Rating:
9.5
My Dying Bride - Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light
2004


01. The Wreckage Of My Flesh
02. The Scarlet Garden
03. Catherine Blake
04. My Wine In Silence
05. The Prize Of Beauty
06. The Blue Lotus
07. And My Fury Stands Ready
08. A Doomed Lover


After the utter success of The Dreadful Hours, often considered as their best album, it was not easy to release something at least as good. Great expectations surrounded Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light, expectations boosted by the delay due to artwork issues [the artwork, that for once was not designed by Aaron Stainthorpe, is as disturbing as the music]. Believe me, these expectations are not disappointed. Let's not keep the suspense, the last My Dying Bride is at least as good as The Dreadful Hours, and probably even better.

The doom godfathers continue their constant evolution and come back with the darkest songs I've heard for a long time. This album was obviously recorded to bring the world to collective suicide. I'll go quickly over the lyrics, if you know My Dying Bride, you'll be aware they deal with loneliness, love, despair, death, damnation, abandon and all that joyous stuff. As wretched as always. So. This album can be seen at once as a step forward and a step backwards. Forward because all they have done so far is pushed to the limit: the feelings are exacerbated, the atmospheres are more chiselled, with a constant use of the keyboards and piano, that replace the violin. Backwards because the clean vocals are dominant here, something we had not heard since 34.788%... There are still death passages, fast riffs and growlings, but they are rather discreet.

Thus Songs Of Darkness... is calmer than before. But it is also strangely more extreme than The Dreadful Hours, in the sense that everything here is brought to a climax: the dark atmospheres are darker, the slow passages are slower [slower than 'Catherine Blake', except Shape Of Despair, I don't know], the screams are harsher, the clean vocals are more hypnotizing and desperate. You'll certainly need some time to get accustomed to the vicious wickedness of this album, but once it is growing on you, there is no turning back.

At first sight, Songs Of Darkness... is a bit messy, there seems to be no real cohesion between the songs... Well, each song has its own identity, but they all have in common this little something, this tearing complaint of the guitars, these particular tunes that are the trademark of My Dying Bride: 'The Wreckage Of My Flesh' has a most wicked introduction that leads to a very sad song that catches the listener in the heart. Aaron Stainthorpe makes vocal prowesses here. 'The Scarlet Garden' reminds of the spirit of The Light At The End Of The World, with an excellent and catchy death metal passage. The highlight of the album is incontestably 'My Wine In Silence', a song a la 'Le Figlie Della Tempesta'. I bet it will soon be considered as much a classic as 'The Cry Of Mankind'. Sad, suicidal, simply beautiful. 'The Blue Lotus' is quite unusual for My Dying Bride, the spoken words upon the typical doom riff create a strange and disturbing atmosphere. 'And My Fury Stands Ready' is the most fucked up [in the good sense] song here, with this long break made of arpeggios along with wind and sea sounds. This is extremely weird, and I can't help but being caught by visions of dark and barren moors under a black cloudy sky. 'A Doomed Lover', which closes the album, is nearly as strange. It is a very gloomy song with Aaron stressing his text like a voodoo priest. The end of this song is a stunning epic doom instrumental part... It's too short I want more!

It is, you'll have noticed, quite hard to describe Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light. You'll really need to listen to it to have a more acute idea of its content. You only have to know that the biggest quality of this album is, beyond the music itself, more than ever its atmospheres, and the ability of My Dying Bride to really create emotive surroundings. Be ready to feel what you've never felt before...

Even if for me it is their best album, and probably one of the best of the year, I cannot give it a 10. I don't know why, I am never 100% satisfied with My Dying Bride; I always have this feeling that they can do better than what they show. Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light is excellent, it is a masterpiece, but ony almost perfect. According to their evolution, the next one should be the One.


