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Peaceville cash in on their longest-running brand, sunny Britain's kings of the gothic doom sub-genre, with an EP featuring two brand spanking new cover songs and a live track to accompany the titular piece.
'Bring Me Victory' was a funny one amongst the tracklist of For Lies I Sire. The imposing violins of the intro and the pulsating sub-groove of the main riffs led to a different mood from other recent works by the Bride. Aaron performs in a whispered growl for the verses, further distancing the track from the majesty of A Line of Deathless Kings or the gothic melodrama of For Lies I Sire. The song sees the band looking past the meandering nature of much of the rest of the album, dabbling in a focused and compacted sound.
'Scarborough Fair' weighs in at over six minutes, and presents a far more considered and earnest reworking of the song than, oh, that Leaves' Eyes version a couple of months ago (although Liv sounded pretty singing it, bless). The Bride actually took the time to rewrite a lot of the lyrics, bringing the song into their own world rather than giving over to the established structure and melody of the original. 'Failure' is the superior cover included here however, and the true selling pull of this EP. Aaron Stainthorpe has always had a rich timbre to his voice with a magnificent scope for irony, and here he has more of a sneer to his voice as he relates the morose narrative of daily drudgery from 'Failure' by Swans. He also sings more noticeably in his Yorkshire accent, adding a personal characteristic to the song.
From the new and shiny to the old and ragged, 'Vast Choirs' is a Bride classic and a concert staple. The recording from Graspop last year sees it dragged from its grave once again for all to marvel at its hideous glory. Aaron spits out some vitriolic snarls over the menacing guitar riffs that, even live, sound as if they are echoing from a tomb, and with the customary minimum of crowd-to-Bride interaction the band are left to dole out one of their signature songs with precision, if not quite as much energy and emotion as they have been known to show on stage.
This is worth getting hold of if you have swallowed everything by this band whole, through their short-lived experimental "era" and their 21st century output. Both new covers see Aaron dominating the songs more than capably with his timeless baritone intonations, while the Bride originals that bookmark the EP show different sides of their instrumental capabilities. It's a fine complementary piece to For Lies I Sire (obviously get that first), bringing the band solidly to the end of a successful year. The flame of Yorkshire romantic doom isn't burning quite as bright for Peaceville as it did in times past, but you'll still be hard pressed to find a band doing this stuff quite so honestly, and accessibly, as My Dying Bride. The godfathers of, and the gateway to gothic doom.