Review: My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures

Band: My Dying Bride
Album: "A Map of All Our Failures"
Style: Gothic Doom Metal
Release date: 2012-10-15
Origin: UK

1. Kneel Till Doomsday
2. The Poorest Waltz
3. A Tapestry Scorned
4. Like a Perpetual Funeral
5. A Map of All Our Failures
6. Hail Odysseus
7. Within the Presence of Absence
8. Abandoned as Christ
9. My Faults are Your Rewards (bonus track)

When a new album from My Dying Bride hits the shelves (yeah, people actually used that phrase aeons ago - when albums first came out in record stores. You know that place where you go and buy physical copies of an album) I am always quick to pick it up. The good old bride is one of few bands that has never disappointed me with any of their releases. At least when it comes to actual full-length albums (so I don't count those tedious rework "Evinta"-albums in the math) they haven't.

MDB 2012: Shaun, Andrew, Aaron, Lena & Hamish
As usual, they come up with the most joyful album- and song-titles and of course - "A Map of All Our Failures" is no exception. Lyrically and musically, the album also reeks of despair and hopelessness. In other words, just as it should be. The opener "Kneel Till Doomsday" was released online a couple of weeks earlier than the album and I instantly enjoyed the song. It had the same feeling as last year's "The Barghest O' Whitby" EP (containing one song close to 30 minutes) which in turn, gave a few nods to the bands earlier works, such as the "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium" EP and the band's debut album "As the Flower Withers". In other words, a sort of "rustier" guitar sound and a few death-metal outbursts. There were many of us that then thought the forthcoming album would sound more like the band's past.

But strangely enough, "A Map of All Our Failures" feels more akin to latter albums such as "The Dreadful Hours" and "For Lies I Sire". There's all the usual ingredients that fans of My Dying Bride has come to demand from each new album; the feeling of despair, the slow and crushing doom-riffs, the powerful drums, the subtle bass-lines, the acoustic outbreaks, the weeping violin, the screams of terror and the haunting voice of frontman Aaron Stainthorpe.

The problem with an album that has all the ingredients that one is used to, is that there's very little surprises to be found. I guess that My Dying Bride ceased to amaze and surprise people after the experimental "34.788%...Complete" back in 1998. Still, this is exactly the type of music that really gets me going and because of the band's impressive history, they do their same old thing with such precision and excellence that I am just as amazed each time. And as long as it's not boring, why change an obviously winning formula? I assume that this album will grow the more I listen to it and slowly creep towards the top of the best albums of 2012.