The umpteenth album (the thirteenth, to be exact) of one of the bands that, in one way or another, has accompanied you for over twenty years along the winding paths of existence, is always an appointment to which you come with hopes and fears equally divided. Having to talk about My Dying Bride trying to remain objective becomes for me quite difficult: it seems like yesterday when, with a super 8 video camera, I filmed the first expressions and the blissful unawareness of my newborn daughter, with that masterpiece The Angel And The Dark River as background music. After twenty years and a lot of life and too much road behind, finding Stainthorpe and partners again at the height of the splendor achieved in those days has been a joy that goes far beyond the mere musical aspect. I can’t deny that, for about a decade now, My Dying Bride had become a dear memory of my youth rather than a band capable of accompanying me on a daily basis: other names in the doom field had replaced them in my preferences, being able to communicate painful emotions that the masters of Halifax seemed no longer able to reproduce with the same evocative power. Feel The Misery puts ours back to the place that belongs to them, that is the guide and reference for anyone who ventures in a musical field that provides sap and spiritual nourishment to that well-hidden swarm of sensitive souls, romantic and restless. It will probably be a case, but the discovery of a configuration more or less similar to that of the golden times seems to have contributed not a little to the success of the album: the return in the line-up of one of the founders, guitarist Calvin Robertshaw, together with the consolidation of a Shaun Macgowan splendid protagonist with his violin (and a sort of reincarnation of Martin Powell that was), contribute to recreate those atmospheres that refer directly to the last decade of the last century, when the gothic decadence of My Dying Bride was a magnificent and indelible trademark. And My Father Left Forever, opening track of the album, immediately escapes any residual perplexity about the inspiration of the band: the sorrowful and melancholic pace of the sound and the typical Aaron’s vocal timbre are equivalent to a sort of longed-for return home after a prolonged absence, to the reappropriation of something that has always felt its own and now polished after being covered for some time by a veil of dust. The difference, in Feel The Misery, is the newfound ability of My Dying Bride (already partially exhibited in A Map Of All Our Failures) to propose a batch of songs relatively enjoyable, even in the usual leaden environment. The vocalist alternates his usual, but unique, suffering voice to a growl always convincing, standing out as a protagonist in the context of a work however of the whole, in which each musician seems to offer the best of himself without the need to overdo.
If the opener is a magnificent track, the same can’t be said of the following To Shiver In Empty Halls thanks to a melodic line of great impact, while A Cold New Curse and Feel The Misery seem almost complementary in their involving but, indeed, rather similar pace, especially in the initial parts. The second half of the album is, in my opinion, even better than the one that preceded it: A Thorn Of Wisdom is an emotional, atmospheric and melodic track that can’t leave you indifferent, I Celebrate Your Skin changes face at several junctures, keeping as a common trait an exasperating and intoxicating slowness; I Almost Loved You is equivalent to the pearl For My Fallen Angel (from Like Gods Of The Sun), with Stainthorpe and Macgowan’s violin to build walls of tears on a touching piano carpet, while Within A Sleeping Forest is not only the only track that exceeds ten minutes of duration but it is really the closing of a circle, with its strong and inspired reference to the sounds of the first seminal albums of My Dying Bride. Honestly, I find it hard to stop listening to Feel The Misery, even though I am aware that for another hour the bewilderment and dismay of a tormented soul will be my only company. But doom fans ask for this, nothing else, and being wrapped once again in the veil of the dying bride will be an exclusive pleasure reserved for these lucky ones.
2015 – Peceville Records