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A lot of people will point to The Unborn as this band’s finest hour, but I disagree. While that album is excellent and a huge step up from the somewhat lukewarm, imitative Inhumanity; Liberation is the mastery of all previous elements.
The biggest complaint many seem to have is the increased use of electronica-inspired synthesizers. While from a melodeath purist standpoint, I can see the gripe. However, I think this element helps Mors Principium Est etch their own mark into the genre. While on previous albums there was a lot of In Flames, Arch Enemy, and Dark Tranquillity worship; this stands out a bit more. “Sinner’s Defeat” and “The Animal Within" are the most cited for these digital additions, but they are among my favorite tracks. If anything, the keys remind me more of Rammstein than some rave-soaked beeps and boops. You can still call that a drawback, but I disagree.
Onto what most of you are here to find out about: the riffs. I try to avoid needless cursing in these review, but holy fuck…the riffs. This was another element that made me choose this album over The Unborn. The guitars are absolutely relentless on this album. Those classic, rapid fire alternations between palm muting and bursts of melodic picking are in full swing here. I have talked before about this style being done to death, but Mors Principium Est have convinced me that there are a few in the new school that can still shred just as hard as Carcass and At the Gates. Speaking of which, “Finality” sounds like it could be right at home on Slaughter of the Soul, but not in a way that sounds like a cheap imitation. Honestly, there is not a track on here that doesn’t rip, but “The Oppressed Will Rise,” “Cleansing Rain,” and “It is Done” stick out the most to me at the moment. They will melt your face.
Another improvement from the last two albums here in my opinion is the vocals. They come through clearer, stronger, and with more variety. The aforementioned “Finality” feels just as throwback to me due to the high barks as the guitar work. There are also low, throaty roars, sing-screaming ala Ensiferum/Children of Bodom, and slow, plodding growls. The lyrics aren’t always totally inspired, but it wasn’t ever distracting. The drumming and basswork are as strong as ever. The rhythm will keep you banging your head, or at least tapping your foot/pencil/steering wheel. Production is clear, but not overly pristine or condensed.
In closing, this album is awesome. It is another album I have to credit for being very focused, at only about 38 minutes running time. From the first listen, these guys had me, and I did not stop grinning like an idiot until the album was over. As someone who is a bit of a purist regarding the melodeath bands I will listen to, this is the only one to start up in the 2000’s that I can really recommend. If you like this, I of course recommend Dark Tranquillity, early Arch Enemy, At the Gates, and early In Flames.
This blows The Unborn out of the water. Liberation = Termination is better produced, better written, and less meandering on the whole. There were no major deviations in the lineup between the two albums save for the drummer, but the third time is the charm in these Finns' case nonetheless.
The funny thing is, there are less keyboards here than ever. I fully understand that many fans probably consider the keyboards the most integral aspect of Mors Principium Est's sonic palette, but this flies in the face of convention in that regard. The guitars primarily manifest themselves as surges of palm-muted, calculated chugging that makes Liberation = Termination heavier than it has any right to be. The deliberate, crushing groove of "The Distance Between" and the melodic swagger of "The Oppressed Will Rise" are two highlights that both stand out on first listen and have lasting power. My personal favorite has to be the instrumental closer "Lost Beyond Retrieval", which features uplifting, esoteric melodies that sound straight out of New World Shadows by fellow-countrymen Omnium Gatherum.
There are still keyboards, and the lack of their constant presence makes the songs that do feature brash arrangements more endearing. The obvious standout in this regard is "The Animal Within", which opens with a dance-drum track, synths, and ethereal female vocals that remind me of Mechina's Empyrean. Viljanen still sounds exactly like Petri Lindroos to my ears, but he is mixed in a more digestible fashion this time around. The vocals are hardly novel or groundbreaking, becoming something of an afterthought once you factor in the guitars and keyboard textures. The guitars have a meaty bite, with good sustain and the wherewithal to drop back during some of the more enterprising lead sections. The leadwork isn't bombastic or overdone, featuring a measured approach most effectively showcased on the short interlude "Forgotten".
