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I am going to expound two theories about My Dying Bride, using the album 'The Light at the End of the World' as evidence. Both theories are my own, and I'm not sure if they are true. The first theory regards the career trajectory of MDB, which progressed rapidly upwards until 'Turn Loose the Swans' was released, then sank, slowly at first, then suddenly with the terrible 'Like Gods of the Sun', and has been creeping back ever since, sometimes gaining ground, sometimes losing ground. My theory is that Bride have been a very different band ever since they dropped the word death from the doom death equation in 1995, and, when I say a different band, I mean a worse band. There has not been a sense of danger or torture or surprise for many a year, not until the unexpected EP 'The Barghest of Whitby' dropped in 2011, and albums have wallowed in general mediocrity.
That isn't to say that the atmosphere has disappeared from Bride's compositions, because I would say that the songs are packed with atmosphere to such an extent that we sometimes forget that a new MDB album should be anything more than a sense of place and a strong emotion - it should have musical definition. I don't say this without any evidence either: remember 'The Dreadful Hours', which started with sounds of falling rain and ended with the band's most famous epic redone and repainted, though contained few riffs between them; remember 'Songs of Darkness, Words of Light', which packed in so much creepy ambience and thunderstruck paralysis that it forgot to actually finish its songs; what about 'Evinta', which was an exercise in pure atmosphere without any Bride at all? This album - 'The Light...' - fares slightly better than the last two of those examples, since there is a fair bit of songwriting going on, but there are moments when I wonder if the band is going to turn into "Storytime with Aaron Stainthorpe (with backing provided by his band)". This is especially the case with the longer songs, when it feels like the story is carrying the music on rather than the other way round. The title track, musically, is worth about two or three minutes at most, but the plot carries it past ten, so it's only interesting the first time when listening with the lyrics.
Returning to the slump that MDB experienced in the mid to late 90s, doesn't 'The Light...' just feel like a big reaction to the two previous albums? The hit and miss experimentalism of '34.788%...Complete' is thoroughly effaced here, with no sign of anything but authentic doom metal and a touch of death in the faster moments and with Stainthorpe's vocals. The return of death metal vocals is itself a big move: having vanished for the past three albums, there are a few nasty sections where growls dominate and heaviness is the mission, though Stainthorpe's harsh voice is changed, with a higher-pitched snarl that sounds weak compared to his early 90s roar. The guitarists do a vastly improved job on almost every song, using a familiar yet revamped twin guitar riff and melody assault that marks this album more strongly than anything else, setting mournful moods and winding a path round some otherwise standard drum work. They also inject some much-needed vitriol to an otherwise dreary sound, coming up with some semi-death riffs on 'She Is the Dark' and 'The Fever Sea', which reminds me a little of 'The Forever People' on Bride's debut (the songs share similar functions in otherwise slow albums), though I slightly prefer the style of this song. Mid-paced chugs are also a favourite; however, the production keeps them restrained and more supportive than focal. The general pace is very slow and the scale is often epic, which answers the criticism made of 'Like Gods of the Sun' that the songs were short of length and short on riffs. Three songs make it past 10 minutes and only two last for less than 6, so there's more than 70 minutes to slog through, which is almost certainly too much.
We have hopefully come to the point in this review where any attentive reader is asking: didn't he say he had two theories about MDB? When is he going to introduce the second? Well, you're in luck. The second theory is perhaps a little odd, but it goes something like this: MDB can only write a good song if it is 7 minutes long or exceeds 12 minutes in length. Now, this sounds fucking stupid, right? Song length does not affect the quality of the music in that song, does it? Let's look back. Best song from '34.788%...Complete'? 'The Whore, the Cook and the Mother'. Length: 12 minutes. Best song from 'Like Gods of the Sun'? 'A Kiss to Remember'. Length: slightly exceeds 7 minutes. Best from 'The Angel and the Dark River'? Probably 'Your Shameful Heaven'. Length: 7 minutes. What about 'Turn Loose the Swans'. Hmm, three very strong songs clocking in at 7 minutes, and one excellent 12 minute song. And the debut had 'The Return of the Beautiful', a 13 minute epic. Let me quantify what a good song is before you claim that this is all bullshit. I mean that those songs are good for their entire length, and that they hold together as a composition, instead of having great individual parts, like many Bride songs do. With this condition, I think my hypothesis has a ring of truth about it. And, as an extension of that hypothesis, we must assume that the best songs on 'The Light...' are the two 7 minutes songs, 'Into the Lake of Ghosts' and 'The Isis Script'.
