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My Dying Bride > Like Gods of the Sun > Reviews > colin040
My Dying Bride - Like Gods of the Sun

Perfectly alright - 75%

colin040, November 20th, 2023

I’m not a My Dying Bride expert by any means, but I’ve got the idea that Like Gods of the Sun remains one of their most underrated records and I’m not sure why. In a way, this sounds like a continuation of the gothic/doom territory that the band discovered one year prior and it’s clearly got its moments. It’s somewhat heavy (meaning: guitar-orientated), even if the drums remain steady and the vocals remain clean. The artwork doesn’t look too promising – I had preferred a picture of gods and a sun over a butterfly on a cross, whereas the song titles are somewhat predictable, if nothing unusual for this band.

I used to believe that Like Gods of the Sun was basically an inferior copy of The Angel and the Dark River, but over time, I’ve got to know better. For starters, the performances make a difference for the best. Aaron keeps it clean in the vocal department, but no longer goes for a one dimensional nasal whine like he did on ‘The Cry of Mankind’ – making him sound far more expressive on an emotional level. The guitarists allow Like Gods of the Sun to remain fairly heavy and have a variety of bag of tricks part of their repertoire. Think of chugging riffs and spellbinding melodic motives and by using faster tempos to their advantage, ‘Here in the Throat’ turns in a dangerous guitar-driven weapon of doomy gothic heaviness. Violins remain sparsely used and mood-wise even these have their moments of brilliance. Listening to the eerie introduction of ‘The Dark Caress’ makes me think of a howling wolf during a full moon night; it adds a grim touch to the track and briefly reminds me of As the Flower Withers.

Compared to The Angel and the Dark River, Like Gods of the Sun sounds stripped-down in the writing department. Generally, these compositions progress smoothly and rely on a simplistic verse / chorus formula and with the exception of the non-metallic ‘For My Fallen Angel’, the album doesn’t have any big surprises in store. If you’ll enjoy the grinding rhythmic attack of the title track, you’ll most likely enjoy the hefty pam muted-orientated intent of ‘The Dark Caress’ and almost every other tune. Positive exceptions to the rule include ‘Grace Unhearing’, which is built on a foundation of more melodic guitar licks and ‘A Kiss to Remember’, which features a wailing guitar lead that keeps coming back with decent, if passive results. That said, neither of these tracks stick in my mind for too long and it’s not until the near-finish that you’ll stumble upon an actual classic My Dying Bride track. ‘Here in the Throat’ starts off with some eerie noise that promises yet another mid-paced stomping gothic affair, but it quickly launches into cannon shot of a riff; but doesn’t forget about the benefits of melodic guitar lines and atmospheric violins.

Just like the best track on the record appears near the end, the same could be said about he the two worst two and I can’t help but find this unintentionally amusing. ‘For You’ repeats this dull guitar motif that’s hardly emotionally evocative and even if the surrounding riffs have some fire to them, this is a bit of an annoyance. I’m also not completely convinced by ‘For My Fallen Angel’ – which sounds like a throwback to the non-metallic ideas that appeared on Turn Loose the Swans; making a deep dive into melancholic landscapes of mourning violins and spoken clean vocals.

I like to think of Like Gods of the Sun as something perfectly alright. On one hand, there are no clumsy tracks such as ‘The Cry of Mankind’ or ‘Black Voyage’ present, but on the other hand, the lack of supreme highlights like ‘A Sea to Suffer In’ and ‘Your Shameful Heaven’ are a bit of a disadvantage. Overall, I enjoy Like Gods of the Sun a tiny bit more than The Angel and the Dark River and much more than the experimental 34.788%... Complete that My Dying Bride would soon follow up with.