Misery has always been part of My Dying Bride’s musical stance. Yet the process of writing this new album was overshadowed by personal misery and other circumstances, resulting in an album written mainly by guitarist Andrew Craighan. During the years long process, singer Aron Sainthorpe had to deal with the cancer diagnose of his daughter, bassist Lena Abé was on maternal leave and guitarist Calvin Robertshaw and drummer Shaun Taylor-Steels left, both at their own time, without further notice.
Although all these things left their scars and obstacles during the song writing and the recording of this new album, it most certainly must have given inspiration. The Ghost of Orion is a varied album, with a lot of typical MDB elements, but also with some new musical ideas.
The violin has a good prominent place on opening song Your Broken Shore, an atmospherical song, where Arons different vocal styles are displayed with fire. It took me a few listening sessions to get used to his clean vocals, that sounds different then on previous albums. Then again the harsh vocals are more deathening, out-of-this-world dark and frightening.
To Outlive the Gods is a typical MDB-title, yet the song reminds me of Katatonia; darkish but very accessible. The same goes for Tired of Tears. Nice songs, but not very surprising nor as dark as you might like a doom/death album.
To make you wonder even more what you are listening to, next song The Solace, is totally different again. A slow song, with a simple but pleasant guitar arrangement, sung by Lindy-Fay Hella of Wardruna, as far as I know the first MDB-song with only female vocals.
The Long Black Land and The Old Earth are again good examples of doomy song writing, build up like a ghost story and performed with the emotional and musical depth that is so fitting with this band. Both last over ten minutes.
The song that named the album, in an early stage called A Ghost Crawls from the Mouth of Orion, later shortened to simply The Ghost of Orion, is an instrumental one, almost in classical music style. Basically the quieter songs feel like moments of contemplation, moments of some sort of peace that give time to digest the previous raging songs.
Closing song Your Woven Shore seems to counterpart the opener Your Broken Shore. A short angelic song that would musically fit on a ‘spiritual chill out’ album, yet thanks to the cello-addition still fits well to the mood of the album. It also immediately makes clear how the band has overcome all the events that came on their path during the long process of writing and recording this album. The band is more at ease, peaceful almost, or as Sainthorpe puts it: “We’ve had everything thrown at us but we’ve managed to come out the other side smelling like roses.”A good album for the fans, but also a great one to get to know them.