This very basic logic comes surprisingly close to the truth. Those two songs are standout tracks, though I might not go ahead and say they are necessarily the best. They are the most shocking songs on here (the speed of 'The Fever Sea' too, I guess) because they both have - gasp! - memorable choruses. If you are wondering whether I just made a typo, you read that right; there are two songs with choruses on a MDB album, and those are choruses with words, although 'Lake of Ghosts' has different lyrics for each chorus. I rate them highly because they both have a little urgency about them in these sections, even if the rest of the song trudges like pallbearers anyway. I'm also a big fan of the closing 'Sear Me III', which is supposedly harking back to the other 'Sear Me' songs, though has little in common but for a vaguely familiar melody and the lyric about "meadows of heaven where we ran". It creeps along at snail's pace and twists its melodious riff around a vocal that actually sounds great instead of passable, with gentle harmonies struggling against the guitar tide. Of the epics, I vastly prefer 'Christliar', which has its shit together more than the other long songs, and boasts perhaps the single best riff of the album near its beginning. None of the songs are entirely awful, but the album would probably benefit from losing something like 'The Night He Died' and having the lyrics of the title track printed as a poem in the booklet instead of used in a song.
In the long string of MDB albums, 'The Light...' stands somewhere in the middle of everything. The sound is not so elaborate as some of the other albums, yet with a basic template the band produced a complex and sprawling work that can capture the listener for its length without giving in to cheesiness or forgetting about songs. The performances are not perfect and some of the songs feel a little disconnected, but we end up with a worthy album that paved the way to recovery after several rocky years.
Doom is alive. After '34.788% Complete', My Dying Bride had raised some eyebrows, with some fans even being led to believe that the band had finally lost their marbles. What better thing for the band to do then, than to return to what they did best, being epic hymns of emotionally powerful gothic doom metal. 'The Light At The End Of The World' could be said to be an album where the band tries to give their fans more of what they want, but they certainly have not sold out. Instead of the total return to form that some fans were expecting with this album, there is a more melodic vibe on the album, without losing any of the sense of despair that they so expertly crafted with their early material.
The title track from 'The Light At The End Of The World' was the first thing I had ever heard from My Dying Bride, and I will say with conviction that it is still my most beloved track by them to date. Although there are quite a few other excellent pieces on the album, the title track here is on another level altogether, while still presenting everything that the album represents. There are doomy riffs and highly melodic playing on the lower register of the guitar, brooding drums and symphonic keyboards to add a sense of added eerieness, class, and atmosphere. Leading this sombre mix are Aaron Stainthorpe's clean vocals, which- quite like the guitars- are in a lower register, and full of melancholic sadness. The lyrics reflect the feel of the music naturally, and with the title track, it paints a devastating psychological fantasy of a man tending a lighthouse, completely alone. He is given the chance from a god to see his lost love for a single night again, only to find she has disappeared once again in the morning. It is a fairly simple story, but the way it is told through the music makes it one of the greatest love stories i have ever heard.
