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DOOM - 100%

enshrinedtemple, March 26th, 2020

Spiritus Mortis- The Year Is One

This album is the definite doom metal album. It may be the greatest doom album of the modern era. The god fathers of Finish doom do not disappoint on this album. It is by far their most focused and greatest achievement of their career. If you have heard the album The God Behind The God from back in 2009 and passed on The Year Is One, you need to check this album out immediately! It has everything you want in a doom album. It has elements of epic doom like Candlemass, crushingly heavy traditional riffs and an overall freshness to the sound. The band is on fire and you can tell they have became a cohesive unit during the sessions for this album.

I already mentioned the riffs which is a big part of the overall experience especially for a doom album. The album starts out with a fast rocker, but after that it is pure doom in every way shape and form. Crushing and heavy riffs are found all over this masterpiece. They are the best that Spiritus have ever done. It all sounds original and I never found myself saying oh I recognize that Black Sabbath riff! That is not something that is easy to do in doom metal and many bands fall into that trap of trying to sounds retro. There is a little bit of epic metal thrown in and some of the songs are quite drawn out. It doesn’t take away from the experience and I never feel like I need to skip those moments however. The sound is just phenomenal and every song fits a purpose on the album. I did appreciate the addition of the Hammond organ on some of the tracks. It really made the songs feel more epic! This album should already be considered a classic even though it has only been out 4 years. I can’t think of another doom album that is this well constructed.

I really want to spend some time talking about the phenomenal vocal performance but that is not to disrespect the rest of the bands performance. Never before have I heard Sami sound so sinister and evil. The opening of Holiday in a Cemetery gives me goosebumps every single time. Being a big fan of Reverend Bizarre, I was very surprised to hear him wailing away on these songs. I couldn’t believe it was the same guy that sang in Reverend. He hits some high notes here that are just incredible! He is really the star on many of the tracks as he effortlessly shifts between different vocal styles. Needless to say, this is the strongest vocal performance I have ever heard from Mr. Witchfinder. The whole band is honestly at their pinnacle. The formula here is not anything unique, but the whole band definitely caught lighting in a bottle.

This album is very special to me as a big fan of doom metal. I gotta say this is one of the best I have ever heard. No cheesy interludes or soft ballads, no instrumentals that disrupt the flow of the album and most importantly no bullshit throw away tracks! This album is the definition of doom. It still blows me away all these years later. I still remember emailing the bands guitarist (Jussi) asking if I could purchase a cd directly from the band. I’ve never done that before, but I felt such a connection to the band that I really wanted to support them! This album is perfect to me and it is a modern day masterpiece. Sadly I don’t think Spiritus can match the perfect storm that happened again. I’m sure there will be another album, but with Sami already out of the band, it just won’t be the same. The Year Is One is an underrated gem of an album and I hope this review brings in at least one new fan. In my eyes it’s a perfect 100%. If you want doom metal perfection, look no further!

Album of the Year 2016 - 100%

Mitchfynde, January 9th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Svart Records (Bandcamp)

What is your favorite sub-genre of metal? If you answered traditional doom metal, here is your album of the year for 2016. To put it simply, this is one of the greatest traditional doom records ever released.

Spiritus Mortis were the first doom metal band in Finland, but not the last. If you are a fan of traditional doom metal, there is no doubt that you’ve at least heard of Reverend Bizarre. In my eyes, they were the pinnacle of traditional doom. It was hard to imagine anyone coming near the majesty they have produced... that is, until now.

You see, when Reverend Bizarre split up, Spiritus Mortis happened to be looking for a lead singer. Sami Hynninen AKA Albert Witchfinder heard the call and the rest is history. The first record they did together was excellent. Sami was a perfect fit with his dramatic semi-operatic delivery. He’s even better on this record. In fact, the entire band is.

Now, to put aside the hype for a moment, there is nothing groundbreaking or new on this record. Doomsters will be perfectly familiar with the formula for traditional doom metal. That’s not what matters here. It’s the performance and the songwriting that is truly spectacular.

Sami’s vocal delivery has changed. He went from his lower ranged signature style to a bit of a higher range. He somehow managed to change the whole vibe of his clean vocals with just a bit of tweaking. Not only that, but there are parts on the record where his voice is very gritty. There are even a section or two where harsh vocals are used very tastefully.

The riffs here are just fucking fantastic. Often slow and depressive, but not afraid to transition into something mid-paced and triumphant. Some sections are a bit less doom and a bit more straight up heavy metal. The contrast may be subtle, but it makes the slow bits all the more powerful.

The lyrics and themes on here (along with the strong vocal delivery) are one of the big highlights. Again, it’s not rocket science. It’s the same stuff trad doom bands have been doing since the dawn of time, but it’s done better than most bands have ever done it. The themes are mainly of death and the occult, but there is a certain tongue-in-cheek sense of humor (reminiscent of Minotauri and, of course, Reverend Bizarre themselves) which gives the really corny bits a dose of self-awareness that cuts back the cheese.

Triumph - 100%

FinneganAwaken, November 23rd, 2016

When Reverend Bizarre and Minotauri both split-up in 2007, Spiritus Mortis became the last active band from the "Big Three of Finnish Doom". Shortly after they've hired Bizarre's former frontman Sami Hynninen (aka. Albert Witchfinder) to fill the void that appeared after the departure of their previous vocalist. With him on board they've released "The God Behind the God" in 2009. Seven years have past since that time, during which the band remained relatively silent (if not count two short split releases that appeared in 2009 and 2011). I wondered what they were doing all that time and finally I've got the answer.

The content of the album is no surprise. Anyone who ever had anything to do with traditional doom will know what to expect. Slow, monolithic, "heavier than life" riffs accompanied by semi-operatic vocals, occasionally some faster tempos and the overall atmosphere of epic sorrow. There is not much innovation here. It just once again explores the well known grounds of doom with a bunch of new and tasty songs that will please every true fan of the genre.

This 53 minute long album is arguably the best piece of traditional doom that saw daylight since Reverend Bizarre's untimely death. The riffs are more powerful than on any of the band's previous releases. Hynninen sounds better than ever, sometimes even reminding of Robe Lowe during the best years of Solitude Aeturnus ("She Died a Virgin"). There are powerful anthems like "Black Magic, White Powder" or "World of No Light" that soon are going to be placed next to legendary masterpieces such as Candlemass' "Solitude" or Saint Vitus' "Born Too Late". Is there anything more to ask for? I don't think so. What we have here is an instant classic. A true doom release that was worth waiting those seven years.