MY DYING BRIDE's Aaron Stainthorpe: The Artists That Made Me
Celebrating 30 years of epic doom death misery in 2020, My Dying Bride battled lineup shuffles, studio fatigue and unthinkable personal tragedy to release their long-awaited 13th studio album The Ghost of Orion, which drops on March 6th through Nuclear Blast.
Aaron Stainthorpe has been at the heart of the band since day one, lending his distinct vocals to now classic doom albums Turn Loose the Swans and The Angel and the Dark River. His style is unmistakable, but his influences vary in fascinating directions.
Stainthorpe caught up with Metal Injection for a deep dive into the artists that shaped his signature sound, one that has carried through and evolved with three decades of My Dying Bride.
Candlemass – Nightfall
At the very height of Death Metal supremacy, Candlemass had the audacity to release their doom classic Nightfall and to hell with the consequences. It naturally paid off and this slab of darkness will live with me, and many other metal fans, forever! It is so well crafted and executed that the entire album is faultless from start to finish – and those vocals!
Celtic Frost – Into The Pandemonium
The ambience and sheer madness that this band conjure is pure poetry to me. A wide range of styles are incorporated on this slab but it’s their overall lasting impression that moves me to write. All the ambient flourishes which highlight the metal work so perfectly along with the visual cornucopia of their LP covers.
It was the storytelling in particular that really got me into Maiden. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" being one of their stand-out moments. Taking the Coleridge classic and putting their own stamp of identity on it was genius, and it is so well done taking the listener on a journey of peril and anguish. This track got me into telling tales as well as crafting ‘normal’ lyrics.
Bathory – The Return
This LP was one of the first extreme metal records I ever heard and it blew me away so much I simply wanted to recreate it myself. The power and ferocity took hold of me, and despite being a lover of slower, more thought out music, the rawness of this inspired me to get my death metal vocal on. Singing was one thing – screaming your nuts off until your eyes popped was another!
And odd inclusion here you may think but there are a lot of metal heads into this band, and for very good reason. Just the never ending morose tune after tune all moribund and dejected. I loved the miserable sods and bought not only their albums but as many 12” and 7” singles as I could because they often contained rare songs. I was even a member of their fan club back in the day, such was my desire to consume everything they had.
Bohren & der Club of Gore
Doom Jazz. Yes, that’s what you get with these guys, and it’s so relaxing and laid back. Many an evening have I nodded off on the sofa listening to their soft out-pouring of piano and sax to name just two of their many instruments. Again, it is the atmosphere created that pulls me in – it’s so melancholic but beautiful like a forest covered in heavy snow.
Dead Can Dance
Marvellously well crafted pieces of music sung brilliantly by two of the most haunting voices in music today, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. The first CD I heard was The Serpents Egg and that one has remained a personal favourite all these years and is a recording I put on when I want to write a new lyric or poem as it changes the ambience of my writing area from harsh and modern into a warmly creative atmosphere that I long to be in. This LP will be on repeat until I have sated my appetite of words.
The mind of Michael Gira is a complex entity and it shows in his creative output, particularly in this format – his band SWANS. Lyrically complex and aurally challenging in places, Gira makes you work for your pleasure and it’s often an uncomfortable ride, but ultimately worth it. When I saw them live a few years ago I had no idea of what was going on but I loved it all the same. It’s carnage in places and utterly fascinating and bewilderingly beautiful.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Solo, full band, side-project: Grinderman, all of Nicks outings have graced my CD player at some point as I have equally welcomed them into my senses at live shows, and I have yet to be disappointed. From the brash Jangling Jack to the sumptuous Push The Sky Away, Nick covers all ground with his offerings and delivers up the kind of lyrics we can only dream of attending. A talented pianist too means his solo shows are like laments to the world and the dust that gathers upon all of our backs.
A writer before a singer but coaxed into performing by friends deeply moved by Cohens’ poetry, who thought it would translate well in the current climate. His vocals are far from perfect but that simply doesn’t matter because it’s how he translates his text into the performance that really counts and boy, can you tell he’s a passionate man. With a career spanning 60+ years there is a lot to listen to but the more you seek, the more gold you find.
My Dying Bride's The Ghost of Orion is available worldwide March 6th.