My Dying Bride has been known to experiment a bit. Up to this point, they’ve only had the chance to experiment with their death/doom sound by writing longer, repetitive compositions apparently trying to get more and more sinister while retaining the romantic touch they’ve always had. After this album came the questionable 34.788% Complete record, which took their use of experimentation to new levels but in the worst way, however that is another story. Like Gods Of The Sun solidified the fact that My Dying Bride was heading towards a recession that started after Turn Loose The Swans. This album continues the band’s early consistency of lacking identity yet somehow come up with a few great tracks in the process.
To begin with the bad, the album opens with three of the most uninspired songs of their career. The songs are predictable for the band, because of their early riff style and unnecessary use of violin. Aaron’s vocals are in his lower register the whole time, and while he usually puts forth a rather morbid effort to personalize his vocals, that act is absent thus resulting in an exceptionally dull nineteen minutes. The title track sounds like a Black Sabbath tribute but without the energy. It doesn’t help that the song structures are cyclical, though that should be expected given their approach to composing on The Angel And The Dark River. It’s safe to say that the band picked up where they left off and kept writing similar monotonous material, thankfully with shorter lengths.
Now even though the first bit was disappointing, everyone gets this album because of A Kiss To Remember, which is the track that saves people from throwing this away. While it drones like the other songs, it roams randomly with a purpose, and the tempo changes help keep things interesting. The violin is used tastefully rather than forcefully, and along with all that the guitars produce a different sound as if this track belongs on a new album. All Swept Away is similar to the first few songs as well in that it has signature My Dying Bride riffing but just happens to not be boring, probably because it’s packed with energy due to the keyboard/piano use and extensive tempo changes. The drums certainly shine on this track with their ability to add complex fills in the slowest parts, plus the song doesn’t drag on and ends at just the right spot, making it an almost flawless track.
The next four songs are an inconsistency within themselves, and you can’t get a grasp on any unity within this record because of how haphazard the tracks are themselves let alone how they are ordered. It feels like a really big EP that has no home. In fact, that would have saved this from being so poor. If My Dying Bride released this as an EP with tracks 4-7 as well as For My Fallen Angel this would be at least a 4/5. This wouldn’t have gotten rid of the lack of flow or identity but it would be a great mini collection of what the band wanted to release rather than this hit and miss CD that overstays its welcome.
Now that I’ve mentioned it, I strongly encourage anyone interested to download those tracks I recommended to make your own My Dying Bride EP, plus everyone needs to hear the absolutely tragic splendor that is For My Fallen Angel, possibly the most emotional song they’ve ever released that can stand on its own. Thankfully the band gets back on a steady path within a couple records after this, but it’s sad to see such a great handful of songs surrounded by disappointment, and it’s for this reason this record is forgotten by many.
Considering the title track, The Dark Caress, and A Kiss to Remember are some of my most favorite MDB songs, I can definitely say I like the first half better. To be honest, the second half is alright but the only real reason to continue listening is For My Fallen Angel. If those four songs were made into an EP, that would probably be my favorite EP of all time. Basically, to me at least, those four tracks outshine everything else on this album so much so that the other six songs are a drag to listen to.
To be truthful, everything I've heard from My Dying Bride (including their last two albums) have been so achingly painful to listen to (not in a good, gloomy way either hahaha). Any rec's for their older albums?
Wow, I don't really consider these guys doom at all (from what I've heard at least). I know they're affiliated with Lost Paradise and Anathema (the 3 big goth/ doom bands from Britain) but I almost think they have more of a gothic flavour then anything else. The Dreadful Hours it is!
but I almost think they have more of a gothic flavour then anything else.
They have a very distinct gothic flavour. Their earlier stuff was a little more death oriented, but even with Turn Loose the Swans there was an obvious gothic influence. Nevertheless, gothic doom/metal came out of doom anyway, so it's still doom. Their more recent stuff is very refined though, so I can understand why you'd think that.
Wizard! Turn Loose the Swans. Check it out
I hated this album when it first came out, but after I accepted it for what it was instead of what I wanted it turned out to have a lot of strong songs. Nice review.
No idea to be honest, but i doubt i'd be able to start with a doom metal album, especially MDB...i started a first draft for The Light...but i found it very difficult in expressing anything about the music.
I'll probably start with one of the albums that I've rated a 5