The other tracks here are admittedly less powerful for me after having developed such a strong connection to that one piece, but there are plenty of great things here. 'Edenbeast', 'Sear Me III' and 'The Isis Script' are all songs that also stand out, and while the songwriting is something that I would come to expect from My Dying Bride, it is done beautifully. It should be mentioned though that the songwriting is not perfectly consistent, with tracks like 'Christliar' feeling a little recycled and underwhelming, if only for the fact that it pales in the greatness of the other things that the album offers. One thing that could have been changed here however is the length of the album. In general, I would tend to favour brevity rather than something being too long, and due to the fact that most of the music here keeps the melancholic downtempo metal fairly stable in style, it can tend to feel overdrawn, even if there is good quality in the music all the way through. Besides that, 'The Light At The End Of The World' is a fantastic album for My Dying Bride, and even for its title track alone, I would recommend it to any lover of melancholic, yet heavy music.
The “comeback” album is always an interesting one in a bands career. Often after experimenting with other artistic directions, many fans will cry “sell-out!,” on their once favorite band and swear that they will not buy their future releases and even go as far as to say that they never enjoyed the bands previous output in the first place. But like an abusive relationship, once the band declares, “I swear I’ve changed…things will be like the used to be..,” the fan goes running back into the bands clutches, praising this changed band as if they never had done such a horrible deed as progress their sound in the first place.
In the case of My Dying Bride, their sixth album “The Light at the End of the World” is seen as this comeback. After their experimental “34.788%” album, “The Light at the End of the World” saw them returning to their basic doom sound, and more importantly bringing back the oh so popular harsh vocals the band had abandoned on 1995’s “The Angel and the Dark River”. The fans were ecstatic with this “return to form”, but was it really that good? Well yes and no.
“The Light at the End of the World” is a good album, but compared to the quality of other releases, it comes off as just standard in comparison. The album does open strongly with the classic track “She is the Dark”, a song that truly captures the essence of My Dying Bride, dark yet beautiful. The interplay between the harsh and clean vocals, the menacing main riff and the cold sounding synth all sum up what made all their post-“Like Gods of the Sun” material so special. The album keeps strong with the very eerie track, “Edenbeast”.
But once the album hits the third track, “The Night He Died”, the quality starts to drop a little. While it is not a bad song by any means, it is just follows the My Dying Bride to safely and feels like filler. Strangely, the title track, while quite lengthy and monotonous, is actually quite compelling on its first few listens due to the narrative quality of the lyrics, but after those first few listens it starts to grow thin.
The album does pick up with the following three tracks (with “Into the Lake of Ghosts” coming a close second to “She is the Dark” for the title of best song on the album), but after this curve up in quality it comes to a screeching halt once the last few notes of “The Isis Script” drift away. The eighth track, “Christliar”, is just a tedious and unremarkable, while the final track “Sear Me III” is not so much bad as it is unnecessary; as it is the third time they have remade the song.
“The Light at the End of the World” is a bit of a mixed bag. While it does host some truly marvelous moments (She is the Dark, Edenbeast, Into the Lake of Ghosts, The Isis Script, and even the title track to a degree), it does have its fair share of mediocrity. All in all though, the good does outweigh the bad but don’t go into this expecting a “Turn Loose the Swans” or “The Dreadful Hours”.
This is the only My Dying Bride album that I have heard to date, and I like it a lot. I like the depressing atmosphere it gives off and how this album is nothing but doom metal.
The vocals are one of the best aspects of the album. Aaron Stainthorpe and his black style shrieks and his doom growls, and the transaction between clean and harsh vocals is spaced out a bit by like ten seconds minimum so there aren’t and weird vibes when he switches styles. The vocals have a droning feature to them in the first three songs or so and that kind of irks me a bit, but I can let it slide because it’s only for about a minute.
The guitars are both good and bad. They have a low tune and are fairly heavy throughout, but they use those chugging riffs in most of the songs if not all at one point or another, and the bass just follows the guitar part in chugging riff songs. The low guitar tune and Aaron’s vocals over them however help in this factor.
