Considered one of the legends in their style MY DYING BRIDE released another work of pure Doom in 1999. But how would it sound many fans wondered seeing as this “The Light At The End Of The World” is the follow-up to 1998’s controversial “34.788%” release which showed a definite change in style that some quite liked but most people disapproved of.
Upon playing this album is quickly becomes evident that “34.788%” was an experimental album and that TLATEOTW would see a return to their old style but now in a heavier then ever before way. For one, Aaron Stainthorpe’s mighty grunt returns. While this has never been a specific aspect that makes me love MDB it stands beyond any doubt that the whole vocal spectrum of Aaron, ranging from desperate lament full singing to a deep angry growl, is very impressive and highly important for the band.
“She Is The Dark” opens strongly and in a very heavy way, with faster riffing then usual, but still maintaining the intense depressive sound. Aaron of course alternates between his vocal styles giving the song many mood changes. “Edenbeast” adds subtle keyboards to the mix and through the use of sometimes almost Prog-Death riffs is a very heavy and intense song, even for the standards of this album. “The Night He Died” is more like work of “The Angel And The Dark River” with the slower pace, clean vocals and subtle guitar melodies.
What I do miss here though is the beautiful and emotional violin that is so brilliantly utilized on “The Angel…” and “Like Gods Of The Sun”. The keyboards add enough atmosphere but still can’t substitute for that lone and desperate violin sound. The title track is another MDB classic, with its great keyboards, nearly spoken passages and the heavy tom drumming as present on their older albums. It’s also one of the three songs that cross the 10-minute mark. An impressive and welcome feat as a good Doom song should seemingly last forever, always deteriorating the listener’s emotional state. And with a total running time of over 70 minutes with only nine songs this is one great album for not so great times. “The Fever Sea” is the shortest track but also one of the fastest (as far as you can use that term regarding MDB) and heaviest by the band, kicking of with some fat double bass drumming and continuing with staccato riffs and a deep growl.
After the great “Into The Lake Of Ghosts” and “The Isis Script”, both with a slower overall tempo and more clear vocals the band continues with another epic song in the form of “Christliar”. This features some of the album’s more challenging guitar work as well as a very tight rhythm section. Finishing the album is another rendition of their trademark song “Sear Me”. This one dubbed “Sear Me III” and with electric guitars this time. The lyrics are brilliant and Aaron really gives a mighty clear vocal delivery here; always a classic song, “Sear Me” and this time a perfect way to close the album.
An excellent, very tight and consistent album that can be considered a blind purchase by any fans of MY DYING BRIDE. Yet still I considered it the weakest of the albums I have by the band. This frankly says a whole lot about their back-catalogue! (Online March 6 2006)