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MY DYING BRIDE

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United Kingdom


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My Dying Bride biography
Founded in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England in 1990 - Still active as of 2019

MY DYING BRIDE is a band that never stirs up much discussion in the progressive rock community. We often make the assumption that they are the average gothic/doom metal hybrid and nothing more. But if you were to listen to their music, you would here the beauty and details that make MY DYING BRIDE much more than that. Anyone dismissing this band that is even slightly into progressive metal is making a huge mistake.

They were formed after guitarist Andrew Craighan and drummer Rick Miah left their former band ABIOSIS to join vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Calvin Robertshaw. At this point MY DYING BRIDE was now formed.

They went into the studio for the first time on November 24/25 of 1990 to record their first demo "Towards the Sinister". The demo consisted of four original songs from the band, and showed their potential soon to come on their debut full-length album.

Shortly after the release of the demo, they released their first single/EP in 1991 titled "God Is Alone". It was only released as a 7" vinyl and was limited to a small 1,000 copies. The EP was released on a small independent French record label, Listenable Records. The release of the EP marked a huge step forward for the band, as they were soon approached by Peaceville Records. The band has recorded with Peaceville ever since.

The band marked their first release with Peaceville with their second EP, "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium". It was released in 1992, and consisted of 3 songs. This was their first release with Adrian Jackson on bass, which left Andrew Craighan playing just guitar. At this point MY DYING BRIDE was now a 5-piece band.

The band kept the same lineup as the EP with the release of their 1992 debut full-length album "As The Flowers". The album gets positive reviews in general, but not nearly as favorable as the next albums to come from MY DYING BRIDE. They released their third EP "The Thrash of Naked Limbs" in early 1993 following their debut album. This EP marked another change in their line-up, as violin and keyboard player Martin Powell had become an official band member. He played on the band's previous works, but more so as a session musician than an official member.

MY DYING BRIDE became a common name in the metal community with the release of "Turn Loose The Swans", which released in October of 1993. This album sounded much differ...
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MY DYING BRIDE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MY DYING BRIDE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 56 ratings
As the Flower Withers
1992
4.04 | 86 ratings
Turn Loose the Swans
1993
3.97 | 80 ratings
The Angel and the Dark River
1995
3.23 | 46 ratings
Like Gods of the Sun
1996
2.75 | 43 ratings
34.788%...Complete
1998
3.93 | 51 ratings
The Light at the End of the World
1999
4.12 | 60 ratings
The Dreadful Hours
2001
4.12 | 67 ratings
Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
2004
3.59 | 41 ratings
A Line of Deathless Kings
2006
3.67 | 40 ratings
For Lies I Sire
2009
3.47 | 34 ratings
Evinta
2011
3.23 | 36 ratings
A Map of All Our Failures
2012
3.78 | 25 ratings
Feel the Misery
2015
3.94 | 19 ratings
The Ghost of Orion
2020

MY DYING BRIDE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.27 | 15 ratings
The Voice of the Wretched
2002
3.05 | 9 ratings
An Ode to Woe
2008

MY DYING BRIDE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 5 ratings
For Darkest Eyes
1997
5.00 | 2 ratings
For Darkest Eyes
2005
5.00 | 2 ratings
Sinamorata
2005

MY DYING BRIDE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.33 | 5 ratings
The Stories
1994
3.47 | 11 ratings
Trinity
1995
2.65 | 9 ratings
Meisterwerk I
2000
2.69 | 8 ratings
Meisterwerk II
2001
3.57 | 7 ratings
Anti-Diluvian Chronicles
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Angel and the Dark River / For Darkest Eyes
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Introducing My Dying Bride
2013
4.03 | 5 ratings
The Vaulted Shadows
2014
3.13 | 4 ratings
Meisterwerk III
2016
4.00 | 3 ratings
A Harvest of Dread
2019

