MY DYING BRIDE — The Dreadful Hours

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4.40 | 24 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2001

Tracklist

1. The Dreadful Hours (9:23)
2. The Raven and the Rose (8:12)
3. Le figlie della tempesta (10:08)
4. Black Heart Romance (5:23)
5. A Cruel Taste of Winter (7:36)
6. My Hope, the Destroyer (6:44)
7. The Deepest of all Hearts (8:56)
8. The Return to the Beautiful (14:23)

Total Time: 70:49

Line-up/Musicians

- Aaron Stainthorpe / Vocals
- Andrew Craighan / Guitars
- Hamish Hamilton Glencross / Guitars
- Adrian "Ade" Jackson / Bass
- Shaun Taylor-Steels / Drums

About this release

Peaceville Records, November 13th, 2001

Thanks to UMUR, TheHeavyMetalCat, adg211288 for the updates

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MY DYING BRIDE THE DREADFUL HOURS reviews

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siLLy puPPy
Always one to experiment, MY DYING BRIDE perhaps went a little too far with their misstep into the unknown for the fanbase with “34.788%…Complete” which found the band adding all kinds of wild new ideas. While some like alternative metal suited the band’s signature goth doom sound to a T, others such as trip hop didn’t quite jive and although many including myself found the album to be descent, the overall consensus was that MY DYING BRIDE had hit their stride on “Like Gods Of The Sun” and were in free fall decline, however after the clarity of returning to their signature sound was once again a priority, the band bounced back with “The Light At The End Of The World” which proved they had more than enough life in them and while the album was a fine return to form and an admirable comeback, it wasn’t up to par with the high notes of “Turn Loose The Swans” and “The Angel And The Dark River.”

On THE DREADFUL HOURS, the band’s seventh studio album and first of the 21st century, the fiery creative passion that had made MY DYING BRIDE such a sensation in the early years had returned and released one of the band’s finest albums with eight outrageously delectable tracks that not only were connected to their past goth-tinged death doom days but found yet more ways to incorporate new musical elements into their, by this time, classic unmistakeable stylistic approach. The band’s core remained the same with Aaron Stainthorpe displaying his amazing range of vocal styles with the usual plaintive romantic crooning as well as an increased use of the death growls however on THE DREADFUL HOURS he expands his extreme metal vocals to include a more blackened growl approach which reminds me of Behemoth’s Nergal.

Guitarist Andrew Craighan provided the sole guitar parts on the previous album after the departure of Calvin Robertshaw and joining the crew on this album is guitarist Hamish Glencross, who with Craighan provide a more deadly twin guitar attack as they not only tackle the usual plodding doom riffs but engage in heavier high tempo death metal segments as well as adding palm muting thrash techniques to their doom riffage. The rhythm center of bassist Adrian Jackson and drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels also exercise greater liberties in their playing as each instrument takes on a more expansive role. The bass duties have become more complex and the drumming more experimental as well. While no violinist has returned, the two session keyboardists Jonny Mauding and Yasmin Ahmed dish out tasteful doses of piano tinklings, atmospheric overcast and mood modification mostly set to mournful depression.

With eight tracks that range from five minutes to over fourteen, MY DYING BRIDE cranks out one of the most diverse set lists (well not counting 34.778%) of their career with every element finding the perfect place to express itself. One of the major differences from the past is the incorporation of post-rock elements as heard on the opening title track which sounds more like an Isis album until it erupts into a death-doom frenzy. The compositions have become more complex and progressive as segments segue into others and various riffs, drumming patterns and bass lines slowly shapeshift into something completely new while the haunting atmospheric backdrop nudges it into a new comfort zone. The chemistry of this team is certainly off the charts as it has provided a new energized passion that keeps all the various tracks quite distinct from each other with countless different instrumental spontaneity erupting throughout.

The beauty of MY DRYING BRIDE is that they so successful captured their own distinct sound so early on in their game that have the ability to pretty much adapt any musical idea to the goth death-doom paradigm. Basically Stainthorpe provides the backbone to the band’s style with his charismatic vocal style with an extra anchor in the atmospheric department, however the guitar, bass and drums are pretty much allowed to do whatever they want provided they stay within the confines of the melodies. Such is the case for all of the tracks which to the casual listener will sound like business as usual but to the careful listener will find new rhythmic flows, creative instrumental interplay and a greater focus on shifting timbres, dynamics, tempos and vocals. This is perhaps my favorite MY DYING BRIDE album as it perfectly balances all the various elements which include the goth death doom metal, darkwave ambient and alternative metal with the usual sombre poetic vocal deliveries of Stainthorpe. MY DYING BRIDE not only made a comeback from their nadir but hit one of the highest notes in this apex of their entire career.
Warthur
At a time when the other bands forming the so-called "Peaceville Three" of death-doom - Paradise Lost and Anathema - had plotted a course taking them firmly away from those roots, My Dying Bride had returned to their death-doom origins in The Light At the End of the World, an album greatly enriched by their musical wanderings through other genres.

