Graded on a Curve:
My Dying Bride,
Feel the Misery

The general theme of doom metal can be summed up with the words All the World’s a Funeral, and I like it for its simplicity. No need to worry about child care, car repairs, or making sure there isn’t an important letter tucked amongst the fifty pieces of junk mail you chuck in the trash every day. All you have to do is make sure you’ve made your funeral arrangements in advance.

All of which brings us to the Bradford, England’s My Dying Bride and their 2015 LP Feel the Misery, the title of which perfectly encapsulates the doom metal aesthetic. “Some claim it’s tragedy/Some claim calamity” sings Aaron Stainthorpe on the LP’s title track. If he’s talking about having to get up in the morning and go to work, he’s right on both counts.

My Dying Bride keep the tempos funeral slow–theirs is the sound of a cart filled with plague victims creaking towards a mass grave. I’m sure their songs appeal to those of morbid temperament, but they also appeal to me–they may not be suitable for tap dancing, but they ain’t bad, and their lyrics aren’t just funny they’re unintentionally funny, which is always a plus when it comes to the metal genre. If it’s true what they say about laughter being the best medicine, Feel the Misery is a sure fire cure for depression.

As for the songs on Feel the Misery they’re mostly dirges; crushing power chords hammer down coffin lids, drummer and bass player dig one helluva burial pit, and Stainthorpe’s vocals vary from the standard portentous to demonic growl, as if he’s engaging in a dialogue with the devil. Toss in some mournful violin for flavoring, and what you have is the perfect music for a tailgate party in the parking lot of Hell.

My Dying Bride kick off Feel the Misery with the speedier than the norm “And My Father Left Forever,” which opens with the cheery lines, “I tied my children to a dying horse/Stacked up against me/The bodies heaved and stank/Upon their gore.” All right then! The death march that is “To Shiver in Empty Halls” opens with Stainthorpe’s Satanic croak–which is equal parts phlegm and growl–and is representative of My Dying Bride at their corpse-pale best. There’s even a hilarious spoken word interlude that would have been perfect for Vincent Price.

“A Cold New Curse” is one of four songs on Feel the Misery that exceed the nine-minute mark, which makes sense seeing as how My Dying Bride’s tastes in mortality run towards the slow and protracted. The song doesn’t stand out much; hell, it doesn’t even have any good laugh lines. There are some snazzy shifts in tempo, and you can bang your head against the crypt to it, but if you’re like me you’ll wish they’d toss some dirt on the damn thing and bury it already. As for the title track, it’s as heavy as a cemetery’s worth of tombstones and boasts some lugubrious violin by Shaun (not to be confused with Shane) MacGowan. It’s basic message is wallow in your despair. Personally, I prefer to wallow in sitcoms.

On the slow as coagulated blood “A Thorn of Wisdom” MacGowan’s keyboards are front and center and bass player Lena Abé establishes a nice groove; on “I Celebrate Your Skin” Stainthorpe’s vocals play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and a for-whom-the bell-tolls rings. The lyrics have something to do with a woman who has “the sexual wisdom of a thousand years,” which gives new meaning to Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?”–this chick knows tricks she learned from the Marquis de Sade personally.

As for the lengthy closing track “Within a Sleeping Forest,” I dig MacGowan’s very Uriah Heep organ and the way Stainthorpe calls Orpheus “dull dead,” as if most dead people are party animals with a knack for witty banter. I also like the way the band conjures the spirit of Black Sabbath in the song’s middle section. Did they do so by means of Ouija board? Or did they simply shoot Tommy Iommi a text message?

There’s no ignoring the sepulchral pretensions of Feel the Misery, but if your tastes run to mausoleums and The Crow it’s a solid, if not particularly inspired, piece of work. As for us happy to be above the ground types, it’s worth a listen–the Grim Reaper awaits us all, and it will be nice to have something to make small talk about.

GRADED ON A CURVE:
B-

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text