My Dying Bride - _Songs of Darkness, Words of Light_
(Peaceville, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
The question "what do you give a man who has everything?" is surely more commonplace, but these days My Dying Bride must be asking themselves: what do you play when you have achieved everything? Fair enough, they can only be said to have achieved everything within their musical niche, rather than via MTV or what have you, but that niche is precisely what really matters to us here -- worldwide record sales be buggered. These living legends of doom metal have created at least three masterpieces in my books, each with a character all their own in spite of their similarities (_Turn Loose the Swans_, _The Angel and the Dark River_ and _The Dreadful Hours_, not to mention their amazing live album and a host of other fine efforts), and after all these years seem healthier than ever. Their detractors might say they have gone back to their old style, found an easy way out of an inspirational rut; but to me, such a statement overlooks far too much of what is actually going on in their music and only focuses on a few formal aspects -- such as the return of death growls or the absence of poppy electronica and other similarly fashionable elements.

_Songs of Darkness, Words of Light_ provides further proof that My Dying Bride have not stagnated; it shows a band keen to experiment with new approaches within their style, and, more importantly, succeeding in doing so while keeping the album interesting and enjoyable for the listener. The album is at times very much My Dying Bride, yet at others quite unlike what you would expect of them -- but it still makes sense in the end. The Yorkshiremen deliver a variety of approaches throughout the album, ranging from subdued and darkly romantic to sinister and all the way to downright vicious, but manage to keep it impressively memorable for a doom album. There is much to explore in _SoD,WoL_, and the elements used therein are expertly employed in order to produced a finely balanced result. Not every doom cliché is avoided, but the flowing of guitar melodies, riffs and effects into each other, aided by the much improved use of keyboards constantly fading into and out of the music, as well as Aaron's shapeshifting vocals, provide more than enough reasons to forgive such minor defects. Hopefully whatever source My Dying Bride have been harvesting their inspiration and ideas from will not run dry anytime soon.


(article published 23/3/2004)

7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: Thus Spake the Wretched
1/14/2002 A Bromley My Dying Bride: The Hand of Doom
12/9/1999 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride Returns to the Bleak Rainy Moors
11/19/1998 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride No Longer Wears Black
4/9/1997 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Behold the Bride
3/14/1996 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Dying With Pride
11/27/2012 P Azevedo 8.5 My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures
6/15/2009 K Sarampalis 6.5 My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
7/13/2008 P Azevedo 7 My Dying Bride - An Ode to Woe
10/23/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - A Line of Deathless Kings
9/26/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - Deeper Down EP
12/17/2005 Q Kalis My Dying Bride - Anti-Diluvian Chronicles
10/10/2005 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - Sinamorata DVD
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 9.5 / 9 My Dying Bride - For Darkest Eyes DVD
Anathema - A Vision of a Dying Embrace DVD
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - The Voice of the Wretched
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours
8/12/2001 P Azevedo 8.5 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk II
1/10/2001 P Azevedo 8 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk I
12/9/1999 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Light at the End of the World
11/19/1998 P Azevedo 7 My Dying Bride - 34.788%... Complete
2/4/1997 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - Like Gods of the Sun
3/14/1996 A Bromley 8 My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River
7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride / Mysterium Catharsis in Doom
3/13/2001 V Anderson My Dying Bride / Katatonia / Soundisciples / Beyond Dawn / Thine The Snow in Their Hearts
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