Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World (Released February 10, 2017 – AFM Records)
With Embers of a Dying World, Mors Principium Est have produced a grandiose album, much in the same musical vein as King from Fleshgod Apocalypse in 2016. Both albums have a ridiculous amount of pomp and epicness about them but, without an orchestral section, Mors Principium Est rely heavily on synths and keys to produce a larger than life atmosphere over which they deliver a crushing blend of melodic and symphonic death metal.
Hollywood epic is the only way to describe the atmospheric opener, Genesis, as it calls forth images of knights charging in slow motion, setting the scene for the entire album and lifting the listener into the second track. Reclaim the Sun rises from extended introduction, drenched in a sticky synth laden atmosphere, and leans towards symphonic as the keys dance above chugging guitars. Masquerade features a fist pumping beat and a single string lead riff which pushes the song forward at a break neck pace. The albums best solo is found on Into the Dark as it enters with a cheesy tapping lick then quickly breaks into a pure feel section. The suddenness of the change highlighted the contrast of cheese and feel and made both sections more noticeable. Death is the Beginning is a gorgeous mid-album dirge filled with grief and loss. The symphonic elements shine through and create emotion on the track and gorgeous vocals from a female vocalist (Google has failed me on naming her) compliment the harsh growls from Ville. The transition to The Ghost is seamless as it opens with piano, violins, and a choral arrangement. This was the only track I had a problem with, the guitars should have made a heavier entrance after the soft intro, it was weak and the buildup never reached climax. In Torment begins with tech death style sweeping and, along with the final two tracks, Colours of the Cosmos and Apprentice of Death, has the best pure riffs on the album. Colours of Cosmos is a barn burner, the main riff pounding forward, the synths take a back seat and this track feels the most like the early Gothenburg movement and is a needed break from the epicness of the rest of the album. Album closer Apprentice of Death embraces layers of synth and completes the album with a quick but well-executed solo before riding out on a wave synth and guitars.
Embers of a Dying World was the first album to make me take notice of what 2017 may have to offer. It may be several steps below the level of King, but the abject pomposity separates it from the mundane melodic death metal releases and make it a thoroughly enjoyable listen.