Mors Principium Est – Seven (AFM Records)

Thursday, 29th October 2020
Rating: 8/10

Paring themselves down to a duo after six highly acclaimed albums and lineup changes, Mors Principium Est stride into Seven with renewed focus over their established melodic death metal meets modern/progressive outlook. Guitarist/ songwriter Andy Gillion and vocalist Ville Viljanen handle all the instrumental and recording duties – using a multi-tiered approach in multiple studios across Finland, England, and Sweden to reach optimal results. At this point in their career, these ten songs showcase a group determined to elevate the catchy guitar melodies, double down on the heavy/brutality when necessary, and yet also embellish certain cuts with orchestration and progressive flair.

The knack for placing the proper tapping or circular guitar refrain over a steady rhythm guitar foundation puts Andy in rarified air – a student of the melodic death genre when you take in his Gothenburg-like sweeps and European headbanging angles for the opening sequences on “Lost in a Starless Aeon” or the shapeshifting “The Everlong Night”. Certain orchestration sequences give off a bit of a symphonic vibe, but the band is sure to accentuate the death mechanisms through Ville’s patented acidic growls and discernable melodies – making “In Frozen Fields” an early highlight through his rhythmic, stunted delivery against the mid-tempo to slightly faster drumming. A shorter song like “Rebirth” at 3:29 packs a haunting punch, the orchestration and churning riffs register with more of a horror-induced cinema atmosphere although Andy’s quick lightning lead break gives off an interesting Andy LaRocque/traditional vibe. Church organ and subtle choir-like movements open the closer “My Home, My Grave” – a six-minute plus affair featuring blast beats, a killer, traditional-like twin-guitar instrumental segment and a vicious death/doom conclusion that keeps the listener attention throughout.

Probably able to move in the way they wish due to less conflicting concerns as a two-piece on the studio front, Mors Principium Est are a steady act in the melodic death genre, willing to add a progressive piece that keeps much of their material from monotone or stagnant status. Seven should allay any fears of wild left field turns for output – especially for those who have been steady supporters of the band for decades now.

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