Originally written by Erik Thomas
There are only a few bands that are truly iconic in metal — Sabbath, Morbid Angel, Slayer, Metallica, etc. Within the sub-genre of doom metal, England’s My Dying Bride are certainly an icon, arguably starting what we now call doom (and its many offshoots), along with Paradise Lost and Anathema way back in 1991 with the Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium EP.
Despite a few hiccups, plenty of line-up changes, and a polarizing shift in vocal styles, My Dying Bride is the band of the three that generally remained truest to their sound over the course of nearly 20 years and 10 albums. Their last three albums even slowly introduced some classic death metal growls to the mix, culminating in 2006’s A Line Of Deathless Kings, which was my favorite My Dying Bride album since As the Flower Withers.
For Lies I Sire further acknowledges a nod to the classic sound with the return of the violin, courtesy of new member Kate Stone, who is joined by bassist Lena Abe and drummer Dan Mullins. The addition of Stone’s melancholy violin, as well as some very tastefully placed female vocals from Abe, gives For Lies I Sire a tangible sense of elegance amid the rueful throes of depression and sadness that My Dying Bride have perfected.
Of course, Aaron Stainthorpe’s dramatic whining remains somewhat of a sticking point with me, though not nearly as much as it used to, as he’s grown on me, or I have simply developed my tastes in my ripe old age (though, truthfully, at times he still sounds like a lovelorn, drunk Shakespearean actor). Either way, his truly mournful croons (and his stern spoken words), with Lena Abe’s and Kate Stone’s assistance, make opener “My Body, A Funeral” a simply rending, classic dirge, setting the bar incredibly high for the rest of the album.
Luckily, the likes of “Fall With Me,” “For Lies I Sire,” and “Echoes from a Hollow Soul” continue with the strains of melancholic artistry, weaving deft, somber melodies around poetic vocals and heart-rending pacing. There’s even a few surprises, like at the four-minute point, the almost urgent rumble of “Bring Me Victory,” and the death/black metal explosion of “A Chapter in Loathing,” which will remind ardent My Dying Bride fans of “The Forever People” from As the Flower Withers. However, along with the opener, the standout track for me has to be “Santuario Di Sangue” with a chorus (again aided by Abe and Stone) so dismally rousing that one can only weep while moshing. Also, the eleven-minute closer “Death Triumphant,” features an opening riff so glorious and somber, it’s….. well, a triumphant form of death.
As with the last two albums, My Dying Bride have managed to successfully meld their older sound with their mid-era sound and add to their already legendary legacy, delivering yet another slab of perfectly rendered, melancholy beauty.