Here's my personal ode to making miserable music.
#12. 34.788%...Complete (1998)
2. The Stance Of Evander Sinque
3. Der Uberlebende
4. Heroin Chic
5. Apocalypse Woman
6. Base Level Erotica
7. Under Your Wings And Into Your Arms
I guess it's no surprise that I choose the experimental oddity that "34.788%..Complete" is, as my least favourite MDB-album. The band was going through some line-up changes at the time and the abscence of original drummer Rick Miah and long-time violinist/keyboardist Martin Powell is sorely missed on this album. But that doesn't mean that the album sounds dull in any way. On the contrary, it is a weird thing where no song sounds alike and where very few traces can be found of either the band's past nor it's future. Musically, it is still metal and it you can hear who's behind the microphone, so it's more the lack of violins and the lack of depressive lyrics that are the biggest change. There are hints of doom- and gothic metal here and there but the overall sound is hard to describe in "regular" genres so to speak. While not a bad album per se, it is easily the least emotional MDB has ever done, thus rending it so far from the rest of the band's discography. Some tracks, such as "The Stance of Evander Sinque", "Der Uberlebende" and "Apocalypse Woman" are interesting to hear from time to time but I cannot remember the last time I managed to sit through the entire album.
On an interesting sidenote, the only track that the band regularly has played live from this album is also the least interesting one; "Under Your Wings and Into Your Arms". It is a total waste of time and the one song from this album that I cannot find anything interesting at all about. It's an ok album but it's so far removed from what the band excels at - making miserable music.
#11. The Light At the End of the World (1999)
3. The Night He Died
4. The Light At The End Of The World
5. The Fever Sea
6. Into The Lake Of Ghosts
7. The Isis Script
9. Sear Me III
I vividly recall how the band praised this album before it was released and that they've upped the ante and gone back to their roots after the fan-backlash that "34.788%...Complete" was. The growls made their return for the first time since 1994 and we were promised dread, despair and doom. Is that what we got then?
Nah, not really.
For you see, while the songs are (mostly) long doom-metal songs, something is lacking in the song-writing department. I sincerly think this has to do with the fact that guitarist Calvin Robertshaw left MDB shortly after the previous album to work as the band's manager (if I am not mistaken). Anywho, the band certainly tries to find their old formula again but it just doesn't work properly. "She Is the Dark", the title track and "Into the Lake of Ghosts" almost gets there but most of the songs just drag along without any proper direction. This is especially true when it comes to the two songs "Edenbeast" and "Christliar" that just sound like forced attempts at playing doom metal and a far cry from what the band is capable of. Aaron Stainthorpe's growls are also very different from the band's past works and it sounds weaker and less inspired. "The Fever Sea" is an ok attempt at sounding death metal but comes off as quite dull and the less said about the truly awful song "The Night He Died" - the better.
In conclusion, "The Light At the End of the World" is not a bad album (none of them are) either but it does sound dull at some points, ok at other and sometimes forced. It was the first doom/gothic-metal album by the band when they only used keyboards and no violins and sometimes it feels like they are unsure of what to do with the keys, where ex-violinist/keyboardist Martin likely would've come up with some great violin-parts. Shame.
#10. As the Flower Withers (1992)
2. Sear Me
3. The Forever People
4. The Bitterness And The Bereavement
5. Vast Choirs
6. The Return Of The Beautiful
7. Erotic Literature
I guess many of you readers feel it's a shame that I have the band's iconic debut-album so low on my list but again, this has nothing to do with the fact that it's bad or anything. It's just that MDB have released so many other good albums that their humble beginnings of doom just falls behind. After all, the band were young and inexperienced when they entered the fabled Academy studios for the first time to record "As the Flower Withers".
|MDB 1992: Ade, Rick, Andrew, Aaron & Calvin|
And that's that. Not much else to say than I've already stated; it is a vastly different album compared to the rest of the band's discography and I like it for what it is; a very youthful death/doom-metal album from one of my all-time favourite bands.