My Dying Bride - The Ghost Of Orion review



Reviewer:
6.0

183 users:
7.84
Band: My Dying Bride
Album: The Ghost Of Orion
Release date: March 2020


01. Your Broken Shore
02. To Outlive The Gods
03. Tired Of Tears
04. The Solace
05. The Long Black Land
06. The Ghost Of Orion
07. The Old Earth
08. Your Woven Shore


30 years is a long time for a band to be active and it is also about as long as I have been a fanboy. Since I first heard the opening notes of "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium", I forever fell in love with My Dying Bride. Grab a coffee or a beer, Metalstormers, this is going to be a long-ass review.

It is a small miracle that we have The Ghost Of Orion in our hands. This band had everything thrown at them; vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe's daughter was diagnosed with cancer at the age of five, putting on hold everything related to My Dying Bride. As if that wasn't enough, returning original member and guitarist Calvin Robertshaw left again, as did drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels. Consequently, the music on the new album was written entirely by guitarist Andrew Craighan, who had no one to turn to; even bassist Lena Abé was on maternal leave. Fortunately, Aaron's daughter is healthy again and this is the most important thing. Also, ex-Paradise Lost drummer Jeff Singer took over drumming duties and he is actually one of the reasons this album is worth listening to.

The Ghost Of Orion is the first release of My Dying Bride on Nuclear Blast, after being all these years on Peaceville. The album is easier on the ear than previous releases of the band, but at the same time it is simpler and less interesting. On the positive side, Shaun MacGowan's violin and Jo Quail's cello are beautifully incorporated in the songs and dance in sync with the guitar riffs and melodies, and Jeff Singer's performance on drums also contributes significantly towards saving the album from sounding totally monotonous. Eliran Kantor's artwork is also one of the best you are going to see this year.

Of the eight songs, three are 'fillers' or interludes, with "The Solace", featuring Lindy-Fay Hella of Wardruna fame on vocals, being the most interesting one. The other two feel like good ideas for songs that were left unfinished and they are also weirdly placed in the track sequence. The rest of the album's runtime is occupied by really long tracks that - with the exception of the excellent "Your Broken Shore" - don't always have enough 'meat' to justify their duration. "The Long Black Land" builds up beautifully, it has a very dramatic middle part and is absolutely compelling for the first seven minutes or so, but then drags for no reason and ends so abruptly, as if the band didn't know how to finish it. "The Old Earth" is another example of a good song that unfortunately overstays its welcome and shows why you can't have tracks going past the 10-minute mark unless you have composed something truly outstanding like "Symphonaire…", "The Crown Of Sympathy", "The Cry Of Mankind", "Edenbeast" or "The Barghest O' Whitby".

Even "Tired Of Tears", which has lyrics that Aaron wrote inspired by his daughter's health ordeal, does not hit as hard as "And My Father Left Forever" from Feel The Misery did. The main reason for this is also my biggest issue with the album as a whole, and that is Aaron's multi-tracked clean vocals (the raspy ones are more than fine). They are so overproduced and layered that they sound completely unnatural and thus fail to create the deep emotional impact that they have achieved every single time in the past. After doing some digging, I found out that he has said the following: "Recording the album was exhausting. Every day something was wrong. I couldn't get back to it. I was singing the vocals wrong. I had to be corrected every day on every song on every line in every song. It was like being beaten around the head. There was a point - around halfway through it - that I thought, 'They're gonna need another vocalist. I just can't do this anymore. I don't know where I am.' After all I had been through I didn't know how to vocalize for My Dying Bride anymore". It is obvious to me that this is the reason why his cleans are so over-processed, which is something I simply can't ignore while listening to the album.

Signing with the biggest metal label out there is going to give My Dying Bride access that they never had before. Of course, this comes with obligations, one of which may be to release new material even if the band is not ready for it; and this particular band clearly wasn't ready for it. They may appear now on every metal website and talk on YouTube about what the scene was like back in the day, but there is too much here that is not on par with what My Dying Bride once was. And it's not that there are bad songs on The Ghost Of Orion, since this band simply doesn't know what 'bad' is, but we need to accept that this effort could have been significantly better. After five years of waiting, this is underwhelming.

I am extremely happy that one of my most beloved bands has managed to overcome the difficulties and to keep going, but I have very high expectations from My Dying Bride. This record may have been okay or even good for other bands like, I don't know, Swallow The Sun maybe, but for these doom lords from Halifax, it feels rushed and it is certainly not one of their greatest moments.

