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My Dying Bride - "Evinta" (2-CD Set)

No cover art found for My Dying Bride - "Evinta" 2-CD Set

"Evinta" track listing:

Disc 1
1. In Your Dark Pavilion (10:04)
2. You Are Not the One Who Loves Me (6:48)
3. Of Lilies Bent with Tears (7:11)
4. The Distance, Busy with Shadows (10:47)
5. Of Sorry Eyes in March (10:34)

Disc 2
1. Vanité Triomphante (12:21)
2. That Dress and Summer Skin (9:39)
3. And Then You Go (9:22)
4. A Hand of Awful Rewards (10:21)

Disc 3
1. The Music of Flesh (7:05)
2. Seven Times She Wept (4:06)
3. The Burning Coast of Regnum Italicum (11:50)
4. She Heard My Body Dying (8:31)
5. And All Their Joy Was Drowned (10:15)

Reviewed by on June 25, 2011

"The album is completely ambient and classical style music, and lamentably it fails to be interesting in nearly any way."

“Evinta” is a labor of love from My Dying Bride vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe, and a project 15 years in the making. With help from Bal-Sagoth’s Jonny Maudling, segments from the band’s entire extensive back catalog were taken apart, rearranged, and re-imagined into new, classical leaning songs. The album may be a dream come true for die-hard fans, especially with all the goodies included with the deluxe edition, but unfortunately the music will likely fail to appeal to anyone else.

Don’t expect to hear a single guitar note or drum beat, or even a bass line to keep the music going and add some rhythm. All of those elements have been completely replaced with cellos, violins, and keyboards. That alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as there are plenty of symphonic metal bands that still make stunning music. Scratch out that “metal” part on “Evinta” though, because there isn’t a single vestige of doom or even goth to be found here. The album is completely ambient and classical style music, and lamentably it fails to be interesting in nearly any way.

It’s clear that “Evinta” was designed to create more fragile soundscapes than would be found on the typical My Dying Bride release. All the menace and darkness is gone, and that’s not just due to the lack of guitar work. The vocals are noticeably less powerful, with the few vocal parts present tending to be not-so-creepy whispers and bland clean talking. Even a good deal of the dark and depressing nature of the music has been lost, which was the band’s trademark.

Much of the album consists of long and drawn out ambient segments that are more accurately described as “barren” than “minimalistic.” Empty spaces between notes are the norm rather than the exception. One song contains nothing but ten minutes of spacey, quiet, and slow moving keyboard sounds that have nothing to break up the monotony. The idea itself is solid, but there are no punctuating ideas or different elements to create contrast. Rather than being trance-inducing, the song ends up as a snooze fest.

Parts of the whole do manage to distinguish themselves, however, with certain keyboard segments sounding like they could end up on a video game soundtrack. The presence of Lucie Roche performing operatic soprano vocals gives the music a bit of a boost, although it does again serve to remind that these ideas really would have worked better in a metal setting.

Fans of slow moving ambience with a dash of symphonic backing may enjoy working through “Evinta,” and it’s likely the band’s most ardent supporters will find something to like. On the other hand, anyone expecting doom metal should clearly skip it and look elsewhere. Average fans or folks new to My Dying Bride shouldn’t have to wait long for something more interesting, as the “Evinta” side trek hasn’t stopped the band from beginning work on a new full-length album.

Highs: A few interesting video game style keyboard segments.

Lows: Mostly everything, as the long and drawn out ambient sounds are more boring than atmospheric.

Bottom line: Die hard fans may dig it, but anyone else need not apply as "Evinta" breaks a cardinal musical rule: it's actively boring.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 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)