Review 2168 : My Dying Bride – A Mortal Binding – English

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My Dying Bride‘s lament is not over.

In the 90s, the English band was one of the pioneers of Gothic-infused Doom/Death. In 2024, Aaron Stainthorpe (vocals), Andrew Craighan (guitar), Lena Abé (bass), Dan Mullins (drums, Blasphemer, The Deathtrip, Thine, Written in Torment…), Shaun MacGowan (keyboards/violin, Ustkara Ghost) and Neil Blanchett (guitar, Valafar) unveil A Mortal Binding, their fifteenth album, on Nuclear Blast.

Her Dominion succeeds in opening the album by captivating us from the very first seconds with its stirring riffs, but the band breaks its melancholy march with a more jerky approach that welcomes the first howls. The rhythm picks up again, but retains the stigma of its violence, and will welcome it a second time, again breaking the throbbing sound that leads us into the chilling final, then on to Thornwyck Hymn, where slowness is the order of the day, creating a desolate landscape for the tortured clean vocals. The atmosphere is more soothing, letting the band develop its majestic sounds where each instrument finds its place, from the piercing violin to the snoring bass, forcing us to endure this quietude before The 2nd of Three Bells comes to hypnotize us in its turn thanks to its soft melody that will eventually meet the impressive saturation. We find this unique touch in the rhythm, the one that makes us contemplate the music and its dark, dissonant but fascinating harmonics, with however a more raw passage before sailing calmly towards Unthroned Creed where the sound immediately becomes more oppressive and stifled. The vocalist takes the main place at the center of this neurasthenic ocean, occasionally shaken by a few more lively jolts led by the guitars, then it’s with The Apocalyptist, an eleven minutes-long composition, that the six English musicians weave their canvas of sorrow with piercing leads adorning a heady base where clean vocals and growls come to life from time to time, pouring out all their intensity. The sound slowly fades away before giving way to A Starving Heart, where the mix features an intoxicating bass that buzzes while the other instruments dance around it to accompany the vocalist who alternates between plaintive tones and raw saturated vocals while ensuring a brighter chorus. The album ends with Crushed Embers, the final composition where guitars and violin take turns to frame our procession into the darkness, which is brought to a close by a more than demonstrative vocal.

A whole night in tears wouldn’t be enough to describe how intense A Mortal Binding is. With this new lament, My Dying Bride makes our souls weep and drags us to the very edge of pure sadness.


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