After what seemed like the end of MY DYING BRIDE due to family issues and band turmoil, these English doom metallers found solace in music and created the poignant and atmospheric album “The Ghost of Orion,” out on Nuclear Blast, this Friday on 6 March 2020.
I don’t think a band with such a rich history as MY DYING BRIDE needs any introduction, as they have been around for nearly 3 decades and have crafted such masterpieces of the doom/Gothic metal variety as “The Angel and the Dark River” (1995), “The Dreadful Hours” (2001), “A Map of all our Failures” (2012), or “Feel the Misery” (2015). What makes MY DYING BRIDE such a household name in the metal scene is their approach to songwriting, particularly the way in which they use the violins and keyboards, as well as various literary devices from the Romantic era to give a certain finesse and elegance to their music.
While “The Ghost of Orion” doesn’t seem to stray too much from their formula, the eight songs bring a lot of variety and fresh ideas to the mix. The album is still heavy with an underlying melancholy seeping from the violins and cello lines, while also displaying some catchier moments that make it a bit more accessible. The first single released and opening track, “Your Broken Shore”, highlights this aspect perfectly as the mix of cleans, growls, and down-tuned guitars adds to the music’s sense of heaviness, whereas the second single released, “Tired of Tears,” has a hooky chorus that grabs your attention immediately.
Elsewhere on the record, we have the borderline instrumental piece, “The Solace,” which features Lindy-Fay Hella (WARDUNA), whose mournful vocals mix well with dramatic guitar lines to give a sense of despair and sorrow to the album, and give the listener a moment to catch their breath before the 10-minute epic, “The Long Black Land,” with lamenting guitar riffs, intense vocals, and a dreary mid-section. I have to admit I love that the middle part of the album is mostly instrumental. The title track highlights the idea that “less is more” as it is just piano and whispered vocals, and honestly nothing else is needed for this track to make an impact on the listener.
One of the definite strengths of this album is the way the songs flow together to create a sense of continuation and cohesion. You don’t feel the music is disconnected or sectioned, as the general somber mood is present throughout the album. I feel like I am listening to a 56-minute track divided into 8 parts, not to 8 different songs; that’s how well everything is bound together. To give an example of what I mean, the way “Your Broken Shore” bleeds into the melodic yet melancholic “To Outlive the Gods” or the way “The Ghost of Orion” seamlessly transitions into the second 10-minute guitar-laden doomy piece, “The Old Earth,” is very beautifully executed. The atmosphere is never broken, not even when the songs pick up the pace a bit, or when other instruments (cello, violin) join in. True enough, this is their 14th album and they have honed their craft to perfection. Furthermore, the fact that they open with a track entitled “Your Broken Shore” and come full circle at the end with “Your Woven Shore” gives the album a sense of direction and finality. As such, the closing track feels like the light at the end of a dark tunnel, giving you a bit of hope, whereas the rest of the album feels tumultuous and tragic.
Once again, we see chaos and pain turn into art, as “The Ghost of Orion” is a rich, complex, and nuanced album, with a strong metallic backbone coming from the guitars and vocals, and a haunting ambiance that will stick with you for days after listening to this masterpiece.
Written by Andrea Crow
- Your Broken Shore
- To Outlive the Gods
- Tired of Tears
- The Solace
- The Long Black Land
- The Ghost of Orion
- The Old Earth
- Your Woven Shore
Aaron Stainthorpe – Vocals
Andrew Craighan – Guitar
Neil Blanchett – Guitar
Jeff Singer – Drums
Lena Abé – Bass
Shaun Macgowan – Keyboards / Violin