My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery 01My Dying Bride is one of those bands that I call a “soundtrack band,” meaning that its music has played a key part in my teenage years as well as my early 20’s. I must have played The Angel and the Dark River so much as a young adult that I’m sure I burned through a couple layers of that CD. “The Cry of Mankind,” to this day, still astounds me whenever I hear it. In other words, My Dying Bride has a special place in my heart. That said, they’ve been wildly inconsistent since that album came out. They never really released what I would call a bad record, but few of their albums are what I’d call a classic from beginning to end. When news came last year that guitarist Hamish Glencross (Vallenfyre) was replaced by original guitarist Calvin Robertshaw, my waning interest in My Dying Bride turned into curiosity. Now that I’ve listened to Feel the Misery for the entirety of my weekend, I’ll approach this album a bit differently than before.

Whenever my friends ask me for advice, I always ask them, “Do you want the nice version, or do you want me to be honest?” In other words, I’ll hit them with kindness before laying the blunt truth upon them, hopefully with the understanding that it’s coming from a sincere place. Well, the “Nice Version” is that Feel the Misery is the most consistently solid album My Dying Bride has put out in decades. Opener “And My Father Left Forever” acts as a snapshot of their entire career rolled into one nine-minute-plus song. Robertshaw and Andrew Craighan lay monolithic riff after monolithic riff down atop Dan Mullins’s thunderous drumming. Aaron Stainthorpe’s voice is in strong form and Shaun Macgowan’s violin playing is exquisitely performed. The entire song is an incredible journey from start to finish, and is such a strong way to open an album.

Now, the “Honest Version.” There are absolutely no clunkers on this record. In fact, I’ll go on record and say that the majority of Feel the Misery proudly stands shoulder-to-shoulder with The Angel and the Dark River and Turn Loose the Swans. “A Cold New Curse” recalls Like Gods of the Sun until the last couple of minutes when Mullins just goes to war on drums, elevating a great song to epic status. “A Thorn of Wisdom” allows Lena Abé’s bass playing to shine amid Stainthorpe’s troubled vocals. But it’s the one-two gut punch of “I Celebrate Your Skin” and “I Almost Loved You” that seal this album. The former could have easily been an extra track off of Turn Loose the Swans, with the final two minutes being some of the most heart wrenching music My Dying Bride has put out, with Stainthorpe bellowing painfully (“I am a world apart, I am the coldest heart/I am a serpent of the sea/You are a golden sun, you are the silver moon/You are the fever killing me.”). And while his vocals aren’t always the best, they connect emotionally, especially since it’s been revealed that his father died just a week or two before the album’s production. “I Almost Loved You” brings back the old My Dying Bride tradition of Stainthorpe’s delicate voice draped over piano and violin, recalling earlier classics like “Sear Me MCMXCIII” and “For My Fallen Angel.” It’s breathtakingly sad and beautiful, like wanting to cradle a painful memory.

My Dying Bride - Feel the Misery 02For as amazing as this record is, there are problems. Once again recorded at Academy Studios by longtime producer Mags, the album has a really full, dynamic feel to it, except Mullins’ bass drum sounds a bit like it’s hitting wet cardboard. Some editing here and there would help the flow a little (like the ending to “To Shiver in Empty Halls”), and I would have placed closing track “Within a Sleeping Forest” closer to the middle, ending the album on a dark note with “I Celebrate Your Skin” and “I Almost Loved You,” but I’m masochistic that way. That said, these are truly nitpicks on an album that is a welcome return to form.

I honestly went into Feel the Misery with equal parts curiosity and trepidation. I came out of it, roughly 10+ plays later, feeling like I reconnected with a dear, long-lost friend. As jaded as I was with their output, I’m quite (miserably) happy to say that My Dying Bride are in top form once again. Welcome back. You’ve been missed.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
Label: Peaceville Records
Websites: mydyingbride.net | facebook.com/mydyingbride
Releases Worldwide: September 18th, 2015

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  • I read that as “feel the miser” and it makes me think of being exploited by Scooge McDuck.

