MY DYING BRIDE — Like Gods of the Sun (review)

MY DYING BRIDE — Like Gods of the Sun album cover Album · 1996 · Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
MY DYING BRIDE had been riding high since their critically acclaimed debut “As The Flower Withers” with their unique mix of early Celtic Frost darkness and Candlemass doom metal heft however most of all what really allowed them stand out from the pack was the additional gothic touches that included a haunting violin. They would soon hit musical perfection on the following second and third albums “Turn Loose The Swans” and “The Angel And The Dark River” which transformed them into one of the most interesting metal bands of the 90s. While the band hit the ground running with a completely unique style, experimentation was also a factor and on each album as they would shift the dynamics slightly and change around the dominating roles of the instruments without sacrificing the plaintive doom metal dirge feel that they made theirs alone.

On the third full-length release LIKE GODS OF THE SUN, a new formula was implemented to create an entirely new way of mixing their classic elements together. While “Turn Loose The Swans” had moments that dropped the guitar, bass and drum metal aspects and instead focused on the lugubrious violin wails and synthesized atmospheric bleakness, “The Angel And The Dark River” on the other hand added more metal oomf to the process and avoided such downtime. On LIKE GODS OF THE SUN however, the metal elements got turned up a few notches which is immediately noticeable on the opening title track that let’s loose the heavy distorted guitar riffs without a violin to be heard, however while subjected more to the background still remains a vital part of the band’s overall sound as the atmospheric backdrop makes landfall.

The 90s was a strange time when everything alternative was en vogue and it has always fascinated me how the immense popularity of a particular style flexes its gravitational pull and makes established bands do very strange things and it seems MY DYING BRIDE was not immune for despite having produced some lauded albums, still found themselves adopting some of the alternative metal playbook elements on LIKE GODS OF THE SUN. First of all, the tracks are much shorter. There are no sprawling epics that delve into long meandering violin fueled cloud drifts as in the past. The song structures are concise and to the point with the chugging riffs while retaining a doom metal vibe implement alternative metal and even thrash metal delivery. Ever so graceful in how the changing things up can make or break an album, MY DYING BRIDE nevertheless pulls it off quite successfully with the heavier guitar heft being smoothed out by the admittedly less frequent but fully functional combo effect of the violin and synthesized ambience.

For all its emphasis on a greater metal bombast which very well could’ve resulted from the band’s tour with Iron Maiden, MY DYING BRIDE ends the album letting the listener know that they are essentially the same band with the only track “For My Fallen Angel” that eschews the metal elements altogether and focuses on an ambient synthesized swirl that supports a mournful violin solo performance with Aaron Stainthorpe’s vocals parked on poetic narration instead of the usual gothically tinged romanticism that graced the rest of the album. While the band focused on more metal heft on this album, they did not however return to the death metal growls nor implement the aggressive riffs of the past. LIKE GODS OF THE SUN nicely weaves together the band’s classic sound with an alternative metal presentation that happen to find a few thrash influences in the mix. Overall, this is another stellar album however a clear sign that the sheer perfection of the past masterpieces had expired. While clearly a step down in epic quality, a step down from perfection is nevertheless still a great album.
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UMUR wrote:
2 months ago
Oh yeah Evinta...I forgot that one LOL. Yeah that´s certainly an aquired taste :-)
siLLy puPPy wrote:
2 months ago
Least favorite? That honor would have to go to Evinta for me. I actually like this one although it does pale following such greatness.
UMUR wrote:
2 months ago
Definitely my least favorite My Dying Bride album. There are a couple of great tracks on the album, but overall it has never been able to make my blood boil.

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