Interviews

March is Metal Month: My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe Discusses All Things Doom Metal with MetalSucks, and Andrew Craighan Shares His Personal Spotify Doom Metal Playlist!

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My Dying Bride March is Metal Month

March is Metal Month! For the fifth year in a row, MetalSucks is teaming up with a variety of other outlets to offer great deals on metal albums, songs and merch throughout the entire month of March. Throughout the month, MetalSucks will interview a celebrity metal musician about the subgenre in which he specializes — AND we’ll be featuring a Spotify playlist put together by that musician, focusing on the subgenre in question!

You won’t have to pay a darned thing to listen to these playlists, but you will need to have a Spotify account. Spotify is available to all for free — but if you pay a measly $4.99 monthly fee, you won’t have to listen to any advertisements, and a $9.99 “premium” subscription also increases audio quality and allows mobile access, which is well worth it if you ask us. Sign up for Spotify now if for some reason you haven’t yet.

Below, check out our final celebrity interview and playlist, featuring two members of My Dying Bride! First vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe lets us pick his brain regarding all things doom; then guitarist Andrew Caighan supplies a playlist, at the bottom of this post, that features nine destructive doom metal songs on it. We just know you’re gonna love it. Enjoy!

You’ve obviously been involved with doom metal for a long time now. How did you get into the genre in the first place?

I read a review of Nightfall by Candlemass upon its release, and it was a solid ten out of ten. Further reviews in various magazines also heaped praise on this slab of utter misery, giving it a clean sweep of full marks from everyone. I just had to have it – and when I heard it, I fell in love with it! It’s bloody epic!

What differentiates doom from other genres of metal? Are there things that make it better than other genres? Worse?

There is often a lot of passion and feeling in doom songs simply because of the nature of this genre, with lamentations and dirges spreading word of downfall and misery to all. “Normal” metal is fairly upbeat and foot-stomping – music to get you moving. But doom is much more the thinking man’s metal.

One of the key characteristic of doom metal is that the lyrics are pretty much never celebratory nor funny nor angry – they’re just sad. Do you find most people in doom to be melancholy in their lives? Is it hard to shake the sadness of the lyrics at the end of the day?

I have found that doom metal band members are often quite chirpy and outgoing people who mostly leave their bemoaning to the recordings. Face to face, they can be an enlightening bunch of folks, and not the moribund souls their music would suggest they are.

From your perspective, how has doom evolved over the years?

I don’t really think it has much, to be honest. I mean, where can it go? It’s heavy, slow, miserable and melancholic – simple. Coming at it from slightly different angles helps keep it a little fresh, but at the end of the day it’s got to be DOOM, and that’s that. We throw in a little gothic and a dash of death metal with even a pinch of black metal to embellish our particular style, but of course that then alienates us from the more traditional doomists. But we can live with that.

Is there a particular regional scene of doom metal that you think is/was particularly interesting? Of course, you’re British, but how do you feel about, say, Finnish doom, or Southern sludge-doom?

I’m far from an expert on worldwide doom, so it would be churlish of me to start ranting about the varied qualities of territorial doom, including it’s sub-genres … except to say that I often listen to a band’s music before I bother to find out where they are from, as that can sway your final decision regarding the quality of their work. If you’ve heard a Finnish doom act and were not overly impressed, that may taint your view on that country’s offerings, which is unfair to a degree. If the feeling is right and the band have got the math spot on, then you’ll love it no matter where it hails from. And to sum up – I can’t tell the difference anymore!

Doom metal is one of the only subgenres of metal to have its own subgenres: funeral doom, stoner doom, sludge, drone, etc. What do you make of the way the genre has splintered into so many subgenres? Is there one, or ones, that you find more interesting than others?

They all have their own little foibles and quirks which some love and others hate, but if there is enough variety within their own world, then that should stay the interest. I can only listen to so much of one thing before I need a change of ear-scene, so no one in this business is perfect in their craft. Naturally, hailing from the misery of England, I like a bit of the darker sort of doom, with gothic overtones and a leaning towards poetry and frilly shirts. But then, I am kind of old fashioned.

Besides My Dying Bride, who do you think are some of the best doom bands of all time?

Candlemass most certainly. Celtic Frost have a some serious doomy moments, but they are also not a total doom band.

Best doom albums?

Candlemass — Epicus, Doomicus, Metalicus 
Candlemass — Nightfall 
Trouble — Skull and Run to the Light

What’s up next for My Dying Bride?

The Manuscript EP is due out in April/May 2013, and will be followed by Summer festivals and our first jaunt to South America. And towards the end of the year, we’ll begin writing a new album, as we’re positively overflowing with ideas right now.

ANDREW CRAIGHAN’S DOOM METAL PLAYLIST

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