What would you do if there were six men in the band initially but now it’s just only two? Gathering a new line-up? Put the band on hold and concentrate on solo projects? Or still continue to work, even with such minimalistic line-up? Musicians from Finnish Melodic Death Metal band Mors Principium Est chose the last option and released their new album succinctly named Seven.
Mors Principium Est (“death is the beginning” from Latin) was formed in 1999 and released already seven albums for 21 years. The line-up was changed many times and it just happened that in 2020 only vocalist and lyrics’ author Ville Viljanen (which took a role of producer also) and British guitarist and songwriter Andy Gillion stayed in the band. They also recruited Marko Tommila as a session drummer for this album.
Musically, Seven is a Melodic Death Metal with a focus of melody and rich symphonic arrangements, which not prevail in music but emphasize the mood of the songs and create an atmosphere greatly. It can be heard already in the opener “A Day For Redemption” that shows what to expect further: symphonic intro with tragic keyboards transforms into dynamic Melodic Death with catchy melody, Ville’s harsh vocals, powerful riffs and tough drums. The next one “Lost On A Starless Aeon” is also dynamic and very melodic but more melancholic in its mood and guitar riff is heavier riff than in previous one. However, the Sweden Melodic Death Metal school can be heard clearly in this song.
“In Frozen Fields” also combines melancholic mood with heavy guitars but orchestral samples don’t allow the song to get brutal and it fluctuates between atmosphere and heaviness; also, the epic solo guitar here sounds more like taken from some Power Metal song. Quite the same happens in “Rebirth”: it’s dark, rigid and sometimes it gets even ominous, with the tragedy, emphasized by the orchestra and technical solo. In fast-paced “March To War” Melodic Death brutality – a toughness of music fits great with a toughness of words – is accompanied by symphony and memorable melody. It its turn, “The Everlong Night” use the symphony to create the mood and thanks to it, the sadness can be felt in this song or rather aggression suppressed by melancholy.
Tragic instrumental “Reverence” divides album in twain and after it starts a little bit controversial song “Master Of The Dead”. I’d call it Power Metal, if not Ville’s growls. At the same time it can be said that such vocals don’t fit the music but anyway it cause some doubts. Nevertheless, if we put aside an affiliation with one or another genre, we have a very melodic song with relatively simple, fast riff and great work of drummer Marko Tommila.
“At The Shores Of Silver Sand” begins as classic Melodic Death: fast, brutal, with harsh vocals and some good melody but after a minute all heaviness is gone, leaving just and orchestra with sad violin. Later guitars are back, of course but the pace is slow now and the song becomes epic (that emphasized by guitar solo). And the ending “My Home, My Grave” with very cinematic intro is one of the heaviest song in Seven, with quite brutal riffs and drums, which deliver some blast beats periodically. Nevertheless, it also has a quite catchy melody and some keyboards on the background keep the atmosphere, created in intro.
Some fans reproach Mors Principium Est in some “sameness” and as for me they particularly right. But on the other hand, the dynamics of the songs, a skillful use of symphonic elements and good melodies make it more than compensated. Besides this, on the background of disappointing from last years Children Of Bodom and In Flames, Mors Principium Est give exactly what the fans of the genre wants: it’s a Melodic Death Metal in its “classic” (or rather accustomed) meaning. And one thing: I sincerely hope that this band will continue to exist, even in such abbreviated form and will not become a solo project of some member. Of course, Ville tells about some 2021 tour plans with live musicians but 2020 isn’t gone yet and you can’t be sure for your plans.
Seven was released on October, 23 via AFM Records.
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