The Ghost of Orion

The Ghost of Orion

Fourteen albums is an impressive feat for any band, but it’s especially so for British death/doom pioneers My Dying Bride. In the years that have passed since their last full-length, 2015’s Feel the Misery, the band lost two members—including original guitarist Calvin Robertshaw—while vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe’s young daughter was stricken with cancer. “It was as tough as you can imagine it to be, and worse,” Stainthorpe tells Apple Music. “Thankfully, these things are all behind us now for the most part—she’ll require medication for the rest of her life, but we’re moving forward.” Stainthorpe and guitarist/main composer Andrew Craighan channeled their struggles into The Ghost of Orion. Below, the singer takes us through their heart-wrenching creation. Your Broken Shore “In the past, because we were young and trying to be technical and clever, we put the weirdest song as number one. But ‘Your Broken Shore’ kind of ticks all the My Dying Bride boxes: It has some slow elements, some midtempo elements; it has death metal vocals, clean vocals, it has quite a nice chorus. It's not too long—I think it's seven-odd minutes, but for us, that's average. The idea behind the song is that your world is fractured. You’re not sure where your future is going or who your friends are. The album ends with ‘Your Woven Shore,’ which is about your life coming back together. But obviously we’ll get to that later.” To Outlive the Gods “This one is a bit vampire-y, the idea being these two lovers consider their bond to be so great and eternal that they can outlive the gods. They're arrogant, almost. But within the track, things go a little bit pear-shaped. It didn't quite work out how they expected it to. It’s kind of a midtempo affair, and there’s no death metal vocals on it—which, of course, some people might be slightly disappointed in. But, you know, we try and get a balance. I think we’ve got it just right here. I hate to say it, but I think it’s a future classic.” Tired of Tears “This is the only song on the album that’s directly influenced by what happened to me and my daughter. It was a terrible time. I could have filled this entire album with moments from that period, but it would have killed the album for me, because I would have never wanted to listen to it and I would never want to sing any of the songs live because it touches a real raw nerve. But I had to express my thoughts about that period somehow on the album. You know, we spent so long in hospital, and you will physically ache after crying for such a long time. And it's exhausting. It is absolutely draining, and I wish it on nobody.” The Solace “We’ve got Lindy [Fay Hella] from Wardruna on this one. She has an amazing voice. We sent her the music, and she came back with this great composition. The first time I heard it, I thought to myself, ‘That is a magical piece of music and it needs no more.’ Because I was considering doing some vocals on it myself, but once I'd heard this sort of duet between Lindy and Andrew’s guitar, I thought that's all it needs. Let's not over-egg the pudding. We have got a magical piece of music, period. And I think and hope that we've done it right.” The Long Black Land “It’s a song about questioning whether or not God is real, but without beating people up about it. I’m not trying to be overly controversial—because, you know, opinions and all that. I’m not anti-religion, because I understand that people need religion to help get through the day-to-day existence of life. You know, life can be punishing. If you find the church a help, that’s absolutely fine. But I struggle with organized religions that have got so much money—they have picture frames made of gold—when there’s people starving in the world. So, yeah: Do we need God? Is God real? But without being too shouty about it.” The Ghost of Orion “This is a weird one. Maybe it’s a throwback to our old days when we were just trying to go against the grain a bit. And it’s got sort of an almost biblical quality. When you read certain passages from the Bible, some of them flow beautifully—like Shakespeare. Despite not being a particular lover of the Bible, there’s no denying that some of the way it’s written is truly magnificent. I want to be able to write like that. So ‘The Ghost of Orion’ is kind of me gazing up at the stars, thinking about the world in general, and kind of writing about it in a biblical fashion. But without too many ‘thou art’ and ‘thine mother’ and all those tropes.” The Old Earth “This is equally biblical. While I was writing, my daughter was still recovering. So I wonder now if I’ve been writing these songs looking for an answer. Looking at them now, months after the event, I can see that these look like they were written by someone who doesn’t know whether God exists or not. So clearly, there is more of this period of my life in here than I thought. I thought ‘Tired of Tears’ was it, but it isn’t. There’s a lot more. Reading the lyrics now, it’s starting to come back to me.” Your Woven Shore “This is an instrumental, and I never considered putting words on it. I needed the album to end on some kind of higher platform. Maybe because there aren’t any lyrics to influence where the listener is going, it will leave people with an overall positive feel about the album. Because when I do say things, they’re normally not very positive. They’re quite pessimistic at times. I would have had to end it with a sneer or a snarky little line that would have just annoyed people at the end. So we needed to let them down gently rather than push them down. And it’s a lovely piece of music.”

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