    • Grymm

      You owe me an iced coffee since I just laughed mine all over my phone after reading that…

      • I’m not responsible for your drinking problem!

    • Hulksteraus

      Straight to HR!!!! … oh wait, you ARE HR…

  • basenjibrian

    Awesome! I liked the sample tune. I have this on pre-order.

  • Andreas Wegerich

    I really like Like Gods Of The Sun but not their later stuff. After this review I’m really looking forward to this!

  • This reminds me that I need to raid the radio station back at school again to make sure they only had The Angel and the Dark River. Also I need to lay out some cash for this disc.

    • Kronos

      Is the house of brutal slot open again?

      • I think it was open in the summer maybe, but as far as I know the guys are coming back in the fall. I mean, if their slot’s free I’m taking it in a heartbeat, otherwise I’ll just have my own personal mini-HOB in whatever time I get.

        • Kronos

          I’d totally DJ WHPK if I had a time that wasn’t horrifying. I don’t know how you do it.

          • I didn’t have class the day after the night/morning I DJ’ed last quarter. So I just slept through Fridays generally. This quarter might test that resolve unless I’m lucky enough to get an 8-10 AM slot.

  • Uishido

    I really like Like Gods Of The Sun but not their later stuff. After this review I’m really looking forward to this!

  • I’ve always been a sort-of-fan of MDB. Oddly enough I think Evinta is my favorite of everything they’ve done.
    As with most of their stuff, I like this but not enough to do cartwheels over it or anything.

    • Grymm

      I could not stomach Evinta at all.

      • Wilhelm

        Me either; boring release.

      • doom-erik

        It has its moments, but I find that I very rarely listen to it.

  • eloli

    Great review.
    As much as I consider TLTS, TAATDR and LGOTS the band’s golden era, I always thought they gave up on 34,17%’s musical direction way to soon. Yes, I know, that album was universally hated when it came out, but at the time, it promised interested new directions for what basically became a rote and predictable formula on subsequent records.

    • MelbCro

      34.788%… Complete is a great album, so underrated

  • george

    feel the misery…. yuck! Next album title… i’m too sad
    but this track slays, welcome back indeed!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I guess it’s still better than “Smell the Glove”.

  • Oh yeah new Vardan… wait…

    • Pimpolho

      It’s the second time you make me spit milk on my keyboard. I am offended.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      No more Vardan!!!

  • AndySynn

    Elitists! Bashing a band just because they’re big and well-established!!! I’ll show you what for…

    Oh, no, wait, you liked it. Carry on then.

    • Here’s Johnny

      Could have been a 4.5 though, don’t get too cocky.

  • Wilhelm

    As a fan who has been disappointed since their 2004 and after period, I would like to say this album is very good. It won’t make you dream of castles like swans did, or take you to a magical dark place like The Angel… did, but the songwriting has improved. Aaron’s vocals are still lackluster in many parts (I get the feeling that he writes his vocal lines over top of the music, not as part of it) but vastly improved from some previos albums. the rich dynamics and mix put this one over the edge. A DR10! is exactly what doom is missing. With Calvin back ( he didn’t write for this one) I just cannot wait for the next one. Now just get Ade, Rick and Martin back!

    • doom-erik

      I am also interested in what Calvin can bring (back) to the table. I feel great anticipation due to his participation in the early classics but also anxiety since he was as far as I know the “driving force” behind 35% (I choose to round it up to 0 decimals) Complete…

      • Wilhelm

        In hindsight 35% wasn’t a bad album at all, but even still I think some more experimentation could better serve the band’s sound.

        • doom-erik

          It wasn’t bad, but not particularly good either ;)
          I know it is kind of cliche to kick that album but I just do not like the guitar sound, the production or the riffs very much.

  • Prostidude

    My Dying Bride has a knack for making utterly uncomplicated yet captivating compositions. Some other bands have similar talents (Triptykon, Yob, …), however MDB is the only band I know of to use mainly ‘clean’ guitar tones to get the job done. Are there any other bands out there that use the same template?

