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My Dying Bride gone soft??? AMAZING!!! - 93%

WitheringToSerenity, September 5th, 2004

Now I'm not saying this in any offense. Most doom bands that sacrifice their most extreme elements of their music are labelled sellouts instantaneously. But The Angel and The Dark River from My Dying Bride is easily one of their best efforts from one of the most consistent bands of the 90's. The doom juggernaught explore paths as dark and sorrowful as ever before just without any death-ish vocals. You are treated to Strainthorpe's deep, tortured but clean vocal approach, brooding yet incredible guitar harmonies and some of the best keyboard and violin parts My Dying Bride have ever done. As far as this reviewer is concerned the atmosphere on this album has and will never be surpassed by My Dying Bride.

From the hypnotic opening riff and gorgeous keyboard lines of The Cry of Mankind. The soft and downright miserable(good thing) opening of From Darkest Skies with a very memorable violin/bass section. The album proceeds with sorrowful riffage, soaring funeral keyboards complimented by top heavy riffage. If there was an anthem for beauty in hopelessness, the introduction of Black Voyage would fit perfectly. Astounding violins in this song. Slow-mid tempo guitars and a dark bassline dominate the majority of the middle section of the music which eliminates some atmosphere but the riffs are of high quality and keep the song very interesting. A Sea to Suffer In starts with a nice piano piece followed by heavy guitars and violins of despair. Gets into more doom oriented guitar passages and dark emotional vocals from yours truly followed by a rare fast guitar passage with intricate guitar work for doom standards. What is noticable is that My Dying Bride utilizes violins and keyboards tastefully which makes the end result much more impressive. Two Winters Only contains many of the trademarks found on this album but starts with a long beautiful acoustic/clean lead guitar dual performance that sounds sad and brooding yet blend excellently with Strainthorpe's dark vocals. Your Shameful Heaven is another tale of atmospheric beauty with dark enchanting violins and enticing heavy(sometimes really fast) doom riffage and more memorable guitar harmonies.

Despite only having 6 tracks, each track is long and unique in its own way. There are obvious moments of dark repetition, but unless you have an album called Wildhoney, its doubtful you can say anything about that. Each track is incredible and the only reason this album doesnt get a 96 is because The Cry of Mankind drags on one or two minutes too long in my opinion. In conclusion, fans or dark and brooding emotional music that can stomach clean vocals and a degree of accessibilty should love this album. As should anyone who claims to be a My Dying Bride fan.

Favorites : From Darkest Skies, A Sea To Suffer In, Black Voyage

Note: My copy also has an earlier song The Sexuality of Bereavement. It would sound better on As The Flower Withers with the harsh vocals but it too is an incredibly sad, slow and mournful song easily worthy of the name My Dying Bride.