Gothic doom metal masters My Dying Bride return to the pure sound of darkness with their new full-length album, A Mortal Binding, via Nuclear Blast Records on April 19th. With seven tracks, this album maintains that somber focus on each song, creating a seductive sonic thread between the music and the vocals, the main characteristic of the gothic movement that has defined them throughout their entire career since their 1990 formation. With two video clips already released,“Thornwyck Hymn” and;“The 2nd of Three Bells,” you already have a glimpse into the album’s direction. Listening to Aaron Stainthorpe’s deep and agonizing voice accompanied by the atmospheric soundscapes, the record becomes an acoustic dance full of obscure, painful, and gloomy notes painted within the lyrics.

One aspect that has distinguished My Dying Bride throughout their existence is not being intimidated by the minutes, with extremely long songs in most of their works.A Mortal Bindingis no exception, with the shortest song within the entire album, “Her Dominion,” clocks at 6:10. The track opens doors of the lament with an introduction that doesn’t go unnoticed thanks to the ethereal sound of the guitar. This harmonizes with the drums to create a somber tone, immediately capturing the listeners’ interest. Stainthorpe’s haunting delivery commands attention by pronouncing an impressive, agonizing voice.

The album continues with the two singles mentioned above, where the drums take over the scene with percussions faster than usual in this style of music. At the same time, the guitar focuses on a continuous sinister and melancholic strumming, where Stainthorpe’s clean voice can be heard in all its splendor.

Different guitar arrangements introduce the track “Unthroned Creed,” adding an element of surprise. However, they revert to a more repetitive pattern as the song progresses. The baritone vocals, paired with the atmospheric and deep bass, maintain an operatic-theatrical tone throughout the album. Following this is the album’s longest track, “The Apocalyptist,” clocking in at 11:22 minutes. Its melodic introduction evokes a sense of peaceful times, but raspy vocals shortly shatter this tranquility. This voice disrupts the harmony, revealing the lyrics’ sinister regret and conjuring memories of thorns and pain.

This is undoubtedly the best song on the whole album due to the integration of different musical factors. It breaks the repetitive patterns that most gothic metal bands tend to follow and has several sonic surprises throughout the composition, which are worth listening to several times.

The final two songs of the album, “A Starving Heart” and “Crushed Embers,” feature introductory instrumental passages capturing the listener’s attention. As the tracks progress, both provide a sense of nostalgia and darkness, executing a perfect symphony. Eventually, they transition into vocals conveying lamentation and grief. However, these vocals don’t deviate significantly from the overall darkened style executed throughout the record.

The sound of the strings in many songs stands out, breaking from the usual monotony of this musical style. Accompanied by the bass, they give the band’s sound the depth needed for dark and stormy compositions.

Overall, the entire composition of the album is a gothic dramaturgy worthy of a theater in the dark centuries, evoking the feeling of walking between hidden corners far from light and hope. Musically without major variation from what we are used to from the group, this album does not hesitate to surprise thanks to moments of musical breaks lightly departing from their signature style. Meanwhile, the record maintains the distinct baritone voice accompanied by an intense, constant, and deep bass through the hands of the Japanese-British Lena Abé. The final sensation that A Mortal Binding delivers makes it worth listening to under dim-lit candles on a rainy and dark day, where you can only be seduced by the unfolding of haunting and attractive music.

My Dying Bride’s ‘A Mortal Binding’ is available to pre-order here.