Music I Love: “Feel the Misery”, My Dying Bride (2015)

Track Listing:

  1. And My Father Left Forever
  2. To Shiver In Empty Halls
  3. A Cold New Curse
  4. Feel the Misery
  5. A Thorn of Wisdom
  6. I Celebrate Your Skin
  7. I Almost Loved You
  8. Within a Sleeping Forest

 

I remember a time that felt not so long ago when My Dying Bride were considering calling their eighth album The Thirteenth Chapter, coming as it did in the thirteenth year of the band’s existence. Here we are now with their actual thirteenth album, and never has misery felt so palpable.

My Dying Bride occupy a special place in my music collection, and in my heart. Classic albums (vintage, perhaps?) such as Like Gods of the Sun (1996) and The Light at the End of the World (1999) formed the soundtrack to my youth, ridden with despair and misery as it was. iTunes informs me that their song, My Hope, the Destroyer is literally my most-played track, with over 500 plays in iTunes alone (never mind endless repeats of the CD itself). While they are certainly not the only ones to combine crushingly heavy riffs with hauntingly desolate melodies, they were one of the first—and they still do it better than anyone else.

… everything they have done so well for so long, condensed into an hour of moody, hopeless despair.

Yet there comes a point in every band’s career where you start to wonder what’s left. Hasn’t it all been done before? After nearly a quarter of a century, what is there left to say? With many of my favorite bands entering their third decade of productivity, this is a thought that often worries me. As much as I look forward to each new release, I can’t help but wonder how it could possibly top their earlier masterpieces—those albums that helped define them as pioneers of their genre. Can there ever be another The Dreadful Hours (2001)?

Some bands solve this dilemma by ignoring it completely; Opeth (another of my favorites), for example, threw caution to the wind, dropped their death metal roots and reinvented themselves as nouveau-prog (nü-prog?), critics be damned. Never have they sounded better. Other bands came to realize they could never better themselves, and called it quits; Sentenced broke my heart in 2005 when they announced The Funeral Album would be their last.

So after twenty-five years and thirteen albums, how have My Dying Bride approached the overwhelming issue of their continuing legacy? Have they played it safe, sticking to what they know, or are they continuing to push the envelope?

The answer is … yes. Feel the Misery is unmistakably doom metal, unmistakably My Dying Bride, and unmistakably unique. Like a talented artist, My Dying Bride have taken everything they know of their craft, distilled and refined their experience, and provided the very best they have to offer. Where A Map of All Our Failures (2012) and their 2011 EP The Barghest O’ Whitby showcased a brutish heaviness not seen since Turn Loose the Swans (1993), Feel the Misery combines this with the delicate tranquility of Evinta, providing the listener a truly varied sonic landscape in which to immerse themselves.

This always has been, and remains, My Dying Bride’s greatest strength. Where many bands seek to capitalize on the success of prior releases, My Dying Bride have always refused to simply put out ‘more of the same’. While each of their thirteen albums is undeniably doom metal, none have ever felt interchangeable. Perhaps fittingly for a band so immersed in gloom, it’s as if with each new album they ask themselves, “What if this were our last?” And whilst I hope they may continue for another twenty-five years, Feel the Misery nonetheless feels like a grand culmination—everything they have done so well for so long, condensed into an hour of moody, hopeless despair.

It’s a legacy to be proud of.

Featured image taken from http://www.metal-archives.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=110548.

 

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