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A Map Of All Our Failures

Peaceville (2012)
Rating: 7.5/10

Considered one of the forefathers of the modern doom metal genre, My Dying Bride have been on the scene for 20-plus years now. Much like contemporaries Cathedral, they are rock solid with their albums. They always deliver well-produced, highly musical songs of lament and woe that highlight the dusk.

Although I followed the UK band for many years, I haven’t really kept up since 2004’s Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light. So, for me, A Map Of All Our Failures feels extremely fresh; like catching up with an old Transylvanian friend over coffee.

The album kicks off with the superb ‘Kneel Till Doomsday’. The song has a little bit of everything, topped off by the particularly mesmerizing lament of the guitars. It’s a good indication of what’s to come, and when coupled with ‘The Poorest Waltz’ you already have an EP sized set of powerhouse tunes.

The monolithic ‘Abandoned As Christ’ is absolutely phenomenal. Clocking in at over eight minutes, the song ebbs and flows through mid-paced doom metal and haunting, melancholic rock backed by an unexpected organ. The lyrics to this song are quite intriguing and I’d be more than a little interested to understand better where the band is coming from. At first it seems to be a very traditional Christian storytelling and then weaves into more mysterious territory.

The title track has a bit lighter sound, adding some atmosphere to the album with some narrative vocal work and a very sparse sound highlighted by haunting violin leads. ‘Like A Perpetual Funeral’ is a similar moment, only it tends to move a bit more fluidly overall. Meanwhile, ‘A Tapestry Scorned’ and the other tracks are solid but not quite as ear-grabbing as the ones I have mentioned here. They are a step above filler but never reach that high point the others do.

Overall, I really enjoy this album. If I were familiar with their last few albums it may not come off as fresh to me though. It’s certainly also not as fascinating as their early works. What gets me here the most however is how consistent My Dying Bride have been since the mid-90s. They know what they are good at and each time I hear them they get better. If doom metal is the genre you enjoy the most then I can’t see how you can go wrong with A Map Of All Our Failures. If you are a casual fan, like me, or a one-time diehard that has been gone for awhile, then there is enough here to certainly recapture your interest.

Mark Fisher