They emerged again in 2020 in prolific fashion. First with powerhouse ‘The Ghosts of Orion’ in March, and now following up quickly with an epilogue that bookends the year as only they could. EP ‘Macabre Cabaret’ is a short and sweet offering at 3 tracks, but its draped in a dark undercurrent that draws you in.
They kick off with title track ‘Macabre Cabaret’, an epic dirge. Opening up with sombre chords from a church organ, the track is joined by slow, lumbering guitars wading into the mix.
It focusses more on atmosphere than sheer heft, with a lot of breathing room given to vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe. His slow drawl carries out over the music in an ice-cold drone. Sorrowful harmonies come to match his voice, giving it an almost droid like feel.
It flows over you like being slowly swallowed by a deep, dark treacle. It’s certainly effective, although the band sound as though they’re somewhat operating within their comfort zone.
This is followed up by more guitar centred ‘A Secret Kiss’. Where previously we had ethereal misery, this track brings out the heaviness of that more traditional My Dying Bride sound. The guitars sound crushing. A singular keystone riff plays out through most of the song, spilling out like a dreadful pulse. This is met with a low heavy vocal that sounds like it could rip a hole in the vacuum of space. It’s a must-listen.
Closing out the EP ‘A Purse of Gold and Stars’ provides a change of pace. The majority of the track leans on the violins of Shaun Macgowan and some downcast spoken word. It’s considerably mellower and an unexpected yet enjoyable turn. Slowly cavernous drums start to build before the song peters off into a somewhat anticlimactic ending.
These tracks are not the band at their most pioneering, but they still make for a satisfying dive into the murky waters only My Dying Bride can conjure up. It’s jet black gothic tone is somewhat addictive, leaving you wanting that little bit more as the final notes ring out. And at the end of the day, isn’t that just what an EP is meant to do? 3.5/5
‘Macabre Cabaret‘ is out NOW via Nuclear Blast. Order your copy here.