2017-01-12

My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 3-1

This is my very personal From Inferior to Prime 9-7 feautring the uncrowned kings of all things tragic and miserable. I will list all proper full-lengths of My Dying Bride - that's 12 at the time these lines are written. I don't count "Evinta" as a proper full-length since it is more of an experiment. Naturally, the same rule applies to the two "Meisterwerks", "Trinity", EP's, demo etc.
Here's my personal ode to making miserable music.

#3. For Lies I Sire (2009)

1. My Body, A Funeral
2. Fall With Me
3. The Lies I Sire
4. Bring Me Victory
5. Echoes from a Hollow Soul
6. Shadowhaunt
7. Santuario di Sangue
8. A Chapter in Loathing
9. Death Triumphant














2009 marked the return of the violin in My Dying Bride and I vividly remember how stoked I was when "For Lies I Sire" was about to be released. I did not dissapoint me either, but from what I understand the album seems to be somewhat regarded as inferior compared to the previous 3-4 outputs. I cannot understand why this is since I feel that regardless of the wonderful addition of violin, the songs themselves are very well crafted and the entire album flows like a (dark) river. That is, if one is to disregard from the terrible and out-of-place song that is called "Bring Me Victory". It is a mid-tempo disaster that the band recorded a video to, most likely because it is the shortest track present here. The rest of the songs though, have nothing to be ashamed of and "My Body, A Funeral", "Fall With Me", "Santuario di Sangue" and "Death Triumphant" are true MDB-classics in my opinion.



#2. The Angel and the Dark River (1995)

1. Cry of Mankind
2. From Darkest Skies
3. Black Voyage
4. A Sea to Suffer in
5. Two Winters Only
6. Your Shameful Heaven

















For a long time, I held this as my favourite MDB-album ever, but as you can see, I have decided to drop it one place. So what's wrong with it then you ask? Well, except for the incredibly ugly cover (seriously, this is one of the worst official album covers I have ever seen) there's not really anything. It opens with what might very well be the most famous of MDB-songs ever and no matter how tired I am of it - I cannot deny the sheer monumental lurking prescence of misery that "Cry of Mankind" is. It is one of the songs off the album that I listen to the least but the rest of them are equally monumental. This is also the MDB-album where the violin shines the most and where one will find one of my favourite songs ever: "Two Winters Only". If you have the slightest of interest in this band - you have to own "The Angel and the Dark River".




#1. Turn Loose the Swans (1993)

1. Sear Me MCMXCIII
2. Your River
3. The Songless Bird
4. The Snow in my Hand
5. Crown of Sympathy
6. Turn Loose the Swans
7. Black God
















My favourite album from My Dying Bride is the same one that a majority of the bands' fans would agree with me on. The monumental doom-metal classic known as "Turn Loose the Swans" is a beyond labelled "just another album". I've already dissected this album earlier - as the Metal Monument that it is - so I'll just end it here. Own it. Love it. Breathe it. This is one of those rare albums that just grow better over time.

My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 12-10
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 9-7
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 6-4

2017-01-10

My Dying Bride - From Inferior to Prime: 6-4

This is my very personal From Inferior to Prime 9-7 feautring the uncrowned kings of all things tragic and miserable. I will list all proper full-lengths of My Dying Bride - that's 12 at the time these lines are written. I don't count "Evinta" as a proper full-length since it is more of an experiment. Naturally, the same rule applies to the two "Meisterwerks", "Trinity", EP's, demo etc.
Here's my personal ode to making miserable music.

#6. A Map of All Our Failures (2012)

1. Kneel till Doomsday
2. The Poorest Waltz
3. A Tapestry Scorned
4. Like a Perpetual Funeral
5. A Map of All Our Failures
6. Hail Odysseus
7. Within the Presence of Absence
8. Abandoned as Christ
9. My Faults are Your Reward