MY DYING BRIDE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.19 | 10 ratings
Towards the Sinister
1990
2.32 | 6 ratings
God Is Alone
1991
3.49 | 18 ratings
Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium
1992
3.32 | 16 ratings
The Thrash of Naked Limbs
1993
2.14 | 3 ratings
Unreleased Bitterness
1993
2.39 | 10 ratings
I Am the Bloody Earth
1994
2.44 | 11 ratings
The Sexuality of Bereavement
1994
2.74 | 10 ratings
Deeper Down
2006
3.31 | 7 ratings
Bring Me Victory
2009
3.26 | 18 ratings
The Barghest O' Whitby
2011
2.00 | 1 ratings
Excerpts From Evinta
2011
3.93 | 12 ratings
The Manuscript
2013
3.88 | 5 ratings
Hollow Cathedra
2015
4.00 | 4 ratings
Your Broken Shore
2020
3.96 | 4 ratings
Tired Of Tears
2020
4.00 | 1 ratings
Macabre Cabaret
2020

MY DYING BRIDE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 An Ode to Woe by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Live, 2008
3.05 | 9 ratings

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An Ode to Woe
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars My Dying Bride's second major live album sounds just a little off to me. I think part of the problem is that the crowd noise seems a little more evident here than is typical in professionally-produced live albums. Whilst I can see the point of a bit of this to help give the live ambience, usually the crowd noise gets isolated for a reason and it's just a little more intrusive here. In addition, the mix isn't what it could be, with the vocals sometimes overwhelmed. Potentially some of the issues come down to this being their first release since founding bassist Adrian Jackson left the band, replaced by Lena Abé, and with Dan Mullins on drums - so if you want to hear them in the process of gelling with a new rhythm section, that's a point of interest, but they'd do better once Abé and Mullins were settled in.
 Turn Loose the Swans by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.04 | 86 ratings

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Turn Loose the Swans
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DangHeck

3 stars Being My Dying Bride, certainly a band I've always heard of, is one thing, but just the fact that it's purportedly 'Death-Doom' is another. Not the biggest fan of the latter component, but have a lot of love in the former (I mean, Tech Death at its best is Prog, so...). I just felt like I was really going in blind, encouraged at least by the high regard for this album.

We're off to an interesting start with low, spoken vocals, violin and simple piano on "Sear Me MCMXCIII". Honestly, super melodramatic... The whole of this 7 minutes is just the same. A melancholic, unmetallic dirge... Again, interesting. Still low and slow, we are introduced to "Your River"... Simple, clean guitar riff and then finally it breaks into the Doom a minute in. I feel I had been waiting an eternity. I guess, for this shift alone, it was good. Interesting here is the general instrumentation, with the violin adding a cool, unique element. Fairly progressive and alluring, they keep you on your seat through the start, as we meet numerous riffs that could very well have been 'main'. Certainly a highlight throughout is the drums. We are back in the low and slow for the vocal part, and then nearing 6 minutes it comes back into a sort of swinging riff. We finally get death growls in the last 2 minutes of the song. Overall, plenty of interesting choices, but I'm not sure I have feelings on it.

Much more alluring is the opening of "The Songless Bird". Brutal in guitar and drum. Pretty good. Comparable in strength of main riffage is "The Snow in My Hand", this one featuring more underlying keyboards. The Death Metal is in fuller swing here, with heavy percussion and more growls. Certainly happier as we've gone. I mean, it does help to actually have a firmer grasp on what is going on when you're at first completely in the dark. "The Snow" is, at this point, the most appealing track for sure, from the great vocals, memorable riffs and the surer compositional interest.

When it comes to the Doom elements, which again, if anything, is what I'm the least familiar with (on purpose), it honestly feels a little over-the-top and cheesy. Again with the melodrama, "The Crown of Sympathy", in all of its great riffage and excellent instrumentation, the vocals are just... not it. We get some bell strikes around the middle and then some... regal horniness haha. Not helping. Opeth will likely not prepare you for this haha. They're probably the closest to My Dying Bride that I listen to and that's saying a lot haha.

At least in its main thrust, "Turn Loose the Swans" is a nice mix of Doom and Death Metal. Riff masters for sure. Substantial rhythmic shift around minute 4. Not sure what else there is to say. Classic example of album burnout for me. At least it's better than most cases of that... Finally, we have "Black God", a return to key-led melodrama. And that's it. I will probably not be continuing with a serious review of their discography.

