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Good, but gets tiring quickly. - 80%

caspian, October 3rd, 2008

I was kind of expecting that by now MDB would be doing some extremely soggy gothic rock stuff; while I loved their first few albums it seemed that they were going to take a fairly logical (and disappointing) route to particularly whiney atmospheric rock. But it seems that somehow they've managed to mostly avoid those pitfalls, and what we have here is a pretty cool doom album with a tiny bit of goth, death, and cheese.

Well, it's not that cheesy, it's just that when Aaron sings he uses maybe four words, tops: Breast/Flesh/Pain/Love. Aaron, and I guess the rest of the band really, tread a fairly fine line here between over the top melodrama and genuine emotional impact. The whole seriousness of the thing does seem a bit unnecessary; I can imagine the band rocking up to the studio in suits and recording everything while just staring ahead and glaring at the walls. Whereas the earlier stuff had plenty of death-y parts where you could loosen up a bit, that's not really here, and it does get one-dimensional after a while.

It's still pretty cool though. Riffs abound and MDB seemed to have sorted out the occaisonal songwriting hiccups that they had in their earlier career. The slow motion weep fest of "L'Amour Detruit" is quite surprising in that it stays gripping and engrossing over the whole nine minutes; certainly that's something these guys have struggled with before. Indeed most of the tunes are fairly well written and arranged- tempos rise and fall, riffs (of slightly inconsistent quality, I'm afraid, a bit of unmemorable filler here) move around from teary doom trudges to some more midpaced, death-y riffs, and it's all done quite well (let's pretend the ending of the final song never happened, right?). While doom newbies may struggle a little bit with this most people should be able to handle it, and it's good to hear MDB throw in some small surprises -Love's Intolerable Pain's brief excursion into black metal, the surprisingly crushing album intro to the album, the fairly catchy, short doom excursion that's Thy Raven Wings this isn't the most progressive or surprising record but it's good that MDB have varied things up a bit throughout.

The mood of the thing is a little bit pointless and aggravating, though. MDB try to keep us as interested as possible, throwing in the occaisonal soaring synth and head-banging portions (the opening to Love's Intolerable Pain is quite the mid paced crusher), but the whole thing just has an extremely annoying "I have regret and I am crying" atmosphere, which while initially powerful and engrossing quickly outdoes its' welcome. I'd liken it to Xasthur or any of the depressive black metal bands- the atmosphere is done powerfully, but it's not really an atmosphere you want, especcially throughout a rather lengthy record. There's rarely any anger, just said regret and tears. Perhaps I'll need this record badly after I've broken up with someone, but until then the whole thing seems kind of pointless.

But while it may be a bit of a struggle to get through the whole album fact is that most of the songs are pretty good on their own. Aaron's vocals are a bit melodramatic, perhaps, and he'll never have the best tone in the world, but otherwise the band is tight and the songs are good, it just gets a little bit repetitive, that's all. Worth getting, I guess, because while it's quite repetitive the whole thing manages to balance the melancholy and the crushing riffage quite well.