Sometimes bands just get by me. I know of them and their reputation but opportunities (or a level of interest on my part) never seem to arise to take that next step. Enter UK Doom Metal pioneers MY DYING BRIDE and their latest opus "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light", my first official introduction to the bleak realm these now legends unearthed over a decade ago. Being the casual Doom Metal fan that I am, it is quite an eye opening experience listening to this album as I am now aware of just how great an influence this six piece has become to so many bands within the genre.
How does one review an album like "Songs Of Darkness..." without falling victim to exaggerated references regarding the sheer scope of the desolate sound scape painted over this record's duration? Well it seems I have answered my own question, so lets continue. The more I listen to this album, the more my affinity increases for MY DYING BRIDE's ability to capture the listener. Any band can come up with a heavy, depressive chord progression, repeat it for an extended period of time and sing about the darker side of the human condition; however, the problem with bands who rely too heavily on this formula is that the material becomes too predictable, too quickly. This is what separates MY DYING BRIDE who (I am now aware) are masters in the art of invoking uneasy sentiments in the listener without ever relying on merely one mode of achieving this emotional disharmony. This is demonstrated throughout "Songs Of Darkness..." in a way that leaves any fan of sprawling, yet captivating compositions in awe. But rather than describe how and at what time these moments arise, I'll allow you to experience and unveil them on your own.
Suffice it to say, MY DYING BRIDE have garnered themselves a new follower in 2004 with an album that should work as a reminder to all of how to perform a stellar Doom Metal Album without succumbing to genre stereotypes and that is no exaggeration. (Online July 20, 2004)