Back in 1993 this recording of Doom was unleashed for the first time and to this day it is still regarded as one of the finest works by MY DYING BRIDE and of Doom/Death Metal in general; a style that was pretty new back then. Opening the album is one of the band’s most famous songs: “Sear Me” of which they have recorded many versions in their career. This “1993” version is absolutely brilliant and sets a perfect mood for the album. Not containing any guitars, drums or bass; the sheer melancholy of the piano, violin and Aaron’s mourning voice is enough to create a MDB classic and one that holds just as much atmosphere as the heaviest of their work.
“Your River” then is the sort of song that makes people worship MDB; it has everything you could wish for: Depressive guitar melodies, heavy riffs, epic drumming and of course the vocals which alternate between a desperate wail and deep angry growl. “Songless Bird”, “The Snow In My Hand” all continue down that path and can all be considered among the finest work of the band. At times it will be a haunting violin that mesmerizes you; otherwise it could be some of the many tempo and vocal changes that make the music so incredibly intense. Whatever the reason, this album will bring you in a special dark mood and can especially be very painful if already in a depressive mood.
The listener’s desperation undoubtedly culminates with the epic tour de force of “The Crown Of Sympathy”. A perfect song that through the use of violins and exquisitely melodic and heavy guitars slowly builds towards a keyboard mid section that could be considered the soundtrack to suicide. This song alone should be reason enough to purchase this album because if you’ll play this during really bad times in your life you’ll cherish the band forever.
The title track is actually one of the more typical songs of the album and thus still of high quality. Finishing the original release is another song of intense beauty like the opener “Sear Me”. Behind the violin and piano a very sad and hypnotic female voice, together with Aaron, leads you towards the end of the sad journey. If you have the 2003 re-release however the misery continues for a little longer yet not in the way that you would expect. “La Cerf Malade” is a very austere ambient track with a great atmosphere. It’s very different from the rest but still doesn’t feel out of place on the album. The same goes for “Transcending (Into The Exquisite)” which is one of the more unique MDB tracks. It’s very heavy and is more like Industrial Doom then a Metal song, regardless of the riffs and vocals, very special and worth checking out if you only have the original album. Finally you also get a great live version of “Your Shameful Heaven”.
So that does really bring an end to this masterpiece of depression and while this is an undisputed genre classic, the follow-up “The Angel And The Dark River” proved to be even better! (Online March 6 2006)