My Dying Bride - The Light At The End Of The World
After an experimental journey that was welcomed with mixed reviews, the long-established doom maestros My Dying Bride would attempt to re-tool and venture back towards their roots with The Light At The End Of The World. Released back in 1999 and featuring new talent behind the kit and on guitar, The Light... makes a valiant attempt at capturing the essence of the band at their peak. But does it quite hit the same mark?
That is the ultimate issue I have with the album. Long gone are the industrial haunted house atmospheres and psuedo-progressive leanings of prior effort 34.788%...Complete, but in a very tangible way, this misconceived venture left more in it's wake than a so-so album. The Light... seems to lack some fundamental element of the band's pinnacle years, when the mood and the metal meshed in dreary, depressive bliss. Whether this can be attributed to lethargy, lineup changes or simple lack of creativity is anybody's guess, but The Light is nothing more than an average album that was given far too much credit at the time of it's releases for simply being different than it's predecesor. Most tracks are flat in terms of truly creative material, but on the other hand are entirely acceptable under any other header. "She Is The Dark" is one of the few tracks that belongs amongst the band's greatest works, it truly is spectacularly well done and belongs as the introductory number. The vast majority of songs after this, sadly, fail to deliver along the same lines. The band themselves are not entirely in sync to my ears, which may be an issue of chemistry between new band members. The guitars and percussion seem to coexist apart from one another at times, simply occupying the same space because it's expected and not because it works. Vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe readopted some of the death metal-ish guttural growling that marked the band's earliest works, but the variation he utilizes now seems flat and lacking punch in comparison.
My Dying Bride would go on to release much better material, but at the time this really felt like the dying gasp of one of the metal scene's most prominent pioneers. The Light At The End Of The World is too long, too light and ultimately not becoming of a band of such stature. If you can remove expectations from the mix, however, you'll be treated to a solid if unspectacular death/doom experience, well worth the price of admission.
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