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Almost the best album ever. - 98%

J_Paragon_S, July 20th, 2003

After the ill-received 34.788% Complete, My Dying Bride decided to give in and make what the fans wanted: an album with growls and heavy parts, like their legendary "Turn Loose the Swans". Of course, they didn't completely give in. This album is so much more than the slugdy, groove-based death-doom of their first two albums. It's a mix of everything they've done before, and then some.

The first thing you may notice about this album is that it's not very heavy. Sure, there are muted low-end power chords and whatnot, but the guitar tone itself is more of an ethereal, dreamy affair. This can be a bit grating at first (during the "heavy" parts, anyway), but it works wonders with the notes they're playing most of the time.

Most of the songs are based on a mix of the atmosphere of "Angel and the Dark River" and the harmonies of "Like Gods of the Sun", with some grunts and growls at times--though there are some moments that genuinely sound like the first two albums, most notably the 10-minute monster "Christliar".

While I rarely care about lyrics, I have to mention them here--this album displays the best lyrics I've ever read/heard. Check out "Into the Lake of Ghosts" or the title track to see what I mean.

Lastly, this album closes with "Sear Me III". This is the greatest song ever recorded. It is yearning in sonic form.

While I have nothing but praise for this album, there can only be one greatest album ever, so this is #2. I would rank the songs, but aside from putting Sear Me III on top and She Is the Dark on bottom, I've no idea what order to put them in. So just listen to any two songs to sample this album, then buy it. (Assuming you even remotely like atmospheric metal, anyway.)