Although I was a fan of My Dying Bride?s latest offering, For Lies I Sire, which Peaceville released this past March, I haven?t found myself going back to it for repeat listens. Entirely possible this is because some of the songs seemed samey and the standouts were few and far between, but more likely I think the album as a whole just didn?t stick with me like I?d anticipated it would. That happens sometimes.
All this, of course, isn?t a comment on the band. My Dying Bride are legends whose track record far surpasses whatever judgments I find myself making one way or the other. The UK doomers have been together since 1990, and they?re still going strong, vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan (and, since 2000, guitarist Hamish Glencross) crafting lineup after lineup and never managing to lose sight of the melancholic mission of the band. On the stopgap release, Bring Me Victory, that mission is reaffirmed through singling out the title track and accompanying it by some tidbits fans will be thrilled to receive.
?Bring Me Victory? was a highlight of For Lies I Sire, and it works well on its own here, but it was more the cover of traditional English ballad ?Scarborough Fair? that I was excited to hear, wondering if Stainthorpe would tackle the harmonies Simon and Garfunkel brought to the song on their 1966 interpretation of it. He doesn?t, but the song is perfect for his clean vocals nonetheless, and gives new violinist Shaun MacGowan ample opportunity to show why he was included in the band to replace the short-tenured Katie Stone.
?Scarborough Fair? is followed by ?Failure,? released by New York?s Swans on White Light from the Mouth of Infinity in 1991. They give the song, a dark, moody minimalist exercise, a similar treatment to ?Scarborough Fair? in that it trades time between subtle bleakness and heavy doom riffage. A militaristic snare roll from drummer Dan Mullins shows up in ?Failure? to play off ambient guitar lines as Stainthorpe manages to give justice to Michael Gira?s original performance on vocals.
As if they knew they needed a heavy closer, a live version of ?Vast Choirs? from My Dying Bride?s first album, 1992?s As the Flower Withers, is tacked on the end. Recorded at the 2008 Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium, if nothing else, it?s a good advertisement to go see a show.
Round it out with the ?Bring Me Victory? video directed by Charlie Granberg, and you?ve got yourself an EP. I don?t think Bring Me Victory was intended to do anything beyond please fans with the covers and maybe drum up some renewed interest in the For Lies I Sire full-length, and in that, it will doubtless serve its purpose. As the old saying goes, ?My Dying Bride? I?ll take it.?
Tags: Gods, My Dying Bride, Peaceville, UK