Ok, I meant to wait until i'd listened to the album a few more times, but in the end I gave in and decided to review it anyway... "A Line of Deathless Kings" is MDB's 9th studio album and although, as most fans would testify, it is impossible to surpass either "Turn Loose the Swans" or "The Angel and the Dark River", the band have done a pretty good job nonetheless. For those who are wondering, the album fits quite neatly into their recent catalogue, progressing nicely from "Songs of Darkness.." with a few throwbacks to "The Light..." and "The Dreadful Hours". Anyone who was hoping for a return to their older style will be disappointed, as will anyone who was expecting the band to make huge leaps in style or substance. On the other hand, this is a very credible effort in the vein of their last few works with some interesting new ideas thrown in as well.
Onto the music... Aaron has continued with the doomy, semi clean vocals he pioneered in the last album with almost no death metal growls. Unfortunately, I have to say his lyrics are not very good on this album. Expect a lot of repetion of very familiar lines and quite a few cliches and painful attempts at rhyming. On the other hand, the music itself is pretty good. Much of it is quite similar to the last couple of albums, but there are a few nice new ideas in places which make the album fun to listen to. Temporary drummer John fills in particularly well, providing some surprisingly excellent drumming throughout and some quite interesting fills which are completely different from either Shaun or Rick's style. The rest of the band are also great, Andy and Hamish proving to have become a musical force to be reckoned with and Ade upping the standard with some fantastic atmospheric bass work. I've never been a fan of Sarah's, but her keyboards are credible and add an exra layer of doom, without ever being particularly prominent in the music as they once were.
The first track, "To Remain Tombless" is quite simply, amazing. It reminds me a little of "the wreckage of my flesh" but its taken to a new level of brilliance with fantastic bass sections, amazing drumming and an absolutely stunning guitar riff that will have you completely hooked. This is followed by "L'amour detruit" which is also particularly good, starting off very similar to "le figlie della tempesta" and comprising a more melodic, almost Katatonia-like section of guitar in the second half, which really makes it stand out. Other good songs are the single, "Deeper Down" which grows on you after a few listens and "Loves Intolerable Pain" which has some quite effective spoken passages and is a bit different from the rest of the album. On the whole, I think most MDB fans will like it although it falls short of being a masterpiece, and anyone who likes good quality doom should give it a try.