My Dying Bride - _The Light at the End of the World_
by: Pedro Azevedo (
Although I had already heard rumours concerning what _The Light at the End of the World_ might be all about, I only started to really believe them when I saw _TLatEotW_'s suitably gloomy front cover -- more specifically, when I saw that the old MDB logo had been reinstated. I hadn't slept for about 36 hours or so when the CD arrived and I looked at its front cover, and I almost thought I was dreaming... but I wasn't. The heavy and slow guitar sound, Aaron's lyrics, the 71 minutes running time with practically no atmospheric interludes, the death grunts and _The Angel and the Dark River_-like anguished vocals, even the presence of a "The Forever People"-type track and "Sear Me III" -- I seemed to have already been subconsciously warned of all that by that little logo. You may be wondering what the hell is it that I find so special about that logo -- well, there's nothing special about the logo itself, visually, but any real fan of MDB will know what I mean when I say that it brings back a lot of feelings. Original guitarist Calvin Robertshaw and temporary drummer Bill Law have been replaced by Hamish Glencross (ex-Solstice, who didn't play on _TLatEotW_) and Shaun Steels (who had a brief stay with Anathema after leaving Solstice), respectively. So the three founding members that remained in MDB (guitarist Andrew, vocalist Aaron and bassist Adrian) decided it was time to go back to MDB's roots and try to perfect the style they're so good at, the style they helped to develop so much. Some may criticize them and say they chose the easy path; I disagree. I feel it takes a lot of courage to abandon the path they were treading with their previous album, in a way admitting it was not taking them where they wanted to go, return to what they -like- and try to perfect that style. They basically went back to playing doom metal, with death grunts and everything, while most other bands keep getting softer. How well are MDB doing it? Very well. _TLatEotW_ may not surpass _Turn Loose the Swans_, but it's a great album, sombre, bleak and very much My Dying Bride, with plenty to remind you of each of MDB's first three full-length albums. Practically every track is at least quite noteworthy (so it's hardly of any interest to highlight any of them), except perhaps the somewhat less inspired "The Night He Died" and some of "Edenbeast". Closing the album, "Sear Me III". As if the superb "Sear Me MCMXCIII" from _Turn Loose the Swans_ hadn't been enough, MDB have gone back to the original "Sear Me" (from their debut full-length _As the Flower Withers_) after all these years again, took a little bit of it and used it to make one of their best songs to date. MDB have recovered their ability to create both slow melancholic passages and harsher outbursts with Aaron's characteristic death vox, and use the contrast provided by the two. It may be that this still lacks a violin to really be MDB like it was before, but I don't find myself thinking about that very often when listening to the album, which is a good sign. Rather, my basic complaint about _TLatEotW_ concerns the fact that I feel that a few songs are actually longer than they should have been and tend to sound slightly more formulaic overall than, for example, _Turn Loose the Swans_ (which, in my opinion, remains as their finest hour). Nevertheless, if MDB continue to -progress- within this style that is truly their own for the next album -- as I hope they will --, I can only expect it to be an absolute classic, if the band is given more time and stability than they had for _TLatEotW_. Rejoice, sorrowful hearts. My Dying Bride is returning.
(article published 12/9/1999)
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