My Dying Bride – A Map of All Failures – album review

My Dying Bride – A Map of All Our Failures (Peaceville Records)
CD / DL / LP
Released 15 October 2012

My Dying Bride have managed to produce an emotionally-wrought and epic doomcore album which stays true to their pedigree and the scene they rose from while also bringing in some diverse influences.

Is there a classic doom album that doesn’t feature a solitary bell as the intro? How about a rainy storm intro to a song? Course not.

So here are West Yorkshire’s finest peddlers of the death/doom genre started back in 1990 and led by Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride. Whilst Paradise Lost tried their hardest to not be heavy metal and Anathema discovered Radiohead it’s My Dying Bride who have kept fans of the original sound happiest.

A Sabbath like bell rings before the detuned crushing chord pummels from Andrew Craghan’s guitar, the pace barely passing a tortoise nestling in his final resting place. What does stand out is the crystal clear production, which is the best I’ve heard from My Dying Bride in a number of years. Each instrument blending perfectly, particularly clever when there’s a violin contending with 2 guitars, bass and drums.

Opener “Kneel till Doomsday” crawls until a sudden blast beat (no, really, it’s that fast) bring the song worryingly close to breakdown before clawing it’s way back to the slow grinding riff that opened the song. The rest of the songs rarely change pace, but if you love slow, grinding, depressive riffs with subtle organ and violin increasing the atmosphere with a drums seemingly on the verge of stopping then there is a lot here for you.

MDB have seemingly, in the course of their last few albums moved away from the more experimental song structures which featured heavily on the their two late 90’s albums 34.788% Complete and The Light at the End Of the World and returned to a similar vein of songwriting that featured on landmark album Turn Loose The Swans – catchy chorus, slow riffs.

A few years back, My Dying Bride covered “Road” by Portishead, and you can hear the influence of many artists not predominantly metal throughout “A Map of all Failures”. The Cure, Joy Division and others seem to rear their influence throughout.

This is amazing stuff. They manage to have an album that has you despairing of your life whilst maintaining the melody and heaviness that is expected. It’s melodramatic, emotionally wrought and epic.

Thoroughly recommended.

If you do want to lighten the mood whilst listening, how about a game of, “Doom Metal Bingo”. Write down ten words you’d expect to hear on a Doom album, tick each one as it appears. You should be done by track 2!!!

My Dying Bride are on tour throughout Europe, including UK dates, later this year.

All words by Nick Wood. You can read more from Nick on LTW here.

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