My Dying Bride – Macabre Cabaret – EP Review

Artist: My Dying Bride

Album Title: Macabre Cabaret

Label: Nuclear Blast

Date of Release: 20 November 2020

Not content with releasing an incredibly strong and emotionally-wrought full length album earlier in the year, Yorkshire’s gloom and doom merchants have returned this autumn with a three-track EP entitled ‘Macabre Cabaret’ that provides fans with another twenty-plus minutes of dark, soul-crushing melancholy. Huzzah, I say. Bring it on.

Those that read my review of ‘Ghost Of Orion’ will know that it struck a chord with me and I lavished it with much praise, ultimately awarding it with a score of 93%. Of it, I concluded:

“The more I listen, the more I fall in love with the music that these experienced musicians have created. It has become a constant listening companion over the past week or more, a week where I discover new words, new meaning, new subtle musical nuances within the songs and in so doing, I take it to my heart ever more fondly.”

I think it is fair to say that the quality shown on the full-length has found its way onto this EP also, which is a wonderful thing to report. One also hopes that this three-track venture was the result of a more collaborative writing process, following the line-up changes and personal trials of the band leading up to ‘Ghost Of Orion’. Either way it shows that unlike the music itself, there’s no sign of My Dying Bride slowing down anytime soon.

The EP, which coincidentally is adorned with beautiful artwork, opens up with the title track. It is a beast in terms of its length, clocking in at ten minutes exactly. But it is also a beast in terms of what it offers the listener. A prominent bass line duets with an organ, before a typically powerful, lumbering, lurching riff kicks in alongside Aaron Stainthorpe’s clean vocals. I love the fact that we get to hear plenty of his snarling growls on this composition too, lending an even more aggressive edge to the music. There’s a Gothic splendour to the quieter sections of the song, as keys, synths and echoed instrumentation bathe the listener in a dark and unsettling minimalist soundscape.  

If I had a favourite song on this EP however, it’s be ‘A Secret Kiss’. I love the chunky riffs, and the pinched harmonics are a bit of a weakness for me. Then there is the understated melody that’s led by layers of vocals, creating a hypnotic feel. If anything, this track is heavier than the opener with some seriously crushing guitar notes as well as a vocal approach that’s more aggressive and spiteful than just about anything on ‘Ghost Of Orion’. Or at least, that’s how it feels, as there’s a death metal vibe at times to accompany the more familiar doom of My Dying Bride.

Final track, ‘A Purse Of Gold And Stars’ is a much more atmospheric affair. There are no guitars to speak of, as the song prefers to take a different approach. It is significantly different but nonetheless, thanks to the deep spoken word tones from Stainthorpe, it carries an echo of ‘For My Fallen Angel’. Here, it is pianos, dark, dystopian sound effects, and later, a strong drumbeat surrounded by string orchestration and choral effects. Delicate and disquieting in equal measure, it works and shows a different side to My Dying Bride that we all know is there, lurking under the surface.

As a bonus for 2020, ‘Macabre Cabaret’ is an excellent one. It underlines the strength of the band, as well as their hunger to create more material. But it isn’t just material for material’s sake – the three tracks that comprise ‘Macabre Cabaret’ are more than worthy successors to ‘Ghost Of Orion’, further underlining just how lucky we are to have a band like My Dying Bride making music for us all to enjoy. Revel in the doom and gloom, people, for the nights are becoming ever-longer as we head inexorably into the dying embers of 2020.

The Score of Much Metal: 89%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Sólstafir – Endless Twilight Of Co-Dependent Love

Communic – Hiding From The World

Wolverine – A Darkened Sun

Avandra – Skylighting

Pyramaze – Epitaph

Necrophobic – Dawn Of The Damned

Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night

Draconian – Under A Godless Veil

Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede

DGM – Tragic Separation

Perduratum – Exile’s Anthology

Carcass – Despicable EP

Mors Principium Est – Seven

Cult Of Lilith – Mara

Helion Prime – Question Everything

Soul Secret – Blue Light Cage

Enslaved – Utgard

Dynfari – Myrkurs er þörf

Amaranthe – Manifest

Kataklysm – Unconquered

Structural Disorder – Kingdom Crossing

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment Of Chaos

Prehistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter One)

Ihsahn – Pharos

Hinayana – Death Of The Cosmic
Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber
Okyr – Premorbid Intelligence
Manticora – To Live To Kill To Live
Pain Of Salvation – Panther
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium
Unleash The Archers – Abyss
Veonity – Sorrows
Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
Ages – Uncrown
Awake By Design – Awake By Design
Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
Gaerea – Limbo
Buried Realm – Embodiment Of The Divine
Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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