Review Summary: Dark and depressing in a very epic and beautiful way. They may not have that nifty violin feature anymore, but My Dying Bride prove they're still ahead of the game when it comes to Doom metal.
Doom metal isn't exactly the most uplifting genre out there. In fact, it doesn't get much more depressing that doom. I've had so many people ask me "why on earth would you want to listen to something so melancholy"" yet sometimes, it is quite difficult to dignify yourself with an adequate reply. In all honesty, we all know that sometimes it's in our nature to be downbeat, to be sad. This could come in the form of bereavement or grieving over lost friends and loved ones or more typical amongst adolescents, simple mood swings. Whatever embodiment that is applicable, My Dying Bride are the perfect example of depression in musical form. Britain certainly bears the vigil when it comes to quality doom metal bands; Anathema and Paradise Lost are two more apt examples that go nicely alongside the legendary Yorkshire based band that are My Dying Bride.
Their most recent effort, A Line of Deathless Kings, is quite a listen. The riffs are more memorable and the vocals more heartfelt than before. Yet gone is are those gorgeous violin lines that helped to make My Dying Bride that little bit more exceptional. Nevertheless, the band haven't dumbed themselves down. Album opener To Remain Tombless is a testament to the more riff-orientated approach. Aaron Stainthorpe is undoubtedly the premier vocalist in the genre and he reinstates himself as the king in fine fashion throughout the album. The chorus of To Remain Tombless is undeniably epic; heavy pulsating guitar chords fill your speakers like treacle surging into a valley and Aaron's improved clean vocals are most impressive. In the middle part of the song, he unleashes this unfathomable inhaled growl - quite simply put, it sounds like a phantom. Utterly demonic.
The album continues in similar style. Each song offers heavy, rhythmic guitar parts, slow driving drums/bass and the always impressive yet rarely varying vocal talents of Stainthorpe. Oh, let's not forget the atmosphere, largely due in part to the keyboards hiding away in the background. L'Amour Detruit is a perfect example of how keyboards can create a ghostly atmosphere. The vocals follow the guitar line at points - repetition is in definite abundance here but don't let it put you off. Doom metal certainly wouldn't be doom metal if there was a new riff every five seconds.
It would be slightly pointless to continue talking about individual tracks. They all follow the same pattern and some are definitely more memorable than others. Penultimate track Deeper Down is rather catchy as far as Doom goes - but the crowning moment of the album definitely hits you in the closing moments. The outro to The Blood, the Wine, the Roses culminates in a thrash-orientated ending, coupled with vocals so fueled with anger you think Stainthorpe could engulf you in what surges from the speakers.
"Torment me you fucking bastard! I will slay your worthless, blackened soul!
Essentially, this album can only be listened to if you're in the correct frame of mind. A melancholy frame of mind that is. But with that said, it is doom metal, which will never be everybody's cup of tea. Whilst the band have put out better material, this album proves that after many years My Dying Bride still have what it takes to lament the inner depressive in you with beautiful doom metal. I say beautiful...yet downbeat may be a more apt adjective. In any case, any self proclaimed doom metal fan will do themselves no harm by picking up a copy of this. Solid album.
To Remain Tombless
The Blood, the Wine, the Roses