    • Wilhelm

      I’m not sure what you mean by “clean guitar tones” as MDB get quite heavy as well, and clean is something that the atmospheric/gothic/doom bands use a lot of…so yeah, there’s a whole genre.

  • Pimpolho

    I’m curious to see the DR score on this one, i don’t thing it goes much higher than 6.

    • Wilhelm

      I think somewhere around a DR10

      • But the “wet cardboard” description for the bass drums is spot on.

        • Wilhelm

          Maybe I’m weird, but I kind of like different production “flaws” like this. The thing that I hate is when the drums are crushed by over-compression and has that bubble sound. Thank goodness this doesn’t suffer from bad mastering.

  • doom-erik

    Been a MDB fan since 1995. Ever since 1996 they have been releasing albums that have been good for most part, but always with 2 or more tracks that I basically find uninteresting. With the last one, A Map of All Our Failures, they finally released an album with no filler – in my opinion it is their best since The Angel and the Dark River. It was also the first album since 1995 that I have been able to call “doom metal” with a straight face.
    After a couple of listens to Feel the Misery it seems like it is a bit weaker than “A Map” but it will probably grown on me. That was the case with its predecessor as well. I think this might find a broader audience than the last one, due to its larger variation in tempo and style. Actually I find it interesting that it is such as varied album (they even have the closest thing they been to straight “goth rock” in “A Thorn of Wisdom”) in spite of the writing being done by Andy alone for the most part.

    • Grymm

      I couldn’t get into Map very much, whereas FtM connected almost instantly and gripped tighter with each play.

      If they don’t play “I Celebrate Your Skin” live, I’ll be shocked. One of the best songs they’ve written.

      • doom-erik

        Yeah, I gave FtM another spin after I wrote the above comment, and it just keeps getting better.

        • Grymm

          It’s definitely a grower. A very rewarding one, too.

  • AgathoN667

    So I guess I am the only one that loves “A Line Of Deathless Kings” and is bored by the rest? :/

    • Wilhelm

      I’m a huge MDB fan, but hate that album; it is their worst by far.

      • MelbCro

        For Lies I Sire is by far their weakest album for me

        • Wilhelm

          yep, that wasn’t much better

    • doom-erik

      I disliked it when it came, but it has grown a lot on me during the years, perhaps more than any of their albums. Now I hold it in higher regard than Like Gods, 35% and perhaps even The Light at the End of the World.

    • Mad_Iguana

      Wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m bored by the rest, but I think A Line of Deathless Kings is a great album (and one of the albums where – as Grymm said about Dark Tranquillity’s The Gallery – every song title could be followed up with “in my pants”) and is a little unfairly maligned.
      A Map of All Our Failures I found a little dull, though I’m not sure I really listened to it enough or in the right frame of mind to appreciate it, so I accept that might be me.
      Looking forward to this one, though.

  • RuySan

    I lost all interest in this band after Songs of Darkness. Terrible album…I was so annoyed that I haven’t even gave another chance afterwards. Maybe now it’s the time.

    • MelbCro

      If by ‘terrible’ you actually mean awesome, then my good sir you are correct.

      • RuySan

        The songs weren’t bad per se, but the feel and atmosphere was wrong. Gone was the complex twisted sorrow of “turn loose” and other of their classics, and it seemed they were appealing a bit to the commercial goth that was so popular (Evanescence, Lacuna Coil). I know it’s a bit of a stretch because the sound has nothing to do with those bands, but it definitely felt much less menacing and more sterile than older albums.

        The terrible cover art sums it all. Just compare it to the beautiful eeriness of Turn Loose the Swans cover.

        • MelbCro

          Dude I honestly think you’re confusing Songs of Darkness with one of the three albums that came afterwards. Because commercial goth is definitely not even remotely close to describing that album. Its by far the heaviest and most brutal album they’ve done along with the their debut, also their darkest and most twisted album.

          • RuySan

            I don’t think it was either of the following albums because i never listened to them, such was my disappointment with the band, but it seems I didn’t miss much.

            I understand your position, since like i said, it’s mostly about atmosphere, and this varies from person to person. For example, I find “Light at the End…” their second best one, and one absolutely crushing album, while many people don’t think much of it. Objectively speaking, Songs of Darkness is heavy, but there’s something missing…another kind of heaviness.