On The Dreadful Hours, they magnificently build and improve on that foundation by producing their most terrifying album yet. There's still a heavy dose of doom metal melancholy in the mix, but the death metal side of their sound is more vicious than ever, and here and there - a shriek in the vocals, a blast of the drums - there's a mild sprinkling of black metal influences that enriches their sound and adds another dimension to it.

Some bands hit their peak early on, and then must spend the rest of their careers either resisting entropy or (as is sadly more common) declining into irrelevance as they run out of ideas. My Dying Bride, conversely, seem to have only gotten better and better over the first decade or so of their existence (with a few missteps being eminently forgivable as being a necessary part of their journey of experimentation), and here they have produced a true masterpiece.
Phonebook Eater
8/10

"The Dreadful Hours" is the soundtrack to the last moments before a storm of evil washes away all hope.

My Dying Bride’s last great album so far, “The Dreadful Hours”, was yet another release that had strong roots attached to the conventional Death Doom Metal style, giving it however a twist of uniqueness that is only of this album. Followed by a decent return-to-old-style sort of album (“The Light at The End Of the World”), this 2001 release manages to become one of the key albums of the band’s discography and of Death Doom Metal in general.

The unique twists are a few: the use of a clean atmosphere smothered in various effects is much more prominent, and is very often a great part of a composition; it wouldn’t be surprising if the band picked up a bit of Post-Rock during the period this album was being recorded. The alternative moments to these, which obviously are the Doomy ones, are relatively much more fast paced (much alike “Light at The End Of the World”) than other works of the band; the vocals are more tended towards Black Metal-ish shrieks, when they don’t have the plaintive, clean nature Aaron Stainthorpe usually delivers. There also seems to be a larger use of keyboards, really great additions to especially the more atmospheric passages.

The themes presented in “The Dreadful Hours” are very similar to the ones we find in other My Dying Bride lyrics: a strong presence of God ( a savior or condemner?), as well as the figure of a poisonous, life-sucking woman who often symbolizes some deeper allegories; in other examples, she is simply an object of desire for the persona, who feels a suffered love for her. Among the lyrical highlights, the title track is about an infant as it is rejected by the parents, while “Le Figlie Della Tempesta” describes—once again—a divine female character that disillusions and tricks people with lies. “the Return to The Beautiful” has the longest and possibly most challenging lyrics of the album, with it’s brief, enigmatic Latin phrases and again an evident theme of deception, darkness, but also irresistible beauty.

Even with one hour and ten minutes of total length time, “The Dreadful Hours” rarely loses its impact, starting from the first episode, the title track: a two minute, atmospheric Post Rock/Metal kind of passage opens up to another one of a relatively faster pace for My Dying Bride, binging in memorable riffs and vocals. “Le Figlie Della Tempesta” is another great highlight, with pretty much the same structure of the previously mentioned track, but perhaps darker, more desolate, and more tense; the calmer moments remind of a storm coming towards the listener’s way. “Black Heart Romance” is again a really excellent example of great songwriting, where plenty of feelings are condensed in one song, without any one of them overlapping another. Then, “The Return to The Beautiful” is the fourteen minute epic finale, by some considered (including lead singer) the best track the band has ever released. The other songs, too, are not inferior in terms of quality; they are more solemn, and typical tracks you’d expect from My Dying Bride, in a good way.

“The Dreadful Hours” is a sublimely crafted piece of Doom Metal; the band does not hesitate however in finding new ways to enrich their sound, with a more frequent use of keyboards, vocal choruses, and Post-rock brushes. Still today, this is regarded as one of the key moments of the genre and of the band’s discography.
UMUR
"The Dreadful Hours" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK doom/ death metal act My Dying Bride. The album was released in November 2001 by Peaceville Records.

My Dying Bride pretty much continue the doom/ death metal style of the last album "The Light at the End of the World (1999)" on "The Dreadful Hours". I´d say there´s a more dominant goth influence here compared to "The Light at the End of the World", but the music is still predominantly doom/ death metal. Aaron Stainthorpe´s vocal style varies between clean melancholic vocals and growls. There´s good variation between slow heavy melodic riffing and mid-paced more energetic riffs. The melancholic gloomy atmosphere is always the focal point of the compositions though. The violin which was such a big part of the band´s early releases, hasn´t been part of the band´s sound for a couple of albums now and "The Dreadful Hours" continues the more synth/ keyboard laden sound of those albums.

The songs are structurally intriguing and generally very well written. But that probably doesn´t come as a surprise if you are familiar with the earlier material by the band. The 70 minutes long album features 8 tracks. The first 7 tracks are new compositions while the 8th track on the album is a re-recording of "The Return of the Beautiful", which was originally featured on the 1992 "As the Flower Withers" debut album by My Dying Bride. The band change the song towards the end but otherwise the version on this album pretty much sticks to the original. Out of the remaining 7 tracks it´s especially the opening title track that impresses me. The quality is high throughout, but the songwriting and the sound is maybe a bit too "safe" and tried at this point.

Overall "The Dreadful Hours" is another quality doom/ death metal release by My Dying Bride. They may not invent the wheel on this album and ultimately it´s not among their strongest releases, but when you have such a strong signature sound as My Dying Bride do, even the least remarkable albums are a recommended listen. A 3.5 star rating is deserved.

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