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Turn Loose The Swans - 91%

torn, May 1st, 2005

My Dying Bride are one of those bands that, like Opeth, seem to loathe the idea of actually ending a song. Even the mostly instrumental opening track draws close to eight minutes in length. A problem? Not when the songs are crafted as well as those contained on Turn Loosed The Swans. The music here is mesmerising, alternating between soaring beauty, pummelling aggression and suicidal melancholy, and often managing all three at once.
It must be said that it is hard to pick out any particular highlights, as this works as an album rather than seven separate songs. The one exception is 'The Crown Of Sympathy', the album's desolate centrepiece, which is enough to take the smile off the face of someone who has just won the lottery. It is a woeful abyss of haunting, funeral march riffs, painfully slow drumming, and vocals that are so lifeless they sound like a desperate cry from beyond the grave.
Across the whole album, it's the variation that raises this above other misery - metal outfits. Not content to merely wallow in grief all the time, there is a fair bit of anger to be found here as well.
Also worthy of mention are Aaron's exquisite lyrics. With lines such as "We dance and the music dies", and "Couple your name with cruelty, the mother of dying children", he creates a darkly romantic yet desperately bitter atmosphere. If hearts could speak, they would sing these songs as they break.