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As of 1996, My Dying Bride had released three albums, all of which were considered masterpieces. So the release of “Like Gods of the Sun” proved to be a very important moment in their career for various reasons.
First would be the nature of the music on the album. Gone were the beautiful and lengthy doom epics, in their place were shorter songs with a heavier goth influence and more easily listenable song structures. The elegance found in their previous release was replaced with a much darker and gloomier approach to loss. This could be seen by many as My Dying Bride’s attempt at making it mainstream. The flaw in this theory would be that the music is still, well, dark and depressing.
Along with this, “Like Gods of the Sun” would be the last album to feature violinist Martin Powell, a defining member of the band. Powell went out with a bang at least. His performance is certainly the highlight of the album. From the sick sounding violin on the opus “Grace Unhearing” to the somber tone found on, “For My Fallen Angel”, this album proves to be Martin Powell’s crowning achievement.
The album opens with the title track, “Like Gods of the Sun”, and it is one of the strongest songs on the album. By retaining its doom roots (the crushing riffs) while embracing its gothic influences ( the theatric and dramatic sounding keys) it achieves excellence. The following track, “The Dark Caress”, is a very strong track with a good main riff and well placed violin lines.
It is not until the album highlight, “Grace Unhearing “, that the album truly hits its stride. This song is nothing short of stunning. The song starts with a riff that gives a sense of sinking or descent, with Aaron singing in an appropriate manner. The chorus (with it’s very sickly sounding violin accompanying an equally deranged sounding Stainthorpe chanting “Beat it out, out of me, cut me up and watch me bleed”) remains on of the darkest moments in music that I have heard outside of early Swans.
The rest of the album is for the most part strong and solid, with a large emphasis on violin and dramatic vocals. The only song that is really filler would be “It Will Come”. “It Will Come” just never really seems to go anywhere, despite its catchy and quite heavy main riff.
“Like Gods of the Sun” is a very strong album and would mark and end to what I like to refer as My Dying Bride's golden age. While not their greatest effort, tracks like “Grace Unhearing” and the title track make it a pretty strong contender. This album will not change minds of detractors, but it is a very solid album sure to please new and old fans alike.
'Like Gods Of The Sun' is frequently referred to as the 'forgotten' My Dying Bride album (though most people conspicuously abstain from mentioning that it's forgotten for a reason), rather handily eclipsed through being sandwiched between 'The Angel And The Dark River', a periodically interesting doom/death album, and the infamous '34.788%... Complete', probably the best example ever of My Dying Bride thinking that they're misunderstood geniuses. The interim album, though, never got much attention, which makes perfect sense, as this is probably the one My Dying Bride album that lacks identity and focus more than any other in their lengthy catalog. At once more dreary, shuffling, and lifeless than 'As The Flower Withers' and more dripping with gothic cheese than 'Turn Loose The Swans', 'Like Gods Of The Sun' manages to be everything present in My Dying Bride's career all at once and accomplish precisely nothing with all those elements.
Consider the opening track, the first riff of which seems to be the horrific byproduct of a back alley tryst between Black Sabbath and a vaguely pedophiliac thirty-something at a goth club with a semi and a flask full of rohypsbinthe. And just like the night you'll have if you decide to talk to him, the rest of the song, along with nearly the whole album, is entirely unmemorable. Generally operating at an utterly plodding midpace and boasting some of the most uninspired doom/death melodies known to man, 'Like Gods Of The Sun' manages to do what previously seemed impossible: make an album brimming with melodrama and pseudo-emotion feel completely and utterly emotionless. I don't know how; maybe it's how the band insists on using rehashed death metal melodies from the early '90s instead of just going for the weepy gothic moneyshot, or how Aaron Stainthorpe, for all his (hurrrrmph) lyrical prowess, is unable to convey a feeling beyond pretentious apathy, or how none of the songs seem to have any fucking idea what they're supposed to be doing, with all the members glancing at each other more to figure out where they're supposed to be than your average goregrind concert.
There is one bright spot; a veritable supernova of one, if all the more luminous due to the content around it. 'For My Fallen Angel' is amazing and has a subtlety to it completely absent from the rest of My Dying Bride's catalog, even though it'll just seem stunningly gay if you're not either A in the mood for it or B particularly receptive to violin-and-purring-gothic-narration-type stuff. It works for me because I'm really a closet goth who listens to early Cradle Of Filth and actually thinks 'Funeral In Carpathia' is emotionally compelling, i.e., an overwrought bitch. That being said, MOST people seem to really like it; it's a standout track in My Dying Bride's history. Now, this would all be well and good if the rest of the album was just violins and sad narrations and romantic misery, but it's NOT: it's My Dying Bride attempting to be a doom metal band instead of sticking to the fruity but awesome melodies that they're so good at. And that is why this album fails.