Hello, I'd like to sort My Dying Bride into 4 different categories:
1. Their death/doom/depressive days from the band's earliest works up to 1995.
2. Their "experimental phase" from 1996 to 2000.
3. Their gothic/doom phase from 2001 to 2008.
4. And finally the return of the violin and all things miserable from 2009 up until the present (2017).
I am not stupid and I realize that many people might not agree with me on this categorization, but I honestly have different feelings towards the bands' albums during different time periods. This would place "A Map of All Our Failures" in the last category and I sincerly feel that the band has gone through some sort of rejuvenation since recruiting the young violinist/keyboardist Shaun into their fold. The violin doesen't weep like it did in the old days, but rather it accentuates the guitars or sets the mood with it's own melodies. This album might not be as depressive as the one that came before it or the one that came after it but it most definitely has a heap of good songs in "Kneel to Doomsday", "Like a Perpetual Funeral", "Hail Odysseus" and "Abandoned as Christ". Also, none of the other songs are forgettable or bad in any way. Overall, this is a very strong effort.



#5. A Line of Deathless Kings (2006)

1. To Remain Tombless
2. L'Amour détruit
3. I Cannot be Loved
4. And I Walk with Them
5. Thy Raven Wings
6. Love's Intolerable Pain
7. One of Beauty's Daughters
8. Deeper Down
9. The Blood, the Wine, the Roses













So, this is basically the last of the "phase-3 albums" (se above for reference) that MDB released. What differs this one from "The Dreadful Hours" (#8) and "Songs of Darkness, Words of Light" (#9) then? Well, I think flows better overall and that there's less filler present here. There is filler as well, namely "Love's Intolerable Pain" and "One of Beauty's Daughters" but that's a minor quibble. I like the fact that after those two lackluster songs, the band chooses to drag us down into complete misery with the marvellous "Deeper Down" and then go into a more experimental (at least for MDB) territory with "The Blood, the Wine, the Roses" which sounds like it was written for "Like Gods of the Sun" back in the mid 90's. Those two, along with "To Remain Tombless" and "Thy Raven Wings" are enough reasons to place this one at number 5.




#4. Feel the Misery (2015)

1. And my Father Left Forever
2. To Shiver in Empty Halls
3. A Cold New Curse
4. Feel the Misery
5. A Thorn of Wisdom
6. I Celebrate Your Skin
7. I Almost Loved You
8. Within a Sleeping Forest














When these words are written (january 2017) this is the latest opus from the ever-dying Bride. After 2-3 listens, this one felt like a letdown after the the bands' two previous outputs, but it grew gradually on me and now I feel that it is a very strong album. What I don't like is the incredibly boring title which just feels tired and clichéd. The album should have been named after the incredible opening song "And my Father Left Forever" which, though also a bit cliché, reeks of actual misery compared to the title track that actually has the word in it. IMO, the opening track is one of the strongest songs My Dying Bride has ever written and the two that follows it are very good ones as well. The title track is cool at first but becomes a bit tedious after time and it has that "Like Gods of the Sun"-feel to it that I like some days and dislike others. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a very strong album overall, even though the band's effort at a "sad piano-violin-almost-ballad(ish) song" in "I Almost Loved You" does not work as well as the classics that is "Sear Me MCMXCIII" and "For my Fallen Angel".

My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 12-10
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 9-7
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 3-1

2017-01-06

My Dying Bride - From Inferior to Prime: 9-7

This is my very personal From Inferior to Prime 9-7 feautring the uncrowned kings of all things tragic and miserable. I will list all proper full-lengths of My Dying Bride - that's 12 at the time these lines are written. I don't count "Evinta" as a proper full-length since it is more of an experiment. Naturally, the same rule applies to the two "Meisterwerks", "Trinity", EP's, demo etc.
Here's my personal ode to making miserable music.

#9. Songs of Darkness, Words of Light (2004)

1. The Wreckage Of My Flesh
2. The Scarlet Garden
3. Catherine Blake
4. My Wine In Silence
5. The Prize Of Beauty
6. The Blue Lotus
7. And My Fury Stands Ready
8. A Doomed Lover















There's no denying that "The Wreckage of My Flesh" is an über-hit when it comes to all things soul-crushing and bleak. After the opening track, things slowly declines and ends in utter disgrace with the weak song "A Doomed Lover". There are good parts inbetween, such as the majority of "The Prize of Beauty" and bits and pieces off "Catherine Blake" and "The Blue Lotus". Though overall, there is a boring "gothic feel" over this album that does not suite the Bride. Needless to say, the band has always sounded "gothic" on each and every album but there is an overall aura here that doesn't suite the band - "The Wreckage of My Flesh" excluded. Also, that cover-art is so ugly that I automatically squint my eyes each time I witness it's unholy glory.



