My Dying Bride - Feel The Misery (2015)

Each and every genre of music becomes synonymous with the subject matter it addresses. In metal, that might be even more prevalent than elsewhere. Black metal is often tied to Satanic themes, while death metal can be gruesome and morbid in sound and lyrical content. Doom metal, then, is inextricably linked to loss and sadness. No band has conveyed that more honestly and accurately than My Dying Bride, long considered the godfathers of modern doom. Twenty five years into a career that seems endless, and they still deliver chills in ways that few others can claim. That level of excellence can be attributed to a lot of factors, obviously, but none more glaring than the ever-present duo of vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan. They birthed the gloomy offspring that is My Dying Bride in 1990, and have yet to relinquish the reins. Their 12th full studio album, Feel The Misery, has a name as obvious as possible, while still delivering the depression in bucket loads.

While the underlying themes may be the same, there are many differences in the signature My Dying Bride doom sound from album to album. This far on, that would be not only expected, but appreciated. There aren't many new wrinkles, per se, but the balance of the ingredients shifts. Stainthorpe has proven time and time again that he is more than just an off key crooner. His growls, like the ones you find on To Shiver In Empty Halls, are as strong as they've ever been. The band goes as he goes, so the tempo and surrounding mood in each track echoes the despair and foreboding in his voice. Craighan, rejoined on the album by founding member Calvin Robertshaw - who left the fold in 1999 and only returned last year - has mastered the weeping riff. That is to say, he is to traditional doom what Tony Iommi has been to the stoner rock movement. His riffs breathe, often accompanied by keys or a solemn violin, providing a backdrop like no other.

What stands out throughout the album is the versatility the band has developed over a long and illustrious career. The changes in tempo and tone are numerous, but, more notably, the desired effect also shifts with time. There are moments where the you can feel the utter pain and loss emanate from your speakers. In others, restrained and dulled anger. And yet, when you reach I Almost Loved You, you are forced to feel something you might not entirely be comfortable allowing yourself to undergo. It's introspective, really, but it speaks in ways that leave you no choice but to come along for the ride. The stripped down instrumental allows Stainthorpe to speak to you, as if directly. It might be what My Dying bride does best; they don't just tell you the story, they allow you to feel it. In some instances, it cuts all too deeply. It can be a trying experience, especially with the length of the album. But it is a rewarding one, nonetheless.

Saying that My Dying Bride give you exactly what you expect doesn't seem like a fair assessment; it almost carries a negative connotation. It's truth, however, is undeniable. You'll never have to wonder if the band have gone off the rails and released an album of children's songs, gospel hymns, or country-tinged twang rock. No, twenty five years worth of music have proven this band is one with the doom movement. I'd like to think hat won't change any time soon. With one click, tap, swipe, or needle drop, you'll me immersed in a world with skies of gray, clouded and dreadful in every way, Feel The Misery is another rainy afternoon in a catalog full of them. It never quite pours, but the sun is eternally obscured. This is, after all, mood music. Just not the kind of mood that your girlfriend necessarily wants to be in late at night, after a few glasses of wine. Unless, of course, you've found the woman of your dreams.


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