Not all of these tracks are winners, but the lack of overlong bore-fests makes it more forgivable here than on The Unborn. "Cleansing Rain" and the quasi-title track "Terminal Liberation" never did a whole lot for me. They are similar in function and form to the other songs, but the leads aren't as ripe or catchy, putting added pressure on the so-so vocals and ultimately going in one ear and out of the other. Tommila's performance on the kit is adequate and superior to Sipola from the last album, but I find that the drums are mixed too loud, akin to later Dimmu Borgir. This is usually a problem with albums produced an Anssi Kippo, and Liberation = Termination is no exception in this regard.
At the end of the day, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Thankfully Mors Principium Est continued in this vein, but how could you blame them when the formula is this potent?
This album starts with an intro that is quite good and kicks into the second track, which has a very powerful first part, but the chorus really is nothing new. It is quite sad that a chorus that sounds like a gospel band around a campfire interrupts the nice, aggressive vocals. Like every other melodic death pop-art outfit, there are once again keyboards and synthetic effects in the background that does not construct an ambient kind of darkness, but rather a shopping mall kind of atmosphere. Oh and please do not forget the rave club kind of keyboards on “Sinners defeat” – what would melodic death metal be without these overrated sounds?!
I love the introspective and philosophical lyrics of “Cleansing Rain”, but the guitars and drums do not produce a sound that really fits with the deepness of these lyrics. The epic fail in this regard is the fact that the band tries to play a typical high-pitched sound with riffs that sound like most of the other songs on this album. I think a more low-tuned approach would have been perfect for this song. In general the guitar riffs on this album are a stagnant wave that are used in order to get the aesthetic features into a fast-paced motion, but the problem is that this motion is so fast-paced that it consumes itself with a kind of inertia.
The last few tracks cause the album to fall down into some kind of kingdom where all the buildings and treasure are made of fake gold. There is really no difference between the unity of the guitars and drums on the last few tracks and any of the other tracks. One would think that since the first few tracks sound pretty much the same, the band would at least have tried to make the last few tracks unique.
A few concluding remarks to sum up this review: The vocals sounded promising in the beginning, but weakness interrupts aggression. The band does not really want to open up and pour the rawness of their souls into the music. There is too much holding back and once again, they are trying to rescue a stagnant melodic sound with technical death metal kind of solos, but this can only work a few times. Not a shit album, but it lacks vision and innovation.
Mors Principium ESt, being one of my favorite bands, is a band that I have high standards for. Why? Because I know they can meet them. When they made The Unborn, there were alot of good reviews for it. The question soon came, 'can they top this album?'
No, but they certainly were able to match up to it. Liberation = Termination, like all of MPE's albums, has it's own style to it, while still essentially being the brutal and technical, yet melodic melo-death we've all come to love. "Inhumanity" had somewhat of a progressive twist to it, "The Unborn" was just straight up melodeath based around heaviness, and their latest album, "Liberation = Termination", adds a bit of thrash into the mix with it's fast drumming and choke-hold riffs.
As stated above, the style is the same, but different. This album is different, as it has an intro track ("Orsus"), a middle instrumental ("Forgotten"), and an end track (the beautiful "Lost Beyond Retrieval"). The riffs are melodic, yet heavy as a 500-lb dumbbell, and in some sections are noticeably technical ("Sinner's Defeat"). Jarkko and Jori definitely put it down on this album. The same can be said about the drums, which only add to the heaviness. They too also provide some fairly "techy" stuff in several sections ("Cleansing Rain", "Terminal Liberation").