The lyrics and the emotion they give off is the best part in the album to me. You can really hear the depressing and sorrowful vibe Aaron gives off every time he sings either with a growl or a moan, and the BM shrieks he gives off in the songs increase the intensity and the atmosphere of the song.
This is great atmospheric style doom metal. I know this is the only album from them that I had heard but I still love it. I want to hear their last album 34.788%... Complete now due to the fact that it is in a different direction than this one or something like that. Although if it’s different I don’t think I would like it as much, but you never know how these things go now do you.
Whenever (if ever) a band decides to branch out and experiment be it for one album or forever, there is always a backlash. MDB experienced this when they released the brilliant but highly controversial record '34.788% Complete'. This album, while retaining the bands Doom Metal edge, enormously expanded on their already original sound. The hostility that it met (and sadly still gets) apparently caused the band to do a 180 as 'The Light at the End of the World' is perhaps a better follow up to 'Turn Loose the Swans' then say the aforementioned.
The production is a little thin, but better than the bands earlier works. There is a lot of repetition on here by way of the same riffs being rehashed continually in every song. From a droning/Doom aspect this isn't that bad. However, from a musical standpoint this gets tiresome as many of the songs aren't flushed out to what they could've been.
The guitars are fairly heavy and they continue the bands trademarked style of melancholy and woe. The tapestry that they, along with more distant keyboards create is very bleak. There is a lot of crunch in them as well. While the lack of solos is felt, it doesn't detract from the over all vibe. As stated above, there is a lot of repetition in the riffs, but in most instances the riffs are played differently each time. They might first play it open chorded, or one fingered, on the following parts they would palm mute or chord. They also play with varying tempos, to a degree at least. Thankfully, they don't sound as boring as they did on the bands first 3-4 albums. The bass does nothing note worthy aside from following the guitars.
The drums are good, but not as subtle in their nuances as on previous efforts. This isn't to say that they are bland, but they do go stale on more than one occasion. The keyboards are very much an after thought and have a minuscule roll in each composition.
The vocals are pretty good, certainly one of Aaron's better vocal deliveries. He sings/speaks clean for a little more than half the album but he does blend his grim vocals well with his cleans. He has more of a blackish rasp as opposed to his normal guttural Death growls. All in all, not much to complain about from his department.
The lyrics are very deep and dramatic, how personal they are is another matter entirely. They more than add to the somewhat haunted atmosphere.
The band has said both good and bad things about this as it is more of a step backward than forward, but considering the (unwarranted) fan backlash from this albums predecessor '34.788% Complete' the band did what they felt was necessary to "clear their good names". In saying that, its not a true 180 however as there are some new ideas present.
This can either be seen as sheer brilliance from one of the forefathers of the Doomdeath movement, or one of the best sleeping pills you could ever hear. Either way this is certainly something for the true MDB fan as well as someone new to their majesty.
Here it is. One of the greatest doom albums ever written. This album has misery written all over it. It will remind you why we're all miserable, why we suffer and will not answer any questions. It will leave you as it grasped you.
My Dying Bride has beed one of the founders of the doom/death hybrid back in the early 90s. With such releases as 93's "Turn Loose the Swans" and 92's "As the Flower Withers" they annouced the intonation of pain, suffering and true beauty translated into music. After the somewhat experimental "34.788%... Complete", they have decided one year later, to get back on track. With "The Light at the End of the World" they have certainly succeeded.
The deep tuning and heavy guitar riffs accompany you through the whole album. Slow, melancholic riffs filled with eagerness remind you of that time in your life when you wanted to escape but couldn't find the right door. When you were trapped in negative emotions such as an unrequited love, helplessness or ire. My Dying Bride have also succeeded in creating an unique atmosphere of torment and unclear illusions. It induces cloudy figures as it sends you on a journey through ambiguous sceneries and introduces you to odd characters and eerie places. Listening to tracks such as "She is the Dark", the first thing that comes into mind is the gnostic poem "The Thunder, Perfect Mind", which talks about the nature of femininity and its paradoxical statements. Another example for the eerieness is "Edenbeast", which clearly describes the paradoxical existance of ferociousness inside our association of an "ideal world". So much for the philosophical part.
