Album Review: My Dying Bride – A Mortal Binding

Album Review: My Dying Bride - A Mortal Binding
Reviewed by Gareth Pugh

The masters of the morose, My Dying Bride, are back with another full-length release, the fifteenth of their career, and their first for four years. It’s always great to have these gloomy Yorkshire tykes back, this time with seven brand new psalms of sorrow and grief, with a runtime of around the 55-minute mark.

Kicking off with the bleeding torment of ‘Her Dominion’, which starts with huge monolithic riffs, and twisted melodies, the stabbing guitars courtesy of guitarists Andrew Craighan and Neil Blanchett, and Dan Mullins’ pounding drums hit the listener with a vicious brutality, not heard for a while on these shores, Stainthorpe uses his harshest vocals, before the comforting keys of Shaun MacGowan soothe the anguish, while the bass of Lena Abé anchors the whole song, allowing the other elements to weave around it. First single, the ‘Thornwyck Hymn’ is another bruising slab of monumental riffage, but in contrast, Aaron utilizes his cleaner, more ethereal vocals, and soaring violin melodies are more prominent in the mix, the chilling mood evoking the horror of the seafolk that may be inhabiting the murky deep whose waves lap the shore of the hapless Yorkshire village, ready to terrorise any local straying too close to their watery domain. Third track ‘The 2nd Of Three Bells’ reminds me of the more classic material, with its soft start and earnest vocals, that build into a slower more measured whole, with characteristic touches of the past.

Album Review: My Dying Bride - A Mortal Binding

Production wise, the band have again utilised the expertise of studio maestro Mark Mynett to produce, mix, and master, and recorded the whole album in three months at Mynett’s Mynetaur Productions in Manchester, and as expected the sonic soundscape is excellent, with massive, thunderous drums, bass from the deepest depths, and guitars that could bring Atlas himself to his knees, they carry so much weight, while the violins and keyboards are perfectly positioned in the mix depending on how much influence they are exerting at any particular moment. Take the harrowing 11 minutes of ‘The Apocalyptist’, where the desolate violins have a huge impact on the song, but sit fittingly alongside the gigantic guitar riffs, and yet neither dominate, everything is wonderfully balanced. It goes without saying the performances are top notch and absolutely stunning, the band has been around for long enough, they can do this in their sleep, but it is clear from listening, that there’s a huge amount of work and practice that has gone into making this so tight and natural sounding

While My Dying Bride sound like no one else, and you can immediately identify them, no album is the same and some albums are more accessible than others, while certain ones are denser, and some are more complex and detailed, and although last album, 2020’s ‘The Ghost of Orion’ was a more cathartic affair, and was strangely uplifting (for them), considering the struggles vocalist Aaron and his family had been though in the years previous, what with his daughter's fight against cancer. This time, fans who like the heavier things in life, will be very pleased with the direction the band has taken this time round on ‘A Mortal Binding’. This album seems a bit more direct than its immediate predecessor, with more straightforward riffs and arrangements, with more death metal vocals, which in turn has resulted in an overall heavier album than ‘The Ghost of Orion’. I’m pleased to report that ‘A Mortal Binding’ is another stunning addition to a near faultless discography, it’s not likely to pull in new listeners, but those in the know will be more than pleased with this latest release.

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.