My Dying Bride - _A Map of All Our Failures_
(Peaceville, 2012)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
The years have gone by, and I have grown increasingly impatient with My Dying Bride. Life-affecting albums such as _Turn Loose the Swans_ and _The Angel and the Dark River_ are about fifteen going on twenty years old now, and these past few years MDB have been neither here nor there in terms of the relevance of their output. Their last full-length _For Lies I Sire_ was downright disappointing, a mix of progression and regression that succeeded in neither, while the sprawling esoteric two-disc excursion _Evita_ doing little to improve matters.

Then came the one-song, twenty minute plus EP _The Barghest o' Whitby_. While in itself not necessarily MDB's finest hour, it was nonetheless the sort of strong, relatively adventurous work that seemed different not just for the sake of being different, while still remaining firmly rooted in what defines MDB. Suddenly I wanted to hear what they would come up with next.

So it was that I met this eleventh My Dying Bride full-length, _A Map of All Our Failures_, with considerably more interest than I had anticipated. As it turns out, the Yorkshire masters of doom have not disappointed in the least, producing some of their finest work since 2004's _Songs of Darkness, Words of Light_. The album opens with church bells and goes on to make measured use of violin and even church organ without sounding tacky, effectively dropping most of the overblown romantic silliness that had crept in even while keeping in a well done gothic tale on "A Tapestry Scorned". This is balanced by a willingness to go all the way to their really old, fast-paced death metal surges, which they use sparsely but effectively, while the morose title track ranks among the album's best for entirely different reasons. Some parts of "Hail Odysseus" and "Within the Presence of Absence" are the exceptions to this consistency -- which otherwise stretches as far as the length of each song bar one hovering around the eight minute mark.

_A Map of All Our Failures_ is unlikely to become an absolute classic over time, and it does not try to be heavier than thou, more progressive or regressive than whoever else. It consists of inspired work led by hugely gifted doom craftsmen, with a competent formation to support them. The result may not be breathtaking, but it is an entertaining and worthwhile album when it could easily have been a stale, by-the-numbers offer from a band that's been around for two decades.

(article published 27/11/2012)

7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: Thus Spake the Wretched
1/14/2002 A Bromley My Dying Bride: The Hand of Doom
12/9/1999 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride Returns to the Bleak Rainy Moors
11/19/1998 P Azevedo My Dying Bride: The Bride No Longer Wears Black
4/9/1997 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Behold the Bride
3/14/1996 A Bromley My Dying Bride: Dying With Pride
6/15/2009 K Sarampalis 6.5 My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
7/13/2008 P Azevedo 7 My Dying Bride - An Ode to Woe
10/23/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - A Line of Deathless Kings
9/26/2006 P Azevedo 7.5 My Dying Bride - Deeper Down EP
12/17/2005 Q Kalis My Dying Bride - Anti-Diluvian Chronicles
10/10/2005 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - Sinamorata DVD
3/23/2004 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - Songs of Darkness, Words of Light
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 9.5 / 9 My Dying Bride - For Darkest Eyes DVD
Anathema - A Vision of a Dying Embrace DVD
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - The Voice of the Wretched
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours
8/12/2001 P Azevedo 8.5 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk II
1/10/2001 P Azevedo 8 My Dying Bride - Meisterwerk I
12/9/1999 P Azevedo 9 My Dying Bride - The Light at the End of the World
11/19/1998 P Azevedo 7 My Dying Bride - 34.788%... Complete
2/4/1997 P Azevedo 10 My Dying Bride - Like Gods of the Sun
3/14/1996 A Bromley 8 My Dying Bride - The Angel and the Dark River
7/3/2002 P Azevedo My Dying Bride / Mysterium Catharsis in Doom
3/13/2001 V Anderson My Dying Bride / Katatonia / Soundisciples / Beyond Dawn / Thine The Snow in Their Hearts
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