Symphonic metal is a genre that for many is hit or miss. Many bands attempt to successfully put orchestral instrumentals, or instrumentals of the same sort, and mix it with their brand of metal. A band that pulls the sound off very well is Mors Principium Est. The Finish band released their sixth full-length last year, titled “Embers of a Dying World”. This album manages to blend symphonic melodic death metal with black metal and some neo-classical influence to create a truly unique product. “Genesis” serves as the intro to this album, and is a slow orchestral build that leads into the first full track on the album, titled “Reclaim the Sun”. This song opens with a nice guitar riff, and builds into an epic feel that populates most of the album. The production on here is also very nicely done, and is able to mix the extreme metal and classical orchestral parts very well.
“Masquerade” is the next song on here, and this is where the black metal influence is shown off. The vocals, which are fairly standard black metal vocals, are met with riffs and songwriting that while it sounds taken right out of the playbook of European black metal, still manages to feel unique when mixed with the epic orchestral backbone. This leads into “Into the Dark”, a song that begins in very epic fashion, before launching into a song that relies on slower pace and melodic lead guitar. The guitarwork on here, as with the rest of the album, it top notch. “Death Is the Beginning” is the next song on here, and this is the band putting the melodic side to their sound front and center. With some very well-done female cleans, to the orchestral sections becoming a lot softer, this song shows the band changing things up a bit, and it works very well. Up next is “The Ghost”, which opens with a soft piano. This song is eerie as hell, and uses the black metal side of their sound create that dark and eerie vibe. An awesome opening guitar riff kicks off “In Torment”.
This song is very fast paced, and features, once again, some very good writing. “Agnus Dei” serves as an orchestral interlude, leading into the final two cuts off of this album. “The Colours of the Cosmos” is heavy and fast, but also features a melodic lead guitar, and the band balances the heaviness with the melody very well. This album ends with “Apprentice of Death”, which kicks off with and orchestral intro, before launching to a song that is epic and heavy as hell. The writing on here is rock solid, and unlike the previous songs, it puts the orchestral sections front and center instead of using them to beef up the background. This gives this track a different feel, and pulls that epic feel to heights the band previously failed to reach, and ends this album on a very high note. This is a great album. The use of orchestra may be a turn off to some, but this is not an album to sleep on.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Sam Hookom