Year of release: 2020
Released by: Nuclear Blast
Rating: 6,8 / 10
The ingenious group MY DYING BRIDE has forever staked an honorable place in the history of music, and hardly any power is capable of changing this. However, like all the old people with the contract with the major label and are working on schedule, MDB had faded out a bit. The last outstanding British album for me was “A Line of Deathless Kings” (2006). “For Lies I Sire” (2009) at first seemed dull, but after the completely obscene “A Map of All Our Failures” (2012), I realized that it was not so bad. “Feel the Misery” (2015) turned out to be a strong and worthy work, albeit secondary.
The subsequent five-year pause was so long for a reason. Much has changed, and these changes are directly related to the events in the life of Aaron Stainthorpe, the band's permanent frontman. In 2017, MDB canceled all upcoming performances for some family reasons, and soon came the shocking news - the band ended seemingly eternal collaboration with Peaceville and signed up at Nuclear Blast. Almost a year later, Aaron admitted that the band's activity was stopped due to the illness of his five-year-old daughter - she was diagnosed with cancer. The struggle lasted a long time and brought the Stainthorp family a lot of suffering. The daughter eventually recovered, although her life hung in the balance, but it left an indelible mark on Aaron's soul. Anyone who has been following MDB over the years could notice how quickly he grew old and haggard as if he himself had cancer. Most likely, the transition to Nuclear Blast was dictated by a more profitable contract, because Aaron needed money to treat his daughter. It is a logical step.
Given all this, some intrigue existed before the release of the album. Earlier, Aaron claimed that his verses for MDB are only partially related to personal experiences, and that he, in general, is a happy person, and on the stage he has to mentally rape himself to convey the necessary emotions, so he does not like live shows too much. But now, taking the current situation into account, the emotional component of the album should have been more sincere than ever. On the other hand, Nuclear Blast's policy is based on tough factory standards that hold the balls of the musicians in a snap. So what will win eventually - honest melancholy or conveyor standard?
It was a draw. It happened that the album starts with a trump ace - the song “Your Broken Shore”, the undisputed masterpiece of the latest history of MY DYING BRIDE. This is a classic thing in its own way, with characteristic bridesque riffs, the correct use of cello and violin, two types of singing. It is saturated with anger and crushing bitterness, which is hard not to believe. For the first time in 3 years, from the moment of listening to the last MOURNING BELOVETH disc, I got wet eyes because of the music. Aaron said that in the worst period of his daughter’s illness, he almost decided to leave the band, and in the studio he could not concentrate at all, so recording the vocals took a year (!). Only during the execution of the "roaring" parties things started to go smoothly. Growling parts turned out better than anything else, but singing in his clean voice varies from song to song. On “Your Broken Shore” he sings tragic as at a funeral, and on “The Old Earth”, for example, he is completely unconvincing. However, most of the blame lies with Nuclear Blast and their fucking newfangled production. All their releases I heard over the past year sound like a fag shit. Aaron’s voice is so “produced” in some places that it’s impossible to recognize him.
An excellent start renders the album a disservice because there are no more songs of the same large caliber. By and large, the album ends after the third song. Not for nothing that the jews from Nuclear Blast promoted “The Ghost of Orion” using the first three tracks. All three are canonical MDBs, their trademark Doom Metal, which, incidentally, somehow quietly got rid of Gothic elements. In total, 24 minutes is not so bad, but we are listening to a full-length album. And then the water begins. The extensive track “The Solace” is just a long interlude with WARDRUNA's Linda Fay-Hella vocals that makes you forget everything that was before it. The next three things are half composed of acoustics and ambient, and that kills them. I am not against atmospheric cuts at all, but here they are made so long and inappropriate that the entire second half of the album merges into one long song. I still can’t figure out where the beginning and the end are.
The negative feelings from the fragmentation of the album are slightly offset by the lyrics. I strongly advise you not to ignore it. Aaron still writes in a very veiled way, with metaphors that only he can understand, but one cannot fail to note the many points associated with fear and grief that he experienced in recent years. The album booklet was also designed by the vocalist; It turned out discreetly and accurately. Details on a video. The final impression of “The Ghost of Orion” is hard to put into words. It is tempting to call the album the weakest in the history of MY DYING BRIDE, but it is impossible to ignore the emotions that its first half gives. They should have made an EP...