If you’ve followed My Dying Bride as I have – that is, very attentively from around 1995 to around 2000, you will have witnessed just about all stages of their musical evolution. Starting out with early Death/Doom sounds with mostly growling vocals and heavily distorted guitars, they used clean vocals more and more often, and introduced a more hypnotic and electronic sound on their widely criticized 1998 output “34.788%…Complete”1. As if in response to the criticism, the following albums “The Light at the End of the World” and “The Dreadful Hours” reverted very much back to the previous style.
For my own part, that was around the time I was more interested in Thrash and Death Metal, and Doom held less interest for me. As such, I missed their following output, “Songs of Darkness, Words of Light” almost completely.
I’m writing all of this just because it makes explaining what “A Line of Deathless Kings” sounds like easier: Imagine a mixture of “34.788%…Complete” and the following two albums.
More precisely, the instrumentation and sound clearly mirror that of the more Death/Doom-like albums, with up-to-date, clean production, making any distortion used somewhat sterile sounding. On the other hand, both the clean vocals, and the sometimes techno-like hypnotic, repetetive rythmic parts borrow heavily from 34%, and to some part from quieter songs from the “The Angel and the Dark River” album.
Overall, this mixture makes My Dying Bride appear more mature, more certain of what they want to achieve with their music. Songs sound less experimental than on 34%, and less artificially restricted than on later albums, but instead pretty much ideally balanced for transporting an almost trance-like Death/Doom atmosphere. In my eyes, this marks a definite highlight in their career2.
And the last track is a nod to their roots.
- Around the same time another notable British Death/Doom band, Paradise Lost, did something similar with their “One Second” album. [↩]
- Admittedly, I’ll now have to go back and listen to all their other CDs in case I just remember them wrong [↩]