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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

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars MDB went through a huge change since their first album. They've left their most radical side behind them and turned their morose thoughts inwardly to produce a more introspective album. The gruff vocals are less prominent and even the distorted guitars sometimes have to play second fiddle. This change has shifted a lot of the attention to the atmospheric piano, clean guitars and violin contributions.

Sear Me is a minor key piano piece with low talking voice, violin and even some blows on a brass section. Without the morbid spoken voice of Aaron this could almost have been a Dead Can Dance track. Your River is a trademark MDB piece, alternating symphonic quiet sections with stormy outbursts of doom death metal. The quality wavers a bit on The Songless Bird. After the great opening bars, the vocals and guitars sound less inspired. Still there's a great middle section with clean guitar picking and electric lead guitar that harmonizes with the ever prominent violin. Martin Powell's violin was already an notable feature on the debut but it's become much more important and better integrated now. It adds a very distinct melodic element in the music and brings in some light and charm in the dense MDB sound.

MDB never had the musical prowess to match the usual virtuosity of progressive metal, but their song writing approach is sure unrestricted. Most of the tracks are extended pieces with song structures that are mostly scenic in nature, going from one movement to another without obvious verse-chorus repetitions. Combined with the harmonic role of the violin, it provides for very interesting listening pleasure. Of course the slow repetitive pace and harsh nature of the music will not be everybody's taste. But then nothing is everybody's taste.

The album ends beautifully with Black God. Dark piano chords and a lyrical violin create a dark romantic atmosphere where Aaron's spoken word alternates with soft female guest vocals. A nice touch.

Turn Loose The Swans isn't my preferred MDB release and I'd rate it around 3.5 stars. I might still round it up later on as it is certainly one of their most defining and recommended releases. And given the obvious influence on Opeth and Agalloch, fans of the darker side of those bands will certainly want to seek it out.

Bonnek | 3/5 |

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