Hell, that's probably why My Dying Bride fails so often as a band: they keep desperately clinging to the things they suck at out of some sort of nostalgia instead of just going for the gothic jugular that everyone else craves. This sucks, but 'For My Fallen Angel' is a great song, so download it (if you really care, buy it on Itunes or something) and play it like twenty times while you weep into your Hello Kitty comforter. It makes for a great evening.
Inspired, depressive, and interesting...not here
To begin with, I would just like to point out that this is My Dying Bride's most impressive album to date, and is easily their most original and interesting piece of work. Unfortunately, that is not saying much, considering MDB ranks just barely below Cradle of Filth on the gay-o-meter, and that is simply because Dani is about as flaming of a homosexual as they come. My Dying Bride, however, is notorious for producing what is without a doubt the most boring music in existence, and Like Gods Of The Sun is certainly no exception to this long-standing tradition of theirs.
It's not that My Dying Bride doesn't have instrumental talent, it's just that they have absolutely no songwriting skills whatsoever, and as a result, each song is exactly the same as the one before it, the one after it, and every other song on the CD, along with the rest of their releases (excluding "The Light At The End Of The World" which was spectacular). I'm not even kidding, and apparently, despite all the reviews to the contrary, there are a lot of likeminded people out there who feel that MDB is incapable of writing a different song. How they've managed to achieve the level of fame that they currently have remains a mystery.
The only interesting thing on Like Gods Of The Sun are some very-rare keyboard parts. And by "very-rare" I mean "the one in the middle of the first track and that's it." Martin Powell, known for his equally disastrous role in Cradle Of Filth (imagine that), does a spectacular job of either refusing to play, or refusing to play loud enough to be heard more than a tenth of the time. Sure, there are keyboards, but they're more or less unable to be heard, and on the rare (read: nonexistent) occasion that they are able to be heard, they just drone on endlessly, adding nothing at all to the music. The exception to this is in the title track, in which there are some nifty orchestral keyboard parts, but those are too few and too short as well.
The guitars, as always, do nothing but drone on and on with the same annoying, buzzing, tremolo picking from the beginning of each track until the end. There are no solos at all on the whole CD (understandable, considering they try to pass themselves off as funeral doom, but still), but the guitars are always there...droning...on and on...and on...and on... This would be ok, because MDB is quite clearly going for a depressing sound, but the only thing depressing about the music is the utter lack of originality, especially with the guitars. The obnoxious distortion that is thrown in at times does nothing but make the majority of the instrumentals feel even more arbitrary, because the focus of each song is obviously intended to be the lyrics, which are "sung" in the same annoying monotone as they are in virtually every other MDB track. The drums...are just there. Sometimes there is some double bass action which actually complements the guitars quite well, but this is never utilized properly, and the music refuses to do anything besides flatline into more tedium.
As with all other My Dying Bride releases, there is nothing memorable here, nor is there anything even depressing, which is the purpose of the band. The only thing notable about Like Gods Of The Sun is that some parts of some songs are accidentally catchy, and you'll often find yourself with an annoying chugga chugga riff stuck in your head for some time afterwards. Aside from the inadvertent catchiness of some of the tracks, the only thing worth mentioning is (once again) the keyboards in the first track.
If you're into drone doom, I suppose this album may interest you, because it's pretty much reminscent of early Sunn O))), but a bit faster and with a few instruments thrown in. And a whiny vocalist. So I suppose it's not really much like Sunn at all, except the mindless droning...
Avoid this album for your own good.
Like Opeth, whose main selling point has always been their stunning ability to interweave a myriad of styles and genres into each song, My Dying Bride have stood out because of their collision of doomy dirges, aggressive death work-outs, acoustic passages, and haunting violin/keyboard melodies. They pack an impressive variety of material into their albums, but it never sounds forced or unnatural.
It comes as a surprise, then, to hear that this trademark method is not employed on ‘Like Gods Of The Sun’. The most notable difference is the complete absence of any growled vocals. This time around, the aggression comes as Aaron spits out his bitter lyrics with contempt, never more evident than at the opening of ‘All Swept Away’:
“Sickness often, often attends me. I’m ruled by pain. Tortured memories burning my brain. Oh, make it end! Killed for nothing, killed by no one. I was just a boy, weak and lonely, cold and bloody.”
