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.