My Dying Bride, let's have it off my chest right away, are back! After their previous effort which, to put it mildly, was 'experimental', "The Light at the End of the World" again features dark, doomy, semi-slow metal with the odd grunt, nice keyboard/guitar layers and all the bits that we used to love so much about the band (albeit without Calvin on second guitar nor Martin on violin).

The album kicks off with the awesome "She is the Dark", which contains some killer doom riffs of a quality and heavitude such as we fondly remember from the days of yore. The lack of Martin's violin is filled in by the use of keyboards, often to good effect. In fact, IMO it was the subtle keyboard/guitar layers that half saved "37.4%...", and they persist on "The Light at the End of the World".

Aaron's vocal style is also back to their old work. No sections that sound as though they're done through a telephone or those in "Heroin Chick" that I can't really describe but think are horrible. No, this time it's his clean sad singing coupled with grunting and, here and there, a couple of section that I've heard described as 'black metal'. It's not quite like that, in fact, to me it's just "good old Aaron" again.

All the songs are basically at a consistent, high level. But the title track stands out. It starts off atmospherically, almost like vintage Anathema, and then turns into an excellent, long-spun song. In fact, speaking of 'long-spun', the album contains 9 songs that total to over 70 minutes of good stuff. No hastily executed tracks, just classic doom with sufficient time and space to breathe and moan. The album ends with "Sear Me III", which is quite different from the earlier "Sear Me" versions but recognizable in a riff here and there. Not a bad track at all, that one.

I am content.

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Written November 1999


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