Sometimes I feel like an outsider in this world of ours. A world consumed in materialism, a world that sifts through raunchy reality television to justify its own pathetic life. A world that’d rather fight the “good fight” on social media than duke it out in the streets. Don’t get me wrong, I like my shit, I like my escapes, I like my fights. I don’t hate movies, but hate going to see them. I don’t hate television shows but never look forward to watching them. I don’t hate video games but would rather spend my time doing anything but that. I may be acting older than I really am, but I just don’t give a shit about any of it. Organizing my evenings around a shitty show filled with burned-out actors just doesn’t do it for me. But, like everyone else, I do have vices. I waste a ridiculous amount of time every day listening to music. Stellar or exquisite, boring or horseshit, I’d rather listen to an album or two than do anything else. Sure, I get paid tens-of-thousands of dollars to listen to music, but I can’t get enough.

And, I’m assuming, if you keep coming back to AMG for your daily fix, you can’t get enough either. Be it black, death, grind, prog, power, or even dreadful djent, you’re sure to find something here that’ll please your questionable tastes. And even if you don’t agree with my tastes and I don’t agree with yours, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Hell, even the writers can’t agree on shit these days. Every writer has their favorite bands and favorite genres and our regular readers know that. So much so they seem to know our tastes better than we do. So, it’s probably not surprising to anyone that I’m reviewing (and loving) the new Mors Principium Est record. Especially when you compare it to my top picks of 2016. This is my bread ‘n’ butter and MPE‘s crushing melodeath (from Inhumanity to their new record, Embers of a Dying World) is as much a part of me as my gray hair.

It doesn’t matter how good or “bad” a release MPE dishes out, I’m sucked in from the opener to closer. And it’s no different with Embers of a Dying World. “Genesis” opens the album with orchestral atmospheres that build and build until they explode into “Reclaim the Sun.” Not as powerful an introduction as the one on …And Death Said Live, but the synths and orchestrations do remind me of 2005’s Unborn. Which ain’t a bad thing, in my opinion. “Reclaim the Sun” pulls itself away from “Genesis” and spears you headfirst in the chest. Not surprising, the band gets things rolling fast with their signature combination of aggression and melody. The Hypocrisy-esque “In Torment” and the fist-pumping “Apprentice of Death” take queues from the opener, dishing out their own moody assaults on unsuspecting eardrums. The choruses are catchy, the riffs are beefy, and these melodeath ditties are up there with some of the band’s best. If I had to pick a favorite, though, it would have to be the closer. If there is one song that defines Embers of a Dying World, it’s “Apprentice of Death.”

Spread throughout the disc, you’ll also find classic MPE numbers writhing in pain. The band knows how to riff, but they also know how to put the feels on someone. If you’re looking for building tracks that use massive riffs to force oodles of melody down your gullet, look to “Masquerade” and “Into the Dark.” If you want gentle, piano-driven numbers that mix female leads with anguished rasps, call upon “Death is the Beginning” and “The Ghost.” The first two are the types that ascend higher and higher, steamrolling over you again and again before finally climaxing in thick waves of guitars, drums, and face-melting vocals. The other two turn to keys and strings to get their points across. But “Death is the Beginning” takes it to the extreme. It’s also one of the most unique songs the band has ever written. The piano may not be new to the band, but the heavy use of female vocals is. The result is a damn-near melodeath ballad. It’s different, but it works. So much so that it’s one of the album’s highlights.

The only songs that don’t seem to work are the super-lame instrumental “Agnus Dei” and bonus track “The Drowning.” The former wishes it was 5th Era‘s “Apricity” and the latter wishes it was back on the Children of Bodom record it was taken from. Other than that, this record is another solid outing from this Finnish outfit. In the grand scheme of things, their two previous releases are stronger, but Embers ain’t that far behind them.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: AFM Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 10th, 2017

  • antitayyip

    nice cover..

