My Dying Bride – A Map of All Our Failures
Best known for pioneering modern British doom alongside bands like Anathema and Katatonia in the 90s, My Dying Bride have softened their approach in recent releases, favouring a cleaner production style and turning up the gothic drama. The strength of their ambition, though, is often stifled by their relationship with excessive theatricality.
The latest addition to an already sprawling catalogue of work is another crushingly slow death march through gloomy territory. Aaron Stainthorpe's vocal style is undoubtedly key to the band's morbidly romantic take on the genre, but his performance is meretricious to the point of self parody on much of the record. The eight lengthy songs mostly trudge along, and there's a worrying lack of standout moments. The eerie atmosphere throughout is convincing, albeit cliché-ridden. A Map of All Our Failures isn't ultimately as awful as its title suggests; there's some neat (if predictable) melodies, but it's a murkier ride than it needs to be.