            Turn Loose the Swans was the first underground metal album (i listened to Metallica, Maiden, Sepultura in my early teens) i listened to, and my jaw dropped to the floor with the intensity and darkness of it.

          • Wilhelm

            I think it had more to do with song writing. On Songs of Darkness, they didn’t approach the songs with any kind of progression, abstraction, darkness in mind , it was more straight forward but resulted in a sterile album – it wasn’t BAD, but nothing like TLTS. It also introduced a formula that they’ve been using since, but thankfully they seem to be breaking from. I wish I could explain it better, but that album marked a vast change in MDB’s sound.

          • MelbCro

            I don’t hear at that at all, Songs of Darkness fits right alongside Dreadful Hours and Light at the End in approach. A Line of Deathless Kings started the more streamlined formula which followed.

          • doom-erik

            I agree. The style they started on Light… was refined on Dreadful Hours and Songs of Darkness. The peaks on those albums are really high, but there are some really weak stuff as well (especially on The Light).

          • MelbCro

            Fair enough, I can better understand what you are saying here rather than the previous comment.

          • xengineofdeathx

            If you like Light… there is plenty to enjoy on here. This is the riffiest
            MDB album in ages. Robertshaw is all over this thing.

        • doom-erik

          At least I have to agree with you about the cover. Terribly ugly.

    • Wilhelm

      Yep, that’s exactly the album where my interest weakened.

    • Jason Muxlow

      It is, and it has been. The last few albums and EPs have been quite good to great.

    • Niraj Patil

      Say what you will about Songs of Darkness, but A Doomed Lover is one of their best songs ever and an incredible closer to that record. The last couple of minutes of that song gives me chills every time.

  • MelbCro

    Great review for a great album. Really loving Feel the Misery. I’m a huge MDB so I am extremely biased, but to me they’ve always been a consistent band.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Not sure how you can expect anything other than great out of MDB these days. Their past few albums have been consistently great and my favorite song of 2013 was from their EP.

    Very much looking forward to having this one in my hands.

  • Hulksteraus

    Turn Loose the Swans and Angel and the Dark River blew me away when I first heard them in the early to mid 90’s. I am glad that someone else’s late teenage and early adult years were impacted as much by the melancholic majesty of My Dying Bride. I was also looking at this album in Trepidation as some of their recent output hasn’t had too much impact on me. I am definitely laying down the last of my September pay on this :)

    September has been a pretty money draining month for me…!! Laying down more hard cash for Maiden tickets for next May tomorrow… There goes the credit card balance!!

    • Grymm

      TLtS and TAatDR got me through some rather tough times in high school and afterwards, so they occupy a part of my heart always. FtM recalls those moments beautifully that their output over the last decade couldn’t.

      • Hulksteraus

        I think the best metal bands are the ones that can evoke feelings of catharsis. mdb in their finest moments do that for me too.

        If the new album recalls that impact for you then that is more of an endorsement than even your excellent review!

  • Remy Verhoeve

    Great review, sums up my feelings pretty well (after only one listen though).

  • Tentacles

    A few years ago the drummer from My Dying Bride came round to my house for afternoon tea as the guest of a friend.

    At the time I wasn’t particularly interested in metal and had never heard a MDB record, so I gave him tea and made conversation with the people I had actually been expecting.

    Probably a good thing. If the same thing happened today I would embarrass myself and end gushing like some kind of teenage fan-girl.

  • Malev Draizhen

    Didn’t you guys used to have a review for AMoAOF? I think I remember reading that review here and that you guys liked it.

  • Here’s Johnny

    Oh yes, a review i agree with ;) Absolutely amazing album. What a year this has been for metal, even the Slayer album you lot slagged off was the 2nd top selling album in the world last week. Good times.

  • Good review, couldn’t agree more. It is probably one of the best Doom Metal records so far in 2015. 4.0 sounded a bit harsh to me, 4.5 would have been a tad more appropriate. Just started on my own review and let’s see how this one will come out.