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Kinda like Vermeer’s Astronomer…. Or, a rather desiccated astronomer.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        He should have worn sun block.

  • Listenting to that right now, I do have the feeling this album is two men’s work, Andy Gillion and Ville Viljanen only, not a band as a whole.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    MPE might have the longest streak of great albums in melodeath. None of their albums falls below 3.5, to me.

    • This is exactly what I was thinking ! Totally agree on that

    • Westpaceagle

      High praise indeed…now I must revisit

    • Agree 100%! They can do no wrong!

    • basshole

      They lost so many key members, including their original mastermind.. Nothing really touches The Unborn or Liberation.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        …and Death Said Live is my favorite (and my no.1 album from 2012). Simply amazing musicianship. The Unborn is also, excellent, I agree.

        • basshole

          I will have to go back to that one..

  • mtlman1990

    This gets a 4 from me. I miss good melodic death metal like this. The genre filled with so many bad bands these days

    • Reese Burns

      If you’re into MPE, you might also be able into Brymir. They’re pretty good and use clean vocals very sparingly. Breathe Fire to the Sun is probably their best album.

  • Zach Ward

    If you’re “Loving It” Why’d you only give it a 3.5 Hmmm??? Caught ya right in dis lie bruh.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I can love 3.5s. I love them almost as much as 4.0s.

      • Zach Ward

        Love is reserved for the 5.0s You may think you love it, but that love is a Lie #exposed.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          We have different definitions of “love.”

          • [not a Dr]

            But it wasn’t love…
            She was possessed, POSSESSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            My metal is not getting any younger and you promised an article on this.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I’m working on it!!

          • [not a Dr]

            I need to read that to feed my confirmation bias.

        • [not a Dr]

          Loving means accepting the weaker parts along with the awesome ones. This illustrates it perfectly:

  • Reese Burns

    I’ve only heard the two singles so far, but I’m chewing my nails waiting for the album to drop.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I’m streaming it on Spotify now (Canada). Good stuff!

      • Reese Burns

        I realized about half an hour after posting that it’s out on iTunes, definitely digging it!

  • Benevolent Sun

    I give it a 4. The whole album flows like a fine ale straight from the tap into my ear-mouth. Tasty!

  • Troy Putland

    Read this review like it was a 4. Can’t wait to listen to this! Feels likes ages since Dawn was released.

  • Strepitous

    The Ghost is a great tune

  • Eli Valcik

    Not too big into Melodic Death but the video had a really nice redhead in it so I had to give it a couple of views.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I hear you in that opening paragraph. Sometimes I think it’s Anhedonia, except my love of music remains as strong as ever.

  • Greg Hasbrouck

    Caught them live on 70K. Excellent live band.

  • robpal

    Another very solid MPE release that I enjoy a lot. My main “problem” with them is that they constantly record high quality albums but they haven’t released anything truly spectacular (ok, “The Unborn” is awesome, but still)..

  • Levly

    I gotta say I’m less ennamoured with this record than with the last two. Some great songs, but some pretty bland ones as well. They’re still one of the best and most consistent melodeath bands around and I’ll always be a fan, but this record is still a step down IMO.
    Reclaim the Sun kicks so much ass, though…

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I agree.

    • Luke_22

      Yeah I tend to agree, I still need to spin it more but on early impressions seems to lack the speed and energy of the past couple of albums. Might be a grower though.

    • Hammersmith

      Exactly this. Unborn is still probably their pinnacle record so far, but Death said Live was killer along with the last one. The new record is good, but feels safe and samey.

    • Matt McMadden

      This record lacks the venom and aggression of the last two. The thin production doesn’t help.

  • Kevin Taylor

    While their last two efforts are good on their own, this, IMHO, is their best since The Unborn. All their albums have one track that’s an “ok” filler track, but The Unborn and Embers flow so well.

