24 November 2015

My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery

All hail the kings!  This is something I always feel I have to say when there is a new album from the living legends that is My Dying Bride.  Hailing from Bradford, West Yorkshire, My Dying Bride have been ploughing a trench of beautifully horrific music since 1990.  I remember when I first picked up 'Turn Loose the Swans' and 'As The Flower Withers' in a local record shop, it was on a whim and it turned out to be one of those decisions that was a brilliant piece of luck.  I feel in love with the band and then kept going backwards and forwards between periods of listening to nothing but them, followed by barren times when I found them too dark.  I missed a few album, but I always went back to find them and over the years they have released some gems - if you have not done so already, purchase the two albums mentioned above, "Like Gods of the Sun', the criminally underrated '34.788%... Complete', 'For Lies I Sire' and the 'God Is Alone' EP for starters.  I have managed to watch them twice over the years and they were terrifying on both nights (one of them when they were the best band of the Damnation Festival in 2008).  So to say I am a fan is probably spot on. But it has been a while since I gave them a serious listen, so it is handy that they have released this new album - it is their twelfth studio album and was recorded in their native West Yorkshire.  From the title alone I am expecting some gothic metal with a side portion of doom - let us see how this eight track album has turned out.....

The first song on this album is "And My Father Left Forever" which is a short and breezy nine minute plus epic, it explodes into the world with all the force of a supernova imploding and the results are dynamic to say the least.  It has the fast dramatic opening, the gothic chorus section that sounds like all the sorrow in the world is being soaked up by the void that is this song and the band feel as tight as ever.  It is goes through various dramatic phases and it sounds as good as anything they have ever released, it also does not seem to last for nine minutes and that is a good sign for a song when it is something you want to listen to straight away.  "To Shiver In Empty Halls" bring back the growling vocals which have not been used as much on recent albums as they were on their earlier material; it might seem strange to say this but it is like hearing from an old friend that you have not seen for years, it gives me a strange warmth inside and it does not sound as if it is being placed here as a nod to their older fans.  The song is another doom epic, this time almost ten minutes in length and it goes through various twist and turns that never gets any faster than a funeral march.  For this type of music, this is the perfect recipe for success and with this song you are listening to one of the very best bands crafting a new masterpiece in front of you - breath taking.  "A Cold New Curse" is another macabre number from the darker side of hell, it is not easy going either on this number.  By the time you have reached the end of this number, you are almost half way through the album in terms of time; it is a very long opening trio and this song is the centre piece of the three.  It goes between growls of pain and delicate singing, lighter passages of gothic soul searcher, heavy slabs of doom and everything in-between, there is nothing that you could not like on this number and it makes the hairs on my neck stand on edge from the very beginning.  Following on is the title track "Feel The Misery" which starts with a brief mournful set of lyrics before the fires of the song start to fall on the listener.  It is a short number at six minutes and twenty seconds, it has a military beat to the drums and the gothic drama is the main focus of the song.  Whilst it may not have the length of the opening songs, it still has a sense of danger and mystic to hold its own and it sounds as great as those songs as well.

"A Thorn of Wisdom" is the shortest song on the album at just a shade over five minutes, it starts with a slow keyboard and slower percussion that slowly build up with a bass rumble as the rest of the band are added at various intervals to the song.  It is also the sparsest song on the album, it does not have the same feeling as other songs on the record; however what it lacks in terms of album consistency, it more than makes up for in terms of quality.  It might feel slightly out of place, but it still sounds brilliant.  With the slow toll of a bell "I Celebrate Your Skin" creeps over you with all the subtly of a fog in a Hammer Horror film, it does not go much faster either and that is one again fine with me.  It is another slow and dark doom metal song that goes slower than a 1990's internet modem, the band are not in any hurry to get to the end of the song either - this is something that I love and I also have no problems either.  The penultimate song of the album is called "I Almost Loved You" and the misery is in full flow here once again, this is something that has not really stopped throughout the course of the album if we are honest.  This is a piano and violin song which does not let the listen have an easy time, it is a friend in misery for all of your new miserable experiences.  The more you listen to it, the beautiful is slowly revealed as the harrowing song reveals it dark heart to the world; it is one of the best song on the album.  This leads onto the next song of the album called "Within a Sleeping Forest" which brings in the rest of the band back to the fold, they are needed as this song is over ten minutes in length.  It also cover between the gothic and doom metal which the band use so well, creating a dark, desolate and devastating song. It is a last glorious blaze towards the edge of hell as the band, the time goes so fast with this song that once again you do not realise that ten minutes have passed and it is a fitting end to this album.

This album is brilliant, dark macabre album that takes the audience on a journey through the blackest of nights with a slice of doom that will make foundations quake.  The performance of all the members of the band giving brilliant performances, not one note out of place or has not been agonised over either.  Like many other bands, it is very much in their own comfort zone and you do not get any great surprises; but would you want that from this album?  They already shocked the world when they released '34.788%... Complete' (another great album - as mentioned above), this album is one of those albums which can only further enhance their reputation and it is just brilliant.  The list of My Dying Bride albums which everyone should own has increased by one......All hail the kings once more!

9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost...

You can purchase Feel the Misery on Amazon here

You can visit the My Dying Bride website here (which also has a webstore where you can purchase this album as well their other works)

You can follow the activities of My Dying Bride on Facebook here

You can stream Feel the Misery on Spotify here

You can stream Feel the Misery on Deezer here

You can stream Feel the Misery on Tidal here

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