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My Dying Bride - The Light At The End Of The World - 80%

ConorFynes, December 9th, 2011

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.