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My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours CD (album) cover

THE DREADFUL HOURS

My Dying Bride

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For a long time I've been undecided towards this MDB album. The first three songs on the album are easily the best they've ever recorded, but somehow the remainder of the album didn't convince me at all. A couple of years and a few visits later and I find myself scratching my head to remember any reason why I would have thought so. The intensity drops a notch after the blasting start but the quality never drops below good.

The Dreadful Hours continues along the lines of the previous album and confirms MDB's confidence to mix all aspects of their sound into steaming dark symphonies. If I would have to build a case to get MDB on PA then this would be the album of choice. The songs have become intricate progressive compositions that equally touch their symphonic, melodic, experimental and dark metal sides. The music flows and develops naturally, starting from point A and ending somewhere further down the alphabet while covering at least a dozen other vowels on their way. The playing and arrangements have never been better. Especially the orchestral keyboards stand out. There are few metal bands with more tasty keys then MDB.

Naturally, at 70 minutes it's at least 15 minutes too long, but the last track is a re-recording of an old classic and can be regarded as some kind of fan bonus. Merely looking at the 56 minutes of original material, I can safely say that this would be an MDB album that comes with the high recommendations from me. The first three tracks specifically are masterpieces!

Report this review (#282786)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars After the succesful The light.. from 1999, previous album, the band keeping the same attitude with their new release, then , from 2001 named The dreadfull hours. The line up and musical arrangements are on same level like on previous rlease, but this time, at least to me are less convinceing, less adventurous, all are good, but as a whole something is missing. I simply loved The light album and the come back after deseppointing 34,788:Complete, this time they keep the flag high, a return to form after some electronic moments, My Dying Bride have again a good album in their pockets, but the arrangements in some places are dull, good but without that shiny moments from previous album. The album starts good, with a plus on Le Figlie Della Tempesta, great tune, the rest are ok, nothing realy impressive, at least to my ears but good for sure. The vocal arrangements are again very complex and very fine moments indeed here, ranges from melancholic and profound tone to a typical black-metal screaming and, even further, to a pure death-metal growling- harsh and evil- underlining the heaviest passages of the music. This also goes from acoustic parts with an excellent bass working of Adrian Craighan to rotten and heavy death-metal riffing to piano introductions. A quite good release by the band, but I prefer the previous album much more. The best I can give is 3 stars, maybe in places 3.5 but to me is less intristing then The light for ex. Very good band that with each album, gained more and more listners.
Report this review (#390688)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The Dreadful Hours" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK doom/death metal act My Dying Bride. The album was released through Peaceville Records in November 2001. It´s the successor to "The Light at the End of the World" from 1999 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as My Dying Bride is again a quintet with the addition of second guitarist Hamish Hamilton Glencross (formerly of Seer's Tear and Solstice).

Stylistically the material on "The Dreadful Hours" is heavy and melancholic doom/death metal. Lead vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe´s vocal style varies between clean and often subdued melancholic vocals and death metal growling. There´s good variation between slow heavy melodic riffing and mid-paced more energetic riffs. The music is generally dynamic in nature featuring both quiet parts and more loud aggressive parts. The melancholic gloomy atmosphere is always the focal point of the compositions though. The violin which was such a big part of the band´s early releases, hasn´t been part of the band´s sound for a couple of albums now and "The Dreadful Hours" continues the more synth/keyboard laden sound of those albums. The band use string synth sounds to compensate for the lack of violin, and it actually works really well.

The songs are structurally intriguing and generally very well written. But that probably doesn´t come as a surprise if you are familiar with the earlier material by the band. My Dying Bride have always composed unconventionally structured track. The 70 minutes long album features 8 tracks. The first 7 tracks are new compositions while the 8th track on the album is a re-recording of "The Return of the Beautiful", which was originally featured on the 1992 "As the Flower Withers" debut album by My Dying Bride. The band change the song towards the end but otherwise the version on this album pretty much sticks to the original. The dynamic and beautiful album opening title track is definitely one of the highlights of the album, but "The Dreadful Hours" is a consistently high quality release, and there´s not a single sub par moment on the album.

"The Dreadful Hours" features a defined, powerful, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. It´s a less dark and heavy sound production compared to the sound production on the direct predecessor, but it suits the dynamic nature of the music well. Upon conclusion "The Dreadful Hours" is one of the strongest releases in the band´s discography. It may not be as groundbreaking as some of their early releases, but the songwriting is top notch, the performances are tight and adventurous, and the sound production professional and well sounding. Simply put, this is through and through a high quality release and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#449280)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 8/10

"The Dreadful Hours" is the soundtrack to the last moments before a storm of evil washes away all hope.

