My Dying Bride

Copenhell - 2014

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

My Dying Bride was definitely one of the names on Copenhell’s billing that interested me the most.
I admit, even though I’ve known about the band since the mid-90ies (where MTv was still worth watching from time to time) I haven’t given them the proper attention that they deserve until much, much later.

“We apologise that it’s been about 20 years since we were here, we are the laziest band on earth.”
- Aaron Stainthorpe (vocals)

Even though Twisted Sister certainly has them beaten on the lazy scale (their last visit was before MDB even came into existence), it isn’t often that we have the pleasure of these Brits company. We have managed to squeeze ourselves into two shows by them already, but this one marked the first that would actually be played after sundown, at the stroke of midnight to be precise, a much more fitting time for the band if you ask me. In addition to this, the band was playing at the Pandæmonium stage, the smallest one of the festival, and they were overlapping slightly with Watain, the Swedish black metal band which I was in no way sad to leave for My Dying Bride’s sake.
This time around, I was musically better prepared than ever to what My Dying Bride was bringing to the table, and as the soft sound of rain came out of the speakers (a weather we thankfully hadn’t seen much of this year) I instantly recognised it as The Dreadful Hours. Having found a friendly face in the crowd to share the experience with, we stood in full anticipation almost front-row and centre as the band took its place upon the stage.

As has been the case with the band several times in the past, the faces of the participants had changed since last we saw them. This time it was guitarist Hamish Hamilton Glencross who had decided to leave, and even though original guitarist Calvin Robertshaw had been announced back in the ranks of the band to the pleasure of many fans, it was guitar-tech Robb Philpotts who would fill the spot for this and a few more summer festival gigs.
I remember liking Glencross’ energy on stage and was curious as to how this would affect the performance, and I was pleasantly reassured that the band had made a good decision – Philpotts, knowing the band for a long time of course, fit extremely well with the others and added his own persona and energy to the overall experience in a good way.
Nothing less can be said for the rest of the gang – everyone in the band seemed to be at the top of their game this night, and Stainthorpe’s soul-filled, theatrical delivery was more heart-wrenching than ever. And yet, the band also seemed more alive and powerful than at any of my previous run-ins with them.
I daresay it was a blessing in disguise that My Dying Bride was playing the smallest stage of the festival, because since we had arrived in good time we got to see the band up close and personal, and this intimacy combined with the darkness around us really worked in the bands favour.

“About 300 years ago we made an EP called The Thrash Of Naked Limbs, and we want to play the title track for you.”
- Stainthorpe (vocals)

Even though they were overlapping with Watain, who were immensely popular, and despite the fact that they were placed on the smallest stage, My Dying Bride still managed to gather an impressive amount of people at their show.
Now, in shows past, the reaction from the audience has always been quite mellow, whether they were into it or not. Appreciative shouts and raised arms have been the highlight of the energy output. Combining that with the style of the music, I have never thought of My Dying Bride as a mosh-pit band for example, but interestingly enough this was exactly what they became at Copenhell, in the more powerful parts at least. The monster-heavy title track from their -96 release Like Gods Of The Sun, here played as the second song, really got things moving, and from there on out there was really only one way to go – pure metal bliss!

There was an elephant in the room though, a dreary and mournful elephant, and too soon it had to be addressed. I had hoped it would not be so, but I had to accept the fact that My Dying Bride would in no way be finished before I had to leave for the main stage to catch the final act of the year there. And so, after just under an hour of this great show, I had to excuse myself from what I can only describe as, without comparison, the best My Dying Bride concert I have witnessed. From the main stage, I could still hear them play, without exactly making out what, and I have later heard that they had to cut their show short. The setlist which I had caught a glimpse of had Turn Loose The Swans as the grand finale, but in the end it apparently wasn’t played...
Well, it was Friday 13th after all, so something bad was bound to happen. My only solace lay in the fact that I would catch them again at another festival later this summer, and I can only hope that they will have the same intensity there.


The Dreadful Hours
Like Gods Of The Sun
The Crown Of Sympathy
Catherine Blake
The Thrash Of Naked Limbs
From Darkest Skies
She Is The Dark
The Cry Of Mankind

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