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Return to roots or return to greatness? - 87%

WitheringToSerenity, July 7th, 2004

My Dying Bride have returned to their old style of doom/gothic metal with Light At The End of The World but with a much different sound incorporating many influences they have attained in their musical journey. Back FINALLY are the growled/shrieked vocals as well as the melodic croons which have always been a trademark. They had experimented with clean vocals and to various points of accessibility but am glad they realized it was time to return to their heavier side. One regret is the departure of the violin which has been a trademark of My Dying Bride for sometime. The keyboards provide plenty of excellent atmosphere but really falls a bit short of what violin can accomplish. The guitars are easily one of their best performances. Recalling the outstanding Turn Loose The Swans melodies, the aggression of Like Gods of The Sun without straying too much from what makes MDB! DOOM!

Fortunately in my case, they managed to go back to their old style in making
an album sound quite different from Turn Loose the Swans. The black metal shrieks, lack of violin and increase guitar chugging(this is doom heh) are definetly reasons for this. I am also under the impression MDB have modernized their sound somewhat(more on The Dreadful Hours) as well. To be honest this was one of the last My Dying Bride albums I have gotten into and I regret dismissing this as a poor man's Dreadful Hours to this day. It is another slice of doom metal carved by undoubtedly one of the masters.
In my opinion the album falters a bit in the middle/end of the album but only because the opening pieces are executed masterfully. They have done better granted but this album is of excellent quality, worthy of any MDB collection and isn't that far off from their best work.

She is The Dark is eerie and surprisingly aggressive riffage for these legendary doomsters. My Dying Bride do an excellent job of mixing the tempo up in this song in particular. The chugging riffs are present with some great guitar melodies to set a great atmosphere with the help of keyboards(almost ala Turn Loose The Swans).

Edenbeast: Possibly MDB's best lead guitar melody ever opens this song with very soft but fitting keyboards setting an unquestionably addictive atmosphere which never really lets go. They switch tempos often with many excellent guitar melodies/keyboards but is not entirely doomish. Much slower than She Is The Dark and the brooding sadness is still present and the focus. Easily one of the standout songs on the album and one of my personal favorites.

The Night He Died is a solid track. One of my least favorites but not necessarily filler material. Mostly lacks of atmosphere and not nearly as memorable as the previous two tracks. Feels like its missing something musically.

The Light At The End of The World: Excellent keyboards to start the song followed by the doomiest passage thus far of the album. One thing also noticed is the extensive use of clean vocals. At least they keep it doom worthy filled with great leads although the sorrow tinged keyboards dominate this song. Pure melancholic darkness. Oh I love it! Favorite on the album and top five MDB song imo! So great it feels only 10 minutes doesnt do justice.

The Fever Sea: Starts off kicking your ass with shrieking vocals and chugging guitar riffs after the very dark, haunting and softer Light at the end of the world. Very well placed song which is undoubtedly one of their least atmospheric pieces but fans of aggressive, intense music will surely enjoy this. Great song, middle of the road on this album for lack of atmosphere.

Into The Lake of Ghosts is an excellent track with great atmospheric guitar melodies, crushing riffs and classic MDB crooning but where are the keyboards? It could have been better. Perhaps done to prevent the album from repeating itself? Dahwell, still excellent and worth more listens.

The Isis Script: At this point the formula is becoming clear but the sound remains fresh and the atmosphere is still intact with well played guitar riffs, tempo changes and timely keyboard fills. Focus on Strainthorpe's clean vocals with a decent amount of trademark MDB growling. Another great song by MDB but there are others where they have done this better.

Christliar: Begins very guitar driven and rather mid tempo for MDB standards. Gradually develops into the patented slow lead guitar melody/atmospheric keyboard approach which has worked excellently all album and throw a few interesting change ups to make the song really good and not predictable. On the top end of songs in my opinion.

Sear me III: By now most MDB fans have heard one of the many versions of this piece of beauty. This happens to be one of my favorites on here Full of beauty, sorrow, hope and desolation at the same time better than ever on this album. When a song can use such instruments to derive such strong emotions you know it is very well done. Excellent and a standout(as are most)

Favorites: She Is The Dark, Edenbeast, The Light at The End of The World, Sear Me III