Tales of Despair: My Dying Bride and the Destroyer of Hope

Weeping with you. Arms around them
Flowing with you. Without your men
Keeping with you. Feeling their shiver
Drowning with you. Deep in this river

Tired and lonely. Sitting and staring
Weak and filthy. No longer caring
Wasting to nothing. The rubble of you
Hoping for something. Poison where love grew

People. Feel her mind
She is broken
People. Fill your eyes
Her body is broken

Leave me be, with my memories
I can still see all the lovers of me
I still know those feelings

You’re still mine, my lover
I watch over you
Goodbye my lover
No sorrow. Please, no tears

Holy and fallen. Watch yourself die
Fade and wither. Long lost the fight
Tremble to sleep. Her man long gone
Years, and still weeps. Never forgotten

My Hope, the Destroyer

© 2001 My Dying Bride

It would be impossible for me to write of despair without at least mentioning the beautiful and doom-laden music of British band My Dying Bride. From a musical point of view, there is little else in all the canon of recorded music that is so inspiring of – and inspired by – despair and misery. Over the past twenty years, My Dying Bride have filled the world with misery, in a series of beautifully recorded and artfully written albums and songs. The mastery of these albums is, as much as the musical style itself (slow, morose, often heavy, with achingly tragic vocals), the imagery dredged up by their dark and evocative lyrics. Though they rarely tell a story (The Light at the end of the World is a wonderful exception), the visions painted by these terrible words have endured in my mind for years, and it is these I would share with you.

“My Hope, the Destroyer” is a part of their 2001 album The Dreadful Hours, and is the culmination of an hour-long soundscape of doom. Metaphor and reality blend interchangeably, and from the opening strings, a scene of such utter bleakness is painted that it blackens the very world around you:

There is a man, eyes red and swollen with many tears, arms out to a soul that is not there. In a room, dimly lit, he feels himself drawn ever deeper into a corner of blackness, and the world above fades into utter nothingness. So has he been for days, and now he has not the strength to crawl of the unlit void into which he has been carried away. Voices pass around and over him, and they are distant, unheard and meaningless. Their sound is cold, and bring no comfort.

As this man is ever drawn down a stream of unconscious and black, twisted claws of despair rise from the deep, and he comes to pieces, and is undone. In this dying, he sees his woman, in white on a ground of black stone, stained in red, and the bleak faces of people and demons gather and stare. He is there, again, and in his arms she is lifeless. In the rain, the gray and the red above, the twisted faces of the past stare down, and mock him.

He is carried away on the sea of ink, and there is a stone, upon it a word, and below it a death. The tree above is leafless, and the raven does not move. Water drips on the stone, and it is not rain.

And in the fading twilight of his life, his every thought has ever been bent upon this moment, and turning back on a life of many years, all hope failed that one night, and tears have filled all the nights since.

Such are the scenes in my mind, every time I hear this song, and I am given to wonder – what tragedies inspired music of such despair?

5 thoughts on “Tales of Despair: My Dying Bride and the Destroyer of Hope

    • They are unashamedly doom metal, but if you’re interested I would start with their mid-career album “Like Gods of the Sun”. It avoids the really raw death metal side of things in favor of utter doom and bleakness. Closing track “For My Fallen Angel” was the soundtrack to my teens.

  1. I went and listened to the music first, then I read the lyrics, then lastly I read your wonderful post.
    The song words, and your own, just beautiful. And that music, it must sound amazing through headphones, I could feel myself being transported by those beautiful, sweeping, musical waves.
    Thanks for enlightening me. Next stop, itunes, then I’m sure it will quickly be top of my most played!

    • My Dying Bride are one of my favorite bands. My personal favorite albums are The Dreadful Hours (from which My Hope, the Destroyer comes) and Like Gods of the Sun. I won’t spoil it, but the last track on that last album is an instant tear-jerker for me.

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