Masters of misery My Dying Bride are back with their fourteenth album, ‘The Ghost Of Orion’, but getting it out there hasn’t been without its setbacks, to say the least.
On top of multiple members quitting the band, frontman Aaron Stainthorpe has had to deal with the loss of his father, as well as his daughter’s recent battle with cancer. The band are known for being bleak, but with this context in mind, it’s little wonder those qualities are at the forefront here.
Opener ‘Your Broken Shore’ has a typically lumbering intro, and Stainthorpe‘s vocal melody coupled with the harmonies and the violin playing make for a signature My Dying Bride opening. It’s been five years since their last album, ‘Feel The Misery’, so this will certainly feel like a welcome back moment for fans.
‘To Outlive The Gods’ continues in a similar vein, with a strong vocal melody and weight, but as ever with My Dying Bride, their music demands your complete attention. They largely deal in subtlety still, and it’s the most rewarding with more or less no distractions.
But we get a poignant, stirring highlight early on with ‘Tired Of Tears’. With some striking guitar lines and deceptively powerful melodies, this song is oddly invigorating, and the lyrical themes make a lot more sense with the context surrounding this album, and Shaun MacGowan‘s violin playing makes for a memorable outro.
‘The Solace’ sees guest vocalist Lindy-Fay Hella (Wardruna) take the lead, and she offers a more gentle, folk-influenced vocal delivery alongside a chiming guitar accompaniment. There’s demonstrably many strings to My Dying Bride‘s bow.
And ‘The Long Black Land’ continues to add more variation. Stainthorpe applies screamed vocals for the first time, which is another way of accentuating their emotive take on doom metal which has served them so well over the years. The title-track also maintains some continuity, driven by a simple guitar riff, piano vocals and whispers. It’s a nice way to divide the album up before we’re greeted with the most complete track on here, ‘The Open Earth’, which opens as mid-paced as you’d expect, then it begins to gather storm before it’s as weighty as it gets at its ending.
‘The Ghost Of Orion’ is certainly an album that requires multiple listens, as well as your full concentration, but once you dig deeper, the rewards are there to be reaped. It’s a typically emotive, poignant outing from the Yorkshire doom metallers, taking you on a journey throughout.