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Doom Metal

My Dying Bride

My Dying Bride is a veteran English doom and gothic metal band known for serpentine compositions, dark, brooding atmospherics, beautifully produced recordings and a theatrical stage presence. Though they began as a “slower-than-usual” death metal band with brutal recordings such as 1993’s As the Flower Withers and Turn Loose the Swans, the slow, dark, atmospherically brooding nature of their later recording such as 1999’s The Light at the End of the World and 2001’s The Dreadful Hours were invested with both classical and romantic themes, and found them ushering in gothic metal; they were also a prime influence on the second wave of doom metal alongside Anathema and Paradise Lost, the so-called “Peaceville Three” (all three bands were signed to the label at the time). 2006’s widely acclaimed A Line of Deathless Kings ushered in a new form of acoustic doom rock, while the charting A Map of All Our Failures in 2012 brought the roar of electric guitars back to the fore. By the time they released 2015’s Feel the Misery full-blooded, 21st century doom metal was the only sound in evidence.

The Angel & the Dark River
In 1990 in Halifax, England, My Dying Bride came together when guitarist Andrew Craighan and drummer Rick Miah split from Abiosis and joined vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Calvin Robertshaw. After releasing a four-song demo just six months after forming, they got the attention of the tiny French independent Listenable Records, which issued their debut 7″ single “God Is Alone.” The record sold out its press run almost instantly and impressed Peaceville enough to sign them. Their move away from death metal occurred upon the release of their 1992 full-length debut As the Flower Withers, but their sound continued to evolve, becoming slower, moodier, and more tragically poetic. Later recordings such as 1995’s The Angel and the Dark River, 1998’s experimental concept offering 34.788%… Complete, and 2000’s The Dreadful Hours cemented their place. They became a sell-out touring attraction and a festival stage headliner with a stature they have maintained since. With 2008’s A Line of Deathless Kings, their sound attained a new level of softness while retaining its emotional poignancy and theatrical melodrama. 2102’s A Map of All Our Failures was a return to form with its roots deeply planted in gothic rock and brought to the bleeding edge of doom.

Towards the Sinister
My Dying Bride formed in June 1990. The four-piece first recorded the demo tape Towards the Sinister, and after the release of a 7″ single for the French Listenable label, the group signed to Peaceville Records in 1991. My Dying Bride’s first release was a 1991 EP, Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium. Debut album As the Flower Withers appeared the following year, and after touring Great Britain and Europe, the band released another EP, The Thrash of Naked Limbs. Third album Turn Loose the Swans coincided with another European tour, after which the band disappeared for a year. In the meantime, Peaceville issued a box set titled The Stories as well as the three-EP compilation Trinity.

Like Gods of the Sun
My Dying Bride returned later in 1995 with The Angel and the Dark River, also available in a double pack with a live EP. The band’s fourth album, Like Gods of the Sun, appeared in late 1996; 34.7888%…Complete followed two years later, and My Dying Bride was issued in early 2001, along with The Dreadful Hours. After Songs of Darkness, Words of Light in 2004 and just prior to the release of A Line of Deathless Kings in 2006, drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels departed the group due to health concerns. He was followed by bassist Adrian Jackson in 2007, as well as session drummer John Bennett. My Dying Bride rounded out the group with Lena Abé (bass) and Dan Mullins (drums). They released An Ode to Woe in 2008, with For Lies I Sire arriving the following year.

In 2011, MDB celebrated their 20th anniversary by releasing Evinta. The album, it was claimed, was 15 years in the making and resulted in a double-CD (and special-edition triple-CD) collection of all new music, arranged “to the soundscapes of sorrows past and hopeless futures.” Frontman Aaron Stainthorpe recorded new vocals to some older melodic and textural ideas with help from French soprano Lucie Roche. Evinta’s material was arranged by keyboardist Jonny Maudling (Bal-Sagoth), who co-produced the album with Stainthorpe and guitarist Andrew Craighan.

The Manuscript
After a European tour the band immediately re-entered the studio with producer Mags (Robert Magoolagan) and engineer Grant Berry. They wrote and recorded 14 songs, ten of which appeared on A Map of All Our Failures in the fall of 2012. The remaining four were released as an EP entitled The Manuscript the following year. In 2014, after returning home from an American tour, the band announced the firing of guitarist Hamish Glencross; he was replaced with founding guitar player Calvin Robertshaw. My Dying Bride celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2015. They returned to Academy Studios in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, the site of some of their earliest recordings. In July they issued the video single “And My Father Left Forever,” followed in September by their twelfth studio album Feel the Misery. Just after its release, Stainthorpe’s daughter, just five years old at the time, was diagnosed with cancer. Shocked and heartbroken, he put all band activities on hold. In March of 2017, the band announced they had signed with Nuclear Blast Records. The same year, drummer Dan Mullins left and was replaced by Shaun Taylor-Steels, who held down the kit chair from 1999 to 2006, and performed drums on A Map of All Our Failures in 2012 as a session member. In May of the following year, My Dying Bride released a retrospective box set entitled A Harvest of Dread, comprised of five discs’ worth of rarities, early works, previously unheard pre-production demos, band favorites, and live audio. They also released a reissue of their initial Towards the Sinister on vinyl for the first time with original cover art, lyrics, and rare photos on red wax. Towards the Sinister was My Dying Bride’s first professional recording.

The Ghost of Orion
In early 2018, My Dying Bride were able to regroup following positive news that Stainthorpe’s daughter was in remission. Suddenly, without warning, Calvin Robertshaw texted his resignation from the band. In December, Taylor-Steels departed right before the band were slated to enter Mark Mynett’s Mynetaur Productions studio. Down two members, My Dying Bride moved on and cut the album The Ghost of Orion with bassist Lena Abé, Craighan, Shaun Macgowan on violin and keyboards, Jeff Singer on drums, and Neil Blanchett, who was added during the recording process as the band’s new guitarist, though Craighan recorded most of the album’s six-string parts. My Dying Bride also enlisted guests including Wardruna’s Lindy-Fay Hella on vocals and backing vocals and Jo Quail on cello. In January 2020, the band issued the advance track “Your Broken Shore”, and followed it with “Tired of Tears” on February 7. On March 6, Nuclear Blast released The Ghost of Orion.