True Rate: 2.75/5

 The Voice of the Wretched by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Live, 2002
3.27 | 15 ratings

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The Voice of the Wretched
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The first My Dying Bride live album takes in songs from a wide range of their albums - their debut, As the Flower Withers, isn't represented but most others are - and finds the band sounding live much as they do in the studio. On the one hand, you may feel that makes the live album redundant, on the other hand that is at least a testimony of how well they were able to capture their live energy in the studio.

The sound quality feels a bit fuzzy at points, but at least when it comes to this sort of death-doom metal that sort of murkiness is actually aesthetically appropriate to some extent. Good, but not essential.

 The Thrash of Naked Limbs by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
3.32 | 16 ratings

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The Thrash of Naked Limbs
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars My Dying Bride's first release for Peaceville is this EP, rerecording some material from their early demo and independent releases. God Is Alone and De Sade Soliloquay are probably the most traditional death metal songs that My Dying Bride ever put out through Peaceville, and are competent but not enormously interesting. The real treat here is Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium, an early expression of the band's death-doom style, with its extended running time and mournful violin contributions making it clear that this right here was no simple rehash of early Paradise Lost but an intriguing new take on death-doom in its own right. On balance, I'd say that this EP constitutes a four star title track backed up by some three star B-sides.
 Turn Loose the Swans by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.04 | 86 ratings

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Turn Loose the Swans
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars One album under their belt, and British doomsters My Dying Bride were already looking for new horizons and exploring new ways to express themselves. The aspect of Turn Loose the Swans that I found the most striking is how fearlessly experimental its seven tracks are. In the early 1990s metal was at the beginning of a period of great experimentation and fellow labelmates Anathema and Paradise Lost would also soon start pushing the boundaries of death/doom, but this early on in their career My Dying Bride were clearly at the forefront of this forward-looking movement.

Turn Loose the Swans retains the snail-paced tempos of doom as well as the labyrinthine, slow-winding melodic guitar riffs that are a trademark of the genre, but also innovates along several dimensions. There are strong romantic gothic vibes on the record. Martin Powell's use of the violin, delicate piano arpeggios and cavernous organ chords play a big role in creating this atmosphere. And so do Aaron Stainthorpe's bereft croons, which mark a stark departure from the growls of the debut album. He does still use his extreme vocal style on a couple of tracks, but on most songs Aaron resorts to a peculiar clean style, halfway between singing and recitation. In addition, female vocals are used on closer "Black God", hinting to the "beauty and the beast" genre that will soon gain popularity in Europe. All these elements combined create an incredibly dense, downcast and romantic atmosphere that permeates throughout the whole album and gives it a strong, immediately recognizable identity.

Admittedly, one has to be in the right mood to appreciate the extremely bleak atmosphere of the album, so this is a difficult album that may not be for everyone. This is even more so when one considers that My Dying Bride are often melodically unyielding. The guitar riffs crawl around, indulging in melodies that are far from instantly accessible. Aaron's vocals move in similar directions and it will be hard to find anything catchy or that immediately grabs the listener on the 58+ minutes of the record.

But those listeners who want to invest attention and time into this record, will find many hidden gems just behind its dense surface. The complex, unconventional structures of songs like "Your River" and "The Crown of Sympathy" are highly engaging and keep the listener on their toes, unsure of what may hide just behind the next corner. Clean guitar arpeggios swap melodies with the violin and heavily distorted guitars, creating a rich tapestry of sound. Rick Miah's free-form drumming is almost like an additional lead instrument, harking back to the days of progressive rock where drummers were so much more than just tempo-keepers (I keep thinking of the fill-fest of those early King Crimsons' albums when I hear Rick's playing on this album). Martin Powell's violin is certainly one of the elements that stand out the most, again adding a progressive flair to the proceedings. His choice of sound and use of keyboards is also impressive.

