My Dying Bride

A Map of All Our Failures

BY Laura WiebePublished Oct 18, 2012

My Dying Bride perform what might as well be a trademarked kind of doom; it's an unsettlingly delectable sound forged over more than 20 years of blending slow, ominous riffs and dark fantasy with bursts of death metal brutality. A Map of All Our Failures is more of the same, a smooth and logical succession from last year's The Barghest of Whitby EP. Narrative is important for My Dying Bride and the new album is laced with the tales of dark romance, death, melancholy and despair, relieved by images of innocence and hints of irony, which is the band's particular niche. The musical foundation on which these tales are told demonstrates similar ambivalent tensions: sweet melodies and dissonant harmonies, poundingly heavy sections and sparse moments of openness and restraint. As each long song winds and unwinds, each musician's part moves in conversation with someone else's, meaning that even at its slowest and softest the record is in continual collaborative motion. Amidst all the slow, brooding riffs and eerie violin countermelodies, A Map of All Our Failures also has its surprisingly catchy guitar licks and even some warm moments, with "Poorest Waltz" and the title track standing out. To bring it all to a close (unless you have the bonus track version), they end with a powerful organ- and religious imagery-drenched lament that is both a welcome tribute to the band's history and a nod to where the future may take them.

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