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ExperiMETAL! - 100%

grimdoom, June 15th, 2008

As stated once before, every band or at least most bands have a point in their career where they change and/or experiment which always causes an issue with the bulk of their core fan base. This happened to Paradise Lost on 'One Second' and to Avernus on '...of the Fallen. After My Dying Brides' style defining album 'Turn Loose the Swans' they significantly lessoned their deathlier side and opted for a more tradition yet highly original Doom Metal sound. This has often and wrongly been confused for Gothic Metal when there's absolutely nothing "Gothic" about it. This album is many things to many people but one thing that no one can deny is that it left its mark on the Metal underground.

This is a curious and sprawling release. The production is excellent and as such, helps to bring out the ponderous nature of this work. The guitars sound as if the are tuned to standard, but they remain heavy all the same. The bands trademarked drawn out guitar dirges and crunchy riffs are here, but in a new light. This is the album where MDB learned how to reinvent themselves while staying true to their original vision. There are no solos, but the riffs and leads are memorable.

The bass follows the guitars for the most part deviating in places here and there. The drumming is somewhat standard, but in the bands classic form, creative and complimentary to the music. Martin left after 'Like Gods of the Sun' and his loss is felt as there is no violin and the keyboards are missing his trademarked influence but the music doesn't suffer for it.

The vocals are decent at best with Aaron opting for a more clean/spoken word approach. His lyrics are deep and abstract for the most part. There is some humor as well specifically on the song "Heroin Chic" where he intelligently mocks the European drug scene. The only real complaint would be that the "foul language" is fuzzed out on this song. This could be a joke however as it is fairly amusing. There is also a female vocalist sharing duties on this track. This track is also interesting as its very trip-hoppy and ambient while during the choruses and various verses it’s undeniably Doom Metal.

The last track on this is more in the vein of older MDB but still unique to this recording. This album has a rather odd atmosphere to it, drifting between ponderous and creepy, from sexy to odd. There is a lot going on if you pay attention.

This album is an accomplishment in the fact that it's so different from anything the bands done before or since. This is truly a masterful work of art that they need to revisit at some point in their illustrious career. This is one of the best experimental Doom Metal albums ever. Even the album's art work is different as it’s perhaps their most abstract to date, it only adds to this odd little gem. This is a must have for any true MDB/Doom Metal fan.