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My Dying Bride – A Mortal Binding

My Dying Bride – A Mortal Binding

My Dying Bride - A Mortal Binding

  • Rating: 7/10
  • Release Date: 19 April, 2024
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Musicians:
    Aaron Stainthorpe - Vocals
    Andrew Craighan - Guitars
    Neil Blanchett – Guitars
    Lena Abé - Bass
    Shaun MacGowan – Violin, Keyboards
    Dan Mullins - Drums
  • Favorite songs:
    A Starving Heart, Thornwyck Hymn
  • For Fans of:
    Paradise Lost, Swallow The Sun, Draconian

Is the bride truly dying? This question has been in the heads of many My Dying Bride fans recently. While a new album is usually a great occasion to celebrate, it has become a great cause of concern instead. Announcements of show cancellations have been followed by a statement from the band on social media, claiming that there have been tensions between band members over the last years, which have escalated towards fractures and a profound sense of discontent within the band. Band members are suffering from stress and burnout, causing physical and mental problems. Reading between the lines, I can only conclude that My Dying Bride has been put on indefinite hiatus, with little chance of recovery. It would be a sad way to end a career of 34 years, so let’s cling to the slight spark of hope that time will heal the band’s wounds.

Having started in 1990, My Dying Bride, as part of “The Peaceville Three”, has been instrumental in the development of doom/death and gothic metal. Alongside Paradise Lost and Anathema, the band has transformed itself in unconventional ways, leading the way to create a whole new scene within the metal spectrum. Iconic albums like “Turn Loose The Swans”, “The Angel And The Dark River” and “Like Gods Of The Sun” have become genre classics, while My Dying Bride’s albums have been of a consistent high quality up until 2004’s “Songs of Darkness, Words of Light”. After that, it’s been a bit of hit and miss with the band, even though I enjoyed 2020’s “The Ghost Of Orion” quite a bit.

So, what does the new album, called “A Mortal Binding”, bring us? Above all, it brings us stunning artwork, perfectly capturing the atmosphere of My Dying Bride’s music. Secondly, it brings us a fantastic sound, with massive guitars going hand in hand with astonishing attention to detail. It’s easily the best production job on any of the band’s albums. However, the music is obviously the most important aspect of any album, so where do we stand with that? Apart from their other concerns, fans don’t have to worry about anything here: “A Mortal Binding” brings us the My Dying Bride that we know and love, with a good balance between heavy doom/death and atmospheric gothic metal parts. The riffs are crushingly heavy, the rhythm section adds a solemn aspect to the music and the guitar leads are filled with melancholy. Shaun MacGowan’s lovely violin parts are the icing on the cake. Nothing new here, but it’s done really well.

This doesn’t mean that the album is perfect though. While songs like ‘Thornwyck Hymn’, ‘A Starving Heart’ and ‘Crushing Embers’ are fantastic, some others (like ‘Her Dominion’) just don’t do that much for me. I also have some issues with the vocals on this album: while Aaron Stainthorpe’s clean voice is still adequate, his growling has deteriorated over the years to a level that is almost painful to hear. It’s bringing an otherwise great album down a bit, even though (luckily) most of the vocals are clean. Should this not be the band’s swan song, I would love to hear another My Dying Bride album with clean vocals only.

All things considered, I do consider “A Mortal Binding” one of the better My Dying Bride albums of the last 20 years. That alone is a big achievement. While it does not stand among the band’s major classics, it is a solid album that mostly deserves praise. Should this be the final release in My Dying Bride’s massive catalogue, it is certainly not an album that the band should be ashamed of. On the contrary, it would be a worthy final statement of a unique and innovative band, despite certain issues. From here on, I can only wish the band members strength in their recovery. While time doesn’t heal all wounds, a period of reflection and relaxation can certainly help.

About the Author


Lykle is the black sheep in the Progspace family. Coming from a background of gothic, doom and black metal, he joined the Progspace team to share his expertise about the dark side of progressive music. He enjoys these gloomy sounds from the Spanish Costa del Sol, where he works as a manager in the big tech industry. He has a special appreciation for Finnish melancholy, counting bands like Sentenced, Insomnium and Ghost Brigade among his favourites.

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