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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”.