This is it: the most polemic album from My Dying Bride
, the "Ugly duck", the love it or leave it (more leave it to most doom die hard fans). Looking at the album and reading the title you immediately notice that something might be wrong: the name is completely crazy, nothing to do with classic metal albums, the cover art is strange, more high-tech than dark...
First seconds and you notice that the guitars sound different, then the drums start and Aaron starts singing and yes, definitely you know that the first looks had a reason to be: this is a different album! The voice is slightly distorted and the band sounds more alternative than doom and yet... I like it! This first song is called "The whore, the cook and the mother", it's the longest of all in the album (almost 12 minutes). It talks about what i'd say it's a common relationship with the word "mother" being applied to the natural difference between male and female (not really a mother). Great song, with some industrial keyboards, some calm moments and a strong body. The second track is "The stance of Evander Sinq" keeps pointing to an experimental path, but it's on the third track ("Der uberlebende") that the band steps firmly on what I'd call alternative metal, with some kind of post-rock embedded too. I like the song, as I liked the previous track although we must all admit that it lacks the power of My Dying Bride
. Aaron sings, and you can't really feel sadness this time, you feel more an embrace which is weird... very weird... Finally we get to the moment where fans get disappointed for real: "Heroin Chic" is highly experimental, with so much electronic going on, alternative singing between Aaron and female vocals... and yet again... it's not that bad for people (like me) who also listen to bands like Nine Inch Nails
, Skinny Puppy
... This is not a good song, because it just keeps repeating itself on and on but I like the effort. Moving on, "Apocalypse
woman" is electronic once again, the band keeps experimenting a lot, with a completely different mood we're used to and yes, the production is so much different that when Aaron is not singing you can hardly find anything that looks like My Dying Bride
. "Base level erotica" has an hypnotic start, makes me feel dizzy but then somehow you can have a little feeling that it still has a bit of doom hidden in there. Again
the song has many different tempos and rhythms, it has some boring moments, and also some greater ones so it's not easy to say if it's love or hate here. Closing the album there's "Under your wings and into your arms", a ballad title for a song which is not one. It's a good track to close this album, less experimental, more My Dying Bride
-like, although too fast to transmit any kind of sadness, which used to be the band's core...
Listening to "34,788%... Complete" some years later brings us a different perspective of what it was all about: refreshment, experimentation, discovery... We can now sense that it was some steps ahead, that somehow it may had influence in bands that nowadays have a different approach of metal. It's good that the band left this sound alone and got back to doom, but I'm glad they had this deviation because I believe they needed it, and I believe that after this the band knew that they would be a metal band until the end of their career.