Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire (2009)

"Doom metal is an extreme form of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom." The very definition of the genre seems to best describe what My Dying Bride does, time and time again. Sporting their best production work to date, "For Lies I Sire" is a great starter kit to the band's catalog.

This isn't mood music for a sunny day, as is evident from the opening track, "My Body, A Funeral." From the first words, you are treated to a distinct style of vocal delivery. Best described as "dark crooning," it is the best vessel for the hopelessness portrayed in the lyrical content. Three mini drum solos bring the music to a simmer. Violins, straight from the funeral procession, chime in.

The vocals rarely stray from their pattern, but are delivered with such gloomy conviction on "Fall With Me." They aren't constricted by rhyme scheme or timing, but rather come out naturally, as if spoken. Dark chugging and a welcomed guitar melody pick up the tempo for a brief instrumental interlude, before completion. Combining the emotionally charged lyrics with the imagery provided in the album's cover, "The Lies I Sire" could be a graveyard serenade. The pace and tone of the music takes the word "haunting" to new musical heights.

The vocals deviate from the norm on "Bring Me Victory," with a more coarse growl and ghostly whisper being incorporated into the rotation. A strong drum track provides an excellent buildup. The mainly instrumental "Echoes From A Hollow Soul" is stirring, introducing a delicate piano to the mix. It sets a mood that can only be called "unnerving." Drums and strings are the stars of the earlier half of "Shadowhaunt," passing the torch to some crunchy guitar work later, accompanied by devilish growls.

The higher vocal range is tested on "Santurio Di Sangue," in what may be misconceived as a bright moment. Despite the sound, it is certainly not the silver lining to a dark cloud. Perhaps it is the calm before the imminent storm of "A Chapter In Loathing," High intensity guitar, blistering double kicks and effects laden screeching vocals are abundant, taking the normal doom and gloom to another place entirely. The album closer, "Death Triumphant" is a sampler platter of all that you have seen from the band thus far. Equal parts abrasive and fragile, it serves as a pocket guide to all things doom.

Forging an identity as the godfathers of doom isn't easy. But time and again, My Dying Bride do just that. The sound has changed and evolved as the years, albums and members go by, but at its core, it has stayed the same. Often imitated, never duplicated and certainly not for the faint of heart. If a rainy day makes you smile, the funeral procession awaits you.


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