MY DYING BRIDE surely are one of the most revered Doom Metal bands of our time. More than a decade ago part of the British Doom/Death triumvirate with PARADISE LOST and ANATHEMA, they are the only one of them, which still have stayed true to their roots. But they have not trodden water all these years, but have continued to evolve, from the slow Death Metal of their early years to the pure, dark Doom of the here and now, but with different shades and even directions in the mean time, culminating in the highly experimental "34.788%... Complete", which the fans surprisingly still accepted.
The info for "A Line Of Deathless Kings" writes that MY DYING BRIDE have gone back towards more experiments again, which already conjured up worries about another excursion into uncharted terrain, but thankfully (at least for me) the sound is "only" more layered and at times almost progressive, so that no Doomhead will have to worry about losing touch with the flow.
Opener "To Remain Tombless" is a quite bulky welcome, stepping over into the realms of progressiveness, which does not make the entrance into the album easy and might even inspire fear in some, despite the at times absolutely brilliant melodies, but the beginning of "L’Amour Detruit" takes you prisoner from the get-go with its incredibly intense atmosphere and ingenious riff before the Doom steam roller grabs a hold of you and drags you down into the darkest depths of melancholy.
The a bit more experimental side of the Brits at times comes through unexpected calmer breakdowns, in which they incorporate some influences of THE CURE and the likes, which are countered by mighty Doom riffs, dispersing any doubts about the Metal-ness (at the end of "The Blood, The Wine, The Roses" we even get a fast Death Metal eruption). Another characteristic always has been and will be the willful and hard-to-categorize or describe voice of fronter Aaron Stainthorpe, who definitely leaves his very own imprint on the compositions and the guitar work of Andrew Craighan and Hamish Glencross also is a trademark of the band, which in combination results in a dark elegy such as "Thy Raven Wings", clearly showing that they have not forgotten their roots.
At times MY DYING BRIDE also incorporate spoken, almost narrative passages, which further enhance the already dark lyrics and give them even more depth. Overall "A Line Of Deathless Kings" is one of those albums, where it is very hard to single out certain tracks, because you have to hear and experience this CD as a whole to be able to grasp the full emotional depth and compository strength.
Some old fans might have problems with this album, as it is at times more complex and less catchy, but then again, MY DYING BRIDE fans should already have found their peace with the ever evolving style of the Brits. In any case "A Line Of Deathless Kings" is THE Doom highlight of 2006 so far, no doubt about it! (Online September 27, 2006)