|Ah, My Dying Bride. The band's very name immediately culls a superabundance of conflicting viewpoints; some in reverence, others in scorn. As the old adage goes, however, "It doesn't matter what they say, as long as they're saying something." My Dying Bride is intimately versed in such axioms, and mention of 'A Line Of Deathless Kings', the band's ninth full length album, will cross the lips of the Doomed regardless of stance or affiliation.|
'A Line Of Deathless Kings' adds yet another chapter to My Dying Bride's legendary career. Over the years, we have witnessed the band's storied ascension through the ranks of Doom Metal, culminating into a near household name. We have anxiously awaited for each of the band's previous eight full lengths, losing a few of our fellow travellers along the way to all things darker and slower. Few bands have shown us such longevity; just as the years steadily mount, such does the hype surrounding each new release. Does 'A Line Of Deathless Kings' come close to the expectations we have so mechanically heaped upon it?
'A Line Of Deathless Kings' doesn't break new ground, but it takes us on a nostalgic journey - a chronological cauldron of the past simmering sweetly with a more focused future. 'A Line Of Deathless Kings' stitches together the more signifigant riffage of My Dying Bride's extensive catalogue and weaves a sonic tapestry of both peculiar vintage and present-day polish. This is not a regurgitation of old, stagnant ideas, nor is it a transparent attempt at commercialism. This is My Dying Bride, and 'A Line Of Deathless Kings' proclaims that loudly.
The production on this release is absolutely stunning. Smooth gloss gently envelops the dreary aural landscapes, much like a laminated cemetary. This serves the performances beautifully, and My Dying Bride is sharper and more poignant than ever before. Every nuance is breathtakingly captured, which I believe will only strengthen the listener's overall impression.
'To Remain Tombless', the album's first track, is a great example of personal evolution. Strikingly original, yet somehow familiar, 'To Remain Tombless' conjures visions of the band's later catalogue with a generous spattering of Death/Doom. 'L'Amour Detruit' utilizes classic My Dying Bride riffing techniques and builds something very warm and modern. 'I Cannot Be Loved' along with 'And I Walk With Them' are both dark, irresistibly catchy, and oddly melodic.
'Thy Raven Wings' begins with a gorgeous, ethereal piano before launching into a gothic marinade of melodic guitar and slow pounding drums. 'Love's Intolerable Pain' is swollen and heavy with maturity; it is very agreeable and at times very moving. 'One Of Beauty's Daughters' makes use of a very 'Zeppelinesque riff, just quite signifigantly blackened and fine-tuned.
'Deeper Down' is by far the most accessible track on the entire album. It contains a very sinister hook that may worm into your skull, and can only be exorcised by generous amounts of humming. The album concludes with 'The Blood, The Wine, The Roses', a rather groovy little number that is quite original yet still unmistakably My Dying Bride. The song, and album, ends with a ferocious blast of Death/Doom that would have fit nicely on any of the band's earliest efforts. It almost seems like an intentional statement: Been there, done that.
'A Line Of Deathless Kings' is almost entirely populated with Stainthorpe's clean vocals, only occasionally using his trademark growl. This actually favors the songs, as his voice becomes yet another instrument woven carefully into the musical context. Why growl when the feel of the song suggests otherwise? I'm overjoyed Aaron chose this path, as his vocal performance is quite simply the best of his career.
'A Line Of Deathless Kings' is very, very impressive. Fans and Naysayers alike will probably find something they can appreciate on this album, even if the latter faction won't admit it. Seventeen years is quite a trip, especially for a Doom Metal band. Here's hoping the destination is still barely visible in the distance.
1. To Remain Tombless
2. L'Amour Detruit
3. I Cannot Be Loved
4. And I Walk With Them
5. Thy Raven Wings
6. Love's Intolerable Pain
7. One Of Beauty's Daughters
8. Deeper Down
9. The Blood, The Wine, The Roses
Duration : Approx. 61 minutes
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