Released: 2004, Peaceville
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
My Dying Bride, the ultimate purveyors of doom metal, have descended upon us with their latest opus, SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT. While there is nothing particularly new here over the last few My Dying Bride CDs, the listener is treated to a band that is at the top of their game and continues to remain untouched in the doom genre. Aaron Stainthorpe’s mournful passages combined with faster death-like ones and some of the most melancholy lyrics of their career show what sets My Dying Bride apart from other doom metallers.
With its distorted intro, “The Wreckage Of My Flesh” reminds us what makes My Dying Bride special. Stainthorpe’s trademark death metal grunts accompany his distinctive clean vocals so effectively, that it is for this reason that My Dying Bride has been so successful. Juxtaposing these two styles sets the mood for the music and since doom metal is so dependent on pathos, Stainthorpe’s voice and lyrics are absolute perfection. SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT also seems to be an amalgamation of the entire My Dying Bride catalogue. The death metal style of TURN LOOSE THE SWANS, the violins of LIKE GODS OF THE SUN, the experimentation of 34.788% COMPLETE…it’s all here under one roof. “The Scarlet Garden” features a killer death break at 3:45 that builds to a crescendo only to fall back once again to the simple, sweeping violin. “Catherine Blake” is one of the best tracks on the CD. The nasty riff that hits at 2:05 builds up to a furious double-bass attack and searing death vocal from Stainthorpe. This same pattern is picked up again at 4:24 only to finish out with a spoken word outro. “My Wine In Silence” is one of the cleanest tracks I’ve heard from My Dying Bride. The first half of the song is centered on a simple riff and vocal that suddenly turns vicious and builds to a heavy finale. “The Blue Lotus” is the sludgiest-sounding track on the CD and borders on Type O Negative at the outset. This track is another highlight from the CD with its mixture of spoken, clean and distorted vocals over a scorching guitar riff. Only the final two tracks tend to bring the magic of this CD down. Both are still good tracks but just do not measure up to the quality of the rest of the album.
My Dying Bride has done it again. THE DREADFUL HOURS was near perfection and SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT has somehow topped that. With the exception of two less-than-stellar tracks, the remaining six more than make up for it and this is certain to be one of the highlights of this band’s long career. This CD should not only be embraced by long-time fans, but may bring the band some new ones, as well.
KILLER KUTS: “The Wreckage Of My Flesh,” “The Scarlet Garden,” “Catherine Blake,” “My Wine In Silence,” “The Prize Of Beauty,” “The Blue Lotus”