2022 is just about to end and what better way to close the year with an absolute banger of an album being Umbra Mortis by United Kingdom’s symphonic/ blackened deathcore outfitters She Must Burn.
This band has been around for nearly a decade and it wasn’t until 2018 being introduced to the band after hearing the debut release of Grimoire which was a record I haven’t given a lot of consecutive listens when it first dropped but hearing the album, it impressed me and Umbra Mortis just takes the icing of the cake being She Must Burn’s most ambitious, compassionate, artistic and cinematic driven albums they’ve done to date.
Musically, this album is nonstop oneway punching ticket that is destructive from beginning to end and what really attracted me is the band’s musical direction and talent onto the record is absolutely fantastic which allowed the band themselves to incorporate unique melodies, haunting atmospheric passages and a production so blackened and ghastly, his record is almost perfect to play every Halloween season which in this case you might argue with that statement.
There are moments on the album where you hear different styles the band created since the release of Grimoire anywhere from black metal, gothic metal, death metal and oddly enough some metalcore signatures in the mix but the way they have incorporated those styles of music not only is very structured and appealing, but it’s done appropriately when it must be executed.
From songs for instance such as Incantation, The Serpent, Of Blood & Bone, The Rats in The Wall and the beautifully crafted soundscapes and instrumentation leads of A Truer Hell the compositional work is unique, organic, creative and very articulating to see a band I’ve been following for quite some time to see them grow and get their name pushed to the scene needs to be talked about more often.
Even going into the later-half of the record, you’ll have female clean vocals that remind me very much in the veins of Cradle Of Filth, Jinjer and Neverbloom era of Make Them Suffer in which the vocals do get some time adjusting but the more you listen to the angelic and emotionless attitudes of the singing it makes the album much more enjoyable and needlessly to say I love the dynamics between the clean and harsh voices feeling energetic while keeping their progression and bone-chilling atmospheres naturalistic.
They’ve also contributed a more matured, well-designed craftsmanship in which the songwriting and instrumentation is one of my favorite highlights on this record. Umbra Mortis has once again taken the genre and heaviness for extreme metal to achieve something more greater than it meets the eye and if you’re a fan of the band’s past work then you’ll definitely find something to enjoy.
Review by Jake Butler