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A Doomed Masterpiece - 100%

MDK, September 22nd, 2004

Formed in 1990, My Dying Bride is probably the most well known Doom Metal band of all time. With such monumental albums like “As The Flower Withers” or “Turn Loose The Swans”, the English act established as pioneers, giving birth, together with Anathema and Paradise Lost, to what would be labelled as Doom Death Metal.

The evolution since their first album has been mainly done by details that, in some ways, have changed their composition, but never affecting the incredible dark and depressive environment they always manage to create. “Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light” is the logical continuation of My Dying Bride’s career since 1999. “The Light At The End Of The World” saw the almost literal end of the violins, leaving more space for the keyboards to shine; the growls, absent for some albums, returned and the aggressiveness increased. “The Dreadful Hours” followed the same line. Now, this work continues having all those elements, but there are some slower songs, mostly with clean vocals and beautiful guitars, like “A Doomed Lover” and “My Wine in Silence”, that sound not just sad, but absolutely tragic.

The keyboards have their most influential role ever on My Dying Bride’s discography, sometimes giving that sound of “betrayed romance soundtrack”, like in the end of “The Prize Of Beauty” or pushing us heavily for suicidal tendencies (“The Scarlet Garden” for example).
Personally I think Aaron Stainthorpe is one of the best Metal vocalists, he can sing whatever he wants and always sound obscure and depressed. After all this time he manages to put out his best performance ever, using all of his experience and resources: enraged growls, whining vocals (those that almost make you cry on how much he seems to be suffering) and sometimes even very calm almost speaking his lyrics but with different tons on his voice, inspiring different feelings.

Besides being solid, diverse and interesting from the beginning until the end, there are some really memorable moments on this album: the initial part on “The Wreckage Of My Flesh” is very weird and brilliant at the same time, specially because it works so well as an introduction and fits the song; the brilliant changes in the middle of “The Scarlet Garden”; the whole “Catherine Blake”, a true anthem to everything the band represents; the creepy environment of “And My Fury Stands Ready” or even the emotionally brutal riffs on “A Doomed Lover”.

No review can prepare a person’s spirit to the sentimental rides My Dying Bride’s albums are, even if, like me, you are totally absorbed by their music. In conclusion “Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light” is perfect on everything, definitely one of the best albums they have done.