"Songs of Darkness, Words of Light" (Peaceville Records; 2004)

Reviewed by Star

My Dying Bride skillfully fuses elements of Doom, Goth and Death in a manner which journeys toward the depths of utter darkness. With their sweeping caliginous melodies, strewn with moribund lyrical passages of woe and despair, the band creates a melancholic atmosphere that is truly their own. 

"Catherine Blake" characterizes the death metal leanings of the group's earlier efforts for brief moments, in turn lapsing into chilling spoken word movements of distressful verse. A haunting acoustic guitar line carries the introspective "My Wine in Silence," a powerful melody throughout. It is important to note the manner in which the distressful lyrics focus upon lost and broken love and the relationships centered upon emotions resulting from those conditions. Oftentimes, the moody dirges created by the strings and keys are purely sublime in the absoluteness of their somberness. The tonal environment of this album is brooding in its entirety. These compositions are constructed masterfully as My Dying Bride have become true maestros in illustrating sadness as an art form through their music. 

This record is mandatory for any fan of doom metal. Quite highly recommended for anyone else with the slightest of interest in the darker side of music.

For more information check out

"34.788% Complete" (Mayhem/Music For Nations; 1998)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The 1998 model of My Dying Bride is more focused on drama and to do it the band dropped the slow, doom approach for a quicker pace, more lush arrangements, and a cleaner sound overall. The results are still packed with emotion, but the somber elements are gone. It's easy to see why fans are confused and upset about this effort.

The music this time around is more upfront, immediate, and challenging.  The production is a lot better on this disc than "Turn Loose The Swans." The huge sonic wallop of "34.788% Complete" is more than what I've come to expect from the band even if it did sacrifice the emotional impact.

Four of the seven tracks end up being great additions to My Dying Bride's catalog. The long segue in "The Whore, The Cook, The Mother" is almost like a movie soundtrack. The patience of "Der Uberlebende" rewards the listener with well thought-out arrangements. The nearly upbeat "Apocalypse Woman" has shades of the heavy metal's glorious past as it forays into fuzzy guitars and frantic drumming. The furiously paced "Under Your Wings And Into Your Arms" features swirling vortex of guitar noise. Overall, this collection of uptempo songs is a refreshing change of pace for My Dying Bride.

A couple of tunes that didn't tickle my fancy are "The Stance Of Evander Sinque" and "Base Level Erotical." The tired, lazy 'been there, don't that' motions of "The Stance Of Evander Sinque" borders on being annoying. "Base Level Erotica" trudges along, but it has its moments; ultimately the song fails to capture the listener's attention.

I have tried to avoid saying a song "sucks" for as long as I could, but I can resist no longer: "Heroin Chic" sucks - it plays like a very bad U2 remix. There isn't a single good or cool thing about this song - I love it when bands make radical departures from expectations, but "Heroin Chic" defies all logic.

Rumor has it My Dying Bride will return to their slower, doom style on their next release.

"34.788% Complete" was produced by Mags with assistance from Calvin Robertshaw.  My Dying Bride is Aaron Stainthorpe on vocals, Andrew Craighan and Calvin Robertshaw on guitar, Ade Jackson on bass, Martin Powell on keyboards and violin, and Bill Law on drums. Robertshaw, Powell, and Law left the band immediately after recording "34.788% Complete."

For more information visit and get completely up-to-date on My Dying Bride's latest happenings.

"Turn Loose The Swans" (Peaceville/Futurist; 1993)mydyingbride.jpg (11184 bytes)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I had seen comparisons between Amorphis and My Dying Bride in various media in recent months so I thought listening to this would be interesting. After hearing "Turn Loose The Swans" it would be more fair to make a comparison to My Dying Bride's English compatriots in Paradise Lost. I can't really see the point in making a comparison to Amorphis, but the two band share similar elements - better comparisons can be made to bands like Skyclad, Sisters Of Mercy, Anathema, and Opeth. Regardless, I am happy nonetheless about hearing what My Dying Bride has to offer.

My Dying Bride, most often placed in the doom death category, have forged a somber, expressive suite of songs on this full-length release from 1993. "Turn Loose The Swans" is properly the second full-length disc from My Dying Bride, but this is a band that has extensive recording experience. Ranging from the deliberately slow "Sear Me MCMXCIII" to the doom-laden heaviness of "Black God" My Dying Bride have conjured up images of cavernous open spaces with claustrophobic atmospheres as well - an odd mix to be sure, but it works.

"Turn Loose The Swans" is music to complement a rainy day. The music is an abyss of sorrow and ultimately a slippery descent into darkness. Effort is required to make My Dying Bride a fully enjoyable experience, but it is an effort without strain. "Turn Loose The Swans" is not background music; it is like listening to classical music - you must completely involve yourself in the experience to fully appreciate it.

"Sear Me MCMXCIII" is characterized by a nearly complete absence of guitar - just the stark beauty of violin, piano, and bass is enough to carry this song. "Your River" is the first appearance of death metal growling and staccato guitar riffs - it's a glorious contrast to the quiet nature of "Sear Me."  "The Songless Bird" almost reads like a gothic horror novel with a soundtrack to match. "The Snow In My Hand" begins with a laggard yet heavy riff before exploding into a sinewy death metal exercise where all elements of the My Dying Bride sound get equal treatment. The twelve-minute opus called "The Crown Of Sympathy" is a long musical journey that has great musical and emotional range. The title track may soon enough be the hallmark by which other doom metal acts are measured. "Black God" is a haunting number, like the first track, again essentially utilizes only keyboards, piano, violin, and bass to achieve a closing end to the somber journey.

The lyrics provide stark images on every track that leave indelible impressions on the mind. The lyrical subject matter deals with deceit, acrimony, anguish, suffering, and pain.  Lyrics like "whispering tongues can poison my honest truth" and "it's sad that, in our blindness we gather thorns for flowers" evoke the spirit of the great English poets without being too pretentious. The vocal style is a combination of the clean and growling styles so favored in death metal - neither style appears for too long as not to get too weary. The vocals are always appropriate and never seem out of place.

It's not hard to see how this band has received accolades from a small, but devoted fan base. These ambitious Englishmen have crafted seven songs of epic tales of woe as an exercise in exploring the depths of human sadness. Only one track is less than five minutes in length, while most are longer than seven minutes long.

My Dying Bride is Aaron on vocals, Andrew and Calvin on guitars, Martin on violin and keyboards, Ade on bass, and Rick on drums. "Turn Loose The Swans" was produced by My Dying Bride; the production is neither too slick nor too muddy - better than most, but not as good as the best.

Visit the band's website at for more information.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Page

Back to home

Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.