Turn Loose the Swans
MY DYING BRIDE

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MY DYING BRIDE - Turn Loose the Swans cover
3.83 | 22 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1993

Filed under Doom Metal

Tracklist

1. Sear Me MCMXCIII (7:24)
2. Your River (9:24)
3. The Songless Bird (7:00)
4. The Snow in My Hand (7:09)
5. The Crown of Sympathy (12:15)
6. Turn Loose the Swans (10:08)
7. Black God (4:51)

Total Time: 58:12

Line-up/Musicians

- Aaron Stainthorpe / Vocals
- Andrew Craighan / Guitars
- Calvin Robertshaw / Guitars
- Adrian "Ade" Jackson / Bass
- Martin Powell / Violin, Keyboards
- Rick Miah / Drums

About this release

Peaceville Records, October 1993

Released as a Jewel Case CD and a 2LP set (with gatefold cover)

Reissued in 1997 as a pic-disc (just one LP - No cover). 500 copies.

Reissued in 2001 as a slipcase cd.

Digipack reissue in 2003. Contains bonus tracks:
"Le Cerf Malade"
"Transcending (Into The Exquisite)"
"Your Shameful Heaven (Live)".

The original CD, LP and cassette versions all had slightly different artwork, each designed by Aaron.

A limited promotional advance edition came with the CD in a CD-single case in a black velvet bag embroidered with the band´s logo.

Thanks to UMUR for the updates

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MY DYING BRIDE TURN LOOSE THE SWANS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Phonebook Eater
8/10

"Turn Loose The Swans" is a gothic masterpiece of hopelessness intertwining with crushing beauty.

My Dying Bride’s sophomore album puts the band high on the Olympus of Doom Metal bands; still today, this band is one of the most respected acts of Metal music, receiving something like a cult status.

Doom Metal in 1993 wasn’t exactly the most popular kind of music that was metal-oriented: this genre though has been one with a very interesting fan-base, and a genre that has a well-respected history that goes way back, from the early Black Sabbath days. My Dying Bride is a major symbol of evolution in Doom Metal, a band that distanced themselves from the “Traditional” Doom Metal sound typical of bands like Pentagram, Candlemass or Trouble. Although there were bands that incorporated Death Metal and keyboards slightly before the arrival of My Dying Bride, the British band, along maybe with diSEMBOWLMENT, was the first to make Doom Metal more recognized.

“Turn Loose The Swans” has all of the traits of the genre: low-octave, slow, heavy riffs and desperately gloomy lyrics. But the bluesy, retro-feel Traditional Doom sound here is nowhere to be found. Instead, we have an excellent production, Death Metal passages,--usually the heavier ones-- and a great dose of atmosphere, created by keyboards or various effects. Another important addition that really gives a touch of elegancy to the songwriting is the violin, very frequent even in the heavier moments, or the piano driven moments. All this together makes My Dying Bride’s “Turn Loose The Swans” a very ambitious, almost progressive album, with many twists and turns, short and long cuts that still aim towards a precise and effective scope.

Starting with the seven minute, piano driven “Sear Me MCMXCIII”, a desolate, grief-inducing introduction to the general atmosphere of the album, My Dying Bride go full force with “Your River”, where they vent extremely intriguing songwriting, great performances, and a desperate feeling that might even discomfort the listener. The desolation persists especially with the twelve minute “the Crown Of Sympathy”, one of the key moments of the album, a wonderfully arranged, complex, and multi-parted track that is haunting as well as terrifying. Some of the heavier moments, like “The Snow In My Hand” or the title track, are more focused on actual songwriting instead of creating gloomy auras, but the closing track “Black God”, as beautiful as it is, is more repetitive and once again more focused on the atmospheric delivery.

“Turn Loose the Swans” is one of the key Doom Metal albums of all time; essential listening for whoever is into Metal music. It's almost unearthly despair still give the chills today.
Warthur
My Dying Bride's intriguing combination of gothic atmosphere, death-influenced doom metal, shared male and female vocals and haunting violin should really appeal to me far more than it does. Instead, like fellow goth-doom-death pioneers Paradise Lost, they leave me cold - at least on this album. They do a good job of the compositions, performance, and production, but the whole affair feels rather sterile and lifeless to me - the riffs lack teeth, the vocals seem more bored than depressed, and the use of violin is novel but lacks variety. On the whole, I just don't get it, but fans of the death/doom fusion pioneered by the Peaceville stable at that time will probably have fun with it.
J-Man
Classic In The Doom Metal Genre

I first discovered My Dying Bride (and the entire doom etal genre, for that matter) a little over a year ago. I had been really getting into some more extreme metal, so it was only a matter of time before I checked out My Dying Bride. This was my introduction to the band, and it turned me into an instant fan of the band.

