Review Summary: Elegies For Burdened Souls
Out of all the pillars that support the doom metal temple, the column that is My Dying Bride has always stood the firmest. For a quarter of century the Yorkshire loners have released albums so draining that they can anchor listeners beneath their own sorrows. As each opus holds your heart in a cold embrace, the euphoric sensation that this band can summon from their haunted music is simply unparalleled in the metal world. As various members come and go and soundscapes chance like the wind, their morbid message of misery has never strayed off course. Before you even listen to their 12th album, you can tell it’s going to be wretched just from the title: “Feel The Misery”.
As per usual, all is not well in My Dying Bride. They’ve had all kinds of line up trouble that has ultimately left them with no fixed drummer (Dan Mullins is considered a live and session member at this moment) and lead guitarist, Hamish Glencross, was fired then replaced by original member Calvin Robertshaw last year. All this is simply kindle for the slow burning fire that forms My Dying Bride’s music- this drama is nothing compared to the imagery “Feel The Misery” portrays. The first song for instance, ‘And My Father Left Forever’, was written about singer Aaron Stainthrope's father recent death. The heavy lumber of guitars and funereal bass capture the despondent nature of death and the upsetting tone of Aaron’s vocals evoke his emotional pain towards his father’s passing.
This album is layered with altering soundscapes. Some complement each other such as ‘I Celebrate Your Skin’ where affectionate violins contrast the downcast guitars in an oddly comforting way. Others such as ‘Within A Sleeping Forest’ represent the internal battle of emotions that the songs portray where lamenting keyboards hide behind the truly superior riffs and authoritative vocals. However in this whirlwind of confusion everything crashes together with results of bitter heaviness. In contrast, luscious landscapes of blossoming guitars and gentle bass sway in the breeze of tranquillity during ‘A Cold New Curse’ and ‘I Almost Loved You’. Yet the intimidating vocals in the former song command a dominating character which sounds like My Dying Bride circa ‘The Dreadful Hours’ (2001).
The sheer meandering dynamics of this album are generally wild. ‘To Shiver In Empty Halls’ begins sounding more like an Insomnium tune where some memorable riffs and a hard rhythmic stamp outline the spine of the song. Aaron’s distinct vocals vary from anguished to lamenting depending on the tone of the instruments. A mellow interlude emerges out of the darkness to lull you into a false sense of dreamlike security but suddenly the soothing heartbeat of piano is torn apart by tormenting screams. The title track is more light-hearted however its dynamism is just as unsettling. The strained strings of violin from Shawn Macgowen take the lead to stir up a mournful energy however there is always a balance between bliss and bitterness: the constant repetition of “Feel the misery” reinforces the sonic resemblance of despair, even if he does seem to repeat the same line a little too frequently.
"Feel The Misery" will claw at your heart and bind the wounds with salt and despair.