There are no weak tracks on the album, except perhaps the title-track that I find slightly too conventional and perhaps a tad uninspired. On the other hand, there is a clear masterpiece that stands out above all other compositions: "The Crown of Sympathy". This song is incredible. It's an unstoppable tourbillion of great musical ideas, from its understated beginning to the hallucinated downward spiral of its second half where the song slowly deconstructs itself, before picking up again to close with a beautiful, fading guitar lead. The lyrics are also beautiful. Aaron Stainthorpe is slightly monothematic when it comes to song lyrics (love, lost love, death of a loved one ? you get the gist), but here these themes find a very poetic expression, with a touch of personal lyricism that elevates the text above the rest.

Overall, Turn Loose the Swans is a very good album. I don't love it since, at the time I listened to it, it did not speak much to me on an emotional level. However, I do know that, if one day I will be in the right frame of mind, this is one of those records that can leave a mark on one's soul. Regardless of whether it personally touches you or not, it's hard not to admire what My Dying Bride have achieved here. They have experimented fearlessly with texture and structure and, in doing so, they have expanded the boundaries of death/doom to invent a new gothic hybrid that will be a template for bands to follow for decades. And you cannot say that of many bands or albums.

 The Angel and the Dark River by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.97 | 80 ratings

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The Angel and the Dark River
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

4 stars My Dying Bride's third LP, The Angel and the Dark River, is the album that introduced me to the music of the British doomsters, back in 1995 when I was still a teenager attending middle school. I remember its dark, morbid, yet irresistibly epic atmosphere had a huge impression on me. As a relatively junior metal fan, I had never heard anything like it and I thought that the combination of super heavy and super slow metal with romantic violins and cold crooning vocals was very cool.

Fast forward 26 years and I still think this album is extraordinary and one of My Dying Bride's crowning achievements. The conceptual seeds of The Angel and the Dark River were actually sown two years prior, with the band's sophomore album Turn Loose the Swans, which The Angel? is a more refined version of. The music revolves around the hyper-distorted and sludgy guitar riffs of Andrew Craighan and Calvin Robertshaw. The two guitarists play a huge role in defining the sonic identity of the album, relentlessly crawling across the speakers with their slow-pace and obsessive riffs, and painting beautiful, if slightly unyielding melodies ? like the repeated six-note lead that is played throughout "The Cry of Mankind" or the delicate guitar tapestry of "Two Winters Only". Another key ingredient to My Dying Bride's music are Martin Powell's violin and keyboards. Although the violin is perhaps slightly less prominent in the mix than on Turn Loose the Swans, it makes a huge contribution to the band's sound, adding a unique romantic flair that is almost genre-defining. Martin's organ also adds tons of atmosphere, especially on "From Darkest Skies".

Rhythmically, The Angel and the Dark River is perhaps slightly less adventurous than the preceding record, with drummer Rick Miah playing more straightforwardly to the beat without too many fills and flourishes, and Adrian "Ade" Jackson's bass raising to prominence only sporadically. This is not necessarily a bad thing: the album sounds more relaxed and spacious than Turn Loose the Swans, which was instead more hectic and dramatic. This also leave more space for Aaron Stainthorpe's desperate croons, which are the other defining sonic characteristic of the album. By 1995 Aaron had completely abandoned the extreme growls he used on the band's debut album and that were still present in a couple of songs of Turn Loose the Swans. On this album, Aaron only uses his clean baritone voice with his unique style and phrasing, halfway between singing and recitation. His vocals are no doubt a sort of acquired taste, but they fit perfectly with the morose nature of My Dying Bride's music. Aaron's melodies are rarely catchy and attention-grabbing, as they rather ebb and flow on top of the musical background. Yet, occasionally he injects a memorable line here and there, achieving a very stark and dramatic effect, like a ray of sunshine tearing through dark clouds.

