After their previous release, Turn Loose the Swans, My Dying Bride set their standards very high indeed.With this, their third full length album, they achieve what few bands can: create an incredible album on a different path from that of their previous one. Where Turn Loose the Swans was raw and quite death in its musical approach, The Angel and the Dark River hardly has any growling and the guitars are more melodic. You know immediately it’s MDB because through this change in style their spirit still transcends. The songs are sad; they talk of Love, Death, Religion… Aaron’s usual inspiration for his lyrics, but the music gives us a different perspective from that of past and future albums. Indeed, never again has MDB been even close to accomplishing an album as complete as this. The first track, The Cry of Mankind, lasts over 12 min and is probably the best in this album, maybe even the best song MDB has ever written; a tale of how Jesus looks down on Mankind and sees how we are destroying ourselves thus rendering his sacrifice useless. An epic which shows straight away what we can expect from the rest of the album: Slow grinding guitars inter playing with each other, harmonising often, which together with Martin’s violin and keyboards (the best I’ve ever heard!) create that melancholic sound which is the trademark of MDB. Aaron’s laments complete the painting in sad dark hues; there is a bit of growling in some songs but somehow it is not missed (for those of you who think DOOM must be growled this is a lesson on how to deliver intense vocals without reverting to growls). A review on this album cannot be complete without commenting on the incredible drumming by Rick Miah, who is, to my liking, the best DOOM drummer in the business (sadly, he is no longer a member of the band). Not one of the tracks has a simple rhythm, his use of the double bass and the cymbals adds the final touch to an already perfect album. The Angel and the Dark River is a must for anyone interested in DOOM and will serve as a comparison for other DOOM albums for a long time to come. Essential listening.