Here's my personal ode to making miserable music.
#6. A Map of All Our Failures (2012)
2. The Poorest Waltz
3. A Tapestry Scorned
4. Like a Perpetual Funeral
5. A Map of All Our Failures
6. Hail Odysseus
7. Within the Presence of Absence
8. Abandoned as Christ
9. My Faults are Your Reward
Hello, I'd like to sort My Dying Bride into 4 different categories:
1. Their death/doom/depressive days from the band's earliest works up to 1995.
2. Their "experimental phase" from 1996 to 2000.
3. Their gothic/doom phase from 2001 to 2008.
4. And finally the return of the violin and all things miserable from 2009 up until the present (2017).
I am not stupid and I realize that many people might not agree with me on this categorization, but I honestly have different feelings towards the bands' albums during different time periods. This would place "A Map of All Our Failures" in the last category and I sincerly feel that the band has gone through some sort of rejuvenation since recruiting the young violinist/keyboardist Shaun into their fold. The violin doesen't weep like it did in the old days, but rather it accentuates the guitars or sets the mood with it's own melodies. This album might not be as depressive as the one that came before it or the one that came after it but it most definitely has a heap of good songs in "Kneel to Doomsday", "Like a Perpetual Funeral", "Hail Odysseus" and "Abandoned as Christ". Also, none of the other songs are forgettable or bad in any way. Overall, this is a very strong effort.
#5. A Line of Deathless Kings (2006)
2. L'Amour détruit
3. I Cannot be Loved
4. And I Walk with Them
5. Thy Raven Wings
6. Love's Intolerable Pain
7. One of Beauty's Daughters
8. Deeper Down
9. The Blood, the Wine, the Roses
So, this is basically the last of the "phase-3 albums" (se above for reference) that MDB released. What differs this one from "The Dreadful Hours" (#8) and "Songs of Darkness, Words of Light" (#9) then? Well, I think flows better overall and that there's less filler present here. There is filler as well, namely "Love's Intolerable Pain" and "One of Beauty's Daughters" but that's a minor quibble. I like the fact that after those two lackluster songs, the band chooses to drag us down into complete misery with the marvellous "Deeper Down" and then go into a more experimental (at least for MDB) territory with "The Blood, the Wine, the Roses" which sounds like it was written for "Like Gods of the Sun" back in the mid 90's. Those two, along with "To Remain Tombless" and "Thy Raven Wings" are enough reasons to place this one at number 5.
#4. Feel the Misery (2015)
2. To Shiver in Empty Halls
3. A Cold New Curse
4. Feel the Misery
5. A Thorn of Wisdom
6. I Celebrate Your Skin
7. I Almost Loved You
8. Within a Sleeping Forest
When these words are written (january 2017) this is the latest opus from the ever-dying Bride. After 2-3 listens, this one felt like a letdown after the the bands' two previous outputs, but it grew gradually on me and now I feel that it is a very strong album. What I don't like is the incredibly boring title which just feels tired and clichéd. The album should have been named after the incredible opening song "And my Father Left Forever" which, though also a bit cliché, reeks of actual misery compared to the title track that actually has the word in it. IMO, the opening track is one of the strongest songs My Dying Bride has ever written and the two that follows it are very good ones as well. The title track is cool at first but becomes a bit tedious after time and it has that "Like Gods of the Sun"-feel to it that I like some days and dislike others. Like I mentioned earlier, it is a very strong album overall, even though the band's effort at a "sad piano-violin-almost-ballad(ish) song" in "I Almost Loved You" does not work as well as the classics that is "Sear Me MCMXCIII" and "For my Fallen Angel".
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 12-10
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 9-7
My Dying Bride From Inferior to Prime: 3-1