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Mors Principium Est - "Liberation = Termination" (CD)

Mors Principium Est - "Liberation = Termination" CD cover image

"Liberation = Termination" track listing:

1. Orsus (0:25)
2. The Oppressed Will Rise (3:18)
3. The Animal Within (3:30)
4. Finality (3:17)
5. Cleansing Rain (4:19)
6. Forgotten (1:42)
7. Sinners Defeat (5:25)
8. The Distance Between (4:17)
9. It Is Done (2:49)
10. Terminal Liberation (4:13)
11. Lost Beyond Retrieval (4:41)

Reviewed by on January 1, 2010

"'Liberation = Termination' is a solid listen but has some quirks that prevent it from becoming more than average, leaving the album a bit unbalanced."

I have always considered Mors Principium Est (which is Latin for "death is the beginning") one of the melodic death metal bands that does not get the attention they deserve. Along with Cadacross and Skyfire, they have truly become kings of the second wave of melodic death metal. Unfortunately, when commercially successful bands such as In Flames and Children of Bodom become the “it” music to listen, we quickly lose sight of bands that continue to come out with great metal.

For fans that enjoy a mixture of catchy keyboard riffs with harsh vocals and fast tempos, you will not be disappointed by anything Mors Principium Est does. The thing that separates Mors Principium Est from other melodic death metal bands is that the band utilizes a keyboardist that does not drown the sound out. Children of Bodom and In Flames also focus more, at least now, towards the melodic side of the genre. