Time for a bit of doom today, I think. As was the case with Paradise Lost, Yorkshire was the birthplace of doom / gothic metal band My Dying Bride. The latter were formed in Bradford during 1990 by guitarists Andrew Craighan (who also performed keyboards) and Calvin Robertshaw, singer Aaron Stainthorpe and drummer Rick Miah.
Bassist Adrian Jackson was on board by the time the group recorded their debut album “As The Flower Withers” in 1992. Various other band members came and went until the group went on hiatus following 1999’s “The Light At The End Of The World” album.
Returning in 2001 with their seventh studio album “The Dreadful Hours” the band have continued to record and perform even as the line-up has fluctuated. September 2015 saw the release of the band’s twelfth studio album “Feel The Misery”, coming three years on from the excellent “A Map Of All Our Failures”.
The band now comprises founder members Stainthorpe, Craighan and Robertshaw (who rejoined in 2014 after a fifteen year absence) alongside bassist Lena Abé (who both joined in 2007) and violinist / keyboardist Shaun MacGowan (since 2009). Drum work was handled by Dan Mullins.
The record begins with the relatively up-tempo (at least in places) but most certainly not upbeat “And My Father Left Forever”, a song inspired by the death of Stainthorpe’s father, to whom the album is dedicated, which clocks in at nine-minutes-plus. In fact, four of the eight tracks on the album have a duration of nine minutes or more, with closer “Within A Sleeping Forest” approaching eleven minutes in length.
Although the opening track is nicely gothic it isn’t all that doom-like. That’s soon put right, however, when “To Shiver In Empty Halls” comes roaring in with Stainthorpe’s mournful vocal turned into a deathly growl over suitably melancholic guitar lines and monolithic sounding riffs in a track than slows to a crawling pace some six minutes in.
“Feel The Misery” is a highpoint on this record, along with the Cathedral-like “I Celebrate Your Skin”, the gothic ballad that is “I Almost Loved You” and the aforementioned closing track “Within A Sleeping Forest” which is sublimely brilliant.
Fabulously atmospheric, My Dying Bride continue to build upon the template that they helped to create a couple of decades ago. Although not an upbeat album in terms of music or lyrics, nonetheless I feel that there is something strangely uplifting about doom metal (or maybe I’m just a miserable old so-and-so?!) and this is a very good example of the genre. Great stuff…
“Feel The Misery” tracklist:
1. And My Father Left Forever / 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