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My Dying Bride: A Line Of Deathless Kings

My Dying Bride should be no strangers to lovers of doom metal. In fact, the British band, who came out around the same time as bands like Anathema, Cathedral, and Paradise Lost, have nicely progressed over the years, from a more death/doom style early on to a polished and refined melodic doom style with strong gothic and progressive elements. Their latest, A Line Of Deathless Kings, might very well be the gothic doom release of 2006, as it contains all things that fans of the genre look for, that being huge and plodding heavy guitar riffs, vocals dripping with melancholy, pounding rhythms, epic song structures, and a splattering of atmospheric keyboards.

The vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe are quite good here as always, as he sings in a dreary yet melodic clean style with occasional flashes into a growl. His style at times sounds like a combination of the vocals from HIM, Celtic Frost, Type O Negative, The Doors, and The Cure, and it really fits the heavy yet somber music. The riffs...well, they are here, and in abundance. Recalling vintage Black Sabbath or Candlemass, guitarists Andrew Craighan and Hamish Glencross plow through plenty of massive power chords that threaten to shake your very foundation. Tunes like "Loves Intolerable Pain" and "I Cannot Be Loved" thunder along like a runaway brontosaurus, while the pummeling stomp of "One of Beauty's Daughters" contains no shortage of brutal dirges to go along with Stainthorpe's mesmerizing vocals. If you like things a little faster paced, check out the manic death march of "Deeper Down", sounding like some leftover track from late 80's era Black Sabbath.

There's been plenty of solid doom albums released this year, and for the most part they were from promising young American & European bands who wore their influences on their sleeves. I'm certain that My Dying Bride, who have proven over the years that they are certainly worthy of the modern doom throne, are quite possibly on that list of influences of any of those bands. Take a listen here and see why.

Track Listing
1. To Remain Tombless
2. Amour Detruit
3. I Cannot Be Loved
4. And I Walk With Them
5. Thy Raven Wings
6. Loves Intolerable Pain
7. One of Beauty's Daughters
8. Deeper Down
9. Blood, The Wine, The Roses

Added: February 18th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: My Dying Bride Website
Hits: 4845
Language: english

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My Dying Bride: A Line Of Deathless Kings
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-18 12:07:46
My Score:

A Line of Deathless Kings is My Dying Bride's ninth studio release, consisting of nine tracks and over sixty minutes of running time. Most of the tunes are between the five and seven-minute range, the second track "L'Amour Detruit" (Ruined Love) being an exception. At over nine minutes, this is also one of the more daring pieces where they have experimented with their compositional style while retaining the core elements of the My Dying Bride sound. Complete with a slight tinge of gothic atmosphere in the intro, the song is filled with strong riffage to underscore Aaron Stainthorpe's unique, emotional clean vocals. Halfway through, the sombre tone is broken up by intense and bleak silences where all you hear is minimalistic acoustic guitar notes ringing atop dreary, mournful vocals. The song concludes with stunning light/heavy dynamics and climaxes with a brief but haunting lead solo.

Unlike their previous two albums, A Line of Deathless Kings features almost entirely clean-sung vocal parts, with only few growled parts on two cuts. "To Remain Tombless", the opening song, which is also among the finest on the album, puts forth a heavy mood, backed by marching drums courtesy of new drummer John Bennett, and sublime clean vocals. Aaron's growls provide a much-needed balance to the otherwise morose tempo of the piece. There is even a great bass guitar solo in this song that is eventually capped by heavy, fierce rhythm guitars. Likewise, "Love's Intolerable Pain" treads the same musical path, except that also highlights the powerful drumming of Bennett and features a beautiful section where Aaron recites a great poem in his confident monotone.

The engaging guitar theme of "I Cannot Be Loved" works perfectly beneath cracking cymbals and the sludgy bass that basically drives the whole song alongside the painful vocals; whereas "And I Walk with Them" is another song with sinister acoustic guitars and spoken vocals. The band's guitar duo build a powerful thread of melody around which every riff is centred at the end, rendering it one of the best parts on the entire album. On the keyboard front, Sarah Stanton only seems to take the lead on "Thy Raven Wings" in order to contrast the epic riffage and "Deeper Down", a song whose finale is certainly unusual for most My Dying Bride songs. It's a blend of weird noises that mess with the head. Unfortunately, the main body of the song is a tad dragging, failing to impress like the first couple of tracks on this album. The disc ends on an interesting note in that the final song "The Blood, the Wine, the Roses" is more of a midtempo number where the twin guitar harmonies churn out catchy hooks only to transform into crushing death metal riffery at the end, leaving the listener quite baffled. It's arguably the heaviest thing they have recorded in years and I'm not sure how well that fits this particular album.

The average doom metal fan will undoubtedly enjoy this release while die-hard MDB fans may even declare it the band's finest work to date. To me, however, while good in its own right, out of the band's last three records, their most essential release is The Dreadful Hours.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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