Wednesday 11 March 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: My Dying Bride, "The Ghost of Orion"

By: Thomas Gonzales

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/03/202
Label: Nuclear Blast

“The Ghost of Orion” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Your Broken Shore
2. To Outlive The Gods
3. Tired of Tears
4. The Solace
5. The Long Black Land
6. The Ghost of Orion
7. The Old Earth
8. Your Woven Shore

The Review:

Befitting of a band with such maudlin themes, My Dying Bride rise from the ashes of despair to deliver their latest in soul crushing Death/Doom, “The Ghost of Orion”. Not unlike previous albums, “The Ghost of Orion” is an unrelenting journey of mournful introspection, written almost entirely in solitary isolation by guitarist Andrew Craighan, as his band mates were suffering the very trials of life that comprise the inspiration for their works.

Founder and lead singer Aaron Stainthorpe was understandably absent during the writing process for My Dying Brides’ latest release, as his daughter fought against the remorseless tendrils of cancer, what he calls “the cruelest of God’s bitter and loveless creation”. Though absent in their inception, the tumultuous experience is ever present in his delivery of the words he expels throughout each track. I am a sucker for a good concept album, and to share in such a difficult period for the band, “The Ghost of Orion” becomes a cathartic exercise in unified suffering. By taking on the weight of tragedy alongside the band members, the listener is a part of the story, feeling the paternal longing for healing, and the bitterness of unanswered prayers. It is heavy a burden on the human spirit, but one that can be comforting to anyone who has been through such pain.

Like “Feel the Misery” before it, “The Ghost of Orion” was conceived in the wake of turbulent and uncertain seas. Having several members absent for various familial reasons, and losing guitarist Roberts prior to writing, Craighan gratefully bore the burden, and composed his most personal work to date. Because he did not have other members to soundboard with, this album feels more like a singular concept, a woven sonic tapestry of epic design. While there is a LOT of Andrew in this composition it isn’t until his band mates added their unique talents to the recording that the true vision came in to focus. Tracks like “Tired of Tears” are given extra weight when held to the light of circumstance, and fits nicely amongst previous titles from the band. Single “Your Broken Shore” is seeing extensive play on streaming platforms, and is a perfect introduction for the uninitiated.

The Ghost of Orion” features rhythm work from ex-Paradise Lost drummer Jeff Singer, and production by master soundsmith Mark Mynett. In its own way, “The Ghost of Orion” is a refinement of My Dying Bride’s sound, a return to form if you will, opting to focus less on complexity, and more on executing the basics to perfection. Through this approach, the band hopes this album can be “easier on the ears”, allowing newcomers to experience their art without the barrier of primal brutality.

Where lesser bands would’ve given up, My Dying Bride persevered; delivering to their fans a poignant and accessible new entry into the pantheon of Doom-Death masterworks. My Dying Bride set out to broaden their scope, and succeeded without jeopardizing the sound they’ve developed over their career. Is it still pummeling? Sorrowful? Grim? Of course, it is. However, it is so much more than that; “The Ghost of Orion” is a reimagining of how a Doom album is written. Stainthorpe has even admitted that sections of the release are, dare I say, “catchy”!? There are weeping violins, soft instrumental interludes, and even sections of clean classical vocals, all adding to the allure of somber darkness. My Dying Bride has one again proven themselves as front runners in the genre, and deliver one of the first must hear albums of the year.

“The Ghost of Orion” is available HERE

Band info: facebook