It has been a rough ride for Yorkshire doomsters My Dying Bride over the past few years, from line-up troubles to the devastating health issues of singer Aaron Stainthorpe’s young daughter. There were many who even doubted whether My Dying Bride would ever return after their last effort, 2015’s Feel The Misery. But with true British Bulldog spirit they’re back on a new record label with new band members Neil Blanchett (Valafar, live guitar) and Jeff Singer (Kill II This, ex-Paradise Lost and ex-Blaze, drums) and a new producer Mark Mynett (Kill II This guitarist), who does a sterling job here.
The Ghost Of Orion is 8 tracks of perfectly crafted gloom spread out over 56 minutes, executed in a manner that My Dying Bride excel at. Heavy, emotive swirling guitar riffs intertwine in-between solid rhythms and mournful violin all held together by the melancholic vocal poetry of Stainthorpe. Die-hard fans of the band (and MDB fans are particularly die-hard!) may be wondering if the style of the new album deviates much from their trademark sound – it doesn’t, but there are still a few curveballs to be enjoyed throughout the journey.
The album kicks off with the album highlight and lead single ‘Your Broken Shore’ – as true an MDB track one can hope for and showcasing Aaron’s dreamlike clean vocals partnered with his traditional death metal growl. It’s these clean vocals which raise the eyebrows the most, showing more melody than on previous efforts. This is displayed to even greater effect on ‘Tired Of Tears’, and whilst it certainly won’t be inducing moshpits it’s clearly evident that songs like these are also acting as a catharsis to the vocalist.
The biggest talking point, however, is ‘The Solace’, featuring a lone guitar track and an ethereal vocal performance by Lindy-Fay Hella from Wardruna, bringing an almost Celtic feel to the proceedings. But it works, and slotted in halfway through the album it breaks up the misery with yet more misery, albeit with softer tones.
The real hero of the album, however, is Andrew Craighan who singlehandedly wrote this, My Dying Bride’s 13th full-length album. The guitar work and dynamics on offer on tracks like the epic ‘The Long Black Land’ are stunning and would no doubt mesmerise any crowd under the darkness of your typical Euro fest.
So more of the same from The Bride on this offering then, and yet so much more. There is a lot on offer and a lot to digest on first listen and if after listening to this beast you still have a happy temperament then you’re not paying attention enough. This album is meant to be absorbed and experienced rather than enjoyed. The Deathless Kings have returned!
Catch Neil Coggins on Hard Rock Hell radio every Sunday at 5pm for Full Metal Racket, and Tuesdays for The C60 Mixtape Show at 12pm!