MY DYING BRIDE — 34.788%... Complete (review)

MY DYING BRIDE — 34.788%... Complete album cover Album · 1998 · Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
All great bands who experience some level of success face the same conundrum if they manage to stick around long enough to face it and that is the classic dilemma of simply following the same formula of the era that launched them into the limelight of their classic period or to sally forth into new experimental battlefields and tackle hitherto unexplored nooks and crannies of the musical world. While MY DYING BRIDE had already developed their classic sound before they released their debut album “As The Flower Withers,” they successfully walked the tightrope of retaining their unique stylistic approach while changing things up slightly on all of their first four albums. However after the release of “Like Gods Of The Sun,” big changes took place mostly by the departure of the one member, Martin Powell, the major component of the bands signature sound with his stellar violin and keyboard playing. Powell left MY DYING BRIDE and joined Anathema.

Instead of replacing him, MY DYING BRIDE decided to take the opportunity to leap into the world of the unexpected and crank out something unlike anything they’d done before and in the process, the electrifying violin of their previous albums had been completely dropped and would not return until 2009’s “For Lies I Sire.” If that wasn’t enough drummer Rich Miah also jumped shipped and his shoes were filled by Bill Law. Like it or not big change was in the air and MY DYING BRIDE simply took the bull by the horns and cranked out the most out of character albums of their career with 34.788%…COMPLETE which fully embraced the quirky 90s values and steered their gothic doom metal vessels into the the seas of alternative metal, trip hop and the avant-garde. While boldly sailing into the unknown, this album has remained their most controversial moment which in many ways demonstrates the complacency of the metal fans in how they usually frown upon such departures from what came before.

There is no doubt that 34.788%…COMPLETE is a strange album indeed, not only for MY DYING BRIDE but for metal in general. Despite a radical new approach, this album for the most part is unmistakably performed by the doom metal pioneers who came before even without the violin as the synthesized atmospheric backdrop usurps the role albeit in a less effective way. While “Like Gods Of The Sun,” opted for shorter more digestible tracks, 34.788%…COMPLETE jumps back into the sprawling epic approach of their earlier albums with most tracks having around the eight minute mark and the opening “The Whore, The Cook And The Mother” extending all the way to twelve. While the first chugging riffs and new vocal style of Aaron Stainthorpe buried under the muddy distorted riffs may sound like a completely new band, the compositional style renders clues with familiar musical flow, alternations between heavier passages and subdued ambient breathing time. This is MY DYING BRIDE, just a very strange version as if this was released in an alternate dimensional reality.

Perhaps the most identifying feature of 34.788%…COMPLETE is the liberal use of production techniques that allow electronica influenced reverberations, echoes effects and synthesized timbres decorate the otherwise heavy plodding doom riffs. Another different feature is the more dynamic use of the dual guitar attack of Andrew Craighan and Calvin Robertshaw as one relentlessly delivers heavily accented doom stomps while the other offers licks that implement pig squeals and even an occasional solo. Perhaps no other feature seems as alien as the trip hop techniques adopted from 90s acts such as Portishead and Massive Attack. While the eight minute track “Heroin Chic” is the standout in how it takes a simple electronic beat and structures minimalistic counterpoints around it while Stainthorpe and guest vocalist Michelle Richfield offer a strange back alley ritualistic salute to the drug scene, the truth is that the overall musical construct of the compositions retains a rather nonchalant trip hoppy free floating vector.

MY DYING BRIDE seemed like they could do no wrong with several albums delivering some of the most sophisticated take on doom metal that fans had ever heard however the response to 34.788%…COMPLETE was not a positive one as it alienated most fans expecting the next subtle step away from “Like Gods Of The Sun.” Personally i don’t find this album to be the horrible monster that it’s made out to be. After all, MY DYING BRIDE were masters of adapting their goth doom sensibilities to the most extreme opposing musical forces and that is still the case with 34.788%…COMPLETE. The problem with this album is that it lacks consistency. While the initial tracks establish an acceptable new strain of their goth doom / alternative hybridization, the album derails in the middle with the admittedly irritating “Heroine Chic” which serves as an eight minute blackhole that completely extinguishes any acceptance of what could have been.

The track is followed by the mediocrity of “Apocalypse Woman” but regains steam with the bass heavy and return to doom guitar prominence splendor of “Base Level Erotica,” which sounds most like a more familiar MY DYING BRIDE of yore complete with Stainthorpe’s plaintive goth-tinged vocal style. For my money, 34.788%…COMPLETE is actually a decent album with a few fatal flaws. With a running time of approaching a full hour’s length, the two aforementioned tracks should have simply been nixed from the final cut since they inconveniently slice through the alternative doom prowess established during the first part of the album and continued with the ending tracks “Base Level Erotica” and “Under Your Wingers And Into Your Arms.” Yeah, experimentation is never guaranteed even for the most successful bands who feel they can take any liberties that they wish. 34.788%…COMPLETE was a bold move indeed and mostly works for me. If the two overlong middle tracks were removed this would be a 4 star album for me but as it is only a 3.5 since the remaining tracks are really strong examples of the unlikely mix of alternative goth doom.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
UMUR wrote:
5 months ago
I think this was a bold release, and I enjoy it quite a lot. I understand why some people find it a disappointment, but after the predecessor, which I found pretty boring (I actually didn´t listen to My Dying Bride for many years following the release of that one, and have only experienced the latter part of their disco in more recent times), this is a breath of fresh air and I think the band succeeded for the most part trying something different.

Review Index

Member Zone

Username:
Password:
Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II Power Metal
HELLOWEEN
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Black Mass Wedding Death-Doom Metal
BESTIALORD
Buy this album from MMA partners
Evil Dead Death Metal
EMBRIONAL
Buy this album from MMA partners
Input›Chaos Sludge Metal
GHOLD
Buy this album from MMA partners
Scintilla Metal Related
CATACOMBE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Contagium Death Metal
MUTILATE
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Where the Oceans Fall - Stream (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
WHERE THE OCEANS FALL
Bosh66· 3 days ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online