My Dying Bride: Lies, Lies, Lies

Let's see: Tomb, Jesus iconography, crows, dead body, flowers... yeah, that's everything.What you’ve got to appreciate about monumental UK doomers My Dying Bride — who along with Paradise Lost and Anathema constituted the “Peaceville Three” and helped lay the melancholic groundwork for the European doom movement at large — is that 1990 was a very, very long time ago. 19 years, in fact. Children have been born and graduated high school in that time. And as the two remaining founders, vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan alone represent a great team, yes, but also one of the most important songwriting duos in metal history.

For Lies I Sire (Peaceville Records) is My Dying Bride‘s tenth full-length, and though “Echoes from a Hollow Soul” may carry that definitive MDB sadness, it’s hardly business as usual across the board. Rejuvenating Stainthorpe, Craighan and longtime guitarist Hamish Glencross are three new, younger players for whom this is their first studio output with the band; bassist Lena Ab?, drummer Dan “Storm” Mullins and keyboardist Katie Stone, who brings with her a violin that has been much missed since MDB‘s earliest days.

That alone would make it easy for this to become a novelty album, but as ever, My Dying Bride play it classy and don’t overdo it, making the instrument more of an accoutrement than a focal point.

For Lies I Sire‘s earlier portion serves as an extension of the trademark MDBism that presented itself on A Line of Deathless Kings in 2006, with Stainthorpe‘s unipolar/depressive poetry readings peppered with the occasional bit of growing, some double kick bass on opener “My Body, a Funeral” and one of the album’s most memorable passages on “Santuario di Sangue.” It’s “A Chapter in Loathing,” however, which at number eight of the total nine tracks, is the real standout of the bunch. In it, My Dying Bride take on black metal head first, with faraway rasping and deathly growls trading off to blastbeats and furious riffs. Nearly two full decades in, they’re doing something completely new.

That song is a break from the oppressive mournful nature of the rest of For Lies I Sire, but still makes use of the violin and some quieter breaks and so serves as a suitable lead-in for hyper-theatrical closer “Death Triumphant.” While it’s clear their most influential work is behind them on classic albums like 1996’s Turn Loose the Swans and their 1992 debut full-length, As the Flower Withers, My Dying Bride in 2009 lacks none of the individualized drama that made them such a force to begin with, and where other bands could be accused of shedding their heaviness over time, My Dying Bride prove that the “metal” still has a place in their doom metal.

For Lies I Sire is everything you could expect a MDB record to be, but not disappointingly predictable either. Like the band itself, it is bound to stand the test of time.

I'm pretty sure this is what England looks like all the time.MyDyingBrideSpace

Peaceville Records

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