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A long time ago, I didn't like My Dying Bride. Everytime I pop this CD in, I wonder what the hell was wrong with me. This disc is simply a masterpiece of grief. When you're depressed, listen to this. You'll think they wrote it just for you. From killer vocals to violin, this CD has it all.
Yeah, the violin. If MDB is famous for something, it's for having a live violin player on their earlier albums. And, while he's not there all that much, it's the moments when that piercing sound comes that you really know that this CD is something. The openning song is, in fact, just violin and keyboard, so you get a taste right at the beginning. However, at times the violin sounds a bit keyboard-esque, so it makes me wonder...
The riffs on this album are for the most part incredibly solid, very emotional, and at times beautiful. The guitar when the vocals start in Your River is enough to make someone cry, I think. However, at times the riffs seem uninspired. On what I consider the worst track on the album, Turn Loose the Swans (i.e. the title track), the guitar riffs are just kinda... there. They get better near the end of the song, however. The riffs on this album go between heavy, slow power chords, and some beautifully picked slow (though often times still super distorted) parts, mixed in with some off riffs that one would be likely to find in a prog metal band, rather than just a doom metal band. Hrm, maybe that means something about MDB.
Aaron's vocals are something people either love or hate. On this album, I love them. His clean vocals are deep, not whiney, but still very powerful. His growls are sharp, intense, and convey the contrast between the beauty and harshness perfectly. The lyrics are... odd. Most of it seems to just be stream of consciousness, not really having coherence, but it somehow fits within the contexts of the songs.
I must make a quick metion of the drums, which I find quite enjoyable. Well played, and precise (precision is incredibly important when the music is this slow!). Their production is slighly weird however, and they can sound oddly like a person shouting... but maybe that's only me.
Simply put, this album is the epitome of doom, of depression, of beauty. If you want a good doom album, this is it. Beautiful, and dark... nothing is better!