My Dying Bride's last great album so far, "The Dreadful Hours", was yet another release that had strong roots attached to the conventional Death Doom Metal style, giving it however a twist of uniqueness that is only of this album. Followed by a decent return-to-old-style sort of album ("The Light at The End Of the World"), this 2001 release manages to become one of the key albums of the band's discography and of Death Doom Metal in general.

The unique twists are a few: the use of a clean atmosphere smothered in various effects is much more prominent, and is very often a great part of a composition; it wouldn't be surprising if the band picked up a bit of Post-Rock during the period this album was being recorded. The alternative moments to these, which obviously are the Doomy ones, are relatively much more fast paced (much alike "Light at The End Of the World") than other works of the band; the vocals are more tended towards Black Metal-ish shrieks, when they don't have the plaintive, clean nature Aaron Stainthorpe usually delivers. There also seems to be a larger use of keyboards, really great additions to especially the more atmospheric passages.

The themes presented in "The Dreadful Hours" are very similar to the ones we find in other My Dying Bride lyrics: a strong presence of God ( a savior or condemner?), as well as the figure of a poisonous, life-sucking woman who often symbolizes some deeper allegories; in other examples, she is simply an object of desire for the persona, who feels a suffered love for her. Among the lyrical highlights, the title track is about an infant as it is rejected by the parents, while "Le Figlie Della Tempesta" describes?once again?a divine female character that disillusions and tricks people with lies. "the Return to The Beautiful" has the longest and possibly most challenging lyrics of the album, with it's brief, enigmatic Latin phrases and again an evident theme of deception, darkness, but also irresistible beauty.

Even with one hour and ten minutes of total length time, "The Dreadful Hours" rarely loses its impact, starting from the first episode, the title track: a two minute, atmospheric Post Rock/Metal kind of passage opens up to another one of a relatively faster pace for My Dying Bride, binging in memorable riffs and vocals. "Le Figlie Della Tempesta" is another great highlight, with pretty much the same structure of the previously mentioned track, but perhaps darker, more desolate, and more tense; the calmer moments remind of a storm coming towards the listener's way. "Black Heart Romance" is again a really excellent example of great songwriting, where plenty of feelings are condensed in one song, without any one of them overlapping another. Then, "The Return to The Beautiful" is the fourteen minute epic finale, by some considered (including lead singer) the best track the band has ever released. The other songs, too, are not inferior in terms of quality; they are more solemn, and typical tracks you'd expect from My Dying Bride, in a good way.

"The Dreadful Hours" is a sublimely crafted piece of Doom Metal; the band does not hesitate however in finding new ways to enrich their sound, with a more frequent use of keyboards, vocal choruses, and Post-rock brushes. Still today, this is regarded as one of the key moments of the genre and of the band's discography.

Report this review (#756930)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars My Dying Bride is a rare breed, a band that can bring aggression and harshness to reside in a world that is also full of beauty and emotion. It is music that aches and yearns, looking for solace that it is never going to achieve, while at the same time stamping it's authority on the world beneath it. Such is the power of 'The Dreadful Hours', which has the nerve and temerity to open with the title cut which is in excess of nine minutes long. It finishes and begins, reflective, and almost apologetic for the nature of some of the music that has gone on in the middle. No sense of restraint in "The Raven and The Rose" where the band show that they can riff and bring in Hammer House of Horror keyboards and death vocals to match anyone. Vocalist Aaron can sing meek and mild, or he can rip his throat out as the occasion rises, and the band is more than ready to change the pace and the attack.

This is quite some album, and the keyboards such an integral part of the sound that it is strange to notice that they are sessioned. This is music that is not for the faint hearted, or for those who like to neatly pigeon hole what they are listening to. In many ways this is progressive music that is not afraid to mix and change, but in other ways this is an extreme metal band that just don't care what anyone thinks and wants to create a musical entity of their own choosing. Emotional, atmospheric, and at others blindingly honest and brutal, this is an impressive work.

Originally appeared in Feedback #70, Oct 02

Report this review (#978134)
Posted Saturday, June 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars At a time when the other bands forming the so-called "Peaceville Three" of death-doom - Paradise Lost and Anathema - had plotted a course taking them firmly away from those roots, My Dying Bride had returned to their death-doom origins in The Light At the End of the World, an album greatly enriched by their musical wanderings through other genres.

