My Dying Bride
Released: 1998, Mahem Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Everyone seems to say that this album is "great" and "different", without going into any explanation of how or why. Well I hope I can explain this album in detail so that you can better judge your option to purchase this disc.
First of all, I love every album that My Dying Bride has put out. They have changed their style over the years, but every album has its own unique and brilliant flavor. As The Flower Withers was a solid doom-death metal album. Turn Loose The Swans saw MDB incorporating clean vocals, keyboards, and the violin more effectively, as well as creating music that was more atmospheric in nature. Then came the sorrowful masterpiece The Angel and the Dark River which saw MDB let go of the death vocals, and create some truly depressing and dark music. They then simplified their music and the result was Like Gods of the Sun, which was hailed by some, and shunned by others. One things for sure though, the album is heavy!
On top of all those changes, MDB saw the loss of their drummer Rick, due to some health problems. Yet the band found a suitable replacement in the form of Bill Law. But that wasn’t it…Martin Powell, their keyboardist and violinist, decided to leave. I was mighty upset when I heard about this because, as you can guess, it’s not too easy to replace a killer violinist like Martin. Thus, they did not find anybody.
Well you can bet that the new album is "different" alright! And very eclectic too, and seeing that there’s only seven songs on the album, I think it would be proper to look at each one individually:
"The Whore, The Cook, and the Mother" starts off the album. The main music and rhythm during the verses takes me back to The Angel and the Dark River era of MDB, with its hopeless melodies combined with a heavy riff and deep bass line. Classic MDB! There’s an awesome heavy-ass crunch part that appears a couple times that reminds me of Like Gods of the Sun. There’s also a middle section of the song that’s pretty quiet…just a faint guitar with some keyboards and samples, which is cool, but it drags on a little too long. I am slightly disappointed with the vocals on this song, however. Aaron uses scratchy vocal effects, which sounds cool, but too many bands are or have already used this effect. I think he should have used his death vocals on this song. Not only would it have worked, but it would have freaked out their listeners too. Overall, a classic song!
"The Stance of Evander Sinque" is a little more straightforward. This song is heavy and doomy, like the material off Like Gods…, but different of course. I think Martin could have done a little better on the keyboards, but regardless, this song jams!
"Der Uberlebende" is another darkened and depressing song, relying on great guitar melodies and Aaron’s classic vocals. Not a really heavy song, but a good one indeed.
"Heroin Chic"…this would have been a killer song, if it wasn’t for that damn drum machine. Why did they choose to use it? I don’t know, but it wasn’t necessary, and it doesn’t really fit. Aaron swears a lot in this song which is different for MDB, but the band decided to censor their own song by recording static over the swear words. Another mistake, albeit a small one. But what is really awesome about this song is its atmosphere…it’s really kind of weird sounding… It’s rather quiet until the heavy guitars kick in, which sounds awesome. And the addition of some female vocals to back up Aaron really enhances the song too. I think the good of this song outweighs the bad, so I give it a thumbs up.
"Apocalypse Woman" sounds like a Faith No More song, with its rhythmic drumming, its atmosphere, and just the way its written. This is a rock solid song with its fair share of quiet, emotional moments, as well as heavy ones. Thumbs up again.
"Base Level Erotica" and "Under Your Wings and Into Your Arms" resemble a cross between the material off Like Gods…and The Angel… These two songs are heavy, and great!
Overall, 34.788%…Complete is a great My Dying Bride album. I don’t think it is better than anything they’ve done in the past, but it definitely shows some progression for the good. Bill Law has succeeded in filling Rick’s shoes behind the drum set. I think the keyboards would have come out better if Martin was still in the band, and there are parts where a violin would have fit perfectly. And even though there are only seven songs, the album clocks in at 56:38! There is enough heaviness to please fans of old. They have also retained the dark and sorrowful atmosphere of past. And the lyrics are typical of Aaron…just look at the song titles.