Viljanen's vocals are also top-notch on this album. He has his own unique tone to his screams and growls, from the higher shrieks heard in "Finality" (a very fast, yet melodic song) to the deep growls of "The Distance Between" (a slower, more mellow song). The keyboards also help out to make this album the masterpiece it is. It's not just the typical melodeath "Christmas" keyboard lines, either (cough CHILDREN OF BODOM cough), they actually provide atmosphere and help make passages that much more meaningful.
I have no gripes whatsoever with this album, however, I do believe there is room for improvement. I hate to sound like one of those technical death metal fan-boys, but I wish the solos were a tad faster. Not that they aren't fast enough already, but when you have things like "Another Creation" and "The Harmony Remains" under your belt, I think you can pull off something a tad faster than something like "Finality" (which, again, was not bad at all, I just wish the solo was faster).
Aside from that, I highly recommend this album to anyone who wants some fantastic metal. It's got great melodies, heavy riffs, awesome solos, and great drumming. If you ask me, that's what metal is all about.
Mors Principium Est is a Finnish melodic death metal band, but these guys are for real. With their third album, “Liberation = Termination”, they have once again proved their excellence over those poser bands. The musicianship is quite professional, and this is just their third album, mind you. Unlike their former albums, his album has a generally brighter atmosphere, just like its album cover. The production is like their other albums: clean, but not polished.
The vocals have a big difference compared to their former works; this one having rasps and grunts. I like both performed. The grunts are not so deep, yet it feels deep, which is perfect for the genre. The rasps, on the other hand, were done death metal style, which still fits the music nonetheless. The riffs really sound melodic death, but not generic riffs. Their style of melodic death metal is somewhat unique. The drums sound clean and it has good drum fills and double bass too. The keyboards sound like it’s not played throughout, though the music is still very charming.
With the album’s highlights, I can’t say that the other songs are mediocre, but it’s just the highlights rose over the top. First, we have “The Animal Within” that starts with a female voice (with synth beats) that also appears during the chorus. The blending of the melodies has such beauty on it. “Cleansing Rain” also has beautiful melodies, but with a melancholic twist. Yes, even the solo is quite melancholic. “The Distance Between” might be the slowest song here, but its atmosphere is majestic; quite a beauty as a melodic death metal song. “Terminal Liberation” has a fast start, and it goes kind of frantic. Furious and melodic, exactly what this song is.
Although a very good album, I can’t say that this is excellent indeed, for songs here follow their unique formula. Some more innovation might be needed for their songs, but still a very good buy for melodic death metal fans.
Originally made for http://mystifymyserie.blogspot.com
Having the arduous task of following their 2005 masterpiece "The Unborn", i went into this album expecting material equally as good or even better. With expectations high, i was not disappointed. With the exception of Orsus, (Which is just ambient noise) every song is crafted with the prog elements that were evident in "The Unborn", along with the intense rhythmic nature of "Inhumanity".
Ville Viljanen delivers his finest performance. His trademark voice really brings out the ferocity and aggression in each song.
The musicianship on here is nothing but stellar as well. With amazing guitarists such as Jori Haukio, Jarkko Kokko, & Teemu Heinola in tow, the leads, rhythms, and bass leave the listener in a very attentive state.
Keyboards by Joona Kukkola are atmospheric, to say the least, as they allow the songs to take shape. Not like your Christmas keyboards prevalent these days.
Along with intense drumming, courtesy of Mikko Sipola, it all ravages your ears and leaves you breathless. Causing the listener to want to hear what awaits them with each song.
From "The Oppressed Will Rise", "Cleansing Rain", "Sinner's Defeat" to "Lost Beyond Retreval", its an album worthy to be on any top 10, even the top spot on lists later this year.
For a new album, it really encompasses their tenure with Listenable Records by incorporating their previous efforts into an epic record that will, surely, stand the test of time. But with this, comes the departure of a major player in the band. With Jori, who was the main songwriter, now gone. Its going to be interesting how the band will take shape further down the road...
If history proves anything, it won't be short of amazing.
