A new lineup, with only one guitar after the departure of
and with new drummer
Shaun Taylor-Steels, and with keyboardist Jonny Maudling,
returned to their classic doom sound on
The Light At The End Of The World (Peaceville, 2000), although
only the eight-minute She Is the Dark is worth of the old fantasias.
Meisterwerk is an anthology.
In the new century the band remained centered around
vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan.
The Dreadful Hours (Peaceville, 2001), that adds
second guitarist Hamish Glencross and keyboardists
Jonny Mauding and Yasmin Ahmed
to the lineup, fared much better.
The songs last, on average, eight minutes each,
and the sound is the epic, monumental, guitar-driven doom & gloom,
especially in Le Figlie Della Tempesta and in the 14-minute closer,
The Return To The Beautiful, while the
nine-minute The Dreadful Hours bridges doom and post-rock.
Songs of Darkness Words of Light (2004), featuring new
keyboardist Sarah Stanton, was like an inferior version of the previous album:
same pathos, same instrumental fluency, but few memorable passages, and therefore these long compositions mostly are a mess.
Certainly the atmosphere is the darkest of their career, but it ends up feeling repetitive without enough magic to sustain it.
The Wreckage of My Flesh and Catherine Blake are the two songs to save.
Maybe this album should have been a three-song EP.
A Line of Deathless Kings (2006), without
drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels (replaced by a session drummer)
mostly disposed of both the growling vocals and of the heavy darkness.
The problem remained the same: weak
material that could have been compressed in an EP. Save only
And I Walk with Them and maybe L'Amour Detruit.
For Lies I Sire (2009), with new bassist Lena Abe' replacing original bassist Adrian Jackson, new dummer Dan Mullins replacing Shaun Taylor-Steels and
new keyboardist and violinist Katie Stone replacing Stanton,
marked the return of the violin in their sound, but was even more
The eleven-minute Death Triumphant is typical of the redundant theatrics that now bogs down their music.
The double-disc Evinta (2011), with
new keyboardist and violinist Shaun MacGowan replacing Stanton,
was an experiment in ambient music with classical ambitions:
prominent piano and violin, even soprano vocals (Lucie Roche) and spoken-word vocals.
Elegant, somber and melancholic music, but stretched too long for their musical skills.
The 27-minute piece of the EP The Barghest O' Whitby (2011) is a worthy addition to the experiment.
A Map of All Our Failures (2012) returned to the
generic, bloated doom metal
of For Lies I Sire.
The Vaulted Shadows (2014) compiles two EPs,
The Barghest O' Whitby (2011) and
The Manuscript (2013).
Hamish Glencross quit and
Calvin Robertshaw rejoined for Feel the Misery (2015), another
album catering to the old fans with lengthy and darkly lyrical suites like
To Shiver in empty Halls,
And My Father Left Forever and
Within a Sleeping Forest.
The Ghost of Orion (2020), with new drummer Jeff Singer (ex-Paradise Lost) replacing Shaun Taylor-Steels and guitarist Neil Blanchett replacing Calvin Robertshaw,
was mostly composed by guitarist Andrew Craighan.
The violin is more prominent than in the previous decade, and the vocals are as clean as they have ever been.
The album collects
the uneven singles Your Broken Shore (both clean and growling vocals) and Tired of Tears (only clean vocals) and mediocre songs and interludes that feel like filler. The notable exception is
ten-minute The Old Earth, easily the standout.
The album was followed by the four-song EP Macabre Cabaret (2020).
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