He hasn’t got any happier, then. As if reflecting the dismissal of vocal variation, the songs all sound surprisingly similar too. There is still the occasional break where the violin prevails, or a delicate melody is picked out on a guitar, but for the most part, the music is slow-to-mid-pace, alternating between typically melancholy riffs, and crunchier power chords.
There are highlights, ‘A Kiss To Remember’ and ‘For You’ stand out particularly, and every now and then there is a refreshing injection of energy, but these instances are few and far between. That is not to say that the album is boring (I sat and listened to it for over an hour, and enjoyed every minute of it), just less varied that we’re used to from this band.
Special mention must go to the drummer (Rick Miah, I believe, although the CD booklet provides no line-up details). His immaculate sense of rhythm and timing holds the whole album together without ever taking over. His accuracy is stunning, and some of his fills are awe-inspiring.
Overall, then, another good record from My Dying Bride. It’s no masterpiece, and the ghost of ‘Turn Loose The Swans’ is all over this album. It lacks its own distinct identity, and, as such, I would not advise newcomers to the band to start with this record. For existing fans, though, this is more than recommended.
As a longtime fan of this band I’ve never been able to understand why so many praise this album. Even after I initially bought I never thought of classifying this album among their best. Time has only served to reinforce my opinion of this album as MDB’s worst, even the experimental 34.788%…Complete fares better. Angel… saw this band enter a decline and nowhere is this decline more apparent that this over-praised album.
Like its predecessor, this album utilizes strictly clean vocals exclusively. Unfortunately, Aaron’s vocals sound lackluster and passionless, its almost as if he’s bored with the music he’s singing over and I can’t say I blame him. The album begins with a whimper: this title track has nothing memorable to offer us, a forgettable guitar riff at its core, organ-sounding keyboards in the chorus and before we know it the songs over. Needless to say, its critical that the opening song an any album be an attention-grabber and the fact that this disc opens with one of the most non-descript songs in the history of Doom-Metal doesn’t bode well.
A Dark Caress fares slightly better. It brings to mind some of the great MDB songs of old, without reaching that level. The guitar riffs meld well with the violin. But its bridge section, centered on Aaron’s spoken narration, weakens this song. This brings to the forefront one of the many weaknesses of this disc: the lyrics. Aaron spoke openly in interviews that he was in the midst of a writer’s block when this album was in its formative stages and it shows. Aaron is a very gifted lyric writer but some of his lyrics on this album are downright asinine, and this song in particular. Even worse, I think his block was contagious on the rest of the band, which I will delve into later.
All Swept Away is one of the most bizarre songs on this disc. Its full of elements that just don’t work together. The song begins briskly with an almost thrashy vibe but the furious drumming and riffing just doesn’t blend well with the violin melody floating overtop. The song mellows out in the middle and then finishes furiously again and this song doesn’t flow well. Many of the songs such as the title track and It Will Come seem downright redundant. The latter made even more so by the unjustifiable inclusion of its “remix” as a bonus track.
Another fatal flaw of this disc is the songwriting. Previously MDB had focused around writing epic-length songs. This is one of the elements that made them a premier band. On this disc the songs are shorter. That can be a benefit in certain cases but not here. The songs may be shorter but they aren’t any more captivating. The songs just come and go without any fanfare or anything to make them particularly memorable. Its like the band didn’t spend enough time writing these songs and hashing them out. The music is no longer grandiose; it’s just standard. On this album MDB sound like one of the countless clone bands they’ve inspired like Silentium or Ashes You Leave.
The ultimate indication of this album’s mediocrity is that it doesn’t contain any great songs. Some are good, most are passable and there aren’t any songs that leap out and scream masterpiece. The music isn’t bad per se but when you’ve set such a high standard previously lackluster material tends to stick out more. There is nothing on this disc that MDB hasn’t done before-and at a much higher quality.
Oh yes, sooner than you'd think!! But I'm sure by now the My Dying Bride formula for creating moody music is well known. Slow, heavy and gloomy guitars, excellent use of keyboards, violins, self-loathing vocals etc... but to any listener this album will more than pull its fair share of surprises. The album in general has a heavier, more produced guitar sound to it which essentially makes it their catchiest album to date. Less emphasis on brooding guitar melodies(ala Turn Loose The Swans) and more on crushing metal riffs. Case and point, the opening title track where there are a few riffs that maintain a heavy metal pace and aggressiveness.
