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I'm not going to make this an involved and detailed review, because at this point in their career, it's hard to give a fuck about My Dying Bride much at all as they put out album after album of mind-numbing gothic doom/death that never seems to get better or worse, but just kind of bask in its mediocrity like an anole in the noonday sun. 'The Dreadful Hours' is an amazing achievement for the band because it manages to have two songs with memorable riffs instead of the one that the band usually averages per album. The rest is, of course, really, really boring, plodding doom/death that goes absolutely nowhere though taking enormous amounts of time to do it. This music is more static than the average The Ethereal song. Christ.
The two good songs are 'A Cruel Taste Of Winter' and 'My Hope, The Destroyer'. They're the most obviously poppy and unmetal, so they're the best. The rest of the album seems to be My Dying Bride attempting to channel the 'magic' of 'As The Flower Withers' with all the other tracks by playing a similar style of agonizingly boring doom/death, just without the unique atmosphere that made their first LP kind of worthwhile. This doesn't have atmosphere, it's just boring. Doom/death for the Hot Topic crowd. The two good songs, though, are pretty entertaining. 'A Cruel Taste Of Winter' has some charming verses and a decent main melody line, even though, in true My Dying Bride style, they decide to cock it up by throwing in a growled-vocal bridge with 'heavy' riffs which ruins the otherwise perfectly fine sad/gay atmosphere that the track was cultivating. 'My Hope, The Destroyer' is the best because it can actually move moderately fast (yeah yeah defeats the purpose of being doom, I don't care) and comes up with riffs and silly violin lines that make me want to curl up with a teddybear and cry.
The rest of this sucks though. Amazingly, the next best track is a rerecording of 'The Return To The Beautiful', which at least has spirit even if it's musically not THAT interesting. It's somehow better than the original version; less ponderous for some reason. Anyway, a lot of the stuff here is just embarrassing: I'd say this is the point where Stainthorpe's lyrics just become unbearably fucking painful and borderline incoherent, like he just slapped as much 'sad imagery' together as he could while in the studio. They're horrible, every song. So are most of the riffs, like the band just picked some notes and made annoyingly bombastic chords out of them. The music is incoherent and has barely any structure because the musicians just don't care about making songs with actual ideas behind them. 25% listenability is a BAD PERCENTAGE.