The Angel and the Dark River

The Angel and the Dark River
Studio album by My Dying Bride
Released May 22, 1995
Recorded Academy Studios, December 1994 - January 1995
Genre Doom metal, gothic metal
Length 52:14
Label Peaceville Records
Producer Robert 'Mags' Magoolagan, My Dying Bride
My Dying Bride chronology
The Stories (1994) The Angel and the Dark River
Digipak and re-issue
Professional ratings
Review scores

The Angel and the Dark River is the third album by the British doom/death metal band My Dying Bride. The 1996 re-release contains one bonus track "The Sexuality of Bereavement" and a bonus CD titled Live at the Dynamo. The Live CD was recorded during their appearance at the Dynamo Festival in 1995.

Aaron Stainthorpe's lyrics continued in the vein of Turn Loose the Swans (focusing on religious symbolism and relationship problems), whilst non-English phrases were omitted once more. Stainthorpe has said in many interviews that "Two Winters Only" is his favourite My Dying Bride song.

Five of the album's six tracks appear on the band's VHS and DVD For Darkest Eyes.


For the first time in the band’s history, guitar player Andrew Craighan was the sole composer of a My Dying Bride record, which was considered “strange” to the guitarist. Many song ideas for The Angel and the Dark River were completed during the recording of the album at Academy Studios. Craighan cites "The Cry of Mankind" as an example: "we had the vocals, we had that guitar line [Calvin Robertshaw's repetitive arpeggio background guitar], we had the drums and the bass. The other guitar line, the heavier guitar line, was non-existent."[3]

Musical Style

The Angel and the Dark River was arguably the release that saw the band travel furthest from their death metal origins. Aaron Stainthorpe dispensed with his death grunt entirely, and Martin Powell's violin and keyboard playing now seemed to be the basis around which the rest of the arrangement was built. Apart from the final track of the original release ("Your Shameful Heaven"), the tempo was unremittingly slow.[4]


This water-charged inspiration comes from their home, the north of England. Andrew Craighan said that they "subscribe very much to the ideas of the mist and the fog and the castles. All of that typical English stuff. Constantly fucking raining. And it's just always bleak here. It's always cold. It's always miserable. We actually kind of enjoy that in a sick way, so to write about it and to sing about it is nothing new."[5]

Touring and Promotion

My Dying Bride were invited by Steve Harris to be the opening band of Iron Maiden's European tour. Harris himself made the invitation, phoning Andrew Craighan to tell him that he thought The Angel and the Dark River was "a killer album".[6] Peaceville later on reissued the record in a limited double-CD edition, featuring an alternate cover scheme and an extra disc with their 1995 Dynamo Open Air live performance. About the concert, MDB guitarist Andrew Craighan revealed:

We enjoyed it a lot, but it was our first gig after six months, so we were rusty. Rehearsing in a rehearsal room is one thing, but in front of 3500 people or more, suddenly you're not sure how to play the songs in a live environment. That's the importance of playing warm-up shows. We learned valuable lessons that night, but it wasn't the ideal place for that![7]

Track listing

  1. "The Cry of Mankind" – 12:13
  2. "From Darkest Skies" – 7:48
  3. "Black Voyage" – 9:46
  4. "A Sea to Suffer In" – 6:31
  5. "Two Winters Only" – 9:01
  6. "Your Shameful Heaven" – 6:59
  7. "The Sexuality of Bereavement" – 8:04 *

Live at the Dynamo

  1. Your River – 8:13
  2. A Sea to Suffer In – 6:21
  3. Your Shameful Heaven – 6:21
  4. The Forever People – 4:52



  1. Serba, John. The Angel and the Dark River review Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  2. Dillon, Jared W. The Angel and the Dark River review Retrieved on 2015-04-06.
  3. Azevedo, Pedro (12 November 1999). "The Bride Returns to the Bleak Rainy Moors: CoC chats with Andrew Craighan of My Dying Bride". Chronicles of Chaos. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  4. Serba, John. "The Angel & the Dark River - My Dying Bride". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  5. Mcooe, Scott. "My Dying Bride". Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  6. Gehlke, David E. "My Dying Bride - At Home With Despair". Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  7. Azevedo, Pedro (7 March 2002). "Thus Spake the Wretched: CoC talks to Andrew Craighan of My Dying Bride". Chronicles of Chaos. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
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