"Few bands can compete for sheer atmosphere and elegiac beauty": Doom metal legends My Dying Bride stay the course on gorgeous - if a little predictable - new album A Mortal Binding

Doom metal legends My Dying Bride are still as gloriously miserable as ever on their fourteenth studio album, A Mortal Binding

My Dying Bride 2024
(Image: © Press/Nuclear Blast)

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Now well into their fourth decade, My Dying Bride have produced a remarkably consistent output. Aside from 34.788%… Complete, which followed Paradise Lost into more experimental waters at the end of the 90s, the gloom lords have worked on steadily defining and refining their core elements. 

This means that they’ve never made a bad album, but it can also make them a little predictable. Their last album, 2020’s The Ghost Of Orion, was a triumph in the face of adversity. Line-up changes and vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe’s family situation – his daughter underwent treatment for cancer, and thankfully recovered – made its very existence a cause for celebration. 

Musically, A Mortal Binding picks up very much where that left off. There’s been another change on the drum stool but returning producer Mark Mynett also adds to the sense of continuity. Her Dominion kicks things off with a stately march and a weighty riff that Shaun MacGowan’s violin weaves darkly lustrous lines around. Thornwyck Hymn imbues a Lovecraftian theme with melodic siren song, while The 2nd Of Three Bells is epically poetic and sees Aaron’s dark, velvet vocals depicting ‘The angel of the cruellest watch / The bearer of the final bell’. 

The singer’s Byronic lyrics and rich vocal performance have always been a standout part of MDB’s offering, and he sounds ageless here. The croons ache with wearied emotion and the guttural growl still retains its power. There are plenty of such growls peppered through the album, but the death metal aggression has long been smoothed from the music. 

This is mostly fine; few bands can compete for sheer atmosphere and elegiac beauty, but there are a few times when the perfectly measured songs could benefit from an injection of dynamic shifts. Even so, this is My Dying Bride doing what they do best and, familiar though it is, there’s a lot to like about that.

A Mortal Binding is out April 19 via Nuclear Blast.

Paul Travers has spent the best part of three decades writing about punk rock, heavy metal, and every associated sub-genre for the UK's biggest rock magazines, including Kerrang! and Metal Hammer