There are relatively few metal bands left in this great big world who have been consistently making music since the early 1990s. There are even fewer bands who can say that they’ve been making consistently good music since the early 1990s. One of those bands is England’s masters of doom and gloom, My Dying Bride. With the exception of one publicly perceived misstep (which in all honesty wasn’t really a misstep at all, more a band fleshing out their sound to something a little more unique than their audience may have been ready for), My Dying Bride has built a well-deserved reputation as a band that churns out quality album after quality album. When all is said and done it’s not out of the question that we could be discussing the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ as to My Dying Bride being the greatest doom metal act of all-time (sans the originators of the genre, Black Sabbath).
So with that type of intro there is probably little we can tell you that you don’t already know if you are a fan of this band, even a nominal one. Hopefully something you already know, or will soon find out, is that their newest album, Feel The Misery, not only does well by their legacy, but adds yet another jewel into their doom metal crown. Again, there are few bands in this world who can take a very distinctive sound and make it sound continually fresh and exciting over the course of 25+ years, but My Dying Bride, 12 full-length albums and countless EPs later, have once again done just that. Feel The Misery is chock full of doom metal mastery – meaty, catchy riffs, vocals that, whether clean or otherwise, captivate, and an overall musicianship which propels a gloriously ghoulish and gloom-filled mood to mesmerizing depths at every turn.
From the very opening of this record the first thing you notice are those aforementioned riffs. My Dying Bride has always written captivating guitar parts, always written those riffs you catch yourself occasionally humming alone in the dead of night. But on Feel The Misery, probably more so than on any other recent offerings, My Dying Bride allows the riffs to build the foundations upon which these eight, monolithic houses of despondency stand. Album opener “And My Father Left Forever” starts the whole party off with one of the most memorable riffs you are going to hear this year. From there the entire band ride it like a serpentine train bound straight for the Sixth Circle of Hell – the one in Dante’s Inferno reserved for the most heretical of sinners. It’s followed by “To Shiver In Empty Halls” which stands out as one of the heaviest tracks on the album, but no less reliant upon a bevy of masterful guitar work that truly sets the stage for some of the most malicious vocals you’ll here on this outing. In true My Dying Bride fashion though, somewhere on that nine or so minute journey we pit stop for a respite in the land of the ethereal and ambient as well. By the end of these two tracks alone it’s perfectly clear that we’ve entered into a sacred space, a ritual where wickedness and melancholy share top billing.
Frankly there is not a single weak track on this album. “A Thorn of Wisdom” and “I Almost Loved You” are both splendid and somber five minute interludes that could stand on their own among the heavier barrage of tracks. “I Celebrate Your Skin” is a plodding beast that seems to grow larger with each ounce of your depression and tears it swallows and spits back to you like a mother bird feeding its young. Album closer “Within A Sleeping Forest” gives the best field for My Dying Bride’s signature violin and piano/organ accompaniment to play ball on while they dance on various graves with elegant, yet forceful, moodiness. From start to finish there may not be another album released this year more fitting for all of our collective funeral marches. It’s truly a thing of darkest beauty.
Feel The Misery is out now via Peaceville Records. You can watch the new video for the album’s title track at the Peaceville website.