My Dying Bride
Feel the Misery

So all we need now in 2015 is a release from Anathema, and have it return to the Crestfallen/Serenades sound and all will be right with the world, right?

In fairness, while Paradise Lost, one third of the seminal UK doom triumvirate received much deserved praise for The Plague Within,  and rightfully lauded for a ‘return’ to form, the fact is, since 2006s The Dreadful Hours, My Dying Bride, already returned to form with Aaron Stainthorpe growling again ( an apparent must have for ‘returning to form’ apparently). And other than Evinta, the subsequent 4 albums have delivered the band’s trademark sound, with a blend of the band’s late 90s gloomy goth and more feral doom/death of the band’s early days balanced perfectly.

So here is album 12, and based on opener  and first single “And My Father Left Forever”, you would think the return of original guitarist Calvin Robertshaw and the band’s pure gloomy, violin tinged whine welcomes a pure return to the likes of The Angel and the Dark River or Like Gods of the Sun.  So fans of that era will rejoice initially, but for grumpy old fucks like me, it’s not a good start at all (although I did warm up to those albums eventually). However, the immediate growls and dissonant lumber of second number “To Shiver in Empty Halls” quickly dispel any doubts the band has reverted, and the rest of the album follows suite with the sublime, typically morose sound the band has perfected. Did I really doubt them?

While the production seems a bit lighter and airy then previous efforts, the band’s overarching tone and hue is intact. Dreary, somber, but sensual numbers glossed with subtle violins, keys and straining emotive leads. Stainthorpe displays nice balance of his clean croons, which are still an acquired taste, (though used well on the dare I say, ‘catchy’, sing along  title track and the utterly rending “I Almost Loved You”). And while his bellows have lost some power, they are a welcome change of pace especially when used to good effect on the likes of “A Cold New Curse” or “I Celebrate Your Skin”, one of the better songs the band has penned in their recent discography, with maybe a subtle nod to the “Sear Me” series.

And speaking of the band’s better songs, the album ends with the 10 minute “Within a Sleeping Forest”, arguably one of the band’s most complete, balanced songs of their career. It’s flocked with somber church organs, has a patient, melancholic trundle and a stern finale rather than a sonorous fadeout.

Feel the Misery won’t have the ‘wow, growls again!’ factor of The Plague Within had , but the fact is, My Dying Bride have been painfully consistent if not underrated for a while now, and Feel the Misery is another fine release in an already seminal 25 year career. Oh, I felt the misery alright…..

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 1st, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Stiffy

    Good review! I liked what I heard so far. After being barked at by Dan and Gordeth I decided I should have more My Dying Bride in my life. I’ve only had one listen through but I can imagine it will stick with more listens. I do prefer when he growls though. 80% growl 20% clean would have made it an instant winner for me.


  2. Commented by: Dan

    I would be sad if Anathema changed from their current style…


  3. Commented by: gordeth

    Stiffy, you’re supposed to be starting with Turn Loose the Swans, but I’m glad to see you getting into them at all.

    While certainly nowhere near as dramatic as Paradise Lost’s full-circle, this album also feels like a comeback to me. Save for one or two tracks, their last full-length was a dud. The return of Calvin Robertshaw has reinvigorated them. This sounds more like their ’90s material than anything else they’ve done since then. And, even though I’ve enjoyed most of their post 2000 albums, it’s nice to have that feeling back.


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