  • Ronnie James Dio Linnane

    That first paragraph….I’ve never related to anything so much in my life

  • Wilhelm

    There’s nothing too bad here, but like most modern MDM bands, it’s unimpressive and simply average, then again I never enjoyed bands like soilwork or the accessible version of the genre. There needs to be a new wave of actual melodic death metal bands, with a visceral drive, attitude, and songwriting skills…until then, this old man will be listening to my Gates of Ishtar and Desultory Cd’s.

  • Levly

    From the snipet I heard on iTunes, the bonus track The Drowning sounds pretty lame indeed, but the Japanese bonus track, a cover of Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca (I know, right?!) is surprisingly fun and awesome :). Check it out on Youtube!

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      They covered “Livin’ la vida loca”? It must be really hard to tell crazy and sane people apart in Finland. Of course I had to listen to it. Strangely enough (or not) it sounds like Children Of Bodom.

      • Levly

        Apparently they have form: I just saw that they covered The Mamas & The Papas on the last record and the freakin’ Backstreet Boys on the one before, haha.
        Sure those songs are way happy, but the blending of poppy melodies with melodeath energy turns out really well I gotta say.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Come to think of it, the blending of poppy melodies with melodeath energy has been the modus operandi of quite a few bands: Soilwork, Scar Symmetry, Sonic Syndicate, and almost the whole Finnish school of Melodeath.

    • Kalsten

      I cannot find it :(

      • Levly

        Apparently the youtube video as been blocked by the label in most countries :s

    • Unholy Impetuous Ritual Plague

      Yeah i wasn’t impressed by The Drowning. It was ok, but it was a good thing they removed the track.

  • Tofu muncher

    dayum guys, I have a family to feed.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Feed ’em tofu!

      • Tofu muncher

        we don’t classify things we munch as food, unfortunately.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Great review as always!
    Though I gotta say I always end up wanting to like these guys more than I actually do..
    Good they opted not to release this one in December though.

    • SegaGenitals

      Same. Competent, though unmemorable.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Taking into account Murphy’s Law that comment about gray hair sounds like a challenge to balding.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Gray hair’s got nothing on balding. I’ll back down.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Like the Peaceville Three, there should be a name for the Holy Trinity of Finnish Melodic Death Metal, Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum and Mors Principium Est. Preferably with some pun using the “um” termination.

  • Dagoth_RAC

    I found “Death is the Beginning” (English translation of Mors Principium Est, right!?) to kind of bog things down. My brain tends to wander during that song. I think taking things down a notch mid-record to add some variety, prevent ear fatigue, and add some arching album-wide structure is always nice. But the song just doesn’t work for me. I *love* the rest, though.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      It is an interesting song. Took me awhile to get it. It does bog things down for me, as well. But it has grown on me.

    • Kalsten

      To me, that song was surprisingly good. Maybe it is the lyrics, but it grabed me and made me feel things that I would not expect to feel when listening to Melodic Death Metal. I really like it.

    • Josh

      I didn’t like it at first but that solo at the end is pretty amazing.

  • sir_c

    This one leaves the same impression as DT’s Atoma. It’s not bad at all, but it doesn’t get me excited either. It is too much on the safe side of good to be excellent. Which is a pity, cos I do like melodeath.

  • Talibu

    The Japanese release has a dynamic tange of FOUR – this album is completly unlistenable with headphones.

  • Bernard Zalac

    Good review!
    Never heard of these guy’s before, I like this album and based on other comments its time to review their older stuff as well!

    • Unholy Impetuous Ritual Plague

      Definitely check this bands discography out.

  • Unholy Impetuous Ritual Plague

    Another amazing album. The Ghost is my favorite.

  • Wilfred Holmes Albright

    Why no love for the drums and bass? I have watched this video 3 or 4 times, since the review was posted, and can’t get over the awkward absence of the rest of the band!

    Love this song though. First time hearing MPE. Immediately did some more research, and purchased 5th Era.