My Dying Bride
A Line of Deathless Kings

I’ll be the first to admit that none of My Dying Bride’s post As the Flower Withers albums haven’t really done much for me. First, mainly because have always found Aaron Stainthorpe’s clean croon insufferably whiny. There, I said it. Secondly, 34.788% Complete just ruined the band’s legacy for me. Even with the band’s sort of half hearted ‘return to form’ by way of growling vocals on the last three albums, I simply have not been enamored with anything the band has released in the last decade. Until now.Artfully mixing elements from every single of the band’s past albums, in my opinion, My Dying Bride have released the best album of their post As the Flower Withers career and truly delivered a captivating, heavy and somber album of gracefully doomy magnificence. No, the growls are not fully back, in fact they may even be less prevalent than on Songs of Darkness, Words of Light as they only appear briefly on a few songs, but musically, bolstered by the band’s best production in years, A Line Of Deathless Kings just works in every facet that My Dying Bride have plied in their 9 album career.

To these ears, the key is the riffs of Messrs. Andrew Craighan and Hamish Hamilton, who have somehow reached back 14 years and penned some of the most memorable, heaviest, dirgiest, and emotive riffs since the debut. Then they have managed to give those riffs the sort of romantic longing and woeful mope of The Angel and the Dark River (i.e “The Cry of Mankind”), then sprinkled a bit of subtle experimentation. The topper, however is Stainthorpe. Though clean throughout the album with the exception of brief spurts in “Love’s Intolerable Pain”, “Deeper Down” and closer “The Blood, The Wine, The Roses”, I either have matured enough to accept his rueful whine, or he seems to have peaked vocally in his delivery; I think is the latter as he has just enough eloquent variations and fluctuations to not annoy me.
Of course, the British doom legends retain par for the course with lengthy tracks and morose, darkly sensual lyrical themes that make for over an hour of mirth crushing atmospheres, but the songs themselves enthrall and mesmerize from beginning to end. From the heaving rumble of opener “To Remain Tombless”, the rending “Cry of Mankind”-ish emotion of “L’Amour Detruit” and “My Raven Wings” through the awesome percussive lope and awesome spoken word climax of one of my favorite tracks “And I Walk With Them”, the earthy chug of “Deeper Down” to the perfectly crafted closer “The Blood, The Wine, The Roses” (replete with full on death metal paced climax), the album’s pacing, mood, structure and delivery is simply perfect.

For a band to still be around and producing quality music after 16 years is commendable. For a band to be improving in all facets of their sound 9 albums into a rather seminal career is amazing and My Dying Bride who unlike fellow influential British doom mongers Anathema and Paradise Lost, still sound somewhat like they used to when they helped start the modern doom metal movement.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 11th, 2006

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