Before we get started I have to admit something. Sometimes when I discover new music I really dig it but somehow end up not listening to it very often. And that is exactly what happened when I heard Finnish melodic death metal quartet Mors Principium Est for the first time a couple of years ago. Therefore I must say that despite knowing they have released some great things in the past I can’t pretend I’m very familiar with all of their previous work. However, as I’m writing this, the bigger part of me feels like the compositions on this new release are very much in the line of what we got to hear on Dawn of the 5th Era, their 2014 full length.
Our readers who aren’t familiar with this band may want to know Mors Principium Est is a melodic death metal band releasing their 5th album since 2003. Despite or perhaps due to several band members coming and going they are still making great records. However, they currently haven’t got any tours in the approximate future to promote their work.
Embers of a Dying World
Genesis is not only the beginning of the bestseller referred to as ‘the Holy Book’ but also the opening track of Embers of a Dying World. Much like the beginning of all beginnings the one and a half minute long instrumental introduction merely sets the stage for all that’s about to go down. Reclaim the Sun is thus the first real track displaying how symphonic death metal can have a strong hook without losing its heavy roots. In my opinion that is without a doubt the biggest strong-point of this album. The catchiness of this track is likely the reason it was released as a single earlier.
The excellent riff as intro and foundation of Masquerade again illustrates how Mors Principium Est’s technical capabilities don’t overshadow their groove. Next, the off-beat chants from the choir in Into The Dark add the extra epicness that makes this band stand out within a genre that in my opinion often lacks depth. This song to me is without much hesitation the best of a release AFM records will undoubtedly be very proud of.
The Drowning (a digipack bonus song) and Ghost feel a bit more cliché compared to the beginning of the album and Death is The Beginning mostly stands out due to the female singing in the intro. All descent tracks, none of which feels like a filler but just lack that little x-factor that makes a killer. Especially for a self-titled track (Death is the Beginning is the English translation of their Latin band name) it’s just a little unfortunate they didn’t make use of the already proven talent for song writing of guitarist Andy Gillion.
The album goes on with In Torment, a track that makes clear why Mors Principium Est has often been compared to their countrymen in Children of Bodom. The aforementioned Andy Gillion however is English and his introduction to the band in 2011 along with several line-up changes the band had meant increasing influences of bands from different backgrounds. Hints of symphonic metal acts like Epica can be spotted and also the thrash’n’roll from bands like One Man Army and the Undead Quartet make this composition the most diverse on this release. The ‘guitar masturbation’ from the intro probably make the song also the most technically difficult to perform.
After the symphonic metal intermezzo called Agnus Dei the track Colours of the Cosmos nicely sums up what I love about this band. Tapping guitars, thrashing riffs, powerful grunts and drum fills that assure you your neck will be soar the next morning are all part of both the melodic choruses and the thrash-death verses. The album concludes with Apprentice of Death, which starts with a symphonic intro that sounds very much like it could be on an Epica album. The track builds further on it and especially that build-up is what makes this a great way to end this album.
Now please excuse me while I start digging into Mors Principium Est’s earlier releases.
Release date: February 10th, 2017
Label: AFM records
2. Reclaim the Sun
4. Into the Dark
5. The Drowning (digipack bonus)
6. Death is the Beginning
7. The Ghost
8. In Torment
9. Agnus Dei
10. The Colours of the Cosmos
11. Apprentice of Death