The Angel and the Dark River is a treasure-trove of great melodic gothic/doom metal. Opener "The Cry of Mankind" is an iconic song, which could almost be used to teach the young what doom metal is. I love the repeated 6-note guitar figure that continues through the whole song, while Aaron sings some of the most enticing melodies of the whole record. Some people dislike the fact that, although the track clocks in at just over 12 minutes, the last 5 minutes are a collage of background noise. I actually do not mind, it adds an interesting atmosphere to the song and, when I am not in the mood for it, I just skip the song's coda and proceed straight to the next track. "Black Voyage" is another great song, with lots of different facets. It starts as one of the slowest and most forlorn compositions of the album before a melodic violin injects life into it, tearing through the bleak atmosphere. The most interesting parts, however, are in the second half of the song, where Aaron's vocals almost take a ritualistic turn while the guitar howls and Ade's bass has a rare moment of visibility. "A Sea to Suffer In" is a gothic number that brings to mind Anathema, while "Two Winters Only" is the other highlight of the record, after opener "The Cry of Mankind". The dramatic shift between the initial acoustic guitar and the electric mayhem of the second half is breath-taking, while Aaron offers again a great performance behind the mic.

The Angel and the Dark River is one of those iconic records that every metal fan should listen to at least once in their life. Not everyone will love it: its slow tempos, unyielding melodies, and bleak, morose atmosphere may put off more than one person. Personally, I like the way the record envelops me into a thick cloak of oppressive darkness, lulling me into a trance-like state that is weirdly comforting. It's not an album that I would play every day. But when the right mood strikes me, perhaps in a dark day of rain when everything feels so pointless and ephemerous, there are few other albums that can be such a balm to the soul like this one.

 Like Gods of the Sun by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.23 | 46 ratings

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Like Gods of the Sun
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

2 stars Coming from two very strong albums like Turn Loose the Swans (1993) and The Angel and the Dark River (1995), the expectations for My Dying Bride's new album were high. Released in 1996, Like Gods of the Sun actually turned out to be a major disappointment for fans and it is to date regarded one of the low points of the British doomsters' discography. So what went wrong?

On the new album, My Dying Bride continued to hone in the formula they had already used on the previous two records, mixing the slow tempos and crushingly slow-winding guitar riffs of doom metal with gothic and romantic atmospheres. The gothic elements are perhaps a tad more prominent on Like Gods of the Sun, as Aaron Stainthorpe continued to perfect his dark croon to the point of sounding at times like a darker Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell). The band also used slightly more conventional structures on the new album compared to the preceding records, with nearly a verse/chorus repetition on some tracks ("Grace Unhearing") and guitar riffs that are tighter and less sprawling. This isn't necessarily bad, although some fans may have seen this as a "commercial" move.

Thus, on paper Like Gods of the Sun ticks all the right boxes. Alas, the problem with the album is exactly that: it does truly sound like nothing more than a box-ticking exercise. Nearly all songs sound completely lifeless and uninspired, like if they had been written half-heartedly and without a true purpose. There are a few interesting ideas here and there (a cool guitar riff, a nice vocal melody), but they are stretched so thin across the 54 minutes of the record, that they fail to emerge from the general dullness. I also wonder how much effort the band actually put into this album. Take the transitions between the different song parts, for example. Often, the band just resorts to a "stop-and-go" technique: they just stop playing whatever riff they were playing, leave a second of silence, and start with a new, completely different riff. That's kinda lame. And gives an incredibly disjointed feel to a lot of the tracks on the album.

The album does have a couple of episodes that hark back to the glory of the previous records. "Grace Unhearing" features a nice chorus, probably one of the catchiest things that My Dying Bride had written up to that point in their career. The song is however too long and the repetition of verse/chorus is a bit of a joy-killer when this goes on for 7 minutes with little else in between. "A Kiss to Remember" uses one of the most inspired guitar riffs of the whole album, but again things are stretched too thin and too little happens to justify a duration of 7:31 minutes. After this track, the album drowns in a sequence of songs that are all incredibly flat and boring. Only album closer "For My Fallen Angel" tickles again my attention. This is an atypical track with processed strings, violin and spoken vocals. The fact that it is my favourite track of the whole album speaks volumes about the rest of the material of this record.