The music itself is as doomy and melancholic as the lyrical concepts. We have everything here; slow rythm drumming, tearing guitar riffs, aswells als slow sluggish ones. But the thing that amazes me the most on this record are, as always, Aaron Stainthorpe's vocal duties. This man sounds so tormented and done with life. He does a very good job in adopting his experiences and woe into the music.
I recommend this album to everyone interested in music and extreme emotions with great lyrical concepts and slow, but very catchy melodies.
My Dying Bride have returned to their old style of doom/gothic metal with Light At The End of The World but with a much different sound incorporating many influences they have attained in their musical journey. Back FINALLY are the growled/shrieked vocals as well as the melodic croons which have always been a trademark. They had experimented with clean vocals and to various points of accessibility but am glad they realized it was time to return to their heavier side. One regret is the departure of the violin which has been a trademark of My Dying Bride for sometime. The keyboards provide plenty of excellent atmosphere but really falls a bit short of what violin can accomplish. The guitars are easily one of their best performances. Recalling the outstanding Turn Loose The Swans melodies, the aggression of Like Gods of The Sun without straying too much from what makes MDB! DOOM!
Fortunately in my case, they managed to go back to their old style in making
an album sound quite different from Turn Loose the Swans. The black metal shrieks, lack of violin and increase guitar chugging(this is doom heh) are definetly reasons for this. I am also under the impression MDB have modernized their sound somewhat(more on The Dreadful Hours) as well. To be honest this was one of the last My Dying Bride albums I have gotten into and I regret dismissing this as a poor man's Dreadful Hours to this day. It is another slice of doom metal carved by undoubtedly one of the masters.
In my opinion the album falters a bit in the middle/end of the album but only because the opening pieces are executed masterfully. They have done better granted but this album is of excellent quality, worthy of any MDB collection and isn't that far off from their best work.
She is The Dark is eerie and surprisingly aggressive riffage for these legendary doomsters. My Dying Bride do an excellent job of mixing the tempo up in this song in particular. The chugging riffs are present with some great guitar melodies to set a great atmosphere with the help of keyboards(almost ala Turn Loose The Swans).
Edenbeast: Possibly MDB's best lead guitar melody ever opens this song with very soft but fitting keyboards setting an unquestionably addictive atmosphere which never really lets go. They switch tempos often with many excellent guitar melodies/keyboards but is not entirely doomish. Much slower than She Is The Dark and the brooding sadness is still present and the focus. Easily one of the standout songs on the album and one of my personal favorites.
The Night He Died is a solid track. One of my least favorites but not necessarily filler material. Mostly lacks of atmosphere and not nearly as memorable as the previous two tracks. Feels like its missing something musically.
The Light At The End of The World: Excellent keyboards to start the song followed by the doomiest passage thus far of the album. One thing also noticed is the extensive use of clean vocals. At least they keep it doom worthy filled with great leads although the sorrow tinged keyboards dominate this song. Pure melancholic darkness. Oh I love it! Favorite on the album and top five MDB song imo! So great it feels only 10 minutes doesnt do justice.
The Fever Sea: Starts off kicking your ass with shrieking vocals and chugging guitar riffs after the very dark, haunting and softer Light at the end of the world. Very well placed song which is undoubtedly one of their least atmospheric pieces but fans of aggressive, intense music will surely enjoy this. Great song, middle of the road on this album for lack of atmosphere.
Into The Lake of Ghosts is an excellent track with great atmospheric guitar melodies, crushing riffs and classic MDB crooning but where are the keyboards? It could have been better. Perhaps done to prevent the album from repeating itself? Dahwell, still excellent and worth more listens.
