Over 12 minutes of darkness My Dying Bride
begin their album The Angel and the Dark River
. They do this with Joy Division
like drums, an epic and despairing song and the feeling of the title, "the Cry of mankind
". Every second is some sort of wail, and when Aaron's vocals set in it seems calm, self composed, almost to the point of non-existence, as if the whole world has broken down to him, and now all means nothing, as if breathing is difficult, as he says the words of our desire and fear of a saviour: "You can't expect to see him and servive, You'll swallow his tongue of thorns, His mouth, dripping with flies, In His glorious kingdom of fire, but I do believe he wept... You tramp us down in a river of death, As I stand here no, my heart is black, I don't want to die a lonely man, This a weary hour..."
Aaron's vocals are not mixed low, but they sound so weary, so depressive that you find yourself straining to tell what he's saying. But perhaps it's best this way, for as you let the epic and dark feeling of the song take over you, you are taken somewhere else, somewhere beyond all time, to the dark places inside your mind where you know nothing of yourself, only of the darkness.
The song winds down, and it does so in a kind of imploding manner, before the repeating guitar line becomes audible, and then it slowly fades, with sounds of water and wind, and then a foghorn, calling over the air like death calling for us. As you are lulled by this you may find sleep coming, those thoughts will be displaced by the sudden bass lines of "From Darkest Skies", which are then followed by mournful violin lines, and then suddenly after the mood is set, the guitars and drums and everything comes up and never stops. The band lets the mood inflitrate you, so that when the guitars and drums come in the mood is simply enhanced, a mood of epic deep darkness, a bit more doom than the first song, but no less interesting. It's even a bit catchy as Aaron sings "Be Mine tonight. The sight of you light, I'll breathe in you. I'm a fool, just for you." Then simply he states "I'm in pain, and I don't know why. Under heavy rain, from darkest skies, We're in pain, the two of us, And I no longer know, Which way to go." Everything fits in perfect, the guitars the drums, the bass, the violin and keyboards and Aaron's excellent vocals.
"Black Voyage" comes next, beginning with a doom like passage of slow tempos and emotional guitars and violins. Then a groove sets in and Aaron comes in "Lie beside me on the grass, They're fighting me for thee, mistress of beauty, thin eyes do shine. Can we run forever? Does Nightfall shine?... Lost forever, from the earth, Descending downwards. Is he our rebirth? Can you feel it? His cruelty glows, This terrible Journey, of, that no-one knows". The song seems about the descent of the hero into absolute darkness into the realm of hell.
"A Sea to Suffer In" is next, beginning with a piano before suddenly breaking into mid-pace drums and guitar, and a violin mirroring the guitar's lines. "The fields of blood I'd left, They mean nothing to you, That war left scars on me, Without you now, I'm free", comes Aaron's vocals after everything becomes much slower, and much more intense. The mood is dark, yet not wallowing in self-despair. "I'll suffer in your sea, Your ocean bleed into me, I'll fall through your endless sky, But never, ever cry. Wounded by your cruelty, Yes, I'll suffer in your sea."
A clean guitar opens "Two Winters Only", "What is it you hope for, even though you are dying? And even though life is closing you tiny eyes, Why did I leave them all? I should be with them to die in the same place, the pain I think, should go on forever. For always but no. Not mine. Not now. My life begins." The beginning has a medieval feel, and the song creates the same dark feeling as the others without any distortion for the most part. When the distortion starts the song gains more power than you could imagine, this is one of the darkest and most powerful songs on here. "We could have changed the world, had you been here with me. Right now. Held you in my arms, In my arms, my love. Jesus wept so man could live forever on earth, In peace, But my tears, They fall for you, Only you." An elegy of despair.
"Your Shameful Heaven" ends this tragic and beautiful album. "You, who stand there now, I will not tell you not to cry, Without fail my purpose, will be fulfilled, I can crown you a God, and I'll suffer for your sings, bound so tightly, pain is everything, Far from kindness. I am your kind, Believe you're in Hell, but your's is Heaven. Cry to Die. You'll love me forever... Your pain was nothing. You longed for more. Your shameful Heaven is full of devils, Just like me. Just for you."
1: The Cry Of Mankind
2: From Darkest Skies
3: Black Voyage
4: A Sea to Suffer In
5: Two Winters Only
6: Your Shameful Heaven