My Dying Bride

Evinta

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For a band who has released a total of ten full-length albums in 20 years, gothic doom metal act My Dying Bride has gotten maximum mileage out of its catalog. From this deck of studio recordings, MDB has culled four previous compilations, a live DVD, and a box set. Evinta is a fifth compilation, albeit one of a wholly different sort. It features eight completely reworked songs from the band's shelf, and one new one ("You Are Not the One Who Loves Me") stretched over two discs. It cannot be overstated that this material has been reworked to the point of being all but unrecognizable: there is no metal at all here. These songs are all "classical" in nature, thanks to the arranging and playing of Johnny Maudling (of Bal Sagoth fame), a small group of classical musicians, and addition of the operatic vocals of French soprano Lucie Roche to Aaron Stainthorpe's. (The rest of the band seems not to even appear.) Evinta is an over-the-top indulgence; it's self-conscious excess personified. The more Gothic and operatic moments of Dead Can Dance, or Current 93 (since Stainthorpe speaks as much as he sings here) are called to mind all too often (and are not favorable in comparison to either of those fine bands). The musical arrangements, such as they are, are syrupy, far too obvious, and in places, actually laughable. MDB, who have always met fan and critical expectations and often exceeded them by pushing the envelope, has in the case of Evinta done neither; instead they've paid homage to themselves with this sickly sweet, faux-emotional twaddle that's full of flutes, fake harpsichords, layered backing vocals, spoken word soliloquies that used to be song lyrics, and electronc soundscapes that simply don't go anywhere; it's almost astonishing that in Stainthorpe's words, this was "a project 15 years in the making." It should have stayed in the closet, and the band should have focused on writing new material instead. Evinta is so dreary and dull, singling out individual tracks is useless. If this double disc weren't enough, there is a also deluxe edition which comes in a hardbound digipack with a 20-page booklet that contains sleeve notes, photos, and lyrics. And even more, there is also a deluxe limited edition with an extra disc of this "materia," (horrors!) and a 64-page color booklet. Avoid this unless you're simply delusional.

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