Review Summary: The cohesive integration of a driving concept, talented instrumentals, and melodic undertones make The Unborn a prime example of properly executed melodic death metal.
Mors Principium Est is a Finnish melodic death metal band that incorporates a strong orchestral keyboard element into their sound. Guitarists Jarkko Kokko and Jori Haukio offer a plethora of swirling leads and solos with accenting riffs, while drummer Mikko Sipola follows the duo’s lead, serving up thrilling fills and pounding beats behind the kit. Vocalist Ville Viljane had a relatively tough start on the band’s debut album Inhumanity
, but with time he has gained a noticeable amount of confidence and a renewed delivery that’s certainly much smoother around the edges.
The band’s sophomore release shows a band that has written the best songs of their career in many ways concerning instruments, melodic vocal lines, symphonic background textures, and a general sense of a perfect and cohesive album-fit. The Unborn
moves as one unit, gracefully flowing from one track to next--each riff and beat to each subsequent vocal line and symphonic key in perfect sequence. A listener can play the album through and walk away with a full experience; never a drop in consistency to be heard or noticed.
Those coming with a prior listen of the band’s debut will be amazed with the change and development to be found throughout The Unborn
. Opener “Pure” is simply bombastic and a prime example of melodic death metal done correctly. The song features an angelic vocal part that surprises the listener from the onset before Ville comes in with a growl that sends shivers up the listener’s spine. The song’s pounding riff is beat into the listener mercilessly, and the melodic song structure leads the listener down the six minute track that then flows effortlessly into second cut “The Harmony Remains”. The album moves along in such a manner; each song offering up a new feel and direction, before effortlessly switching paths to guide the listener down a new previously undiscovered suit.
The melodic choruses to be found on the The Unborn
are actually catchy and memorable. Too often do bands throw in a chorus here, or insert a catchy rhythm there, just to say they have a melodic element within there sound. Here it is different: the melodic undertones are actually an equal contributor to the sound in the music--not just an add-on. Melodies found in the keyboard-lead “Two Steps Away” or the self-realization track “Altered State of Consciousness” will indent themselves, as well as the accompanying music, into the listener’s head. Mors Principium Est do not lose the integrity of their music as many of their contemporaries often do when these melodic elements are integrated in the wrong way.
Keyboard integration can often be a hit or miss affair when it comes to metal, but fortunately the band spaces their cards out equally, giving each instrument equal prominence and sound in the mix. Though some skeptics might disagree, there are many areas here where the symphonic keyboards actually make the music happen--primarily in the aforementioned opener, “ Pure” and the album’s title track. The title track begins with a swirling build-up of strings and marks the return of the female vocalist of the opening track who encourages the impending onslaught in the background and steadily gains intensity with the rest of the mix. Ville comes in with a snarl just as the song climaxes with, 'We are the one who will lose!
, and what is the album’s best track continues on with a driving force that dares any opposition to stand in the band’s way. The album closes with the surreal instrumental “The Glass womb”. The track features a mild build-up and distant angelic vocals that serves as a metaphorical tie-in for The Unborn’s
interwoven theme as an album.
This album is a fantastic display of perfectly proportioned instrument-integration, as well as how to carry a common feel and direction in an album while still being able to have individual songs that can stand just as well by themselves. The muscians within Mors Principium Est are extremely talented; each having grown drastically since the band’s initial debut in 2003. I can’t wait to see where their path in music will take them. In a genre that borders and confuses too many elements of other music types such as metalcore and thrash, Mors Principium Est prove that they know how to deliver properly executed melodic death metal in the form of their sophomore release The Unborn