"Beast broken by time
Captive voice, streams lie"


 



Written on 14.03.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments

Comments: 20   Visited by: 236 users
14.03.2020 - 16:18
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Unrelated but I once had a dream that Bloodbath decided to change their vocalist after each album, and their next vocalist was Aaron.
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- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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14.03.2020 - 16:28
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 14.03.2020 at 16:18

Unrelated but I once had a dream that Bloodbath decided to change their vocalist after each album, and their next vocalist was Aaron.

I need some of that thing you smoke. Aaron's harsh vocals are very good here btw.
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14.03.2020 - 16:33
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 14.03.2020 at 16:28

Written by RaduP on 14.03.2020 at 16:18

Unrelated but I once had a dream that Bloodbath decided to change their vocalist after each album, and their next vocalist was Aaron.

I need some of that thing you smoke. Aaron's harsh vocals are very good here btw.

That's why it's kinda sad. He's still got it but the dream will stay a dream and the next Bloodbath record will probably still have Old Nick. Someone like Dan Swano or Mikael Stanne or Tomi Joutsen would be interesting as well.

And yeah this record was really underwhelming. Especially with them on Nuclear Blast I don't expect them to do anything not safe. What wouldn't I give for something more in the vein of As The Flower Withers or 30% Complete
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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14.03.2020 - 16:39
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 14.03.2020 at 16:33

What wouldn't I give for something more in the vein of As The Flower Withers or 30% Complete

You don't even have to go that far back, Feel The Misery was a great album. And you could really hear and feel the pain in Aaron's voice, while on this one it sounds like robots are singing.
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14.03.2020 - 17:51
LuciferOfGayness
Account deleted
This is a very good review - informative, knowledgeable and critical. FTM>this by miles.
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14.03.2020 - 20:08
ickoriss
Good review, even if I disagree with it. I never got bored with the drawn out songs for some reason and really enjoyed the interludes. I think the double-tracked cleans do sound a bit more processed than usual, but I think that gives the album a distinct flavor that differentiates itself in a good way from the rest of their catalog. I can still totally see though why these things would bother other people though.
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14.03.2020 - 23:23
nikarg
Mod
Written by ickoriss on 14.03.2020 at 20:08

Good review, even if I disagree with it. I never got bored with the drawn out songs for some reason and really enjoyed the interludes. I think the double-tracked cleans do sound a bit more processed than usual, but I think that gives the album a distinct flavor that differentiates itself in a good way from the rest of their catalog. I can still totally see though why these things would bother other people though.

I do not mind the drawn out songs that much but the double-tracked cleans really ruin the entire album for me and they are particularly annoying on "Tired Of Tears", which, due to its theme, I was expecting to be absolutely crushing. And it wasn't. I hate to make such comparisons but the truth is that when I listened to it, I thought that it cannot hold a candle to Panopticon's "Rune's Heart", which was released earlier this year and bears a similar lyrical theme, and is just too perfect for words.

I am pleased you like the album though. I suppose many others disagree with me since it has a fairly high rating here.
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14.03.2020 - 23:33
Redel
Excellent review, dude, very elaborate and focused on the main issues with this album.
I agree on many points you make, especially the following two:

"...Aaron's multi-tracked clean vocals (the raspy ones are more than fine). They are so overproduced and layered that they sound completely unnatural and thus fail to create the deep emotional impact that they have achieved every single time in the past."

"...and this particular band clearly wasn't ready for it."

I didnt have that high expectations with this release, after what they have gone through in the past five years, and in the context of the label change. But still, being a huge MDB fanboy (for almost everything they have done up until the present album), I cannot keep myself from being extremely disappointed with this release.
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14.03.2020 - 23:40
nikarg
Mod
Written by Redel on 14.03.2020 at 23:33

But still, being a huge MDB fanboy (for almost everything they have done up until the present album), I cannot keep myself from being extremely disappointed with this release.

This, man. So much this.
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14.03.2020 - 23:40
ickoriss
Written by nikarg on 14.03.2020 at 23:23

Written by ickoriss on 14.03.2020 at 20:08

Good review, even if I disagree with it. I never got bored with the drawn out songs for some reason and really enjoyed the interludes. I think the double-tracked cleans do sound a bit more processed than usual, but I think that gives the album a distinct flavor that differentiates itself in a good way from the rest of their catalog. I can still totally see though why these things would bother other people though.

