My Dying Bride - Turn Loose The Swans
Peaceville Records
Doom Metal
7 songs (58:13)
Release year: 1993
My Dying Bride, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Goat

Although most times I fall into the pit of depression I reach for some of Devin Townsend’s fantastic solo material, or some light and fluffy Power Metal – Edguy and Rhapsody never fail – as emergency aural medication to lift me out again, there are times when I manage to cling to the edge of the pit, and struggle to crawl out, and it’s in these moments that My Dying Bride are called upon. We’ve all had days like that, days when the responsibilities and tiresome nature of modern life crush too heavily and you seem to find yourself sitting around dejectedly. Some respond better to it than others, but let’s ignore those cheerful bastards for the moment; nothing rankles more than ‘come on! Snap out of it!’ when you’re contemplating throwing yourself off a tall building.

Back in 1993, there was little to be cheerful about if you lived in Yorkshire, England. The Conservative government of the day was in shambles, then-Prime Minister John Major frantically trying to prevent the collapse of the Thatcherite government. Jobs were low, the economy was chaotic; there were few reasons to smile. What else could you do but play miserable music? And miserable music indeed do My Dying Bride play, fronted by Aaron Stainthorpe’s plaintive clean singing and occasional growls, with the swirling backing instrumentation behind.

It’d take hours to go through each track and give it the attention it deserves, but rest assured; each is little short of incredible. Most modern Doom/Death bands were influenced by My Dying Bride, and whilst many have made some brilliant music in their own rights, few can compare in quality to the original. The amazing opening song Sear Me MCMXCIII is incredibly beautiful, setting the stage with restrained grandeur for the rest of the album. It features not a single guitar riff, instead driven by the violin and piano that would make the band famous.

What makes the use of the former so masterful is, unlike some modern Folk bands, the violin is used sparingly on this album, for example: the flourishes on The Crown Of Sympathy, adding theatrical power. The actual Doom riffing is equally considered, never dull, despite the growled vocals on the likes of the title track. You only hear guitars for the first time about eight minutes into the album, with the crushing bleakness of Your River, complete with almost Death Metal precision. There are faster, more aggressive moments like The Songless Bird and The Snow In My Hand, but for the most part Turn Loose The Swans is a slow, restrained grind. ‘Low at thy feet to breathe my last/And die in sight of heaven’ Aaron chants at the close of Black God, and that sums the album up well. Although life is crushing, we have to remember the beauty that comes with misery, the light at the end of the tunnel, whether we reach it or not. Metal is about more than headbanging; My Dying Bride speak to the depressed, the upset, like no other band can, and Turn Loose The Swans is a masterpiece of miserable music that even those with perfect lives should be aware of.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by My Dying Bride that we have reviewed:
My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
My Dying Bride - The Manuscript EP reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
My Dying Bride - A Map Of All Our Failures reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
3 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 12 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:02 pm
View and Post comments