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Sunday, April 05, 2009

CD Review: My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire

My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
2009 Peaceville Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

There's Goth metal and then there's My Dying Bride. Outside the indisputable masters of the magnificently maudlin, Opeth, doom and despair specialists My Dying Bride are unequivocally the next best thing.

At one point to be considered the UK's answer to Type O Negative, My Dying Bride are honing in on the closure of their second decade together, accounting for some personnel adjustment in 2006 and 2007. As gutturally impressive as they have been since the early days of 1994's Turn Loose the Swans and '96's The Angel and the Dark River, not to mention the frequently blistering The Light at the End of the World from 1999, My Dying Bride has reliably sieved out some of the starkest and gloomiest metal outside of Pentagram, Sunn O))) and Lacrimas Profundere.

As concussively depressive as The Cure's Pornography and Sisters of Mercy's Floodland only on a deeper-plunged, heavier scale, My Dying Bride are at this point the Faustian inheritors of a Goth subculture who champion this band as trad doom fans glom fanatically onto Cathedral and the stoner set upon Weedeater.

Whereas My Dying Bride created a miasma of Bachian fugue on 2004's Songs of Darkness, Words of Light, on their latest album For Lies I Sire, expect weepy, Dante-railed violins, melancholic piano swoons, savage yet romantic platitudes from Aaron Stainthorpe and of course brute-handed finesse chords designed to usher you straight to your exposed nerve endings in irresolute sadness.

What's particularly terrific about the epochal style of My Dying Bride's languished sorrow in how much respect they show towards their audience, which consists of everyone from vampires to literati to plain ol' doomheads. In fact, you might say My Dying Bride's overall constitution as a doom unit predates the transcendence of Goth as its own thread of fringe culture. As long as they've been doing this daunting form of veneered lugubriousness, it should come as no surprise that For Lies I Sire is spot-on, grief-stricken sophistication as only My Dying Bride can specifically convey.

"Shadowhaunt" caters to both the Goth sect and dark metal aficianados by gracefully swishing through the first couple of verses before turning up the amplitude (as well as letting Aaron Stainthorpe snarl a tad like the old days, a trick repeated later on the album's final song "Death Triumphant"), as do "Santuario Di Sangue" and "A Chapter in Loathing."

By the time the listener is plunged into My Dying Bride's eloquent lament, For Lies I Sire has already kicked into gear with the quixotic and blood-rained "My Body a Funeral" which grows downright bustled in the second half. This gives way the neck-provoking electric bob of "Fall With Me," complete with an exquisite marching breakdown that has nothing to do with metalcore's skidded interruption modes. "Fall With Me" grows from its breakdown with an uptempo groove and temporal guitars from Harnish Glencross and Andrew Craighan.

Suffice it to say, My Dying Bride is by no means everyone's cup of tea. Some prefer a little orange pekoe merely for its familiarity, while My Dying Bride is the equivalent to an Earl Grey nailed with a splash of absinthe. The effects of Katie Stone's funereal violins on For Lies I Sire are as intoxicating as Aaron Stainthorpe's Eldritch-esque despondent cleans. Ever since exchanging his demonic ralphs around the time of A Line of Deathless Kings for largely-full-time singing, My Dying Bride has become even more organic as a result. Organic as in a decomposing corpse left to the starving rats in a relentless downpour...

Rating: ****


The Mule said...

"Earl Grey with a splash of absinthe"—nice, I'll take it!

Turn the Screws Loose? What about those Swans? :)

Anyway, I'm a big MDB fan, and I'm looking forward to hearing this.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

lol, then you'll know what to expect...I'd say without Opeth, MDB would be class elite of their subgenre...enjoy, bro

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

hhahahahaa, thank God you nailed me on Swans...I must've had a Freudian slip or self-prognosis hee hee...gads, in my elder years I get daffier by the day

The Mule said...

That's OK, Ray, we all have our occasional slip-ups. Sometimes I catch the most absurd things in my 2nd, 3rd and 4th drafts.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Ever since my Journey faux pas I've made it a point to keep my stuff as clean as possible, but in this case since I know the album, it's even more ridiculous I came with that. Oh well, it is to laugh!