I do not mind the drawn out songs that much but the double-tracked cleans really ruin the entire album for me and they are particularly annoying on "Tired Of Tears", which, due to its theme, I was expecting to be absolutely crushing. And it wasn't. I hate to make such comparisons but the truth is that when I listened to it, I thought that it cannot hold a candle to Panopticon's "Rune's Heart", which was released earlier this year and bears a similar lyrical theme, and is just too perfect for words.

I am pleased you like the album though. I suppose many others disagree with me since it has a fairly high rating here.

Yeah, I think it's just a different strokes situation. You're not the only person to have the grievances you do. I definitely would love to hear a rougher mix of this thing though, if it's out there.
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15.03.2020 - 00:18
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I just drunk this beer
https://www.cigarcitybrewing.com/beer/caffe-americano/

After long scooter race and bbq on frozem Lake. I wish winter stays till mid april, live scooter rides. Long day and I enjoy this rewiev, like I said cello and violin save the day, ir makes it mid 90...old Ashes you leave, who remember that croatian band. Pivo.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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15.03.2020 - 00:37
Redel
Written by nikarg on 14.03.2020 at 23:40

Written by Redel on 14.03.2020 at 23:33

But still, being a huge MDB fanboy (for almost everything they have done up until the present album), I cannot keep myself from being extremely disappointed with this release.

This, man. So much this.


You know, I guess what is to be realized by us fanboys now is that this band is dead for us, now that they have moved to the major genre label. That is a given, it is irreversible.
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15.03.2020 - 02:12
thetrimsmith
It's a solid effort, very MDBish...even if they knocked some avant garde mud off
their feet to get on NB's corporate carpet, they'll enjoy a larger radius for it...
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16.03.2020 - 14:12
Enemy of Reality
I very much agree on the vocals side. They feel overproduced and overlayered for no apparent reason.
I found the album very inconsistent with songs not blending well one another. We get these more folkish songs like Tired of Tears and Your Broken Shore, but also these long incoherent messy songs like The Old Earth.
Where they still shine is when they simplify things and let the guitar riffs sing their woes and Aaron accompanies the riffs with his trademark (non layered) vocals, both harsh and melodic. In To Outlive the Gods and my favorite The Long Black Land the bands delivers such sound, resembling one of their best efforts ever, 1999's The Light at the End of the World.
The interludes and postlude are completely redundant. Harshly speaking, they add absolutely nothing to the album, except a few extra minutes.
There's still quite a bit to enjoy here, with at least three songs being very good and among the best they've written in recent years. Jeff Singer was a terrific addition and i hope he stays for a long time. The artwork is fantastic and made me order the cd + ts package.
I think a 6 out of 10 is a bit too low. A 7 suits it better.
A final wish: with Paradise Lost and Katatonia also releasing new albums this year, it would be so great if they all toured together.
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16.03.2020 - 20:29
nikarg
Mod
Written by Enemy of Reality on 16.03.2020 at 14:12

A final wish: with Paradise Lost and Katatonia also releasing new albums this year, it would be so great if they all toured together.

And then we can all kill ourselves after the show
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21.03.2020 - 07:43
The Melting Snow
This is the best review of the album I've read so far. The ones coming out before the album release were all pretty fake.

Though i'd give the album more a 7 than a 6. It took time to catch on, but it's growing on me with every listen (except for the 4 fillers :/)
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21.03.2020 - 09:52
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by The Melting Snow on 21.03.2020 at 07:43

This is the best review of the album I've read so far. The ones coming out before the album release were all pretty fake.

Though i'd give the album more a 7 than a 6. It took time to catch on, but it's growing on me with every listen (except for the 4 fillers :/)

All revievers listened it befor
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
25.03.2020 - 06:38
Absinthe
I actually really like this album, and I prefer it to 'Feel the Misery' and 'A Map of All Our Failures'. I think the production works really well and the change in Aaron's vocals is very welcome after his lacklustre performance in 'Feel...'. It's not a perfect album by any stretch, but I just love the tone of the whole thing.
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31.03.2020 - 17:47
Passenger
Lost To Apathy
I honestly think this album is one of their best in years. Takes me back to The Light At The End Of The World sometimes.
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You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home. The rest is bullshit and you know it ~ Mean Streets
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05.05.2020 - 16:59
Pelcu
Hmmm... don't know what to say about this album. It's just disappointing... After really great one Feel The Misery this time there is something missing, new tracks are not thrilling. I listened to this album few times and nothing left... No song to come back to. In my opinion one of the worst in few years - sorry Passenger.
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Don't look for solution - look for EXIT!
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