Company: Peaceville Records Release: 2009 Genre: Gothic Reviewer: Raising Iron
Something here for fans of any one of their given eras
I've never really understood the divisive nature of My Dying Bride's music among their fans. Every time they release a new album they only slightly alter their ideas (save for the huge side-step that was 34.788% Complete) yet fans will continually say how last album X was so much greater and new album Y really sucks. Of course, the band seems to always bring in new converts with each new release to replace the current disenfranchised humbugs, hence an ever-revolving door of the dolorific and depressed. Well, here we go again, as their latest offering, For Lies I Sire, is sure to do the same, though by rights it shouldn't.
First off, there is something here for fans of any one of their given eras to enjoy. For many, hearing violins make a marked return with the recent addition of keyboardist/violinist Katie Stone will be a welcome treat. Other newcomers include bassist Lena Abe replacing looongtime original thumper Ade Jackson; and Dan Mullins now storming the skins after John Bennet's quick in and out of the band. Aaron Stainthorpe's vocals continue to render pain, bitterness, and remorse; and like the last effort, they're primarily clean, although he does use growls on occasion here. There's no better example of this than on track eight, called "A Chapter In Loathing" which is *gasp* built around black metal ideals and speeds; Aaron's vox crisply cackling away in distress. The usual melancholy and dynamics of albums such as Far From the Sun and Songs of Darkness, Words of Light are firmly in place, and although the band is rarely ever in hurry to get to where they're going, there's a certain, noticeable laid-back approach here; once again, atmosphere being of priority versus 2006's A Line of Deathless Kings, which was much more riff-rooted. Lastly, one can almost come to the conclusion that this is Turn Loose the Swans circa 2009, as much of this release has the same feel save for the primarily clean singing Mr. Stainthorpe now employs.
Another notable difference here versus albums of yore is the production. This is sure to be another sticking point for the die-hards as well, as everything thing here is so clean, clear and upfront; there isn't the remotest sensation of the sticky, humid, and close aura that defined early efforts such as The Angel and the Dark River or As the Flower Withers. For many, that simply added to the overall anguish of those discs, which is a fairly accurate assessment I suppose, but here, it's been completely removed. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though, as for many it's a welcome improvement to hear the definition and clarity amongst the instruments.
For My Dying Bride, an outfit that's toiled in truly gothic treachery for nigh on twenty years now, For Lies I Sire boils down to being another fine effort capable of coughing up a couple of strong stage staples; and although there really isn't a clunker on the fifty-nine minute long disc, there is a palpable sense of rehash.