My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion

My Dying Bride The Ghost of Orion cover
My Dying Bride
The Ghost of Orion
Nuclear Blast Records
There’s something endearing in My Dying Bride’s entire discography and existence and that is and that is the fact that they’re one of the few bands of their ilk that started from England, some thirty years ago and managed to maintain their style and heaviness almost entirely intact, unlike Anathema, who turned into an impressive firework that burnt out too soon, leaving only embers in its wake and Paradise Lost, who seem to be going in circles, having forever lost the cool factor and songwriting that their earlier works had.
This album was almost not meant to be. Aaron Stainthorpe’s young daughter developed cancer and that meant that he was not only absent from the creation of the album that largely fell on the other original member, guitarist Andrew Craighan, to complete, but also once she got the all clear, had to manage to get himself reinvested in music and that must have taken some mental and psychological fortitude.
The band is able to open the album with the near eight minute “Your Broken Shore”, a song that manages to perfectly encapsulate almost all eras of the band. The gloomy riffing along with the sad violin have been always trademarks of the band’s music… But the mournful clean coupled with the cathartic soul wrenching growls manage to offer it a perspective that although always consistently present in the Brit’s works, here simply sounds monolithic and nonnegotiable.
“To Outlive the Gods” follows a similar motif and despite being allegorical, it manages some distancing from the morbid matter…
Something that “Tired of Tears” decides to embrace full on. Its monolithic riff, couple with Stainthorpe’s pleas at death to not touch his child and the knowledge that this is a reflection of real life, make it really a morbidly chilling case.
Wardruna’s Lindy Fay Hella assumes vocals for the more folk-inspired “The Solace” which sound a little like “The Third And The Mortal”, with LFH sounding soothing.
“The Long Black Land” has an absolutely fitting title. Gothic, menacing, foreboding and so dark, it could make the sun go into eclipse, its mournful violin, sears the soul, while it stirs it. It easily challenges everything Paradise Lost has done in their most recent albums and manages to sound orders of magnitude more dark and morbid.
Morbid is something that the softer “Ghost of Orion” almost and instrumental, with whispered vocals, manages to do very convincingly…
“The Old Earth”, that follows, manages in it’s over ten minutes, to go through many moods always maintaining it’s dark splendor over some massive riffs.
Last but certainly not least, the hymnal “Your Woven Shore”, a reprisal of the opener, ends the album with the bereaving melancholy of the violin, just fading into silence… a perfect epilogue.
One of the better things My Dying Bride have done in the past few years… on part with their 90s works that most would also consider their best; bleak, grim and black, the release of all the repressed emotions ends up with an album that’s unlikely to be repeated. It’s truth, burning like fire only leaving embers floating behind. Catharsis!