrics and exploration of theme, as frequently occurred in the band's infancy, are both very well developed and fascinating, while the vocals (despite being all harsh) convey emotion in a way that Aaron Stainthorpe would not maintain after the following album. A song worthy of its own release.

The second song is either a throwaway ambient piece or an interesting diversion, depending on your point of view. Not much happens, but there's plenty of eerie nighttime atmosphere. The third song is more primitive material that really refreshes the band's death metal origins. I find this one of the more curious songs in the band's catalogue because of its clearly unsubtle mashing of death and doom sections (it flip-flops between them and rarely combines the two genres) and the odd quieter sections with some kind of distortion or keyboard effect playing behind the band. The riffs and ideas are quite simple, but the piece as a whole surprises and the purpose of the song and lyrics are felt, rather than fully understood.

As a stand-alone release, 'The Thrash of Naked Limbs' is inessential for most, though those who are interested about Bride's early non-album work would be advised to purchase this or to pick up one of the cheaper collections of EPs that exist. Those who explore will find some great material and some diverting curiosities.