MY DYING BRIDE surely have been one of the most influential bands of Metal and also one that never really paid much attention to what people wanted them to sound like, instead going their own way. The inclusion of clear vocals, the cutting of the violin, the return of the violin, the experimental onset of “34.788%... Complete”, there has been a constant evolution, but no aimless meandering. “For Lies I Sire” is the tenth full album of the Yorkshire Doom brigade and yes, if you have followed the history of the band, then one piece of my previous sentence will have caught your eye: The return of the violin! Ten years after Martin Powell left the band, they have a new violinist in Katie Stone (from British Psychedelic Black Metal band A FOREST OF STARS) and it’s as if it never had been gone.
Monumental opener “My Body, A Funeral” is one prime example for what the Brits sound like anno 2008 and it is one brilliant track outlining all the strengths, with the emotional/melancholic beginning, the great characteristic riffing, Aaron Stainthorpe’s equally characteristic voice, the violin and this intense spoken word passage, one great beginning for an album, I love it! Starting out with only bass, rhythm and a little of undistorted guitars underlining Aaron’s vocals, the elegiac violin sets in when the electric guitars also make their introduction, but as so often with MY DYING BRIDE the whole is so much more than the sum of all parts, as the emotions channeled through the music are what make this band and song so outstanding. And the beauty of MY DYING BRIDE is that while they are not overtly complex in their compositions and structures, they manage to hit home on a completely different level and in the past they have proven successfully that it is possible to use some repetitiveness to the best effect.
“Fall With Me” almost takes on some progressive elements rhythmically, while maintaining the Doom cadence throughout, while “Bring Me Victory” has an almost upbeat atmosphere for MY DYING BRIDE, with the vocals being somewhat whispered, so there is some sort of hope in the oftentimes dreary sonic landscapes of the band without sounding out of place. Once you submerge into the dirges of these veterans, you are caught until the last notes fade away, as the songs are able to take you away onto a journey through the foggy lands of sorrow, one that makes it hard to really single out songs as the exceptional ones (well, with the exception of “My Body, A Funeral” that is), because it has the best effect enjoyed as a whole, because they master the balance between slow sorrow, heavy riffing and the emotive voice, which is not always purely clear, btw, “Shadowhaunt” incorporates some raspy vocals and “A Chapter In Loathing” features no clear vocals at all and rhythmically spices up the Doom with fast eruptions, which takes the listener by complete surprise, before “Death Triumphant” sets an eleven minute exclamation mark at the end of the album.
The production is warm and clear, perfectly supplementing the melancholic aura emanating from the songs and the violin also has a very warm sound that kind of completes the MY DYING BRIDE sound again, rounding off “For Lies I Sire” and making it a Doom Metal monolith that will be very hard to beat this year, at the very least in this genre. Even on their tenth album this British Doom brigade still delivers the goods in impressive fashion, varied yet cohesive, demanding yet accessible, two thumbs up for one of Doom’s greatest! For the best effect, listen in the dark with headphones on...
(Online March 23, 2009)