My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
Peaceville Records
Doom Metal
9 songs (59:54)
Release year: 2009
My Dying Bride, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Charles
Never before has the suffering of so few brought joy to so many. My Dying Bride have arrived at their tenth album as a bona fide institution of British metal, as downtrodden, as sourfaced, and as bloody miserable now as they were on their epochal classic, Turn Loose the Swans. To this day, the elements of that album are still in place, bar some experi-mentalist diversions along the way. Dour melody is constructed from shivering, deathly riffs, given depth and melancholy gothic character by the innovative addition of the violin or church organ. And maybe more than any other metal band they generate a sense of storytelling, frequently forsaking conventional “lyrics” to narrate tales of abject woe in Aaron’s spoken style.

Anyway, it has all somehow managed to avoid getting old after 19 years. For me, something changed in the band around about 1999’s The Light at the End of the World. Whereas before their records had been kept fresh by the sense that the band was plumbing new depths of misery, and pioneering a gloomier-than-thou sound, the last decade has seen them rely increasingly on the art of strong songwriting. Such is the case with For Lies I Sire. The compositions here hang together particularly well, shifting gracefully between well thought-out ideas. What stands out is the vocal lines, which seem to be melodically stronger than they have been in the past. Multi-tracked harmonies that sound fragilely emotional above gloomy riffs remind me of the last Mourning Beloveth record, a band that was doubtless inspired by this one in the first place.

In fact, it is this heightened melodic sensibility that really defines this album and gives it its own identity. Aaron’s harsh vocals are pretty rare here; instead we get a great deal of atmospherically delicate melody and surprising experimentations with timbre (certain passages of Fall With Me could almost pass for a Dark Tranquility song). For me, this complements their wistfully morbid aesthetic as well, if not better than more straightforward rumbling doomdeath, even if it makes the record slightly less heavy and slightly more subtle than something like the grimmer-than-grim (but brilliant) Songs of Darkness, Words of Light. Their attempts at brutality at the expense of beauty are what have produced some of their more average episodes in the past (this might explain why Like Gods of the Sun gets a bad rap), and so it proves here. A Chapter in Loathing at times sees them heading into a basslessly thin, static black metal sound that could almost come from a record such as Alcest’s Le Secret, and actually sounds a little bit naff alongside the grimly melodious elegance that dominates the rest of the album. This is not to say they cannot pull off heaviness; of course we know this not to be the case. The more aggressive passages here are rendered all the more powerful by the relative gentility of its surroundings.

It’s a good deal more interesting that its predecessor, A Line of Deathless Kings. This record offers something slightly new but which doesn’t really expand the parameters we have come to expect. Their experimentation is conducted within a tightly controlled environment. All in all, My Dying Bride continue to remain well within their sell-by date.*insert hilarious pun about how she’s not quite dead yet to finish*.

Killing Songs :
Fall With Me, Death Triumphant
Charles quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by My Dying Bride that we have reviewed:
My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
My Dying Bride - The Manuscript EP reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
My Dying Bride - A Map Of All Our Failures reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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