#8. The Dreadful Hours (2001)

1. The Dreadful Hours
2. The Raven And The Rose
3. Le Figlie Della Tempesta
4. Black Heart Romance
5. A Cruel Taste Of Winter
6. My Hope, The Destroyer
7. The Deepest Of All Hearts
8. The Return To The Beautiful














If "The Light at the End of the World" (#11) was a weak attempt at a comeback after the much despised "34.788%...Complete" (#12) then "The Dreadful Hours" was the true return. From what I understand, it is generally praised among fans as a "true" MDB-record and mentioned in the same breath as the band's earlier classics. So I assume people will generally think I am some sort of MDB-newbie and without a total lack of taste. Well, you people are morons. The reason I place "The Dreadful Hours" so "low" as on #8 is merely due to the fact that I don't find it coherent and there's no real flow on the album. The title-track, "A Cruel Taste of Winter" and "My Hope, the Destroyer" are basically the only songs I listen to on this album. Yeah, the re-recording of "The Return of the Beautiful" is cool I guess, but I really don't see the reason to record it again.
Another reason for the album's placement is that My Dying Bride has so many damn good albums that the internal competition is just too fierce.




#7. Like Gods of the Sun (1996)

1. Like Gods Of The Sun
2. The Dark Caress
3. Grace Unhearing
4. A Kiss To Remember
5. All Swept Away
6. For You
7. It Will Come
8. Here In The Throat
9. For My Fallen Angel














I think that I heard "Turn Loose the Swans" before I "Like Gods of the Sun", but in 1997, this album is what made the teenage me fall in love with My Dying Bride. In retrospect, it very easy to see why. There is no denying that this is the most "accessible" in the band's discography with it's (on average) shorter songs and an overall "hit-lik" feel to many of the songs. "A Kiss to Remember" and "For You" are considered MDB-classics and it's easy to see why. All in all, it is a good album but with a different feel to it compared to many of their other albums - so may even call it catchy at times. I like (not love) most of the songs and they each have something interesting to offer - except "Grace Unhearing" which is a fucking waste of time. I also have to say that "Here in the Throat" might be the band's most underrated track, which I guess is one of the reason my band (ADVERTISMENT!) covered it in 2015.

My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 12-10
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 6-4
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 3-1

2017-01-04

Retro review: Metallica - ...And Justice for All (1988)

Band: Metallica
Album: "...And Justice for All"
Style: Thrash/heavy metal
Release date: 1988-08-25
Origin: US of A

Tracklist:
1. Blackened
2. ...And Justice for All
3. Eye of the Beholder
4. One
5. The Shortest Straw
6. Harvester of Sorrow
7. The Frayed Ends of Sanity
8. To Live is to Die
9. Dyers Eve

The fourth full-length album from Metallica is more or less known for three things:
1. The first album without bass-maestro Cliff Burton and thus, the first album without the "classic" line-up.
2. The absence of bass and it's overall clinical sound.
3. The long, intricate and - by some considered - boring parts in the music.
Since #1 is something that by no means could've had a different outcome on Justice (well, one could argue that had the band decided to skip touring for "Master of Puppets", Cliff would've been alive today, but let's not go there shall we?), I shall look into #2 and #3 a bit further instead.

