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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.