The gloom and doom merchants in My Dying Bride present Meisterwerk 1, the first retrospective of their career. In their early years, while they were making the transition from primal doom metal to elaborate goth metal, they made some very interesting albums. The band always worked better when viewed in an album context; often times they would carry themes throughout that would be lost if a track were to be listened to separately. And this is the exact problem with Meisterwerk 1. These songs lose their driving force when taken from the album, resulting in a whole collection of tracks that do not feel like they fit in with one another. Because their albums are much more about being unbearably slow and heavy than catchy songs, it is at least interesting to hear what they consider their "best" songs. A few tracks still work on their own, especially "Grace Unhearing (Portishell Mix)," "For You," and "Unreleased Bitterness." These work more because of the faint attempts at singing and song structure than having solid choruses or catchy melodies. But those are three of the shortest songs on a disjointed retrospective filled with really long tracks, so that could easily be why they stand out over all the others. Anyone looking to hear the band for the first time would be much better off trying giving As the Flower Withers or Turn Loose the Swans a try, while fans of the band should know better than to listen to these songs out of their original context.
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano