My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery
My Dying Bride’s latest opus and a 12th full studio album, ‘Feel the Misery’, is out now on Peaceville Records. With crushing epic doom spanning 8 tracks, and featuring the return of original guitarist Calvin Robertshaw to the fold, this is undoubtedly amongst the band’s heaviest, darkest, & most majestic works to date, marking My Dying Bride’s 25th anniversary in punishing style, with the title track, also set to feature as the album’s debut video.
‘Feel the Misery’ sees a notable return to the band’s old haunt, Academy Studios in Dewsbury West Yorkshire for recording, where all of My Dying Bride’s classic early albums were produced. Mixing once more takes place at Futureworks in Manchester UK with the band’s long-time studio engineer/producer, Mags.
Opening track and first single “And My Father Left Forever” is a showcase for the band’s signature dual-guitar sonics and Aaron Stainthorpe’s clean vocals. Each word is colored with oppressive sadness and hunger: “When I wake up/I want to see you/Bring me the life within you/I charge myself off your body/But in my arms/The darkness deepens….” “To Shiver in Empty Halls” is Robertshaw’s sole writing contribution and it’s killer. It commences with a slow, gothic, dual-ax riff accented by explosive double-bass drums and cymbals. Stainthorpe’s lyrics, expressed in a dirty, growled echo in the spirit of poet Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleur Du Mal without quoting it: “Wickedness with beauty/Is the devil’s hook baited/Darkness is loneliness/With shadows tall and grim/And histories in sin.” The title cut weaves keyboards and Shaun MacGowan’s strings head-on into a death metal guitar attack. Stainthorpe’s clean singing balances the tension, every syllable is articulated with defiance. The doomed-out “I Celebrate Your Skin” is ripe with unholy lust and emotional malevolence. The vocalist switches between clean and dirty vocals but the band walk a professional in its riffing and rhythms. Closer “Within a Sleeping Forest” is the perfect bookend. Synths and melodic guitars wind around one another above a skeletal snare and bass drum, with Lena Abe’s bassline humming through the center of the mix.
Stainthorpe’s vocals rise with glacial slowness, they’re alternately mournfully sad and clean and fierce and filthy with jealous rage. This doppelgänger seeks to possess the beloved at all costs — including murder. The track’s drama builds in force and tempo until it crashes to an abrupt close. Feel the Misery is the sound of a band inspired, revitalized, focused, and relevant. This album may have been a gift to the band itself after 25 years, but in the end, it is a significant one, not only for the band’s fans but for anyone who enjoys classic doom metal.
The band comments on the themes of ‘Feel the Misery’: “Contained within are all the grandeur and mastery of the melancholic one would expect to find on a recording from this group of musicians. The crushing of hearts and the solemn farewells to friends and lovers twinned with the destruction of flesh and the passions of cruelty are laid neatly for the listener to devour and savor. Eight new compositions detailing the path of life through dark doors and the burdens we all must endure simply to make it to the end, My Dying Bride have returned with a foreboding new album which may enlighten, delight and consume the soul in one epic sitting”.
The album features the return of guitarist Calvin Robertshaw, replacing Hamish Glencross. Hamish departed amicably to focus on his other band, Vallenfyre. Andrew Craighan, the principal songwriter for the album, observed that he felt “a brand new freedom” during the creative process. He explained further his sense of creative freedom: “To give some insight into the mentality behind this album, once I started writing, I just thought, I’m going to write music I like. If it fails, I’ll take the slings and arrows.”
Craighan has stated the album is, contrary to the title, not the most miserable album in the band’s discography, suggesting that it was distinguished by “stronger more direct songs, more hints of death-doom through the fog-cloaked slithering ambiance. It’s a more colorful record even if they are mostly hints of color that are actually bleakness.” Craighan noted that “the album title is probably being misunderstood” and clarified that:
“It’s not My Dying Bride that’s saying Feel The Misery, it’s a statement of society in general. Our jailers are being exposed for what they are and in an attempt to keep control, we have more conflict, more division, more hate, and lies. None of it is actually necessary. Feel The Misery is actually a question designed to provoke (probably naively) thought as to why it’s like this, have any one of us actually thought who benefits from bombing each other constantly for example? Follow the money and it becomes pretty clear who’s in charge and who benefits from the division“
Artist: My Dying Bride
Album: Feel the Misery
Released: September 18, 2015
Label: Peaceville Records
Genre: Doom Metal, Gothic Metal, Death/Doom
Website: Official Website
Discs: 1 disc
Reviewed by: Guest Reviewer
Our Rating: 4.2 /5
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