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SO confusing for - 74%

VibrationsOfDoom, July 2nd, 2007

This was a difficult, almost painful, CD to review, especially since it not only comes from one of my favorite bands, but it ALSO comes on the heels of what I consider to be My Dying Bride's BEST fucking album to date: "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light." THAT particular album touched on just about every emotion under the sun, and complete with the newest MDB addition of blackened styled vocals, complete with songs that will take you from snarling, dark and demonic rage to extremely beautiful, melancholic and light hearted fare all in one song, "Songs Of Darkness..." is probably one of the most emotionally exhausting albums they've ever made.On the other hand, "A Line Of Deathless Kings" is confusing, jumps around quite a bit, and by the album's end your last few songs make you go "didn't I hear those elements in earlier songs... ON THE SAME ALBUM?"

Nevertheless, let's start from the beginning. CD opener 'To Remain Tombless' didn't make the greatest impression. Yes, the guitar work is very dark, heavy and almost thrashy at times, certainly one of the biggest highlights of the CD. MDB's DARKEST instrumentation to date, certainly, but the harsh vocals are limited to about three spots on the entire album. I thought for such a heavy and dark atmosphere the vocals on CD opener 'To Remain Tombless' could have been a LOT heavier, one of very few instances I have a problem with Aaron's vocal delivery. The next piece 'L'Amour Detruit' doesn't help either, as you have very nice emotional synths and guitars opening up (incidentally, the amazingly atmospheric synths seem to be absent for the most part from this recording as
well), and from the start you think "Ah, what amazingly emotional atmosphere,
fuck this could have been on "Songs Of Darkness!" But then halfway through the
darker tone with the instrumentation proves to be a double edged sword, as the
heavier parts could have been fleshed out better. It almost threatens to drag
the song down (The ending brings back the sounds of the beginning).

Let me say right now though that the most amazing passage on the album is the 4th track 'And I Walk With Them,' you'll know this ultra melodic passage when you hear it, as it features some soaring vocal work and trust me, it'll bring tears to the eyes (especially when you read the lyrics along with it). Why the rest of the album couldn't take this pace is beyond me.Nice piano notes open up 'Thy Raven Wings,' but for the life of me it just didn't grab me. Is there too much darkness overpowering the overall tone of the record? By tracks 6 and 7, I am DEFINITELY
hearing a band start to repeat themselves, and I'm STILL confused, as Aaron is still sounding sharp.

No song on here is terrible, or even godawful, but the MDB fan will definitely have to pick and choose his moments. I don't know if I'm just so into "Songs Of Darkness" that anything after that has been ruined or if the songs TRULY don't hold weight well. I'll give you what I think is the biggest clue, the HUGE piece to the
puzzle that makes me understand WHY this album isn't as good as it SHOULD be:
A recent interview I read in Metal Maniacs (which would NORMALLY have NO BEARING on ANY review I do) had Aaron stating quite matter of factly that THIS
album was recorded VERY QUICKLY, even by My Dying Bride standards. Let me
rephrase that, it was WRITTEN very quickly, Aaron going on to state that not only were lyrics not written until they were IN THE STUDIO, but FOUR songs were written while IN the studio. Had they spent more time on these songs, I dare say the album would have turned out better. That being said, any other band writing and recording an album like this would have far worse results.