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British doom legends My Dying Bride have never been a band shy in expressing their emotive sides given their two-decade long existence in doing just that, but this "Evinta" release, which actually came out back in May, might just reveal how emotionally fragile the pioneers work has been. That very factor, however, is liable to create problems for a lengthy album release like this, where many of the band's past works have been reconstructed in a simple, classically-influenced acoustic affair, based around the somber vocals of Aaron Stainthorpe, hired French opera vocalist Lucie Roche, keys and classical strings. My edition consists of just 9 songs in 87 minutes over 2 discs - get yourself the full whack and enjoy a third disc with another 5 songs totalling 42 minutes - and has been a very difficult listen on every attempted occasion these recent weeks.
As anyone who's ever read my reviews of doom metal releases in particular will know I can take long, slow, drawn-out albums the musical equivalent of a cricket test match without any hint of boredom, and which combined with my great passion for certain niches of the classical music pantheon should render I a divine target for "Evinta", but the overall emptiness which fills so much of this record and the lack of emotional heaviness of typical MDB work leaves the feeling this is an interesting experiment which does not come off. Had a track like "Of Sorry Eyes In March" as found here been in the midst of a doomier MDB album it could have been a tranquil division between monoliths of true weeping solitude, but like "Of Lilies Bent With Tears", "That Dress and Summer Skin" and so much else on repeated listen it has gotten boring and flatly uninteresting. The classical strings, which seem few and far between when one really craves them, add a small impetus but with so little of the mass keyboard (sounding church organ-like very often) presence pushing my metaphorical buttons it can hardly even claim to hone the oppressive organ sounds of Abandon's "The Dead End", an album possessing the kind of incomprehensible despondency "Evinta" doesn't hold a solitary black candle to.
I've no doubt a small minority of MDB fans will take great pleasure in the reworking of a number of songs from one of doom metal's most pioneering bands but one gets the feeling even a classical, non-metal reinterpretation of their best songs could still have possessed more vigour and intrigue than this, which has unfortunately lost it's interest factor before the second disc even kicks in. Pity.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net