On The Dreadful Hours, they magnificently build and improve on that foundation by producing their most terrifying album yet. There's still a heavy dose of doom metal melancholy in the mix, but the death metal side of their sound is more vicious than ever, and here and there - a shriek in the vocals, a blast of the drums - there's a mild sprinkling of black metal influences that enriches their sound and adds another dimension to it.

Some bands hit their peak early on, and then must spend the rest of their careers either resisting entropy or (as is sadly more common) declining into irrelevance as they run out of ideas. My Dying Bride, conversely, seem to have only gotten better and better over the first decade or so of their existence (with a few missteps being eminently forgivable as being a necessary part of their journey of experimentation), and here they have produced a true masterpiece.

Report this review (#1689738)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2017 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Always one to experiment, MY DYING BRIDE perhaps went a little too far with their misstep into the unknown for the fanbase with "34.788%...Complete" which found the band adding all kinds of wild new ideas. While some like alternative metal suited the band's signature goth doom sound to a T, others such as trip hop didn't quite jive and although many including myself found the album to be descent, the overall consensus was that MY DYING BRIDE had hit their stride on "Like Gods Of The Sun" and were in free fall decline, however after the clarity of returning to their signature sound was once again a priority, the band bounced back with "The Light At The End Of The World" which proved they had more than enough life in them and while the album was a fine return to form and an admirable comeback, it wasn't up to par with the high notes of "Turn Loose The Swans" and "The Angel And The Dark River."

On THE DREADFUL HOURS, the band's seventh studio album and first of the 21st century, the fiery creative passion that had made MY DYING BRIDE such a sensation in the early years had returned and released one of the band's finest albums with eight outrageously delectable tracks that not only were connected to their past goth-tinged death doom days but found yet more ways to incorporate new musical elements into their, by this time, classic unmistakeable stylistic approach. The band's core remained the same with Aaron Stainthorpe displaying his amazing range of vocal styles with the usual plaintive romantic crooning as well as an increased use of the death growls however on THE DREADFUL HOURS he expands his extreme metal vocals to include a more blackened growl approach which reminds me of Behemoth's Nergal.

Guitarist Andrew Craighan provided the sole guitar parts on the previous album after the departure of Calvin Robertshaw and joining the crew on this album is guitarist Hamish Glencross, who with Craighan provide a more deadly twin guitar attack as they not only tackle the usual plodding doom riffs but engage in heavier high tempo death metal segments as well as adding palm muting thrash techniques to their doom riffage. The rhythm center of bassist Adrian Jackson and drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels also exercise greater liberties in their playing as each instrument takes on a more expansive role. The bass duties have become more complex and the drumming more experimental as well. While no violinist has returned, the two session keyboardists Jonny Mauding and Yasmin Ahmed dish out tasteful doses of piano tinklings, atmospheric overcast and mood modification mostly set to mournful depression.

With eight tracks that range from five minutes to over fourteen, MY DYING BRIDE cranks out one of the most diverse set lists (well not counting 34.778%) of their career with every element finding the perfect place to express itself. One of the major differences from the past is the incorporation of post-rock elements as heard on the opening title track which sounds more like an Isis album until it erupts into a death-doom frenzy. The compositions have become more complex and progressive as segments segue into others and various riffs, drumming patterns and bass lines slowly shapeshift into something completely new while the haunting atmospheric backdrop nudges it into a new comfort zone. The chemistry of this team is certainly off the charts as it has provided a new energized passion that keeps all the various tracks quite distinct from each other with countless different instrumental spontaneity erupting throughout.

The beauty of MY DRYING BRIDE is that they so successful captured their own distinct sound so early on in their game that have the ability to pretty much adapt any musical idea to the goth death-doom paradigm. Basically Stainthorpe provides the backbone to the band's style with his charismatic vocal style with an extra anchor in the atmospheric department, however the guitar, bass and drums are pretty much allowed to do whatever they want provided they stay within the confines of the melodies. Such is the case for all of the tracks which to the casual listener will sound like business as usual but to the careful listener will find new rhythmic flows, creative instrumental interplay and a greater focus on shifting timbres, dynamics, tempos and vocals. This is perhaps my favorite MY DYING BRIDE album as it perfectly balances all the various elements which include the goth death doom metal, darkwave ambient and alternative metal with the usual sombre poetic vocal deliveries of Stainthorpe. MY DYING BRIDE not only made a comeback from their nadir but hit one of the highest notes in this apex of their entire career.

