Katie Stone joins My Dying Bride as their new keyboardist, and also brings violin back into their sound for the first time in a good long while. (Would you believe it hadn't featured in their sound since Like Gods of the Sun?) This is well suited for what is, for the most part, one of the most gentle and intimate releases from the band.
"Gentle" isn't usually a term used in metal - especially not in doom metal - but it's apt here, with the band allowing more quiet and acoustic moments to work their way into their sound and keep proceedings varied. In fact, this album might see Aaron Stainthorpe's most diverse vocal performance yet.
Lest you think that they've lost their teeth, though, there's still some grim surprises to be found in here - in particular, A Chapter In Loathing represents My Dying Bride's deepest dive into the depths of black metal up to this point.
If I had one criticism of the album, is that it's sound is just a little *too* diffuse; each My Dying Bride before this one has its own particular sound, but this time it's not really clear what overall atmosphere they were going for. Still, with a collection of songs this good, that's a minor complaint.