The Isis Script: At this point the formula is becoming clear but the sound remains fresh and the atmosphere is still intact with well played guitar riffs, tempo changes and timely keyboard fills. Focus on Strainthorpe's clean vocals with a decent amount of trademark MDB growling. Another great song by MDB but there are others where they have done this better.
Christliar: Begins very guitar driven and rather mid tempo for MDB standards. Gradually develops into the patented slow lead guitar melody/atmospheric keyboard approach which has worked excellently all album and throw a few interesting change ups to make the song really good and not predictable. On the top end of songs in my opinion.
Sear me III: By now most MDB fans have heard one of the many versions of this piece of beauty. This happens to be one of my favorites on here Full of beauty, sorrow, hope and desolation at the same time better than ever on this album. When a song can use such instruments to derive such strong emotions you know it is very well done. Excellent and a standout(as are most)
Favorites: She Is The Dark, Edenbeast, The Light at The End of The World, Sear Me III
This symphonic boil of brooding vocals, middle-eastern breakdowns and haunting Sabbath-cops is a adventure to leave on the headphones as you drift into your pleasent nightmares for the evening. This happens to be one of my favorite CD's by this strange act.
Overall the CD has many key tracks like the drifting "Christliar" and the symphonic slam of "She is the Dark" mixed with epic "end of the world" styled pieces like "A Light at the End of the World".
The lyrics are among the best the band has spewed forth, the guitars moan and groan with an almost cartoonish grief to compliment the choirs and stunning artwork that hits the package.
This is a solid, doomy, sparse and often stunning effort from a band surviving so many line-up struggles (not to mention recovering from a poorly executed record one previous.)
After the ill-received 34.788% Complete, My Dying Bride decided to give in and make what the fans wanted: an album with growls and heavy parts, like their legendary "Turn Loose the Swans". Of course, they didn't completely give in. This album is so much more than the slugdy, groove-based death-doom of their first two albums. It's a mix of everything they've done before, and then some.
The first thing you may notice about this album is that it's not very heavy. Sure, there are muted low-end power chords and whatnot, but the guitar tone itself is more of an ethereal, dreamy affair. This can be a bit grating at first (during the "heavy" parts, anyway), but it works wonders with the notes they're playing most of the time.
Most of the songs are based on a mix of the atmosphere of "Angel and the Dark River" and the harmonies of "Like Gods of the Sun", with some grunts and growls at times--though there are some moments that genuinely sound like the first two albums, most notably the 10-minute monster "Christliar".
While I rarely care about lyrics, I have to mention them here--this album displays the best lyrics I've ever read/heard. Check out "Into the Lake of Ghosts" or the title track to see what I mean.
Lastly, this album closes with "Sear Me III". This is the greatest song ever recorded. It is yearning in sonic form.
While I have nothing but praise for this album, there can only be one greatest album ever, so this is #2. I would rank the songs, but aside from putting Sear Me III on top and She Is the Dark on bottom, I've no idea what order to put them in. So just listen to any two songs to sample this album, then buy it. (Assuming you even remotely like atmospheric metal, anyway.)
Generally, MDB are one of my favorite bands. I personally think "Turn Loose the Swans" and "The Angel and the Dark River" are two of the best and most important goth/doom albums ever. But this album is a collosal disappointment. I really hoped for more when buying it, especially when being told by some that it was a return to form after the more experimental "34.788%... Complete." Perhaps it is a return to form in some ways, in that they returned a bit to their old style, but it is nowhere near the quality of old. The songs are boring, the riffs are uninteresting, and Aaron's vocals seem almost forced, and not anywhere close to his old greatness. The only songs that I thought were really noteworthy were "Into the Lake of Ghosts" and "The Fever Sea" (which is really only good because it does not go on long enough to get as boring as some of the other songs). I'm only thankful that the album was followed by The Dreadful Hours, as that was a true return to form and a wonderful album, but that's a tale for another review.