My Dying Bride, ‘Feel the Misery’ – Album Review

My Dying Bride - Feel The MiseryPeaceville Records

When it comes to doom and gloom, few do it better than the melancholy masters of My Dying Bride. Their latest album Feel The Misery lives up to its title, and in a good way.

The disc features the return of guitarist Calvin Robertshaw, who was in the band previously from 1990 to 1999 and appeared on classic albums like As the Flower Withers, Turn Loose the Swans and The Angel and the Dark River.

Feel The Misery gets off to a dynamic start with “And My Father Left Forever.” It moves along at a brisk tempo with heavy riffs and emotional melodic baritone vocals from Aaron Stainthorpe. Things slow down in the middle as the mournful chorus is delivered, then slowly builds back up.

The next track “To Shiver In Empty Halls’ is a stark vocal contrast, with Stainthorpe delivering ominous death metal growls along with melodic singing. The whole album has an effective ebb and flow in tempo and texture. Subtle shifts in guitar tone and the addition of atmospherics and violin parts give the record a lot of depth.

My Dying Bride balance heavier doom/death elements on the album, hearkening back to their ‘90s heydey, along with somber gothic sections. “A Cold New Curse” features symphonic parts and a thundering performance from drummer Dan Mullins.

As to the lyrical theme of the album, the band describes it this way: “The crushing of hearts and the solemn farewells to friends and lovers twinned with the destruction of flesh and the passions of cruelty are laid neatly for the listener to devour and savor.” It’s a description that matches the vibe of the album: theatrical and thoughtful without going over the top.

That vibe is captured well in the nearly 11 minute closing song “Within a Sleeping Forest.” An airy beginning gives way to a darker middle, eases up a bit, and then closes on a powerful crescendo.

The band doesn’t stray far from their comfort zone on the album, and that works very well for them. It’s a pretty big zone anyway, with plenty of room to maneuver. The diverse songs are exquisitely arranged, and with repeat listens, something new emerges on each epic track.

Feel The Misery is a consistent album, as well. There isn’t a dud in the bunch. The consistent quality helps MDB keep that emotional engagement with the listener from beginning to end. You find yourself being sucked into their vortex of sadness, and don’t mind wallowing in that misery for the duration of the album.

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