Album Review: MY DYING BRIDE A Map of All Our Failures
I’m a devotee of My Dying Bride in principle, if not always in practice. The band have been indulging us in beautiful misery for 20 years, but I’ve never been a blind buyer of their albums. After releasing a string of modern classics, my incredulity was rewarded in For Lies I Sire, which thoroughly missed the mark. The dubious The Barghest o' Whitby EP sounded the alarm of decline. A Map of All Our Failures, however, sees My Dying Bride relaxing into their essence and returning to the enthralling, despondent symmetry that marks their greatest works.
My Dying Bride thrive on hooks, borne of dismal, dual guitar melodies that coalesce around the tremulous glory of Aaron Stainthorpe’s vocals. The band are also masters of the crushing payoff, summoning the rage of blasting death when anguish boils over. A Map of All Our Failures delivers consistent sustenance of these elements. The album is stocked with bare, bleak riffs over which Aaron Stainthorpe delivers his usual despondent soliloquies. His clean vocals are particularly strong, contriving harmonious lamentations of surprising diversity and caliber. A Map of All Our Failures reaps all of the meaty, mellifluous synergy that the band have sown over the years.
A Map of All Our Failures feels effortless compared to the forced reminiscence of For Lies I Sire. Shaun MacGowan’s violin makes brief and purposeful appearances, seamlessly insinuating itself in the songs rather than overwhelming them. Andrew Craighan and Hamish Glencross have conceived a raft of riffs that fit firmly into the My Dying Bride ethos, riding dismal black tides that distinguish themselves sufficiently to sound fresh and original. The subtly ripping guitar tone recalls many hours alone, consoled only by this band’s beguiling desolation.
I’ve considered My Dying Bride to be a guilty pleasure at various times over the years, but that sentiment doesn’t do the band justice. Yes, you can lament the gothic histrionics, but those moments of affectation are largely subsumed by their matchless craftsmanship. My Dying Bride are nothing if not a pillar of doomed death; A Map of All Our Failures is a worthwhile investment for Bride fans new and old.
A Map of All Our Failures is out now via Peaceville Records. Check it out on Spotify.