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 ·
"34.788%...Complete" is the 5th full-length studio album by UK doom/death metal act My Dying Bride. The album was released through Peaceville Records in October 1998. It´s the successor to "Like Gods of the Sun" from 1996 and features a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor as drummer Rick Miah has been replaced by Bill Law and keyboard player/violinist Martin Powell has also left. Powell has not been replaced and the keyboards featured on "34.788%...Complete" are therefore performed by engineer Keith Appleton and producer Robert "Mags" Magoolagan. "34.788%...Complete" is the first My Dying Bride album to not feature violin.

Stylistically the material on "34.788%...Complete" is quite different from the melancholic gothic tinged doom metal style of "Like Gods of the Sun (1996)", and it´s not just the lack of sad violin parts which make the two albums very different listening experiences. It´s obvious from listening to "34.788%...Complete" that My Dying Bride at this point felt a need to experiment with their sound to prevent stagnation, and experiment they do. The basis of the music is still heavy riffs and rhythms and in that respect "34.788%...Complete" is a doom metal album. Aaron Stainthorpe still only performs clean vocals, but his vocals are more varied here than on the preceding releases. Sometimes I´m reminded of Nick Cave ("Heroin Chic"), but Stainthorpe also performs his usual gothic tinged dark vocals.

It´s in the songwriting department that there have been most changes, and the band now add semi-progressive ideas and avant garde tinged moments to their doom metal. The 11:59 minutes long "The Whore, the Cook and the Mother" which opens the album is one of the tracks on the album most similiar to what came before in terms of being a heavy and epic doom metal track (although keyboards are used a bit more than what we´ve been used to from the band on past releases). The atmospheric part in the middle of the track is one of the most beautiful melancholic sections in the band´s discography, and the most beautiful thing about it is how simple it is. A very simple acoustic guitar melody with underlying atmosphere enhancing keyboards and spoken words and samples. The spoken word part is similar in style to the replicant interrogation method from the sci-fi movie "Blade Runner (1982)", with the interogator asking questions in Cantonese and Stainthorpe answering in English. It´s one of the highlights of the album and one of the standout tracks in the band´s discograpy.

The remaining tracks don´t reach the heights of the opener though, and although they aren´t bad quality material, the highligts are few and far between. "Heroin Chic" stands out as it´s a very different sounding track, with the use of electronics, female vocals, some dark and sexually themed lyrics, and the above mentioned Nick Cave influenced vocals by Stainthorpe, but I´m not sure I would call it great. It´s just...different. Some of the other tracks have moments here and there which are intriguing enough, but none of them stand out as anything special.

"34.788%...Complete" features a detailed, powerful, and well sounding production job, and the sound production suits the material well. There´s no arguing that "34.788%...Complete" is the odd one out in the band´s discography (along with "Evinta (2011)"), but personally I think it was a bold move by the band to create something this different after achieving great success with the gothic tinged doom metal style of the two direct predecessors. It shows how uncompromising My Dying Bride are and have always been, and although "34.788%...Complete" isn´t the greatest album of their career and some songwriting ideas work better than others (if anything make sure you give "The Whore, the Cook and the Mother" a listen), I still think it´s an interesting release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
44 days ago
I´d call it more intereresting than great, but I praise the boldness of My Dying Bride.
Tupan wrote:
44 days ago
Reading our review, it does seems to be a very interesting release. I would like to know why the fuck they choose this name for the album, too!


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