Tuesday 29 September 2015

My Dying Bride - Feel The Misery (Album Review)

Release date: September 18th 2015. Label: Peaceville Records Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Feel The Misery - Tracklisting

1. And My Father Left Forever (9:22)
2. To Shiver In Empty Halls (9:46)
3. A Cold New Curse (9:02)
4. Feel the Misery (6:20)
5. A Thorn of Wisdom (5:04)
6. I Celebrate Your Skin (6:53)
7. I Almost Loved You (5:27)
8. Within a Sleeping Forest (10:42)

Band Members:

Aaron - Vocals.
Andrew - Guitar.
Calvin - Guitar.
Lena - Bass
Shaun - Keyboards / Violin


So My Dying Bride are back with their first full length since 2012's "A Map Of All Our Failures" and let me tell you it's been worth the wait. (Or should that be weight. Cos the riffs. They're heavy)

One of the things I always find intriguing about MDB is for a band that's roots are so obviously set in misery and despair there is always a kind of fragile hope that lives within the music they create. Whether it's due to the now well documented real life events that occurred during the recording process or whether it's just what my ears want to hear it's definitely still present throughout this record.

Opening with the majestic "And My Father Left Forever" the record springs into action in top gear with some great dual guitar work over thunderous drums before the vocals join the fray. Just before the 2 minute mark the pace slows and we're deep into Doom territory as that haunting violin plays over Aaron's mournful but beautiful vocals and I'm hooked.

Second track "To Shiver In Empty Halls" starts abruptly and features some deep growling vocals to compliment the more usual clean style I'm used to with MDB but I ruddy love them. They're just gruff enough to make an impact but not so gruff the lyrics are lost beneath it.

About halfway the song fades away to clean guitars and piano which in turn leads into a spoken word passage before a growl from the depths. At this point I naturally assumed the song was going to build into a riff fest so imagine my surprise when it actually fades back out again with a whispered vocal repeated over some clean guitars. "For those of you I know exist/I leave for you three number six" It's a little like the creepiest nursery rhyme ever, but I assure you it's a brilliant ending and makes just as much impact as the aforementioned riff fest I was expecting.

More of the same on "A Cold New Curse" huge disgustingly heavy riffs, mixed with more traditional slower parts as the vocals switch from dirty to clean throughout. Three tracks in and nothing under 9 minutes. Perfect. I feel like I don't want this album to end.

Next up is album title track "Feel The Misery" (watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e_c3XAPoUI)

In an interview in this months Terrorizer (other magazines are available.) there is a suggestion that this album is the bands most commercial to date. On this track I can kind of see that. Not only with its radio friendly run time of 6 minutes, but there's also stacks or melody dripping from the riffs that pin the track together. Not to say that it isn't still heavy. Because it is. In fact it's heavier than Bella Emberg's bingo wings so I guess we wont be hearing it on Radio 1 main play anytime soon.

Both "A Thorn Of Wisdom" and "I Celebrate Your Skin" continue the theme of shorter running lengths but still manage to tick all the right boxes and just keeps me totally immersed in the record.

The next track "I Almost Loved You" is a little bit special. And it's definitely a little bit different. Strings, piano and more of those beautiful heartfelt vocals. And that's it. No riffs. Not one. But it doesn't need them. I'm not sure what the story is to this song (if indeed there is one) but it feels incredibly personal and is an absolutely beautiful piece of music.

"Within A Sleeping Forest" closes the album in style. The longest (just) track on the album and the riffs are back. So are those growls. And they sound fucking massive. Certainly the slowest track on the record and it does EVERYTHING you want from a MDB record during its 10 and a bit minutes. Guitar harmonies, that solitary violin and of course those emotive vocals.

2015 has been a good year for Doom I would say. There's been a lot of records out already that will have people talking for some time and perhaps as we start to think a bit about end of year lists MDB have thrown their hat into the ring with a real contender.

"Feel The Misery" is a powerful, and haunting record that seeps sadness from it's pores, but it is utterly absorbing and will keep you going back to revisit it time after a time.

Words by Simon Ross Williams