My Dying Bride

Songs of Darkness

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Back down in the dregs, My Dying Bride's eight studio album is not only a worthy follow-up to 2001's The Dreadful Hours, but it seems to touch the same emotional and musical pit that Like Gods of the Sun did back in 1997. Vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe is in amazing from, alternating his attack between despair-drenched moaning drones and roaring pathos. The interplay between guitarists Hamish Glencross and Andrew Craighan is more intimate and bone crunching than on any record in their doomy catalog. This is the sound of bleak, the growl of hopelessness, and the wail of pain and tears borne out in throbbing bottom-end blackness by drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels and bassist Ade Jackson. But if it weren't for the beautiful sound of wasted mourning via Sarah Stanton's organ, they could never enter these textural depths. In songs such as "Blue Lotus," "A Doomed Lover," and "The Prize of Beauty," all of which plod and thud along with a gorgeous gothic richness that is impossible to fault, there is a near-commercial single in "My Wine In Silence" that engages the listener at a whole different level. Indeed My Dying Bride has given the sound of excess a kind of suffocating intimacy; it carries within its menace a heaviness nearly unbearable and a tenderness that is breached at the point of violence. Beautiful, just beautiful.

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