It’s been five years since My Dying Bride released the crushing Feel The Misery and what a tumultuous time the death-doom pioneers have had. Vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer, resulting in him taking a hiatus from band activity until thankfully, she recovered. Then guitarist Calvin Robertshaw and drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels departed from the band. Whilst they’ve always been the masters of theatrical misery, how will these difficult hurdles of real life shape their latest release?
Unpredictably, it’s less heavy. Whilst still a plodding, gloomy affair, The Ghost Of Orion sounds noticeably more accessible. Whether it’s the crisp, clean production or the layered, more-melodic singing style that Stainthorpe has adopted – as a whole, its one of the easiest My Dying Bride albums to digest. Highlights come in the form of the two singles, namely ‘Your Broken Shore’ with it’s winding, epic eight minute sonic journey into sadness; and ‘Tired of Tears’ which drips in bittersweet melancholy and sorrowful guitar leads. Another ear-catching moment is provided by Lindy Faye Hella of Warduna, as her haunting vocal performance on ‘The Solace’ elevates the song into a darkly hypnotic dirge.
However, for all it’s undeniable highlights – The Ghost Of Orion is also littered with filler tracks. ‘The Old Earth’ drags on to reach an anticlimactic, repetitive ending and the title track bares a noticeable lack of dynamic, with the usually-evocative pained vocals of Stainthorpe replaced with unvarying whispers. Unusually for a My Dying Bride album, the 50 minutes start to drag once the album is beyond the half way point; however, the solid opening tracks are enough to ensure this is a welcome return.
The Ghost Of Orion is out now via Nuclear Blast and can be purchased here.
Words: Serena Cherry