Band profile: My Dying Bride
Album: Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light


 


written by Collin | 08.11.2008

Staff review by
Jeff

Rating:
9.5
The dusk is coming, today was a bad day of January, lot of rain, clouds, and now fog… A really bad day…
I'm not sure that the only reason of that sudden, depressive aspect of myself come from the weather, maybe the reason come from my stereo too... Since some days, I'm listening a new cd that could be the source of my dark days… In February, "My Dying Bride" the master of Doom Metal, one of the most depressive English band, is coming with their new production "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light". After 3 years and their last album "The Dreadful Hours", a lot of people are waiting this new album. Is it good? Does it have some changes in relation with their older albums? Well, we will see with that review if this new one could be compared to the several masterpieces of the band…

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published 27.02.2004 | Comments (1)



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Procardia - 08.09.2006 at 21:54  
I loved this album, but I think 9.5 is too much for him. There are some songs in this album that are terrible, just my opinion. For example the track 04 is the worst My Dying Bride's release.
Passenger - 23.09.2006 at 18:47  
Well, actually I think it's their best, and track 4 is one of the standouts. All their newest stuff is terrific, it's a shame some people underrate these works and then go out to praise an average album such as "Like Gods At The Sun", which is terribly one-dimensional and repetitive.
jesh - 03.04.2007 at 09:47  
This was my first Doom metal album ever. I was curious what the genre was about and went ahead and bought it without even listening to a song preview. Wow. The first listen, the first track, was so dark that I wasn't sure I could make it to the second track. This album is definitely intense. The clean vocals I think help with that, like others have said. When it turns to death metal style vocals it really accentuates the music in a way that just wouldn't be possible with only death growls. I haven't heard MDB's other albums but I plan on fixing that very soon!
THE_BLACK_GOD - 21.06.2008 at 17:06  
anybody knows that "catharine Blake" song is about the British goth rock singer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Blake ?
Pétur - 21.06.2008 at 19:35  
Written by Guest on 21.06.2008 at 17:06

anybody knows that "catharine Blake" song is about the British goth rock singer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Blake ?

nope, it is a story Aaron made up and he plans on to continue it in later albums.
Dangerboner - 22.06.2008 at 00:57  
pretty good album, but i hate the sobbing narration/talking parts
Katatronik - 09.11.2008 at 14:35  
My first doom metal album too, and it takes a special place in my heart... I think this is a masterpiece of romantic sorrow...
dismaleuphony - 10.11.2008 at 00:11  
I'm thrilled you note the introduction of the first track, as it outdoes nearly every instrumental "intro" that bands throw in to announce the start of their music. The CD starts off so oppressively to me that I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the darkness, even after hundreds of listens. I can remember quite distinctively someone asking me how I felt one night, and my response was to play this song instead of bothering with explanations. I believe the intrusive questions stopped soon after that!

In terms of their progression, this was the first album I enjoyed thoroughly from the band since "Like Gods Of The Sun." While albums in between also had their merits and great tracks, I never could love them the way this album just surrounds you in an uneasy, creepy, somber embrace. Cheers to another great review of the album...
Collin - 10.11.2008 at 00:17  
This is actually an old review I wrote in 2004 for the release of this album... I went on to fix a couple of spelling mistakes in it yesterday and it popped up as a new review. I have no idea why
dismaleuphony - 10.11.2008 at 00:28  
Written by Collin on 10.11.2008 at 00:17

This is actually an old review I wrote in 2004 for the release of this album... I went on to fix a couple of spelling mistakes in it yesterday and it popped up as a new review. I have no idea why

Ahh I had a feeling about that considering it's mention of the "next" album that obviously has been released! Too bad that the date could not be corrected, but then again, maybe it's best - it's been a long while since I've read the reviews on this album!
Uirapuru - 14.12.2008 at 07:58  
Im not a huge fan of the band neither the album, but ''The Blue Lotus'' is an exellent song, the lyrics are simply amazing
''The Blue Lotus, a legend, I thought a myth
Old poems and stories gone
A beauty of unimaginable lust
Both men's hearts, and Gods, were won''
Solstafir! - 10.08.2009 at 01:16  
I'm too depressed to comment...
this is the fairest comment I can give upon hearing this album...

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