I first bought this album not really knowing what to expect. I had heard it called "doom metal", but I really had no idea what that sounded like. I was expecting something crushingly heavy, dark, and scary. While I was right on all 3 accounts, I had no idea how beautiful this album would be. The lush arrangements using Martin Powell's talent on piano and violin immediately captivated me, the dark melodies would stay in my head for days on end, and the musicianship was top-notch.

What really grabbed my attention were the intricate details that set this apart from others in the death/doom metal genre. This often has multiple melodies at once, excellent progressions from section to section, and great riffs and rhythms. This album would actually hold a lot of interest to fans of progressive rock, to be honest.

What makes this stand out for progressive rock fans is mostly the presence of Martin Powell on piano and violin. The albums My Dying Bride released without him just aren't the same. The violin is excellent, and it sets a dark and gloomy feel to the entire album. If you're looking for really happy and uplifting music, you won't find it here. But if you're a fan of progressive metal like Opeth, you'd be surprised how much My Dying Bride has in common with them.

This album is near perfect from beginning to end. Every song has memorable riffs and melodies, and this album is addictive and always demands more listens. This is one of those albums that will not allow you to listen to it 5 times and be done with it. After 3 or 4 listens you begin to understand the album, and it only gets better from there. This is one of the most demanding albums in my collection, as it is not easy listening. Kind of like RIO/Avant Prog I guess, even though MDB has nothing in common with the genre. You can't just put this on while you're doing something else, as it demands your undivided attention.

THE MUSIC:

"Sear Me MCMXCII"- The first song is a complete masterpiece. The haunting piano and violin melodies with the low vocals work perfectly. This song contains no bass, drums, or guitar. This is just the piano, violin, and vocals. The formula is perfect, and when you ad enchanting melodies and harmonies on top of that you have a masterpiece. This is one of my favorites from the album.

"Your River"- After the dark and gloomy first song, this makes no changes. It opens with a haunting and repetitive guitar riff, and just gets better from there. This is followed by an avant-sounding section that progresses into a great prog metal section. Heavy melodic riffs with beautiful violin melodies work excellently. It soon turns into an excellent riff with great drumming. The 3-minute opening is surely the highlight, but the rest is excellent as well. This is a really great song with great progression of riffs. This tones down the dark and gothic tone from the previous song, and it is frequently upbeat and heavy. Great song!

"The Songless Bird"- This song starts with a very avant progressive metal sounding riff. The unusual drum beats and guitar effects set a great mood. The opening to this song is excellent, but it soon goes into a goth-rock influenced vocal section. This has a great softer section in the middle with spacey guitar riffs and violin melodies. This is a really good song, but it isn't my favorite from the album. Some moments seem a little repetitive and are lacking in really high quality riffs.

"The Snow In My Hand"- Again, this song opens with another progressive opening. There are crushing metal riffs with melodic violin. The riffs and melodies are solid throughout the song, and this is one of the best on the album. I love Aaron's vocals here especially. He doesn't do anything extremely difficult, but he has a very unique voice. The outro is excellent.

"The Crown of Sympathy"- At over 12 minutes, this is the longest song on the album. This starts out with an avant-sounding section that is very captivating. Parts of this sounds almost like if Metallica added a violin player and got some avant garde influences. Near about 5 and a half minutes in, the darkest section of the album enters. It reminds me of one of those Halloween soundtracks. It is dark and gloomy with the sound of church bells, always reminding me of a graveyard. This sets an excellent mood for the rest of the song. The electronic-sounding drums really create the atmosphere in this section. The trumpets that soon enter fit excellently. The song has a conclusive outro that brings this epic song to an end. This is one of my favorite songs in My Dying Bride's discography.

"Turn Loose The Swans"- This has another excellent opening that sets the mood for the rest of the song. Overall this is one of my least favorite songs from the album, though. Some parts feel disjointed and unneeded. This still has its fair share of excellent violin melodies, though.

"Black God"- The last song reminds me of the opening track because of the soft, yet dark and depressing mood that is set. This song builds off of a beautiful an dark piano melody, leading to one of my favorite songs on the album. The violin and piano work together perfectly. The low, almost spoken-word vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe work perfectly, while the feminine vocals add an excellent touch. This song is by no stretch of the imagination a happy song, but it is surely magnificent. This is a great way to end the album.

Conclusion:

Turn Loose The Swans is a really excellent album and is a classic in the doom metal genre. You'd be surprised how many progressive elements this album holds. The epic song structures and the beautiful piano and violin melodies will appeal to fans of progressive metal bands like Opeth and Anathema. Keep in mind that this is a gloomy album, and it's not for you if you're not into a dark and unsettling album. Still, this is a really high-quality album that is highly recommended from me. This is a 4-4.5 star album. I'm not going to go with a 5 star rating yet, but I really sense that this album will grow on me even more in the future.

4 stars.

(Originally posted on ProgArchives.com)

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