Overall, Like Gods of the Sun sounds a lot like a band in the middle of a creativity crisis. Alas, My Dying Bride's next couple of albums will confirm that this was indeed the case. In a bid to revive their songwriting formula, on their next record 34.788%... Complete, the band will seek inspiration in industrial metal, producing an album that is surely experimental but also not particularly impressive. It will take one more transitional album (The Light at the End of the World), before My Dying Bride will find again their footing, releasing what is instead one of the high points of their discography, The Dreadful Hours. If you are new to the band and want to sample their sound, my advice is to jump directly from The Angel and the Dark River to The Dreadful Hours, skipping the three rather mediocre records in between.

 34.788%...Complete by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.75 | 43 ratings

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34.788%...Complete
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

2 stars The mediocre Like Ghosts of the Sun had already shown that in the mid-90s British doomsters My Dying Bride were probably facing a sort of creativity crisis, struggling to write inspired music within the canons of the genre (gothic/doom) that they had contributed to create. Released in 1998 after the departure of violinist Martin Powell, 34.788%...Complete feels a lot like an attempt by My Dying Bride to jump start their songwriting machinery by injecting into it fresh new influences, from industrial to trip hop to electronica. Truth be told, My Dying Bride were not the only doom band exploring new forms of expression in those years. Paradise Lost had turned electro-goth since a couple of years, and Anathema were slowly but surely developing their own Floyd-infused progressive rock style. So 34.788%...Complete can also be seen as My Dying Bride trying to play catch up with the other two main UK doom metal bands of that era. Either way, 34.788%...Complete is a sort of extemporary experiment that is brave and at times interesting, but that ultimately falls inexorably flat.

The idea of mixing doom/gothic metal with industrial and electronic influences is actually quite promising, as the opener "The Whore, the Cook and the Mother" shows. This track is by far the best of the album. In fact, I'd say it is the ONLY song of the record that actually works. The abrasive industrial guitar intro is jarring and unexpected, and it immediately grabs the listener's attention. Aaron Stainthorpe's slow-paced singing paints the usual dramatic atmospheres, but the distorted filter that is used to process his vocals adds a layer of urban grit that makes things fresh and exciting. The guitar lead is instead quintessential My Dying Bride doom, creating a nice contrast with the futuristic feel of Aaron's vocals and the industrial rhythm guitar. The track then dissolves into a music collage of acoustic arpeggios, background noise and sampled vocals, another unexpected turn that keeps the listener guessing what may come next. It's a great track and an excellent example of how to develop the band's sound without feeling forced or losing their sonic identity.

Alas, the rest of the record does not even come close to matching the promise of its opener. The main reason is that in none of the other songs does the band succeed in mixing the new influences in a natural and fluid way as on the opener. "The Stance of Evander Sinque", "Der Überlebende", "Apocalypse Woman", and "Base Level Erotica" are all songs that feel completely underdeveloped, where the songwriting technique seems to have been to throw-in a couple of industrial riffs, electronic flourishes or futuristic guitar effects, while firmly staying in the usual comfort zone of the band's old doom/goth sound (not too far distant from the music on Like Ghost of the Sun). It all feels artificial and not really thought through. I get the distinctive feel that the band was not quite sure in which direction to take their music. Or perhaps this is the symptom of a reticence to fully embrace the new influences in order to avoid alienating too many fans.

Things get even more puzzling when one considers "Heroin Chic", which is the most outlandishly experimental track of the album. And not in a good way. This is an electronica/trip hop song with some soulful female singing (by Michelle Richfield, who also sang for Anathema and Antimatter) and, shockingly, a sort of (very poor) rapped vocals by Aaron. After the first minute, when the initial surprise wanes off, the song quickly becomes unlistenable as it continues in the same vein for another seven minutes with bad lyrics, bad vocals, and a rather insipid musical background. I have nothing against experimenting with electronica/trip hop and in fact I love the early electronic-infused albums by the aforementioned Antimatter, for instance. But "Heroin Chic" really feels like a parody of a band who wants to mix electronica and metal, rather than a serious attempt to merge the two genres. Again, this leaves me wondering what My Dying Bride were trying to do with this album.

