My Dying Bride - The Ghost Of Orion

My Dying Bride - The Ghost Of Orion

(CD/LP, Nuclear Blast, 2020)

It goes beyond words how Art keeps getting inspired from everyday life, especially when circumstances aren’t the most fortunate, and how often life keeps mimicking Art... There is a connecting thread between the two being nurtured by the artist’s never-ending thirst to create and channel a wide spectrum of feelings and often unburden the emotional pain, getting some healing through dark times. Drama, loss, despair and pain have colored some of the greatest paintings of time and have been the ink for the quill for so many writers who, as they’re facing their darkest demons (inner or not), even flirted with the idea to cross the doorstep of madness. And as you grow older, you totally get it; most of the times, life isn’t easy, but somehow you have to find the strength and bounce back, one step at a time, no matter how hard it is. In the case of English Doom pioneering legends MY DYING BRIDE, some major personal challenges, plus lineup changes almost brought the band to a bitter end. However, the remaining original members, Aaron Stainthorpe and Andrew Craighan persevered and forged those challenges into something special – their thirteen full length offering, titled “The Ghost Of Orion”.

I remember myself listening to “The Angel And The Dark River” back in my High School days getting me through one of the most difficult times of my life after losing my best friend in a terrible accident. This was one of the albums that stayed inside my Walkman for weeks (no iTunes or iPods back then), months, being the perfect shoulder to lean on and the only friend there to dry my tears. Here I am, 25 years later, talking about the new MY DYING BRIDE release, still feeling thankful for how much consolation this band offers with their music, without even knowing it. The immediate question though is how much MY DYING BRIDE have changed through all these years?

“Not much” is the immediate answer; listening to “The Ghost Of Orion” for more times than I can count since the day I got the promo on my email box, I’m (still) peeling layers into MY DYING BRIDE’s latest venture exploring all the good values of depressing, traditional Doom / Death. And yup, they are all there. The album opener “Your Broken Shore” may surprise you with how compact and solid this band sounds these days, but you can't deny that it didn't give you the same strong goosebumps with the cleverly-hidden “The Cry Of Mankind”-esque riffs or Aaron’s melodic yet more-relaxed vocals. Sure, the orchestration isn’t that primitive and mournful when compared to how it was back in the ‘90s, but still MY DYING BRIDE haven’t lost the connection with their roots – the songs’ structure may sound a bit complex and you can blame the overall orchestration for that (I love how keyboards and violin are sneaking here and there in the back), but the way Aaron has put the lyrics together is very like the way he used to do some thirty years ago. And every song kind of confirms exactly this. Take my personal favorite “To Outlive The Gods” for example; note how he tones his sentences, where he pauses his singing during the long lyric lines and how his voice gulps down sorrow that has been transformed into patience and courage... Yes, I will agree that Aaron doesn’t sound angry and desparate anymore, spitting growling laments while being on his knees, but let’s not forget that he isn’t the same person anymore.

And here lies the success and the secret of this beautifully structured album; the band sounds stronger and determined to go on than ever, no matter what was thrown in front of them. Listen to the masterpiece titled “Tired Of Tears” or my second album favorite “The Long Black Land”. First of all, you’ll instantly notice the “light at the end of the tunnel” attitude and Aaron’s excruciating need of pouring his soul onto words. Hearing him singing “I know no life can live forever” or wonderfully screaming “Face your God” in a Nick Holmes-manner, you’ll realize you hear a man who wants to get unburdened from the past’s dark shadows, while Andrew’s guitars color in such a rejoiced way his voice, still saturated in a primal blend of sadness and solace. You have to love the Grunge-y guitars towards the bridge of the latter, making MY DYING BRIDE sound so refreshing and reborn even, while some warm violin notes lift the entire song up. At the same time, it feels quite dreamy and exhilarating listening to Aaron almost whispering the lyrics in the self-titled track that almost works like a prelude for “The Old Earth” to enter the room in a true MY DYING BRIDE fashion, slow-crawling into a Funeral elegy of the past, while the masterful use of the basslines offer a unique dynamics, reminding you how pure Doom / Death Metal feels like – dingy and gloomy. And in case you find the angelic vocals and the heavenly keyboards on “Your Woven Shore” too cheesy to your liking, wait a few seconds till the mournful cello sound fill up nicely the room, dropping off the curtain in the most consummate of ways.

Palpable pain is finally here. Embrace it, grab a knife and slice it.

“A blue vein in her throat
Glows under lamplight
It's the way that she looks
At me for her gold”





01. Your Broken Shore
02. To Outlive The Gods
03. Tired Of Tears
04. The Solace
05. The Long Black Land
06. The Ghost Of Orion
07. The Old Earth
08. Your Woven Shore


Aaron Stainthorpe - Vocals
Andrew Craighan - Guitar
Lena Abé
- Bass
Shaun Macgowan - Keyboards, Violin