MY DYING BRIDE — A Mortal Binding (review)

MY DYING BRIDE — A Mortal Binding album cover Album · 2024 · Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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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siLLy puPPy wrote:
48 days ago
Yeah. I'm a fan. Heard em all and this is the best one in quite a while
Nightfly wrote:
48 days ago
Really like this one. A band I've dipped in and out of over the years but not followed religiously, this has impressed me more than any of their other recent offerings.


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