My Dying Bride - The Light at the End of the World
Peaceville Records
Gothic Doom
9 songs (01:11:09)
Release year: 1999
My Dying Bride, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Charles
Archive review
For me, this is very much a typical My Dying Bride album; one that really enables you to glory in what the unique things band do, as well as one in which their slightly ridiculous eccentricities are most marvellously on display. You know what I mean- the incredibly exaggerated sense of medieval woe that could cause the unsympathetic to erupt in streams of “get over yourself” laughter, and the unrelentingly despondent storytelling style of many of the lyrics. Embrace these, though, and The Light of the World is a fine album that is both lovable and powerful.

In fact, the real gems here are the ones that catch you up completely in their sense of melodious, desolately romantic grandeur. The title track is the album’s epic centrepiece, and it is really something. Based around a wonderfully slow, dolorous, richly harmonised chord progression soaked in synthed strings, it is the grim tale of a man who unrelentingly tends a far-flung lighthouse, nightly longing to spend more time with his departed lover. Aaron’s vocals, as so often, barely ever become genuine singing; they are the half-dead spoken croak of a man who might as well be actually living the miserable fantasies he is actually vocalising. Incredible stuff. Another highlight is Edenbeast, based around this murky and ambiguous guitar line with an almost militaristic feel, sounding like the misty aftermath of some muddy medieval slaughter. It sounds so toweringly imperious; My Dying Bride at their very best, generating the kind of forlorn and moving songs that make you remember why they are so important to the metal scene.

The problem is that alongside devastating epics such as these, the more doom-death growlers sound a little pedestrian. I have always felt The Fever Sea, for example, to be pretty unnecessary here, really only serving as a raging counterpoint to the title track that precedes it. Perhaps this merely hints at my own prejudices about what My Dying Bride should be, but these types of songs rarely hit it for me. They are not violent enough to be death metal, and not evocative enough for gothic doom. The reason I felt last year’s The Lies I Sire to be so strong was its relative emphasis on the melodic, gothic melancholy as opposed to the doom-death growling, and the latter is fairly abundant here. Nonetheless, it’s not as if it never works; take She Is The Dark, with its hypnotic groove that repeatedly gives way to almost-silence, which is a truly powerful opener.

Anyway, I would place this as one of the highpoints in My Dying Bride’s discography, with a couple of tracks that are pinnacles of their career. Much as I applaud bands moving in experimental directions, something felt a bit wrong about the record that preceded this, and at within the band’s timescale it seems to represent the start of a very fruitful run of records that continues until the present day. Fans of the band should see this as a must-have, although they probably don’t need this review to tell them that.

Killing Songs :
Edenbeast, The Light at the End of the World
Charles quoted 80 / 100
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
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