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A Dark and Elegant Masterpiece - 100%

chaos_aquarium, July 5th, 2009

In 1993, doom legends My Dying Bride released what would go on to be one of the most influential albums of the genre and their biggest masterpiece, "Turn Loose the Swans". Where as their previous release "As the Flower Withers" was essentially just slow death metal, "Turn Loose the Swans" really took their music in bold and majestic directions.

The first big change from their debut would be the dominance of clean vocals. Now many may prefer Aarons agonizing gutturals, but his cleans are simply beautiful and fit the music perfectly. His low melancholic voice really adds to the drama and pure essence of sorrow, (and on the track "The Songless Bird", resentment) found throughout the album. Fans of harsh vocals should not fret though, as they are still here and are in top form. Aaron's gutturals are, much like his clean vocals, very distinctive with a certain raw aspect to them that really adds a sinister edge to their music. The way the music plays between the bleak cleans and insidious harshes really adds to the beauty of the album.

The music is both moving and theatric, with Aarons lyrics setting the mood for the entire album. His lyrics should be given special attention, especially on this album, as they take the art form as a whole to a new level with its basis in 18th century poetry.

Another defining aspect of this album (along with many of My Dying Bride's future works) would be the violin. Martin Powell has a very distinctive style, and it is best represented in this album. His style has a very cold, sad and desolate sound which really adds to the power and beauty of the album (as can be seen on the gorgeous album opener "Sear Me MCMXC III" and the haunting closer "Black God", which are both essentially just violin music).

Guitarists Andrew and Calvin create something truly memorable with riffs that range from beautiful and drenched in sorrow (see the opening riff to the title track, “Turn Loose the Swans” as the best example) to being grand and crushing (see the absolutely classic track, "The Crown of Sympathy").

The album has a great flow to it that makes it best listened to as one piece of beautiful flowing music, rather than 7 separate songs. This can only be linked by the masterful song writing on the album with each drum fill, guitar riff, vocal section and violin part being placed in the perfect spot. It may be bold of me to say, but "Turn Loose the Swans" is a dark, elegant, theatric and completely original masterpiece that should be experienced by any fan of doom metal, gothic culture or hell, music and art in general.