Regarding the sound, I think it's no secret that producer Flemming Rasmussen was asked by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich to "take the bass down so you can just hear it, and then once you’ve done that take it down a further 3dBs". The "blame" is to put solely on Metallica's dynamic duo as newcomer Jason Newsted obviously never had anything to say about anything and Kirk Hammett has always been Kirk - just playing what he's told and never questioned anything either. Now I wrote the word "blame" in quotes since I'm not sure whether someone actually should be blamed for it. In 1988, there weren't many albums (if any) that sounded like Justice at all and props should be given to the band for at least trying something different, even if their intentions with the sound was frustration from Burtons untimely demise - one can only guess. Nevertheless, the record sounds cold, bleak and sterile which in my opinion only enhances the negativity in the lyrical theme of injustice and even though I wish I could've heard the bass better, having heard this album so many times over the years, I cannot honestly say that a "warmer" sound more akin to it's predecessor would make it better today. But to be honest, I think that some songs could benefit from a warmer sound. Namely those tracks that are slower and focuses more on heaviness and less on speed - I am mainly talking about "Eye of the Beholder" and "Harvester of Sorrow". All-in-all, I think the sound on Justice doesn't hurt it too much in the end. I mean, it's what we got and in the end it has to do with what the songs mediate and how well they are crafted. Which brings us to the third point of the album.

I understand those saying that some of the songs drag on and on without any point or purpose but I don't necessarily agree. There are songs that have certain parts that drag and at times feels aimless, but those parts aren't very long and they're nowhere near the excess in songwriting that Metallica later would persist having on both "St. Anger" and "Death Magnetic" as well on "Hardwired...to Self-Destruct". Anyway, I will go further into these details as I go through the songs, one by one.

Things begin with "Blackened" - a fast-paced and aggressive opener that - as opposed to it's two predecessors - manages to flesh things out more than "Fight Fire With Fire" did and to be more interesting than "Battery". It is a monster of a song and even though it's gotten it's fair share of love during the years, I feel that it's vastly overlooked and I would even go as far as calling it one of my all-time Metallica-favourites and should respectfully be considered a "true classic" in the same vein as "Creeping Death" and "Master of Puppets". The title-track follows and it's 09:47 minutes is in all honesty a bit too long for it's own good, even though I like the song with it's - for Metallica - odd changes. 2-3 minutes peeled off would probably make the song a lot tighter. "Eye of the Beholder" is only 06:30 long but while the riffs are okay, they're just repeated endlessly which ultimately makes the entire song quite boring to listen to. It feels about 5 minutes too long and I sincerly wish those riffs (especially the verses) would've been saved for a more interesting song. This one could easily be skipped. "One" is without a doubt the most famous song off Justice and it's easy to understand why. It's dynamic shifts between soft and subtle and aggressive and in-your-face is a wonder to listen to. Then add some phenomenal lyrics and it feels like those 07:27 minutes just pass by under a minute. A Metallica-classic if there ever was one.

The second half (at least on vinyl) begins with "The Shortest Straw". It is another fast-paced song that shows no mercy. The chorus is stellar and I have nothing to complain about when it comes to the song-length. But then it comes, the atrocity that is "Harvester of Sorrow"... For some weird reason, this song is considered a semi-classic and many people seem to think that's it's one of the stand-out tracks on Justice. To me, it's 05:44 minutes of pure boredom and the album would definitely have been improved had this song been cut out altogether. It's pointless and tedious and this one definitely drags despite it's short playing time. "The Frayed Ends of Sanity" is 07:44 long and together with the title track, this one could benefit from some trimming. I like it for the mid-tempo oddity that it is, but maybe three verses is just one too much. Yeah, I think so. "To Live is to Die" is an (almost) instrumental track that runs for 09:49 and that is most definitely a running time that's overstayed. Still, I enjoy this one way more than I enjoy it's instrumental counterparts "The Call of Ktulu" and "Orion" from "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets" respectively. It's heavier and more interesting IMO. The conclusion of the album is called "Dyers Eve" and it's a thrash-fest extravaganza and also the shortest song present here. Nothing to complain about there.

So what can I say? Does the odd production-job harm the album? I cannot lie, I have to answer yes to this question. Mind you, the production is not awful as some people will have you think - it's just different and it does not suit the music 100% at all times. The album feels dark, depressive and angry, which it obviously should considering the death of Burton. Lyrically, I feel it's Metallica's best work ever, ranging from pollution, social injustice, madness, death and the ever-present topic of war. Granted, it is a bit too long for it's own good but don't let people fool you into thinking that it's the same or worse than "Death Magnetic" and/or "Hardwired...to Self-Destruct" - where no quality control regarding song-lengths was present. It may not be as good as "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets" but it's far more superior than the rest of the band's discography.