Archive for October 15th, 2012


Review: My Dying Bride’s ‘A Map Of All Our Failures’

A track-by-track review of the latest offering from the doom metal kings

Aaron Stainthorpe said in an interview that his lyrical themes revolve around sex, death and religion, and My Dying Bride‘s magnificent discography is proof that it those three topics have been enough for the rest of the band to wrap their powerful music around. On A Map Of All Our Failures, the singer begins his whining much before you expect him to, sorrowful as ever on ‘Kneel Till Doomsday’, a song unmistakably MDB. The mournful riffs plod on till the band moves unexpectedly into death-doom territory with harsh growling, showing they are as at home with extreme metal as they were on As The Flower Withers.

If there ever can be a doom-metal version of Metallica‘s musical style, it is ‘The Poorest Waltz’. My Dying Bride have since their debut held their place in my life as the masters of melancholy, and most of the sections on this track are what could be passages the ‘Tallica couldn’t come up with on Load or Reload. ‘The Poorest Waltz’ could well be the sequel to ‘Low Man’s Lyric’, and that’s as soul-stirring as music gets.

At no point does A Map Of All Our Failures attempt to create new anthems; My Dying Bride have enough of those. It becomes clear as the album progresses that the band is helplessly occupied thought, either dragging the listener deeper into sorrow or very engrossed in telling stories. ‘A Tapestry Scorned’ is storytelling with music and Aaron singing, growling and talking, and the song is nicely done filler. The doyens of doom get back to their bereavement with ‘Like A Perpetual Funeral’, a beautiful track which has only the guitars coating Aaron’s crooning for more than three minutes, till the slow drum beats and bass get the song moving, only to stop soon again. ‘Like A Perpetual Funeral’ does sound nice, but the most fitting music to play at a loved one’s death is ‘For My Fallen Angel’, that heartrending song from MDB‘s Like Gods Of The Sun.

From here the album goes fully into storytelling mode, and it gets very boring unless you’re getting drunk, except the parts without any vocals, because from ‘Hail Odysseus’ onwards it is the music that is the highlight of My Dying Bride‘s latest work. This song should have been instrumental, because the vocals aren’t doing anything they haven’t done before and are instead being a distraction. ‘Abandoned As Christ’ could have been enjoyable if it didn’t have Aaron – I love his voice and singing style, but it gets too much at times – because this way it’s as boring as Jesus. The song drags on and on and I’m wondering how I’ll survive the last two songs. ‘A Map Of All Our Failures’ and ‘Within The Presence Of Absence’ are more interesting though, and the vocals belong with the music to the songs the way they should. No band has sounded as great with violins and keys the way My Dying Bride has; they use both to maximum effect even when they’re using very little of them. Craving as I was for doom metal/death-doom/funeral doom, the 2012 offering from these greats has left me exhausted.

A Map Of All Our Failures doesn’t surpass or even come close to My Dying Bride‘s previous works, but it is an album the band of this stature can take the liberty of making to release creative energy. Evinta seemed pointless to me even though I’m a big fan of MDB, and The Barghest O’ Whitby was quite interesting, but a few listens of this and I’m done. A Map Of All Our Failures isn’t an album I want to give my attention to again except for that one song ‘The Poorest Waltz’, unless I get back to drinking, but then there’s so much other music that’ll go so much better with that state.

RATING: 2.5/5

Black Metal 2012: Solar Deity’s In The Name Of Satan | Solar Deity’s Snowless | Solar Deity’s The Darkness Of Being

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