DB HOF NO. 15
The making of My Dying Bride’s “Turn Loose the Swans”
In 1991 My Dying Bride already stood out from the cookie-cutter, cookie-monster death metal that was hegemonic in the underground at the time. Lyrics and vocals in Latin, the early appearance of violin on their debut EP and LP, their willingness to slow things down as well as speed up, not to mention their exotic name, already meant that a huge buzz had built up around the Yorkshire sextet. But in 1993 and 1994, this buzz was about to become even louder.
What ensued was an underground metal classic. The six members—Aaron Stainthorpe (vocals), Andy Craighan (guitar), Calvin Robertshaw (guitar), Ade Jackson (bass), Rick Miah (drums) and Martin Powell (violin, keyboards)—had not only found their true voice and style with Turn Loose the Swans, they inadvertently signalled the start of an entire era. Barring labelmates Paradise Lost, few bands had hitherto broken through in the speed-obsessed death metal underground while playing a slower style; after My Dying Bride released Turn Loose, that all changed. Bands like Anathema, Tiamat, The Gathering, Moonspell, In the Woods, and many more all suddenly found a readymade death/doom space created for them. Yet none quite managed to capture the moment as well as had My Dying Bride on Turn Loose. A funereal, sombre masterpiece, the album fried the brains of those who heard it at the time, and continues to do so ever to this day.
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