They have also chosen to only use clean vocals on this album and I will go against the crowd and say this was a good idea. They have a few excellent albums with deathly vocals already and this album wouldn't quite be the same with that format. The vocals aren't what prevented this album from being one of MDB's best anyways. Lacked the memorable guitar harmonies of Turn Loose The Swans, the violins and sorrowful beauty of Angel and The Dark River.
Probably their first album in which you can certainly question whether or not My Dying Bride is departing from their trademark Doom sound. The production makes it seem not quite as dark or haunting as the previous releases and a bit more accessible but nonetheless I find it extremely enjoyable. They still have the memorable violin, keyboard melodies and the sorrowful art you come to expect from My Dying Bride. The guitars are faster and more chord based than ever before. I would go as far as saying songs like For You and more are even digestable for the casual music fan. This might not be the best in their catalogue, but for an introduction to the band this isn't such a bad choice. For the record, I feel everyone on the planet open to beautiful symphonic music should hear For My Fallen Angel.
Favorites : Like Gods of The Sun, A Kiss To Remember, All Swept Away, For My Fallen Angel
This is the first My Dying Bride album that I've listened to, and after the first listen I'm very impressed. The first thing that came to mind is that this is what real doom metal should sound like. The next thing that came to mind is that this is what Marylin Manson and all those like him try to sound like, except with a more "extreme" edge, which makes it sound like crap. What we have here is pure emotion flowing from every single note that is produced. This is exactly the kind of stuff you'd expect to hear at a sad point in a movie or a story.
The guitars have the most unique sound I've heard so far in doom metal. There are a fair amount of riff changes, while managing to keep consistency flowing and keep the listener interested. The singer doesn't sound too bad either; he reminds me of a much better Warrel Dane (without the retarded sounding voice). Part of what really gives this album a groovy feeling is the keyboard. The keyboards aren’t just randomly thrown in like with a lot of bands who use them.
The keyboard riffs are carefully placed, appropriately placed, and actually contribute to the good doomy sound of despair. This is the kind of band that would make you proud to use keyboards again. The three best instruments in this album are the guitars, the keyboards, and the vocals (yes, vocals are instruments too). Anyone who looks at this album cannot and should not expect a head-banging album (you wouldn't be looking at doom metal if that were the case); instead what you should expect is a high quality concert of pure emotion. This is the perfect kind of music to relax to, or listen to if you've had an emotionally stressful day.
I've never been much of a fan of doom metal, but this has changed my mind a bit. I'd recommend this highly to almost anyone, assuming you aren't the type of person who doesn't like anything slow. The music is slow, but slow doesn't mean it's boring. There is some intricate instrument work going on, and even if you don't like slower stuff, I'd still recommend at least a listen. The production and quality is top notch, definitely give it a listen if you haven't already.
I heard of My Dying Bride in a music magazine in the mid 90's after the name of my home town (Halifax) caught my eye. Seeing that this band were from just up the road I went and had a listen to "As the flower withers" and was blown away by the music that sent my ears on holiday. "The forever people" remains one of my favourite "...Bride" songs to this day.
But though I enjoyed that album a Hell of alot, this album, "Like Gods of the Sun" struck me a lot more. This was more what I imagined the Bride to be about. The doom metal sounds and brooding vocals in this album are amazing and songs, yes...SONGS, such as "For You" and "For My Fallen Angel" are so atmospheric, you simply have to hear them to believe them!
Though every Bride album I have ever listened to has been magnificent, this one is the most memorable for me, and is also the measuring stick for how I view other albums by Yorkshires best.....amazing CD...if you dont have it, youre missing out!
Another listen-and-weep production from the My Dying Bride back-catalogue, similar in style to 'Turn loose the swans' but still not the same. Lots of great riffing to be heard, moody keyboards, some violins here and there.. I've heard it before and sure as hell wanna hear it again.
A small downside though: this is one of the few albums where Aaron doesn't growl at all, and his whining clean voice isn't exactly my cup of tea. Although it isn't "bad" in any way, it doesn't do much for me either, except in a couple of places thanks to some straight-through-the-heart lyric line ("kiss me deep and love me forevermore..").
The quality overall is high standard, but in some places you just wanna say to them "ALRIGHT we get the bloody point!!", mainly in track 9 where it just gets too much melancholy for me to cope with. However, a couple of their best songs can be found here - "Like gods of the sun" and "Here in the throat".