With each successive album, My Dying Bride’s undeniably important reputation precedes the band more and more. Then again, they’ve been in the business now for a quarter of a century, and have proved their foundation of a sub-genre which has been adapted to and experimented on by a countless number of bands over the last two decades. My Dying Bride’s career has been deservedly consistent and successful over the years, with a few unimportant missteps along the way. The latter half of My Dying Bride’s career however has been monumental to say the least. Even as far back as “The Darkest Hours”, the band seem to have been rejuvenated time and again as the 21st Century progresses. In the year of 2015, My Dying Bride return with yet another stunning work in “Feel the Misery”, the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s “A Map of All Our Failures”.
The title of My Dying Bride’s latest album is self-explanatory enough without going into great detail, but the hour-long record itself really does explore the deepest recesses and most painful struggles of personal life. It is grim without being monotonous, menacing without getting too angry, harmonic without sounding self-indulgent. From the immediate opening doom-inflected riff work of ‘And My Father Left Forever’, My Dying Bride once again sound fresh and revitalized, whilst staying true to their own stylistic foundations and musical formula. Stainthorpe’s vocal delivery is unmistakeably memorable, and his croons and wails are the extra icing to make all the darkness and pain that much more enhanced to the listener’s ears. Along with the instrumental performance and the gloomy atmosphere, the man himself completes the unforgettable recording experience. The lyrics he sings, growls and sometimes whispers are as emotional and honest as in any other My Dying Bride album. When he croons, he does so effectively, as in the ominous yet ponderous title track, opening the song with “The music of Neglect, The words always reject”. The title track itself seems to adhere to a very tight structure, in which the title of the song is sung over and over again until the listener is almost left in tears. The same feeling and experience can be felt in ‘To Shiver in Empty Halls’, Stainthorpe’s wail of “Watching you with a smile on my face/Your holy shiver falls from Grace”, and in the very same song one can find his greatest growls to date.
Instrumentally, “Feel the Misery” is just as effective as Stainthorpe’s presence on the album. Songs such as ‘To Shiver in Empty Halls’ and ‘A Cold new Curse’ both once again explore the ominous power of the violin, taking advantage of the instrument’s hollow, sorrowful ventures into dark musical territory. It doesn’t work on its own playing field, so much as contribute effectively to the generally cohesive sound of these two aforementioned songs-and more. Indeed, “Feel the Misery” as an album is developed through multiple layers of tasteful instrumentation, and the rhythm section itself stands out to produce some of the band’s most harrowing work to date. One thing to consider is the placement of songs here too. The first three tunes are heavier, more solid than the title track through ‘I Almost Loved You’, yet there’s still a consistency coursing throughout the hour-long full-length which strongly develops a resistance to growing monotony.
Whilst the likes of ‘I Celebrate Your Skin’ and ‘I Almost Loved You’ are notably less dynamic than their longer, stronger counterparts, it can safely be said that “Feel the Misery” is almost the best album from My Dying Bride since the 21st Century dawned. Of course, the band have been getting better and better since the release of the somewhat lackluster “For Lies I Sire” and compilation “Evinta”, but somehow My Dying Bride’s 12th studio effort eclipses everyone’s expectations-again. That said, this latest album feels like a celebration of 25 years as a band, but more to the point, as a reminder that in their unique style, My Dying Bride are second to none.
- And My Father Left Forever
- To Shiver in Empty Halls
- A Cold New Curse
- Feel the Misery
- A Thorn of Wisdom
- I Celebrate Your Skin
- I Almost Loved You
- Within a Sleeping Forest