MY DYING BRIDE — A Mortal Binding

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MY DYING BRIDE - A Mortal Binding cover
4.04 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2024

Filed under Doom Metal
By MY DYING BRIDE

Tracklist


1. Her Dominion (6:10)
2. Thornwyck Hymn (6:47)
3. The 2nd of Three Bells (6:52)
4. Unthroned Creed (7:00)
5. The Apocalyptist (11:22)
6. A Starving Heart (7:29)
7. Crushed Embers (9:02)

Total Time 54:42

Line-up/Musicians


- Andrew Craighan / Guitars
- Aaron Stainthorpe / Vocals
- Lena Abé / Bass
- Dan Mullins / Drums
- Shaun MacGowan / Keyboards, Violin
- Neil Blanchett / Guitars

About this release

Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: April 19th, 2024

Official music video:
- Thornwyck Hymn

Recording information:

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Mynetaur Productions in Manchester, England during July-September 2023.

Thanks to umur for the addition

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MY DYING BRIDE A MORTAL BINDING reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"A Mortal Binding" is the fifteenth full-length studio album by UK doom/death metal act My Dying Bride. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in April 2024. It´s the successor to "The Ghost of Orion" from March 2020. There have been a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor as guitarist Neil Blanchett has joined as the band´s second guitarist (he actually already joined in 2019 but didn´t perform on "The Ghost of Orion"), and drummer Jeff Singer has left and has been replaced by a returning Dan Mullins, who previously played with My Dying Bride in the 2007-2012 period.

It´s been quite a few years and albums since My Dying Bride released anything which surprised the fans of the band (the last time was with the release of "Evinta" in 2011), but My Dying Bride actually used to be (pre-2000) a pretty experimental death/doom metal act in terms of developing their music greatly between releases (the first five studio albums are quite different in sound and style), while still staying on the path of their trademark death/doom metal style. After 2000 they´ve released many high quality releases, but also a few less inspired ones. The latter are still quality releases, which could easily be other death/doom metal artists masterpieces, but when you set the standard as high as My Dying Bride have done throughout their great career, the fans also have very high expectations each time a new My Dying Bride album hits the streets.

"A Mortal Binding" is not one of the most unique nor is it one of the most adventurous My Dying Bride releases, and as a listener you get pretty much what you expect. So all the ingredients of a My Dying Bride album are in place. Lead vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe switching between death metal growling and darkly poetic goth tinged clean vocals, heavy doomy riffs and rhythms, atmosphere enhancing keyboards, and melancholic leads delivered by both guitars and violin. What "A Mortal Binding" does different than the last couple of releases is the focus on rhythm. My Dying Bride were always a relatively rhythmic death/doom metal act, but the return of Mullins has definitely pushed My Dying Bride in a more rhythm focused direction. So it´s not all just long droning power chords and slow minimalistic drumming.

The sound production is more raw, less polished, and more immediate than the last couple of releases, and at this point it´s a relief to hear that My Dying Bride still have a bit of grit in them. Opening track "Her Dominion" is the best example of that, as it´s a pretty heavy death metal track solely featuring growling vocals. Although other tracks on the album also feature death metal growling, "Her Dominion" is however a bit of the odd one out track on "A Mortal Binding", and I´d say the remaining tracks are more in line with what you´d expect from post-2000 My Dying Bride material. Highlights include "Thornwyck Hymn" and the 11:22 minutes long "The Apocalyptist", but as always My Dying Bride are impressive in terms consistency, and there´s nothing on this album, which isn´t quality material. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
siLLy puPPy
For a BRIDE that has been DYING since 1990, she sure has more lives in her than a cat which supposedly has 9. In fact the English band MY DYING BRIDE led by the distinct vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan formed over three decades ago is still showcasing an immortality beyond the longevity of most bands from the same era. Still alive and kickin’ in 2024 MY DYING BRIDE has released the 14th album of its never-ending procession of gloomy Goth-tinged doom metal with death metal decorations with A MORTAL BINDING which after a turbulent first two decades of lineup changes finds a bit of stability in the form of the same cast of members that were featured on 2020’s “The Ghost of Orion” with the sole exception of Dan Mullins rejoining and replacing percussionist / drummer Jeff Singer.

Another chapter in the MY DYING BRIDE book but pretty much the same thematic developments as this band that was once wildly experimental between albums has long ago found the perfect comfort zone that seems to keep the fans coming back for more thus showcasing the desire to pacify the buying public rather than risk the golden goose by releasing some fusion of polka-based Gothic doom dance pop or anything of the sort. Au contraire. At this stage one can ostensibly predict without much chance of error exactly what any particular edition of the MY DYING BRIDE canon will sound like and in the case of A MORTAL BINDING, you guessed it! Another slice of oozing doom metal accompanied by Stainthorpe’s plaintive Gothic vocal style set to the oozing dread of doom metal with the melancholic atmospheric backing to guarantee another soundtrack of dread and damnation only with the occasional outbursts into death metal.

Augmented by the band’s now classic violin backing, A MORTAL BINDING for the most part follows the playbook cemented into place so long ago which means that one can only judge the quality of any particular MY DYING BRIDE release by the strength of the songwriting alone as the performances are always top notch and despite doom metal bands springing up from all four corners of the planet since this band’s inception in 1990, MY DYING BRIDE still sounds as utterly unique as it has since day one. As far as consistency is concerned, this band certainly has it with one strong album after another, a few bonafide masterpieces and a few bellyflops in the pool that got drained over night. While A MORTAL BINDING does not reach the lofty pinnacle heights of the band’s earliest death-doom works or the lugubrious perfection of albums like “The Dreadful Hours” or “Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light,” neither does it sink to the dreadful lead-lined depths of throwaway albums like “Evinta” or the lackluster mediocrity of many of the 2010 releases.

In fact as a true fan of this band having heard every album and EP, i’d have to say that the band sounds somewhat rejuvenated here with tracks that take a somewhat different approach than the automatic pilot get the job only but not much more albums since “A Line Of Deathless Kings.” Sure this is undeniably a MY DYING BRIDE release through and through but the chunky guitar riffing offers a bit more of an energetic upgrade on many tracks including the opening “Her Dominion” and the lengthiest track on board, the 11 minute and 22 second “The Apocalyptist” which evoke the band’s return to some of the death-doom sounds that brought them into the world’s scene in the first place. The album features all those slow-burners of course with the weeping violin lamenting the tales of woe and despair but the diversity not he album gives A MORTAL BINDING a nice spicy return to the classic style of the band that once had a fiery passion to keep the BRIDE from falling into the grave.

As such MY DYING BRIDE always walks that fine line between exhilaration and ennui as the tight wire balancing feat is something that requires the ultimate finesse to maintain the attention span of an ever-increasing A.D.D. listening public and while the last few albums seemed to simmer on cruise control, A MORTAL BINDING hits me in all the right ways and gives me faith that the band still has a second wind that will propel it into a new era of prosperity however it is true that there will come a time when the band will have to rebrand itself as MY IMMORTAL BRIDE because whoever this mysterious maiden is, she seems to have a life support system and has discovered the fountain of youth while so many have crashed, burned and become buried. While A MORTAL BINDING certainly won’t be declared the band’s triumphant comeback of the century, it more than offers enough magic mojo by my discerning ears to grasp onto. As i stated it all boils down to the songwriting with this band and on this album the band seems to have put it all together in the right way for my liking. Better than i was expecting to say the least.

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