Mors Principium Est
Dawn of the 5th Era
05 December 2014
by Pete Long
The key to a good melodic death metal album is a multitude of great riffs, teetering right between wild-eyed aggression and impressible catchiness. But the majority of bands in the genre seem to have forgotten this in their quest to push its boundaries. Mors Principium Est’s new album, Dawn of the 5th Era, is an antidote to that. It’s filled to the brim with great riffs.
That’s because when Mors Principium Est need new guitarists, they search the whole world for them. Frenchmen Kevin Verlay has replaced Kiwi Andhe Chandler as partner in crime to Briton Andy Gillion; it’s a very international approach for a Finnish band. Listen to the bridge on ‘Wrath of Indra’ or anything on ‘We Are the Sleep’ and try telling me it doesn’t pay off. Songs like ‘Innocence Lost’ and ‘God Has Fallen’ show off some of the best Gothenburg riffs written all year. Anyone disappointed by At the Gates’ decision not to reprise Slaughter of the Soul might find the fix they were looking for here. It’s not quite as tightly focused or aggressive as that album, but it comes very close at times.
Of course, for a great album, you need more than riffs. Frontman Ville Viljanen has a raspy, intelligible vocal style, not unlike Mikael Stanne’s, that compliments Mors Principium Est’s thrashy style well. Drummer Mikko Sipola knows both how to fill the sonicscape, such as on ‘Leader of the Titans’, and when to keep it simple. What really marks them out though is their songwriting ability. They let those riffs build and develop for full effect, as with the dark atmosphere created on ‘The Journey’ or the symphonic choruses that come out of the guitar work in ‘Innocence Lost’. It’s the ability to turn riffs into songs that set them apart from most of their peers.
For all its qualities, this is not an album that will propel Mors Principium Est to the front ranks of metal. It doesn’t break new ground and it lacks the tight focus of the classics. But for fans of melodic death metal, this is one of the best new albums they will listen to this year.
Sounds Like: An overblown Slaughter of the Soul
Standout Tracks: Innocence Lost, We Are the Sleep, Wrath of Indra