My Dying Bride - A Line of Deathless Kings
Peaceville Records
Doom Metal
9 songs (61'08")
Release year: 2006
My Dying Bride, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Alex
Major event

While I can’t really say that British doom heavyweights My Dying Bride are one of my favorite bands, they occupy a pretty special place in my music listening psyche, precisely for two reasons. First, they have the best moniker in heavy metal, but on a more serious note, I always knew when to listen to their doom metal, their early vintage romantic variety which grew darker recently. They burst onto the scene in the early 90s with As the Flower Withers and Turn Loose the Swans, to be followed up with my personal pinnacle The Angel and the Dark River in 1995. Around the same time period I was going through some personal heartbreak, so these three early albums served as the emotional crutch in the time of need. Thus, as My Dying Bride continued to evolve, I always knew when to play them, even if it meant once a year, and due to this good timing I was never bored with their material and never really grew disappointed as the band went through the changes.

Growing up I never understood how famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin could proclaim autumn as his favorite time of the year. Why, if nature comes to life in spring and summer, and that is when the most fun is to be had? Only having experienced some things in life, I understand now that it should not always be about fun. I am not trying to insinuate anything, or put down any of our younger metal fan readers, but doom has got to be a more mature style, something that is appreciated more when gray hair makes an appearance.

My head plenty gray, my soul is in complete acceptance of A Line of Deathless Kings, because, like many other My Dying Bride albums before it, it did not fail to make an emotional connection with me, and that is the number one thing I search for when listening to this band. It is perfectly fine with me that Aaron Stainthorpe is doing 99% clean vocals on this record. His voice is incredibly touching, tear stained, with that proverbial nerve knot stuck near his heart and moving in the direction of his throat. I can easily picture him, his body contorted, crouched in the self-detesting stance, singing on And I Walk With Them. Just listen to him go point-counterpoint with guitars on I Cannot Be Loved or say “caress your flesh” on that same cut and prepare to develop a major case of Goosebumps.

Yes, My Dying Bride may be starting to recycle some riffs, perhaps borrowing from their earlier selves on Lamour Detruit. If you career spans 16 years you might recycle a riff or two here and there as well. Nevertheless, their guitars are still creepy and sinister (To Remain Tombless) or crush with their dark heaviness (Loves Intolerable Pain). When you combine it with Aaron’s developing vocal harmonies and melodies that pull tendons right out of the live body the effect is complete. Songs like Lamour Detruit and Thy Raven Wings are perfect soundtracks of mourn and sorrow, suitable to make one depressed and wallow in thy own misery.

Another element that stunned me was drumming by a session member John Bennett. He can surprise with an unexpected double bass in And I Walk With Them as though playing the role of the unforgiving God counterpunching the riffs by Jackson/Craighan/Glencross team. But mostly he captured my imagination being precise with his heartbeat percussion on the same track, or carrying the opener To Remain Tombless.

I am not going to pretend that I did not wish some things were different upon multiple listens. It seems to me that even though it was an intention by the band to make a focused guitar-oriented album, harkening back to the days of Like Gods of the Sun, they are underutilizing the resource of Sarah Stanton’s keyboards. It is enough that My Dying Bride got rid of violin long ago (and how great it would have been if this instrument took a lead on And I Walk With Them), but keyboards are hidden away and pushed back on A Line of Deathless Kings. Even small keys touches (I Cannot Be Loved, piano intro of Thy Raven Wings) make a world of difference instantly adding volume to the sound. The latter, produced by long-time friend and collaborator Mags, is brilliantly clean, every string vibration is heard, and with clean singing by Aaron, sometimes a gothic rock feel emerges. Taken in moderation it is fine, but The Blood, The Wine, The Roses takes it slightly overboard in the Type O Negative territory (and the death metal outburst at the end of this song completely misses me).

The first four-five tracks on the album are the strongest, things starting to slide a little towards the end. Nevertheless, My Dying Bride has completed another self-invested emotionally charged journey. Even if some moments on A Line of Deathless Kings felt a little static, I can still add it to the pantheon of what I will put on in the time of distress. And that, many years past since I have heard them first, makes these doom originators still relevant in my view.

Killing Songs :
To Remain Tombless, I Cannot Be Loved, And I Walk With Them
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by My Dying Bride that we have reviewed:
My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
My Dying Bride - The Manuscript EP reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
My Dying Bride - A Map Of All Our Failures reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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