MY DYING BRIDE — Turn Loose the Swans (review)

MY DYING BRIDE — Turn Loose the Swans album cover Album · 1993 · Death-Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
MY DYING BRIDE established a very unique metal style all the way back in 1990 when they formed and merged the disparate sub-genres of doom and death metal with Gothic rock. Along with Paradise Lost and Anathema, MY DYING BRIDE was a pioneer in establishing the marriage of doom and death metal but took a slightly different fork in the road when they created one of the most interesting avenues of the newly fused metal hybrid. After a series of EPs and their debut album “As The Flower Withers,” MY DYING BRIDE immediately stood out for their inclusion of the violin which set a completely new tone in the metal universe and one which allowed the musical flow to evolve quite differently with the deathened growls and plodding doom riffs going along for the ride.

While the EPs and debut album instantly caught the attention of the underground metal scene, it was the band’s second album TURN LOOSE THE SWANS that took it all to the next level and popularized the band’s signature style that was completely unheard by the early 90s extreme mental crowds and had established a cornerstone of inspiration for various strains of doom / Gothic metal hybridization ever since. While the previous releases had taken more liberties in the death metal department with high tempo outbursts, TURN LOOSE THE SWANS slowed things down considerably and vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe restrained from the relentless growls and added more plaintive clean vocals as well as poetic spoken words. Likewise with the extreme metal speed toned down, the role of the violin became a major staple of the band which allowed melancholic atmospheric build ups to keep the musical flow steeped in lugubrious longevity.

Violinist Martin Powell was now a full member but also brought more cards to the table. He was also a keyboardist and added a whole new dimension to the band’s established death doom sound with more liberties in orchestration and layers of atmospheric funereal melancholy which likewise allowed the music to develop at a slower pace with varying dynamics entering the scene. While diminished from the previous releases, the heavier passages with death growls are still present but now used more as crescendoes after long bouts of atmospheric doom build up reaching the logical apices. The album establishes its atmospheric prowess right from the beginning with the opening “Sear Me MCMXCIII” which avoid any guitar, bass and drum metal aspects and instead ushers in a sequence of depressive piano arpeggios augmented with Stainthorpe’s disconsolate Gothic vocal touches and a tear-inducing violin backdrop.

The album is actually bookmarked by this metal-free style as the closer “Black God” follows suit in an even darker manner which includes the lovely feminine touch of Zena’s vocal charm in conjunct with Stainthorpe’s poetically spoken somberness. MY DYING BRIDE’s second release TURN LOOSE THE SWANS has been describes as Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the ears which is like a musical melodrama that takes on new Gothic heights in a metal context. The album was considered to be a landmark creative development in the hybridization of death-doom and Gothic metal but most of all cranked out an incredible plodding collection of orchestrated metal masterpieces with the longer tracks such as the transcendental “The Crown Of Sympathy” stealing the show with its innovative progressive meanderings through different musical segments and stylistic juxtapositions. No sophomore slump here. This was only the beginning of a surprisingly long-lasting career and a metal masterpiece at that.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
17 days ago
Yeah, they did a good one here. They played it safe and kept the formula but i can't blame them. It was a great formula!
UMUR wrote:
17 days ago
It´s still my favorite My Dying Bride album. Progressive, Unique, and game changing, when it was released. I purchased the album upon released, and still listen to it frequently. Thankfully they have released many great albums since, but this one is special to me.

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