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My Dying Bride - "For Lies I Sire" (CD)

My Dying Bride - "For Lies I Sire" CD cover image

"For Lies I Sire" track listing:

1. My Body, a Funeral (6:47)
2. Fall With Me (7:15)
3. The Lies I Sire (5:29)
4. Bring Me Victory (4:08)
5. Echoes From a Hollow Soul (7:19)
6. ShadowHaunt (4:37)
7. Santuario di Sangue (8:27)
8. A Chapter in Loathing (4:46)
9. Death Triumphant (11:06)

Reviewed by on April 30, 2009

"'For Lies I Sire' won't be turning fans on their head or turning fans away. "

My Dying Bride has a long, winding legacy within the metal community. As part of The Peaceville Three (alongside Anathema and Paradise Lost), their haunted, rain strewn, funerary dirges fashioned gothic doom metal in the early 90's. The band has dedicated the ensuing years to reinventing said wheel into an immediately recognizable signature sound. The procession continues with "For Lies I Sire." The nine song package is typical of the band's repertoire but avoids stagnation through both gradual and abrupt shifts in dynamic and structure.

Setting a grim standard for what's to follow, "My Body, a Funeral" is a mournful lamentation in which guitar leads meander downward, crumbling into riffs like autumn leaves. The dominant role of the violin proves especially effective, whether presiding over the plodding drums and bereaved vocals or jittering in hacksaw fashion among the guitars. Creeping rhythms support overlapping vocals throughout "The Lies I Sire" during it's bleak five minute journey through wrath and woe. Recalling the desolate simplicity of "My Wine in Silence," "Shadow Haunt" exhibits lilting guitars and strings that eventually intensify, conspiring with Stainthorpe's desperate, almost blackened death-vocals. Sustained clean vocal hooks, curmudgeon violin solos and an eerie sequence of samples generate a palpable dread throughout "Santuario Di Sangue." "A Chapter in Loathing" startles the listener with immediate and pronounced death vocals bubbling to the surface, like a determined Mr. Hyde overpowering an unusually resilient Dr. Jekyll. This song seems to be a concession to fans of the band's roots but it happens to throw the neighboring songs into compelling relief.

"For Lies I Sire" won't be turning fans on their head or turning fans away. Those that have stuck by the band for 10 or even 20 years will surely enjoy the rich atmospheres and lush arrangements. The pacing and sequencing of the album's nine tracks seems to favor a gradual overarching evolution, rather than have individual tracks rise and fall dramatically. Longtime fans will recall My Dying Bride has forgone death vocals before in 1995's "The Angel and the Dark River" as well as '96's "Like Gods of the Sun." By minimizing his growled vocals, Aaron Stainthorpe's almost universally clean delivery acts as a guiding light amid the bands shadowy backdrop.

Highs: Morbid, gothic suspense punctuates the lyrics, particularly the wide range of moods evoked throughout "The Lies I Sire". The use of the violin as a driving force should be kept in mind for future endeavors.

Lows: The expressive guitar leads, synths and keys that have been so effective previously find themselves somewhat marginalized. Few surprises are hiding around the corner on this mostly "by the numbers" offering.

Bottom line: A slight collapse of urgency within the songs is paved over with immersive song structures. "For Lies I Sire" is an engaging but familiar sounding collection that is accessible to both long-time fans and My Dying Bride initiates.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)