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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the My Dying Bride website  My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours [Peaceville - 2001]

Buy this CD now!
The seventh studio album of the Yorkshire outfit My Dying Bride is here, an album for which we've waited for with nervous anticipation. The last album (not counting the Meisterwerk compilations) "The Light At The End Of The World" surely raised some eyebrows, but was seemingly received very well by the fans. Most people were happy that the band returned to their "roots" instead of experimenting like on "34.788%… Complete". I'm still a bit reluctant about that "returning to the roots". Did they really do that or was it just an easy way out to win old fans back again? Fact is that "TLATEOTW" sounded great... But it felt so uninspired. The newly incorporated elements like Aaron's screams and keyboards instead of violins tricked the listener that the band did dare to do something new. But once bitten, twice shy, so now is the time for My Dying Bride to prove that they are really a brilliant band...

The rainy start of the album with the title track immediately sets the tone for the depressive autumn mood they are know for, as do Aaron's mournful vocals. The contrast between the clean voice and the grunts / screams quickly appear on stage too, before ending where the song started. If there is such a thing as "roots", they must have been used in the following "The Raven And The Rose". The old school doom riffs and the brutal death metal approach make this one of the hardest tracks on the new album, inevitably referring to the first full length album "As The Flower Withers", released almost ten years ago. We haven't heard new guitarist Hamish yet on a My Dying Bride album, yet the youngster of the band seems to fit in perfectly, listening to the catchy melodies on "Le Figlie Della Tempesta" ("Daughters Of The Storm") and "Black Heart Romance". The album goes on for almost another 40 minutes, reaching roughly 71 minutes of playing time, but I feel it's unnecessary to describe all the tracks separately. All the tracks are of sheer brilliance, and ultimately My Dying Bride songs. They only accentuate this with the remake of "The Return Of The Beautiful", unimaginative titled "The Return To The Beautiful".

I think it is clear that My Dying Bride has chosen the easy path. No experiments or any surprises on "The Dreadful Hours". You can blame them for that, and I won't blame people who think that way. The album is slightly more powerful and brutal than "TLATEOTW", and contains more direct tracks, melodies that stick to the mind. This is what most people expected, I think, and what most people wanted. Maybe this is a disappointment for those who liked the "34.788%" album best. Maybe they should have drifted away from the fixed My Dying Bride draft they've created in early years. In my own oh-so-subjective opinion however, it's the result that counts. And the result on "The Dreadful Hours" is chilling and absolutely beautiful. Return to the roots? What? My Dying Bride has always been My Dying Bride, and they will always be.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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