Standout Tracks: The Oppressed Will Rise, Cleansing Rain, Terminal Liberation, Lost Beyond Retrieval
This is a solid album. It has good riffs. It has good drums. The vocals are nice.
My opening passage for this review is not unlike the album in question. The songs are all straight to the point, and bluntly in your face. This album does suffer from "11 tracks, 9 songs" syndrome with two interludes (Forgotten and Orsus) but other than that, the 9 songs on here are solid and heavy.
The riffs on this album just scream "melodic death metal"! The production screams "tight and solid"! The drumming screams "far too much double kick"! Needless to say, this is a tight, well executed melodic death album.
The songwriting on this album is simple, yet brilliant. They have excellent riffs, over the top drumming, the bass really fills out the low end of the mix, the growls are very well done, and the leads during the chorus are epic. It has all the trademarks of well written songs, and all the trademarks of melodic death. See how that works? The solos on here are also really good. They call it fretboard wizardry I think, sweep picking arpeggios and legato techniques come into play frequently while the solos are on, and the underlying riffs are perfect for accompanying the solos. A lot of bands have complex riffs underneath solos, which makes it hard to pay attention to what's happening.
One thing I have to say though. What the FUCK is with the intro to The Animal Within? I like this album a lot but come on guys, what the hell is that? Trying to appeal to rave clubs are we? It's such a random intro! It really does NOT belong on this album, nor does it even fit the song it starts off at all. I don't get it.
Anyway, besides that blunder, and besides the fact that the riffs here are (to be a bastard) nothing too innovative, I can't ignore the execution of this album. It's really top notch. I'd like to give this a low score, just to be a prick and show people that I'm hard to please and therefore credible as a reviewer, but the fact is it would be unfair! This album is executed very very well and I can't give that low score. In the end, you should probably buy this. It's just very fun to listen to. DEFINITELY a better alternative than say Soilwork or In Flames.
After releasing their amazing 2005 output, It'd be hard to imagine their next album would even come close to matching it, well...they've done it and in a lot of places, they've even improved. Liberation = Termination proves to be even more epic than The Unborn was. It's not as progressive, but with such a epic feel and impeccable melody, the lack of prog elements feels right at home on this record. Also of note, this album is home to a lesser amount of filler material.
Soundwise, it's the same band, just missing a few elements. You're still getting the hyper speed thrash riffs, wonderful soloing and punch-in-the-face chug breaks. The keyboarding has just been given a smaller role this time around. Speaking of soloing, in general, I don't really care if a song has solos or not, often times I feel bands add solos just because and they actually detract from the song, but Mors Principium Est have some of the most energetic and melodic solos I've ever heard. Such as the solo in 'The Animal Within', perfection. Another element of this album I love are the chug breaks. In pretty much every song, MPE kicks into a break with a totally violent chugging riff matched with rhythmic double kick work. Total fight stuff.
Liberation = Termination is also very dynamic, for example the song 'Cleansing Rain' which the lead in the verse is a very power metal riff, backed with a Meshuggah chug in the rhythm. There's tons of this stuff to be found here, MPE love to mix-match metal genres in their sound.
Not all is good though, there's one filler song. 'It is Done', and at it's short length of 2:49, it could have been omitted to no consequence. The intro to 'The Animal Within' borders on Electronica, also, the intro 'Orsus' is pretty much 'Useless'. It doesn't build up a climax, sound creepy or thought provoking which is an intros purpose. It's just wasted ambience.
The biggest suprise on the entire album would have to be the instrumental closer 'Lost Beyond Retreival' which is a haunting and spacey epic which fills your head with thoughts. An amazing song for "reflection".
It's 2007 and Mors Principium Est seem to keep getting better by the album. They've really impressed me with Liberation = Termination and granted I don't get sick of it, a top of 2007 stop next December? We'll see. Highly recommended.
Recommended listening: The Oppressed Will Rise, Finality, Sinners Defeat, Lost Beyond Retreival