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Mellower..but incredibly emotional - 90%

bagingkle, September 16th, 2006

My Dying Bride return with the follow up to Songs of Darkness, Words of Light, which was a somewhat inconsistent/average release in my opinion, lacking a unique identity and only achieving a high level of quality on just a few tracks. Upon first hearing "A Line Of Deathless Kings" I was surprised and a little dissapointed to hear no death vocals (other than a few background screams) until the 6th track, Love's Intolerable Pain. However, after listening to this CD several times, I am amazed at how beautiful and unique this is. There are very few traces of the aggression from the Dreadful Hours here, but in its place is a somber, convincing, and grief stricken performance by frontman Aaron which surpasses anything he has done in the past and a noticeable progression by the band. Aaron's voice has never sounded more amazing....he does some singing here which includes some of the most haunting and heartbreaking moments in the history of this band. His voice is stronger, his vibrato and range is improved tenfold, and vocal harmonies appear consistently, and he employs some interesting and highly memorable melodies, which all but renders the (for the most part) absence of death vocals meaningless, that is how good he is here. The music is equal parts excellent melodic guitar harmonies, which also come across as more heartfelt and convincing than in years, a heavy Candlemass/Like Gods Of the Sun style of riffing (more of a true doom style), your typical doom/death sections which are very dark, and some great experimentation on a large protion of the songs (this is easily their most unique record since 34% but it is not like that record at all...has a few elements of it but is firmly rooted in MDB darkness). There is also a noticeable change in the style of drumming at times compared wiht the last release which does work well. There are absolute gems in the songs in To Remain Tombless, I Cannot Be Loved, L'Amour Detruit, Thy Raven Wings (I almost weep every time I hear this track when the vocals come in...amazing), and Deeper Down. My only complaint with this CD is a few riffs I do not care for at the beginning of The Blood, The Wine, The Roses, Love's Intolerable Pain, and One of Beauty's Daughters (a little too "rockin" for me) but otherwise these tracks are good and this is a band reinventing themselves while also staying true to their inherent sense of sorrowful doom. Absolutely fantastic stuff here, and by far their most unique CD since 34%.