My Dying Bride The Ghost Of Orion

Nuclear Blast Records

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My Dying Bride

When I first heard a My Dying Bride release, it was 1992. That’s a long, long time ago. In fact I’m betting that most of you lovely bunch weren’t even born back then. I’ve often wondered how crud it must be to be a metal fan who missed out on the 80s and early 90s. We missed a lot too, but that was beer-induced, not because our pappies hadn’t yet impregnated their wenches. 19 bloody 92 was a very, very good year, vintage even. Arguably the single greatest year in the history of rock/metal. Discuss! Some of the releases that year were: Alice in Chains ‘Dirt’, Biohazard ‘Urban Discipline’, Pantera ‘Vulgar Display of Power’, Bolt Thrower ‘IVth Crusade’ and loads of others, bla bla bla... look it up yourself if you really want to know but, believe me, the list of classy releases is long for that year. If you can point to a better year then I’m all ears. 1986, perhaps? Nah, not even close.

My first encounter with the soon to be deceased, female, English newlywed was an EP, ‘Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium’. Try and pronounce that without puking on your wedding dress. I thought it was pretty awesome at the time, probably because they sounded quite a lot like Paradise Lost, at least in the harmonies. They released a few great albums after that, became quite popular and are still a mainstay of a scene which has seen much copycatting over the past decades. Listen to ‘As The Flower Withers’ or ‘Turn Loose The Swans’ for some of their best early work. In fact ‘Turn...’ is probably their best outing to-date. I’m not going to go into a discussion of their later releases, there are quite a few and I’m lazy, suffice to say I sort of lost interest in them after ‘Turn...’

Anyway, enough about the old days. This review of their 14th album took me weeks to write. Yes, I’m lazy; Yes, I had better things to do, even during lockdown; Yes, I struggled to sit and listen to this album through to the end, every time I tried. To be honest, I nearly died of boredom while listening to it, which is exactly why I stopped listening to them all those years ago. In fact, in my mind the bride has long since died (lovely alliteration there), been buried and is now feeding worms, many of who have probably also died of boredom. Sorry, that’s a bit harsh. I don’t like knocking someone else’s creation but it just doesn’t float my boat. Somehow I wish that My Dying Bride had aged as well as 1992 has, at least in my mind. It all sounds too familiar and we’ve heard it all before. I guess that’s just style though.

The End.

Only kidding. In fairness there isn’t really anything wrong with this album. It’s certainly not bad, the songs are fine, the musicianship strong, the harmonies sweet (and very familiar). It’s everything you want from MDB, and it’s characteristically as atmospheric as having a tea party with Miss Haversham in the family mausoleum. It’s just very, very tiring listening to an album on which the majority of songs clock in at upwards of 7m30, two even hitting 10m, especially when they mostly sound the same. This is however a matter of taste and opinion and I believe that most MDB fans will like it, as I did, back in the day, when their sound was fresh and novel.

I will give a shout out to a few tracks. ‘Solace’ is a beautiful baroqueish ballad featuring guitars that snake around each other while Lindy Fay Hella’s (she of Wardruna fame) vocals float above them. It’s a joy to listen to and breaks the monotony in the same way that the title-track does. ‘Your Woven Shore’, the outro, is melodically beautiful too... medieval vocal harmonies (I assume a double-tracking of Lindy Fay Hella’s singing), a lonely piano and Jo Quail on cello. Very nice. ‘Tired Of Tears’, I believe, is Aaron Stainthorpe’s musical catharsis. The chorus gives us a glimpse of what must have been a terrible time for him and his family, his young daughter was very, very ill. Thankfully she recovered. “I am so tired of tears; So tired of tears; Lay not thy hand upon; Lay no hand on my daughter”. It gave me the shivers. The change-up at around the 4m25 mark in ‘The Long Black Land’ is an absolutely brilliant lesson in how to bring a song to crescendo. This is the song that grabbed me most.

In closing, I will say that most My Dying Bride fans will like this album. I, however, do not. Opinions are like arseholes though, everyone has one. The album was released on March 6th on Nuclear Blast. (A.J.)

60/100.

Tracklist:
01. Your Broken Shore
02. To Outlive the Gods
03. Tired of Tears
04. The Solace
05. The Long Black Land
06. The Ghost of Orion
07. The Old Earth
08. Your Woven Shore