Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Is she dying? - 84%

gasmask_colostomy, July 29th, 2010

I bought 'Turn Loose The Swans' a few years ago on the strength of its legacy and then pretty much ignored it for a year. Recently I totally fell in love with MDB due to '...The Swans' suddenly striking me as a masterpiece; and thus it occured to me that I should really love 'The Angel And The Dark River'.

But I don't really love it. It's good and has the same soul-crushing, transporting despair that '...The Swans' really captured, though Aaron Stainthorpe has completely dropped the death metal vocals in favour of that mournful wail of his. Since I loved the melancholy aspects of the aforementioned album, I was certain that I would appreciate the transition to a more focused use of the mood but it seems that with the other elements has gone some of the variety that made the despair so much more vivid against the anger and courtly love themes of both earlier MDB albums (the other being 'As The Flower Withers'). This strips 'The Angel...' of some of the natural power of MDB's sound and leaves it with misery and, of course, lashings of doom.

I loathed opener 'The Cry Of Mankind' on first listen, largely because of a bizarre running time of 12 minutes when the actual song lasts no more than seven. 'From Darkest Skies' has an excellent mid-section riff and 'Black Voyage' includes some stunning interplay between the guitar and violin, which plays a major part in many of the songs. 'Two Winters Only' and 'Your Shameful Heaven' are perhaps the strongest songs on the record, the former being so stately and mournful and the latter adding faster and more aggressive elements for the first time in the album.

Wherein might be the main problem with 'The Angel...'. I don't grudge MDB for making slow, long songs but they seem almost too involved and with little variety to pick out moments of magic. However, perhaps the album will grow on me as '...The Swans' did.

'The Angel...' really is a stong album and great for newcomers to the band, but in my opinion has a little something stopping it from becoming classic. It just doesn't HURT in the same way that 'Turn Loose The Swans' does when I listen to it.

On a side note, the song 'The Sexuality Of Bereavement' is featured as a bonus track on most editions though also appears on the 'Trinity' compilation. Despite the whole song being done in a death metal vocal it is my favourite MDB song of all due to the MDB-specific subject matter and the pleading, morose violin-led riffs that drag the song through the tracts of misery that the widow in the lyrics wallows in.