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My Dying Bride - Turn Loose The Swans CD (album) cover

TURN LOOSE THE SWANS

My Dying Bride

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.94 | 52 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Turn Loose the Swans is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK experiemental doom/ death metal act My Dying Bride. The album was released through Peaceville Records in October 1993. Turn Loose the Swans features 7 tracks and a total playing time of 58:08 minutes. The bandīs debut album As the Flower Withers (1992) is widely considered one of the classics in the doom/ death metal genre but it was with Turn Loose the Swans that My Dying Bride began incorporating experimental/ progressive elements to their music.

Thereīs been quite a few changes to the music since As the Flower Withers. The most important change is that lead vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe now sings clean vocal parts in addition to his brutal growls. I remember this was something my friends and I were very surprised by back in 1993. Aaron Stainthorpeīs clean vocals are warm, deep and pleasant. Filled with melancholic emotion. He is one of those vocalists that arenīt necessarily very technically skilled but pulls it off anyway because they are unique and burn for what they do. The music itself has become much more sophisticated and intriguing than was the case on As the Flower Withers. The addition of new member Martin Powell on violin and keyboards elevates the music to a whole new level. Martin Powell had guested on As the Flower Withers and made his first apperance as a permanent member of My Dying Bride on the 1992 EP The Thrash of Naked Limbs, but itīs on Turn Loose the Swans that he really makes his presence be heard for real. His importance for My Dying Bride at this state in their career should not be underestimated. While his keyboard/ piano playing works great and really enhances the atmosphere on the album, his violin playing is simply wonderful. His lines are not very complicated but they are beautiful and melancholic. Songs like the opening Sear Me MCMXCIII which consists solely of piano/ keyboards, violin and clean vocals and the album closer Black God which is in a similar style just with added female vocals, would not have been possible without the violin.

The 5 tracks that are bookended by the two above mentioned tracks mix sections with heavy doomy guitar riffing and more subtle melancholic sections with clean guitars and violin. Songs like Your River and The Crown of Sympathy have what I perceive as progressive structures. Lots of different sections and while there are recognisable parts that return none of the songs on the album have traditional vers/ chorus structures. The songs are mostly slow paced but there are mid-paced parts too. The dynamics are really powerful when you go from subtle beautiful parts to the more brutal doom/ death parts on the album. A kind of light/ dark effect thatīs traditional today but wasnīt back then. Acts such as Opeth and Anathema owe a lot to My Dying Bride. The album is very coherent and all tracks are of high quality. The above mentioned Your River and especially The Crown of Sympathy have always been my favorites though. The Crown of Sympathy is so beautiful and majestic but it also features one of the most heavy riffs on the album. A real treat. The title track is the track with most growling vocals and itīs probably the track which is most akin to regular mid-paced death metal on the album but itīs still intriguing and experimental and far from traditional. I guess I only lack to mention The Songless Bird and The Snow in My Hand which of course should not be forgotten. Both are high quality tracks with interesting structures and dark melancholic emotions.

The production is professional and suits the music perfectly.

Turn Loose the Swans holds a special place in my collection and it will probably always remain my favorite My Dying Bride album. I got this album when I was 16 years old and absolutely worshipped it. Iīve sat in my teenage room countless times playing the riffs from this album on my guitar and Turn Loose the Swans was a huge inspiration on my own music in those days. So forgive me if my rating will reflect a nostalgic view on the album. Iīve had various periods in my life where I didnīt listen much to My Dying Brideīs music, but when Iīve returned to the fold itīs always been Turn Loose the Swans that initiated my return. This is a classic album in the doom/ death genre but donīt dismiss the albumīs progressive qualities just because itīs first and foremost a doom/ death metal album. There are lots of experimental and intriguing ideas that fully qualifies Turn Loose the Swans to be called an experimental/ progressive metal album. For me this is a 5 star album. I can highly recommend Turn Loose the Swans as the perfect entry point to My Dying Brideīs quite extensive discography.

UMUR | 5/5 |

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