With the release of The Unborn in mid-2005, Mors Principum Est (I'll say MPE, it's rather long) brought a breath of fresh air to a declining Melodic Death Metal genre. Formed in 1999, this is MPE's sophomore album, and it is one hell of a release. This could possibly be the one album to refresh the sound of Melodic Death Metal, and get more youth into its very 'seasoned' populace. The obvious At The Gates influence is here, but on crack - the riffs on this album are catchy and ridiculously fast. This is a furious trip to hell and back, but with the MPE's signature industrial element, hell seems to be a very beautiful place.
Therefore, I guess a proper metaphor for MPE's The Unborn would be a forest fire - reckless, destructive, and merciless; yet entrancing. This album will burn you in a most memorable way.
After debating with myself for a while, I decided that a traack by track review of this album wouldn't be possible - nothing on here seems worthy of anything less than a five. What's the fun in a TBT if there's fives across the board? I'll give you a brief history of The Unborn's high points.
begins with a simple, yet melodic guiar riffed harmonizing with the keyboards for added emphasis. Under this layer of sound is a pounding, relentless drum line focusing on bass and toms, always there no matter what the rhythm and lead sections are doing. Then, it stops. The drummer taps a few cymbals, the keyboards recede to an atmospheric role, and a woman with the voice of an angel comes in, singing softly for about 20 seconds.
Then the album takes off - MPE's musicians take back the track with a furious round of tremolo picked riffs and blast beats, along with screamed vocals that sound remarkably similar to Dark Tranquillity's Mikael Stanne back in the Skydancer era. Eventually, the lady who sang previously comes back in, providing sheerly beautiful atmospheric vocals behind the main vocalist's harsh growls. They meld perfectly and compliment the lead guitar and keyboardist as well, making Pure
one of the best intros I have ever heard.
Parasites of Paradise
begins with a simple blast beat that begins, ends, and begins again in a frantic cycle. After a few such rounds, the lead guitar comes in, lending this course track a melodic sound. The vocals appear soon afterwards, solely growls and screams done with such emotion that I can think of no comparisons except for Mikael Stanne and Mikael Akerfeldt, two of the best vocalists in metal today. You'll hear the title of this track ringing in your head for hours after its play is done. Well, at least until The Unborn
begins with the keyboard playing a fast-paced, melodic line with a string ensemble sound to it. The drums, guitar, and bass come in a few seconds afterward in a deliberate, mighty crescendo with echoed moans of a distinctly angelic female voice playing off of each speaker in your sound system. With a monstrous growl, the title track is begun.
The song takes off from there, playing several variations from the intro riff at a thrashy speed, and a mixture of Death growls and nearly Black Metal groans coming from the lead vocalist, all shadowed with the doomy voice of the female vocalist. This is a three and a half minute trip to the deepest cricle of hell, the lyrics painting a morbid picture of broken bodies, aborted infants and strangled victims surrounding you as you plummet further and further into the fiery womb of despair. You will not come from this song unsinged.
In recap, Mors Principum Est's The Unborn is original, creative, and emotional. Any fan of Melodic Death Metal, Metal, or music in general will be greatly pleased by this album. It has got everything a metal masterpiece needs, and then some extra originality and experimenting thrown in for good measure. If this isn't at the very least a superb album, I don't know what is. The only con I can possibly think of is that, like all good things, comes to an end.
-industrial element sets it apart from similar bands
-blazing work on guitars and keys
-vocally brilliant, combining operatic female vocals and passionate screams
-original song structures
-some songs seem to end prematurely
-outro not as strong or memorable as intro
Overall, 5/5. A Melodic Death Masterpiece, indeed.