Report this review (#2117390)
Posted Friday, January 11, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars An excellent trademark My Dying Bride bringing epic to spectacular heights while bridging death/doom beginnings by the band with later slow doom approach. The first track is a magnificient tour de darkness overture with black/death- metal rhythms, excellent growls and majestic keyboards. Black dark spitting atmosphere can be cut by its density. Still, the simple mellow guitar motive from the beginning reappears like a silent stream of water.

The same in a more black-metal fashion goes for the second epic track with a great doom riff "The raven and the rose". The singer exceeds himself with whimsical growling before rapidly descending into a mourning funeral territory with guitar and violin. Piano and organ enrich the sound of the epic track. Absolute feast for gothic/doom metal lovers.

"Black heart romance" is a light slow doom metal song with delicate post-rock/space-rock guitar and good drum work.

Good doomy/heavy metal influnce can be observed at "My hope, the destroyer"

"The deepest of all hearts" has an epic motive with intensive bass drums and synthetizer chorals in the background.

The last and longest composition is slow but majestic and vocals starts accompanying violin with a growling contrast. There is one of the most sinister and gloomy guitar riffs off the whole album. Sabbathical mood is quite evident in this track, where riffs are not very heavy but doomy enough.

The wild ending black/death metal section is quite suprising and may be a bit out of place of this quite trademark doom metal composition.

Report this review (#2287855)
Posted Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars Following on the footsteps of their previous album, in 2001 My Dying Bride completed their full return to form after a couple of full-lengths that had disappointed more than a few fans. The Dreadful Hours is a fantastic album, containing some of the best songs ever written by the British doomsters. Alas, it also contains a handful of songs that I struggle not to see as "fillers". Despite its somewhat uneven tracklist, The Dreadful Hours sits tall in the band's discography as one of their best records to date.

Let's start with the positives. The Dreadful Hours is the culmination of My Dying Bride's slow metamorphosis from death/doom frontrunners to purveyors of a hybrid style halfway between gothic metal and doom. This process of transition had started on their 1995 album The Angel and the Dark River and saw the band increasingly streamlining their songs and injecting more and more accessible melodies into the music. Songs like the title-track, "The Raven and the Rose", "Le Figlie della Tempesta" and "My Hope, the Destroyer" are splendid examples of the musical vision of the Yorkshire band. Deeply melodic, yet incredibly dark and morose (also for the subject matters, such a child abuse on the title-track), these songs perfectly combine the slow-tempos and tortuous guitar riffs of doom with the melodic allure of gothic and dark metal.

What is even more astonishing is how different from one another these songs sound. The title-track starts with an almost post-rock clean guitar riff, before descending in doom/death territory with Aaron Stainthorpe's cavernous growls and Hamish Glencross and Andrew Craighan's lead-like guitars. "The Raven and the Rose" is balanced between furious (and fast!) guitar riffs and a beautifully orchestrated melodic section, with thick swathes of organ and synths and a monstrous performance by drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels, who here truly gives a meaning to the words "drum fills". "Le Figlie della Tempesta" is more atmospheric, almost dark metal, as it dances away on a delicate guitar arpeggio and Aaron's beautiful clean vocals. Meanwhile, "My Hope, the Destroyer" is a gothic beast that again speeds up the tempo relative to the usual sludgy pace of death/doom. All this variation makes The Dreadful Hours one of the most diverse and exciting album the band had written up to that point of their career. It makes for a truly engaging listen, which never bores and surprises again and again with new twists that are ever so tasteful and appropriate.

Alas, the second half of the album does not match the quality of the opening trio of tracks or "My Hope, the Destroyer". "Black Heart Romance", "A Cruel Taste of Winter" and "The Deepest of All Hearts" inhabit more traditional doom territories. There are some surprises and interesting sections (the beautiful clean guitar flourishes on "Black Heart Romance"), but the general feel is one of sluggishness and lack of inspiration. The album closer "Return to the Beautiful" deserves a word apart. This is a re-work of "The Return of the Beautiful" from the band's debut album, As the Flower Withers, when My Dying Bride were firmly playing death/doom metal. Inevitably, this last song stands in stark contrast with the mellower and more sophisticated gothic/doom of the rest of the record. As an album closer this totally backfires as it concludes the record incongruously, with a completely different sound and atmosphere than the rest of the album.

Despite containing hits and misses, The Dreadful Hours is one of my favourite albums from My Dying Bride. Its moments of brilliance far exceed the duller episodes and the diverse nature of his tracks paint a beautiful and exciting picture of the band's sound evolution at the dawn of the new millennium.

Report this review (#2635457)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2021 | Review Permalink

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