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on 26 July 2004
My Dying Bride are a band I checked out more on a wim then anything else. I'd heard many people talk about "The Cry Of Mankind" as being a good song, and this being thier best album, so I bought it to see what they were like.
Firstly, this kinda music will not be for everyone. Slow, methodical (some may say boring....), and with vocals that many may find intolerable, not everyone will like this. But, if you appreciate doom metal, or like music that has a way of immersing you in another place whilst listening, then this is a CD well worth picking up.
The music is technically good, the vocalist is able to change from an almost-robotic growling voice to a clean (very good) vocal. Some people may find the music pretentious (the use of a foghorn in the last four minutes of "The Cry Of Mankind" is a little OTT....), but MDB do manage to take you on a journey, albeit a journey that promotes impending doom for all.
If you like your music moody, depressive and immersing, you can't go wrong with My Dying Bride and this album. Not for all music fans, but those with an open mind I believe will appreciate.
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on 20 November 1999
After their previous release, Turn Loose the Swans, My Dying Bride set their standards very high indeed. With this, their third full length album, they achieve what few bands can: create an incredible album on a different path from that of their previous one. Where Turn Loose the Swans was raw and quite death in its musical approach, The Angel and the Dark River hardly has any growling and the guitars are more melodic. You know immediately it's MDB because through this change in style their spirit still transcends. The songs are sad; they talk of Love, Death, Religion... Aaron's usual inspiration for his lyrics, but the music gives us a different perspective from that of past and future albums. Indeed, never again has MDB been even close to accomplishing an album as complete as this. The first track, The Cry of Mankind, lasts over 12 min and is probably the best in this album, maybe even the best song MDB has ever written; a tale of how Jesus looks down on Mankind and sees how we are destroying ourselves thus rendering his sacrifice useless. An epic which shows straight away what we can expect from the rest of the album: Slow grinding guitars inter playing with each other, harmonising often, which together with Martin's violin and keyboards (the best I've ever heard!) create that melancholic sound which is the trademark of MDB. Aaron's laments complete the painting in sad dark hues; there is a bit of growling in some songs but somehow it is not missed (for those of you who think DOOM must be growled this is a lesson on how to deliver intense vocals without reverting to growls). A review on this album cannot be complete without commenting on the incredible drumming by Rick Miah, who is, to my liking, the best DOOM drummer in the business (sadly, he is no longer a member of the band). Not one of the tracks has a simple rhythm, his use of the double bass and the cymbals adds the final touch to an already perfect album. The Angel and the Dark River is a must for anyone interested in DOOM and will serve as a comparison for other DOOM albums for a long time to come. Essential listening.
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on 10 May 2003
Prior to this album I had only bought Turn Loose The Swans and The Light At The End of The World by this band. This album came out inbetween those two, and in my opinion it's better than both of them. To me it sounds like a more gothic and (believe it or not) darker version of Anathema. The music is mostly fairly slow and very gloomy, and sounds better produced than at least the previous album (although this is likely to be in part because it has been remastered). The music itself I think is better on this album than on the others that I've heard, and there are also no growling vocals on the album itself (although there are on the bonus tracks). Perhaps this album would make a good introduction to the band in that case, as it's also supposed to be one of their best. Nevertheless, My Dying Bride are not an easy band to get into at first, however you do it, and none of their albums are perfect.
There are a few criticisms I have with this album. First of all, the first track goes on for about three days after the song itself finishes. The main body of the music stops, leaving the lead guitar riff drifting across a sea of various sound effects inlcuding a foghorn and waves crashing. This is quite a nice idea for a while but becomes tedious long before it finally ends, especially because it's the first track on the album. However you can always just skip to the next track, which is where another one of my qualms lies. It's mostly a pretty good song, except for the bits where they've decided to use a church organ, which just seem silly to me. Perhaps I'm just not goth enough. The only other thing that springs to mind is something that's always bothered me about MDB, which is that the singer's voice does take a lot of getting used to. He is more tuneful on this album than on others, but he overplays it a bit sometimes, resulting in that whining effect that pop singers suffer from when they try to force emotion into their singing. This is something that annoyed me first time around but didn't bother me so much later on, although I think the impact of the music still suffers a bit for it.
The bonus tracks on this re-issue are interesting, but basically pointless. The Sexuality of Bereavement is on Trinity, which is just as easily available and doesn't quite fit in to the overall style of this particular album. It is quite a good track though, and I suppose it gives you an idea of what some of their other material is like. The live tracks are somewhat questionable. For a start, these bonus tracks were originally on a separate disc that came with a limited edition version of this album; it featured four live tracks, not three, so one has obviously been cut for lack of space on one disc. That aside, it's not a very good gig. Intruiging as it may be to hear what they'd be like live, this particular performance is pretty mediocre, and the mix was obviously done on the fly onto a tape (hence it's not very good quality). Not that I'm complaining about the inclusion of bonus tracks, it's just that they're not particularly brilliant ones.
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on 16 May 2001
"The Angel and the Dark River" is possible My Dying Bride's most rounded album to date. It fixes the listener with some of the most emotion doom laden riffs ever. Coupled with the mournful vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe each track becomes a towering epic of the gothic/doom movement of the nineties. This may sound off putting but you get swept away by the grace and power of the 5minutes plus songs and the eloquence of Aaron's lyrics; differing from many bands by not really having choruses but having more storyteller like works. Track one "Cry of Mankind" is a classic of its time and stands up as well today.
With the new releases and updated artwork theres never been a better time to get into My Dying Bride.
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on 1 October 2001
I ordered this album through Amazon based mostly on the strength of You shameful heaven.The Violin solo on the start of it kinda justified buying it alone.I previously bought Meisterwerk 1 and was very dissapointed at the roughness of the sound.Although listening to this album is like a totally different band.A sea to Suffer in and Cry of Manknind are just two of the highlights of this album,including the mix of guitars and violin used to great effect.The only weakpoint is the vocals,although expressive,well-thought out lyrics,the voice weakens the album on a whole.Other than that,perfect.
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on 29 April 2015
Only owned turn loose the swans and 34.788 per cent complete previous to this purchase. Honestly, not as good as either of those albums deep down, but still decent enough compared to most of the rubbish out there. A unique band with a unique sound. The price was the appealing factor in terms of the purchase, but still not a bad effort overall. Give it a try and catch em live if u ever get the chance. They won't dissapoint if u can appreciate a bit of doom.
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on 14 January 2014
Amazing album

Great reissue, double LP, nothing new here, doesn't have the Sexuality of Bereavement which almos all CDs have but you won't miss it
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on 11 December 2014
Star rating is for delivery and packaging only. CD is for my son for Christmas - it is on his want list, so I am sure he will be delighted!
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