My Dying Bride – A Mortal Binding

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It’s always a pleasure welcoming the return of one of the forefathers of British gothic/doom metal My Dying Bride, who have returned with their 15th studio album 'A Mortal Binding' released on 19th April via Nuclear Blast. For the past three decades the band has carved out the contrasting elements of death doom and softer melancholic music to the more melodic and darker spectrums of gothic metal. The new album finds the sextet Aaron Stainthorpe (vocals), Andrew Craighan (guitars), Lena Abé (bass), Shaun MacGowan (keyboards, violin), Neil Blanchett (guitars) and drummer Dan Mullins resurrecting the old-fashioned style of My Dying Bride.

The soft wail of the sweet violin and the scowling growls exude riffs packed with heaviness, while the slow gothic melodies carry the listener in a sorrowful mood in the opening track ‘Her Dominion’. The dichotomy between death and doom metal is subtly arranged by the crushing riffs imparting an atmosphere of dread. Full of inspiration the grim rasp tends to creep into darkness.

Even though ‘A Mortal Binding’ treads on a path that seems more familiar to many, it is cut from the same cloth as the predecessor ‘The Ghost of Orion’. The seven tracks are finely wrought with heavy riffs and intricate drumming, adding grandeur and binding together the dark moving moments of ornate melodies of the lead guitars and violin.

Thornwyck Hymn’ is even darker and reveals the grandeur: the doom-inspired riffs bring nostalgia back to memory, presenting a six-minute epic song full of atmospheric violin twists and Aaron’s truly magnificent vocals. The musical arrangement conceives the vintage My Dying Bride songs: a requiem for the blackened hearts and misery intricately carved to create a delicate melody.

A Mortal Binding’ is absorbed in the memories of past albums like ‘Turn Loose the Swans’. The album is notable for the doomy-laden guitar chords where the mood becomes mournful in the slow passages delivering a menacing requiem in the track ‘The 2nd of Three Bells’, immersed in the richness of the crooning vocals. The interplay between the melodies, shrouded in black somberness, elaborates the gothic side of the band to emerge gracefully and drench the ears with doomy guitar melodies.

The drums are played perfectly, invigoratingly raw and crushingly heavy honed by the chunky riffs sending shivers down your spine and pouring gothic quality to the grand opening of “Unthroned Creed”. My Dying Bride captures the hallmarks of gothic doom in their newest album and offers compelling gothic themes full of romance that are well crafted.

The heavy chugs expand to make space for the somber vocals that lend emotive landscapes and thus maintain the heaviness and grim aura sweeping the listener through the swelling of the guitar chugs. The epic eleven-minute track ‘The Apocalyptist’ encompasses intense drumming backed by vehement guitar riffs, blending double bass while depicting grim evilness. The gloomy riffs serve the metallic drums to create unsettling moments. The diverse vocals approach adds a sense of doom to the songs without abandoning the rasp and the weeping violin that accompanies the flow of the melodic breakdown.

The dual guitars are crushingly heavy, yet thrillingly beautiful. The binding elements of the lead guitars and violin are deeply effective and embedded sorrowful vocals. My Dying Bride have returned to their classic old gothic doom metal sound in the new album. The gloomy mood is solemn with a haunting catchy atmosphere where Aaron combines his grim rasp and croons.

Most of the songs feature the chugging riffs which have always been the doomy trait of the band and much heavier riffs showing distinctive ways of attaining them. From the opening moments of ‘A Mortal Binding’ My Dying Bride delivers a heavy slab of gothic doom metal. The album remains consistent with tracks like ‘A Starving Heart’ which brings the delicate gothic facet that contains plenty of slow doom melodies.

The song here has many variations from the funeral guitars to the drums and conveys a feeling of misery and the contrast between the harshness of the growling vocals. The dramatic ending  ‘Crushed Embers’ begins with a violin entry, providing a layer to the guitars; follow in its crushing effect as the ebbing and flowing of the melody and the haunting soundscape make for some dark and catchy hooks.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10

My Dying Bride weaves their magic with the dreadful gothic atmosphere that captures some of their best works in recent memory, ‘A Mortal Binding’ is musically perfect and evocatively beautiful in every sense.

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