“The female is such exquisite hell”: The Romantic Agony of My Dying Bride
The atmospheric heavy metal band My Dying Bride was formed in West Yorkshire in the summer of 1990. The various poetic personas that lyricist Aaron Stainthorpe adopts are similar to the tormented, neurotic, and obsessive narrators that define the poetry of Poe, Baudelaire, Swinburne, Coleridge, and others. A close analysis of My Dying Bride’s lyrics supported by interviews with Stainthorpe reveals how deeply the band is indebted to Romanticism in the band’s conceptualizations of femininity and exemplifies how earlier literary forms continue to influence contemporary culture. While the band’s lyrics resurrect several specifically nineteenth-century stereotypes regarding womanhood, this chapter argues that Stainthorpe’s lyrical approach is feminist, for most of his personas misunderstand female power and suffer as a result of their limited or misguided perspectives.