Review Summary: Blooming from a phoenix's ashes.
Mors Principium Est's "Embers of a Dying World" is compelling and brimming with an unbridled sense of serenity. It's not groundbreaking. No envelopes are being pushed, and it's safe to say Mors Principium Est is thinking rather inside the box on this album. What makes this record just so damn enjoyable, however, is just how well they execute all you expect from a melodic death metal album. You expect some fun catchy riffs and occasional shreds, you expect mid range snarls and inflections of sweet melodic cleans, and this album has no shortage of these qualities. This band is unrestrained in its ability to give you the absolute best of each of these common sounds of melodeath.
Really, sometimes there isn't anything wrong with working with what you know, using the foundations that bands like Dark Tranquility, At The Gates, and (old) In Flames helped to form (not to take away from Mors Principium Est's role, that is). If this means an amalgamation of glorious, stellar riffs and arpeggios that rear their head from time to time, such as those found off of "Death is the Beginning" and "In Torment", what is there to be dissapointed with? The riffs are the perfect balance between being simple and catchy and being blazing and technical, showing immense levels of innovation while sticking firmly to their roots. If they are sounding like the star of this album, it's because they really are. They manage to remain at the forefront of the album, and yet they don't ever create that sort of "musical shroud" where other instruments are essentially buried. This shows how knowing how to remain creative while not necessarily hogging the show can really pay off.
Working in conjunction with the incredible guitar work are some nasty, beastly snarls. They don't hit some really spectacular ranges, so you will not see a lot of variation, but the mid-to-high gutturals off this album are convincing and vibrant. Something similar can be said about the drumming off this record-there aren't any truly wild fills, nor are there many ridiculously intricate drum patterns, but they are supplemental to the foundation of the album. Not such in a manner that they hug the guitars and remain tasteless and boring, but more so that they know when that extra bash is needed to give a song some extra power. They're heavy hitting, occasionally pummeling, but are generally just well paced, even if this means a certain level of restraint.
As atypical as this album is, the biggest level of brilliance on this album is the melody. They have female leads on the album on a few occasions, and this woman (Maiju Tommila) has the voice of a seraph. She croons some of the sweetest pieces of this album, and as relatively rarely as she appears, when she does it truly elevates you into euphoria. Accompanied by solos that crescendo in gratuitous magnitudes of grace and some light and aloof synths playing in the background, there are pieces of this record that take you into a land unlike the world were in today. One where evil and sin haven't tainted the minds of anyone, where everything is peaceful and people live harmoniously. While we may never have a world like that, we have "Embers of a Dying World" and that sure as hell is close.