When “The Light At The End Of The World” came out, the Doom Metal community breathed a collective sigh of relief, as all of their fears that the sequel to MY DYING BRIDE’s most controversial album, “34.788% Complete” were indeed ‘back to the roots’ as the band had promised. The release of “The Dreadful Hours” only solidified MY DYING BRIDE’s commitment to their past, completely dispelling any memories of an album that had so many Doom Metal fans crying for all the wrong reasons. Now, the release of third album since that debacle, I have to wonder if the outcry for less experimentation and a demand to a return to form was really that good of an idea. Sure, the material that was produced has been great, including their newest, but at this point, MY DYING BRIDE seem to be playing things safely and just rehashing their material.
However, rehash of such excellent material is till going to be excellent, so from a musical point of view, I can’t really find much wrong with the disc. As a long-standing fan of the band, I still have a soft spot for a new album whenever they chose to release one, but now I just can’t help but wonder ‘what if?’ What if they continued to experiment, but in a different direction, or just simple alterations? “Like Gods Of The Sun” had no Death vocals on it, which could be considered a small experimentation and it worked out fantastically, why couldn’t other things?
Aaron’s clean vocals are used considerably more on this album than they were on the previous and are used more than the Death vocals are as well, giving the album a more melancholic feeling, without as much anger. It is a much more hopeless album, but at the same time a lot less aggressive, much like walking out in a mild rain after a bad break up, instead of a thunder storm. Parts that feature just keyboards and Aaron’s mournful voice project the images of someone looking up at to the rain, confused, hurt, crying and looking for an answer that they will not get.
This is an excellent CD and I would expect nothing less from MY DYING BRIDE, but I still can’t help but wonder what if? (Online March 12, 2004)