REVIEW: MORS PRINCIPIUM EST – “Seven”
Perhaps one of the most saturated subgenres today, melodic death metal has always been something of a love-or-hate situation in the metal world. From the likes of Children of Bodom to early In Flames, everything in the style has been milked over and over again…or has it? Definitely one of the most prominent and creative bands in this genre, Mors Principium Est goes beyond of just being fast and putting out some guttural vocals in a power metal-esque type of playing. Instead, melody and aggressiveness are intertwined to form a semi-unique sound already characteristic to the Finnish band, which comes out as a breath of fresh air.
Now just a duo with singer Ville Viljanen and guitarist Andy Gillion, Mors are back with their seventh album, fittingly titled ‘Seven’. Musically-wise, it’s a continuation from where they left off with ‘Embers Of A Dying World’ (2017): An almost progressive melodeath combined with plenty of orchestrations that, used sparingly, never drown in a boring symphonic wankerfest nor hurt the main protagonist of the album, which is brutal riffage and somber songwriting.
Songs like “March for War” and “Master of the Dead” perfectly reflect this duality, allying speed with heaviness and raw, but proficient performances by the duo. Gillion steals the show here – and throughout the entire album for that matter – with plenty of creative riffs and spot-on programming. The bass lines sound organic and provide a perfect background element alongside the keyboards and orchestrated parts, while the drums played by guest musician Marko Tommila are what you would expect from a Mors release.
What makes ‘Seven’ so good is that it edifies over Mors’ past releases and further brings their sound to something more mature and apocalyptic, each time taking their sound to a darker place and further away from the basic, outdated fast and “happy” melodeath. I would trace a parallel in similarities to bands like Be’Lakor, Insomnium and Wolfheart in detriment to the more well-known stalwarts of the genre like the already mentioned Children of Bodom or current Hypocrisy.
In fact, the ability to easily transition from speedy to heavy, from melodic to brutal is probably the best facet here. “The Everlong Night”, for instance, even add some breaks in the tempo, while “At the Shores of Silver Sand” brings out a sadder approach to the instrumental and songwriting.
What we have here is a fine-tuning of what was already being done by the Finns. The choruses are catchy and the riffs are aggressive; add to that the all-star work in the orchestrations and programming and we have ourselves a winner. From the atmospheric beginning on “A Day for Redemption” to what is probably the best way Mors have closed a album yet on “My Home, My Grave”, every element in the album fits perfectly with one another, forming a complex, mature and fun-to-listen final product.
‘Seven’ shows why Mors Principium Est is one of the deities of melodeath out there today, and the album steamrolls you from start to finish with no room to breathe. The Finnish (now) duo have knocked it out of the ballpark once again with brilliant songwriting, great instrumental moments and stellar individual performances. One of the best melodic death releases of the year so far.