Mors Principium Est – “Embers Of A Dying World” (AFM Records)
With a lot of the melodic death bands from the 90s now long established and in many cases having moved into new musical territory, I’m glad to see that Mors Principium Est have stuck to their guns over the course of their 5 album career, and indeed, are only getting better every step of the way! Formed in Finland at the end of the 90s, they’ve certainly endured a fair share of line up changes (a possible reason why they didn’t get bigger) with only drummer Mikko Sipola remaining from the original band. Nevertheless, the quality of their material and musicianship has always garnered comparisons – and noted respect – to that of At The Gates, In Flames and Gardenian. Strangely enough though, I wouldn’t draw any parallels to that of their fellow countrymen in Children Of Bodom, as I’d say the latter are more harsher and their melodies more folky, although this definitely leaves plenty of room for Mors Principium Est! “Embers Of A Dying World” certainly gives them every opportunity to take their place among the greats, being a classy release definitive of the style rooted from whence they came. The perfect synthesis of brutality and beauty, expect the usual double bass drumming rampages, chopping riffs and Ville Viljanen’s throat strained vocals (along with a few gutturals thrown in) like on the aptly titled ‘In Torment’. But the latter is what truly sets apart the great from the good, and Andy Gillion’s guitar is the all star package here: from bringing majesty to the symphonic bliss of ‘Into The Dark’ to the futuristic prog splendor of ‘The Drowning’ by dexterous fret board work, passionate soloing and heartfelt harmony. On ‘Death Is The Beginning’, Viljanen doubles with a female counterpart to passionately deliver the quintessential beauty and the beast effect, but again, it’s Gillion’s guitar that drives the temperament of the tune with its magnificent scaled melodies definitely evoking memories of In Flames in their glory days, evidenced all the more in the more speedy delivery of ‘The Ghost’ – superb! With sterling work here Mors Principium Est have returned even more impressively than ever with their latest masterpiece!