Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Dying Bride : "Feel the Misery"

Though the band's sound has been evolving ever since their formation in 1990, it is not until  the distinct voice of singer Aaron Stainthorpe comes in you would not guess the first song is My Dying Bride until it slows down at the two and half minute mark. The more upbeat riffage works best when they get into the chug around  the five minute mark. The violin's initial role is  toned down for the first half of the song , but when it comes in the sound is unmistakably My Dying Bride. On the second song they bring back the death metal vocals. The growls  are laid atop a much more up beat metal gallop than what they band ever churned out in their hey day. It does eventually slow down into the more mournful sound that My Dying Bride is known for. In their press release the word epic is used to describe their sound and as cliche as that term might be in metal,  it describes the more regal dynamic this album oozes. The production plays a huge role in this so does the shifting of genre lines as They go from straight forward metal so some almost post- rock with the clean guitar that is in the middle section of "To Shiver In Empty Halls". Their spoken word narrations have always felt too dramatic like I am listening to a book on tape. Those moments do not weigh song down as it picks up into a more almost thrashing section at the half way point, before which the guitar tone switches into a unique clean tone.

The syncopated riff to " A Cold New Curse" is a prime example of what it sounds like  to try new things yet still retain your signature sound. It ebbs back down into another very tasteful clean guitar tone at under the three minute mark, leaving you to wonder what are they going to do with the the next six minutes. The guitar solo in this one is a slow melody that is allowed to ring out. They lock onto a powerful chug at the four minute mark. They are skilled at layering other melodies in at the "Feel the Misery" has a very classic metal gallop to it, making you almost expect a power metal singer over it rather than the morose vocals this band is known for. Ultimately this songs works in everything you could want from this band. "A Thorn of Wisdom" starts off coming from a goth place rather than metal. I  begin to think they might be tuned higher than they used to be upon hearing when the bass is left standing when it breaks down. It does have the low end thunk you associate with doom bass. The growled vocals make another appearance on "I Celebrate Your Skin".  At seven minutes they could teach newer doom bands the finer points of song writing as they convey the dragging sense of a funereal march without dragging the song on forever.

The more depressing gothic tinged doom of "Like Gods of the Sun" the death metal vocals growl their way into the wrist slitting melody. They are the masters of capturing that woefully sound and making their guitars really weep. The really know where to let the keyboards sit. The piano line plays dominate role in the more ballad like "I Almost Loved You", which could be a VNV Nation. This can't really be played off like its an interlude even though it drones on the one section for the bulk of the song. The violin finally cuts through the thick of things when they close out the album with lush shadowy sounds of "Within a Sleeping Forest". The vocals come across as being a little higher than some of the yearning pleas he has crooned out on earlier album. Newer doom bands could learn a lot from My Dying Bride as they did not make this album just two twenty minute songs, but pack more  variation and dynamics into one song than many bands do in their entire discography. It builds up thanks to the double bass rolling beneath it into a lumbering throb. It slows back down into a dirge like crawl around the eight minute mark.

Overall despite the changes and more in you face metal moments this album excels pretty much every step of the way. If you are a fan of the band you will have little trouble embracing this along with the rest of the catalogue in fact it's a vast improvement over the odds and ends they tossed to us with the "Anti-Dulivian Chronicles" and deserves to be rounded up to a 10.

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