Live review: My Dying Bride / Oceans Of Slumber / 40 Watt Sun

Upper Street hosts a night of gloom and grandeur

My Dying Bride on stage
(Image: © James Sharrock)

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My Dying Bride shows are a rarity these days.

Fortunately, the British veterans are shrewd enough to ensure that every time they do venture out into the wider world, their performances feel special and very much to be cherished. The presence of 40 WATT SUN [7] as openers makes laudable, skewed sense, the British trio’s heartbreaking, slow-motion drift echoing MDB’s languorous gait while offering a much more stripped-down and fragile study of dark nights of the soul and their sonorous impact. They pitch tonight’s set just right, letting the spectral wash of minor chords and murmured pathos settle on an entranced crowd like poisonous snowflakes. This is the first time OCEANS OF SLUMBER [8] have played in the UK, and despite an initial lack of guitars through the PA, they could hardly do much more to win over a potentially partisan audience. Singer Cammie Gilbert is a star (albeit one who could do with speaking a bit more loudly and clearly between songs) and her bandmates’ prog metal explorations provide her with a vivid and dramatic backdrop. From a surging Winter to a final, spinetingling reading of Nights In White Satin, this is a triumphant first foray on these shores. They will be back and you won’t want to miss them.

Aaron Stainthorpe brings the debonair to despair

Aaron Stainthorpe brings the debonair to despair (Image credit: James Sharrock)

Last year’s Feel The Misery album confirmed that MY DYING BRIDE [9] are on peak form at the moment and even though frontman Aaron Stainthorpe remains doggedly acerbic and self-deprecating, tonight’s performance is as imperious and affecting as fans have come to expect. The sound is huge and immaculate, the surroundings fitting in with their eccentric grandeur, and once again there is twisted magic in every snail’s-pace riff and deft melodic embellishment.

New songs like And My Father Left Forever and To Shiver In Empty Halls already stand shoulder to shoulder with the revered likes of She Is The Dark and The Cry Of Mankind, but it’s arcane surprises like the vicious Erotic Literature and a closing, monumental Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium that most powerfully reaffirm just how spellbinding this band can be when their sails billow with dark momentum.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.