In the end, I am not quite sure the band knew themselves. The new sonic "direction" was quickly abandoned, and only after one year My Dying Bride were already back in the shops with a new record (The Light at the End of the World) that took three steps back in terms of sound, scrapping all industrial/electronic influences and returning to a style closer to Turn Loose the Swans (growls included). Overall, 34.788%...Complete is probably best remembered as a child of its times, when many metal bands were looking beyond the boundaries of the genre to experiment with new sounds and influences. In some cases (Anathema, for example), this worked splendidly. In others, it failed ruinously. Either way, I respect My Dying Bride for trying, although this is not an album that I can see myself listening to again any time soon.

 The Light at the End of the World by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.93 | 51 ratings

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The Light at the End of the World
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars After two disappointing albums (the mediocre Like Ghosts of the Sun and the failed experiment to modernize their sound which is 34.788%...Complete), My Dying Bride were quick to jump on the horse again and try to show their fans that they were still a relevant voice in the metal landscape at the turn of the millennium. Seen in this light, The Light at the End of the World is certainly a resounding success. Ditching the experimentalism of their previous record, My Dying Bride embraced again their sorrowful doomy identity (including their original logo!) and showed the fans they could still write memorable death/doom/gothic tunes like no other. At the same time, the album only contains a couple of tracks that can truly be numbered among the band's best, while the rest of the songs are little more than respectable extras.

In terms of songwriting, on this album My Dying Bride return to their tried and true formula of combining snail-paced tempos, long-winding and tortuous guitar riffs, dramatic keyboards (played by Bal Sagoth's Jonny Maudling who replaced as a guest the band's former keyboard player Martin Powell), lots of drum fills (played by Shaun Taylor-Steels, who replaced Rick Miah), and Aaron Stainthorpe's trademark lamented crooning vocals. Aaron also throws-in growled vocals on a couple of songs, as well a half-spoken recitation on the album's splendid title track. Structurally, the songs are complex and go through several different sections throughout their duration, with plenty of tempo changes and accelerations/decelerations. As with all My Dying Bride's albums, this is not music for the faint of heart and it requires some time investment to be properly appreciated.

Yet, many songs on The Light at the End of the World showcase instantly memorable melodies carried by either the vocals or the guitars, which greatly facilitate their assimilation compared to the band's previous output. This trimming-down and streamlining of the sound is a process that the band had already inaugurated on their 1995 album The Angel and the Dark River, and marks the transition from their early death/doom style to the gothic/doom sound they will embrace at later stages in their career. On The Light at the End of the World My Dying Bride are still in transition, though the desire to write more accessible songs is evident on tracks like the chorus-driven "The Isis Script", for example.

The album flows away pleasantly, with some peaks and some declines. Among the strongest songs there is certainly the title-track, a 10+ minute beast that is as dark and desperate as the night itself. A beautiful tale of lost love, the song ebbs and flows between Aaron's sombre recitation and a beautifully decadent vocal melody that keep returning again and again throughout the duration of the song. I also like a lot the three "shorter" and more compact pieces that follow the title-track, "The Fever Sea", "Into the Lake of Ghosts" and "The Isis Script", which all contain some great, attention-grabbing melodic intuitions. While not as perfect as some of the tracks on the band's subsequent album (The Dreadful Hours), these tracks showcase all the potential of the gothic/doom sound My Dying Bride were developing at the time. On the other hand, the record sags a bit when it hits the longer compositions, like "Edenbeast" and "Christliar", which overstay their welcome with tortuous, unyielding melodies that verge on the boring.

Despite a few missteps and a mastodontic length of 71 minutes that discourages repeated listens, The Light at the End of the World is a fine album and a worthwhile descent into misery. It represents a clear return to form for the British band, which was needed after two albums that disappointed more than a few fans. That things were on the upswing for the Bride will become even clearer after a couple of years, when the band will release The Dreadful Hours, which stands still today as one of the best records in their whole discography.

 The Dreadful Hours by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.12 | 60 ratings

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The Dreadful Hours
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

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.

Thanks to J-Man for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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