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Songs of Darkness... - 95%

Yoacs, September 23rd, 2006

Once again MDB changed, and changed for good. After the return to the growls (remember that The Angel and the Dark River, Like Gods of the Sun and 34, 788%... Complete avoided the rotten voices) with The light at the End of the World, Aaron and co. choose a mellower and not so dark path. With this release they changed that, maybe giving up some of the The Dreadful Hour kindness, may be putting aside the most Gothic metal side, to welcome back a really Dark/Doom metal style. The title of the album is representative of what come inside. They are really songs of darkness; in fact, this is the darkest work of the band ever.

The Wreckage of my Flesh is the first track and is the perfect example of the darkness of the album, with clean vocals all the way, but is slow and depressive, and this spirit goes on and on, from track to track giving lessons of “how to create dark and heavy moments” up to the end. The sound is really dull, like faded away giving an obscure atmosphere, specially the guitars, which are like violins from hell, really heavy. The work involved in the melodies, courtesy of Andrew Craighan and Hamish Hamilton Glencross, is brilliant as is costume. Shaun Taylor-Steels proved to be one of the most talented drummers in the Doom/Death metal scene, his drumming is very complex even in ordinary riffs, and it goes out of this world in the first and last tracks. Keyboards and bass guitar are a perfect complement, giving the solid core that this album has but with no special moments or solos, they just come with the music, what seems little but, given the spirit of the album Ade Jackson and Sarah Stanton made a terrific job.
The clean vocals sound like “disguised” under different effects, and the result of this is perfect, it’s like Aaron is singing inside a tomb, and the most important, it seems that he is learning how to manage his clean voice, creating different moments with just a phrase. In my opinion, the clean vocals play a less important role than in any other album (with the exception of As the Flowers Wither) but the technical work on them is greater than before. The growls are, as usual, awesome!

What calls the attention is the “ballad” of the album My Wine, In Silence, a very romantic, mellow song, with distorted guitars just at the end, even though it is a heavy song may be due to the dark atmosphere it has, or may be for the simple and sad guitar melody, anyway, is a great song. The lyrics in general are very poetic and all have been conceived perfectly for the climate of each song, they bring romantic and tragic images in the low tunes, and are rage full in the heaviest, like in The Blue Lotus or And My Fury Stands Ready. If I have to define this album in one phrase, I would say: they are Songs of Darkness with Words of Light. And if you ask me if this is the final masterpiece of MDB, I would say no, each album is masterpiece, all of them have one thing or another that makes them great and unique, this time that thing is darkness.