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My Dying Bride : Evinta

My Dying Bride are turning their back to sensitive Metal to ambitiously embrace a sober kind of Baroque music.

I greeted the news of My Dying Bride releasing a collection of classical versions of some of their old songs with both amazement and delight. Amazement because this was a logical move (the musical universe of My Dying Bride has always been connected in some way to Baroque music) as well as a rather bold one (’Evinta’ is an album that is closer to the works of Elend or of Les Fragments De La Nuit than anything else labelled Doom Metal, something that should dampen some fans’ spirit), and delight because I'm a fan of the Baroque era in music and I closely follow some neo-classical projects currently in activity.

The result is something that is both different than what My Dying Bride have ever released, yet so typically of the My Dying Bride essence at its very core. This is not anything Operatic Metal here, in fact this is NOT a Metal album (which, incidentally, I do find a better way to go). Yet, this is still clearly a DOOM album. The lyrical themes are our usual My Dying Bride credos (loneliness, pain, lost love, death, inaccessible beauty and sadness), so what's new here is not what's written down, but how it is expressed. I must say that, depite being a big fan of ’For Lies I Sire (which marks, to me, the artistic resurrection of My Dying Bride after a handful of just correct albums), the vocal work of Aaron here clearly surpasses his singing performance of the last decade. And maybe of his entire career as the My Dying Bride singer. His voice fits perfectly the music, articulating the verses when needed, then sobbing, crying, desperately singing. I've seen a lot of people around the Net complaining about the lack of growls here, and all I have to say is: 'How lucky we are to not have any growls destroying the ambiance here!!' To complement Aaron's voice, we have French mezzo soprano Lucie Roche (well known around these shores for her magnificent interpretations of Wagner and Mozart), and she is the major reason why this record is floating high above the crowd.

Musically, this is a magnificent take on some well-known tracks, and even a hardcore fan will have some trouble finding which song is which (it took me nearly the full track to recognize that ‘Vanité Triomphante’ is in fact ‘For My Fallen Angel’), Reduced to one violin, one cello and some orchestral keyboards parts (these ones courtesy of Jonny Maudling from Bal-Sagoth), the music is then a wonderful complement to the lyrics. This is indeed the sound of funerals being held, the sobbing of the children and the peace of the grave. The arrangements provide lots of musical landscapes, and the fact that most of the songs are keyboards-driven is rarely annoying. There is also some menacing moments, like on the beautiful re-creation of ‘She Is The Dark’ (under the monicker ‘That Dress And Summer Skin’), but mostly you'll have some roaring exhalation and screams sent out to the indifferent sky, like in the impressive ‘In Your Dark Pavillion’.

If you've got money to spend, I recommend you get the special 3 CD version; it is definitely a must-have. Not only are the CDs released in a gorgeous 24 pages artbook, but the third CD is the one that holds the best songs of the whole bunch. A lot more darker than what the other 2 offer, this special record (that is supposed to be re-released as a separate record some time later) features what is for me the best version of ‘The Wreckage Of My Flesh’ one could have expected to hear. And then you'll be thrown in a middle of a wild tempest, rolling in distress under dark clouds and roaring thunder from song to song, till the bleak ending that is ‘And All Their Joy Was Drowned’, a song that is dripping with venom and black tears. It is really too bad that most of the fans won't be able to get this version due to a lack of money (it is as expensive as it is gorgeous), but if you can get it... don't ever hesitate.

All in all, My Dying Bride have taken a step that is not very different in spirit to what they've tried with ’34,788%...Complete’. My Dying Bride fans should have already fallen prey to this sorrowful beast, but what is more important is that ‘Evinta’ shows that My Dying Bride still have something to say and have interesting ideas. I don't know what influence ‘Evinta’ will have on the future of My Dying Bride, but one thing is sure: the light at the end of the world still shines in the dark, and I'll gladly follow it.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
Disc 1 :
1. In Your Dark Pavillion
2. You Are Not The One Who Loves Me
3. Of Lilies Bent With tears
4. The Distance, Busy With Shadows
5. Of Sorry Eyes In March

Disc 2 :
1. Vanité Triomphante
2. That Dress And Summer Skin
3. And Then You Go
4. A Hand Of Awful Rewards

Disc 3 (only in the limited digibook edition) :
1. The Music Of Flesh
2. Seven Times She Wept
3. The Burning Coast Of Regnum Italicum
4. She Heard My Body Dying
5. And All Their Joy Was Drowned

Duration : Approx. 45+41+42 minutes

Visit the My Dying Bride bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-09-03 by Laurent Lignon
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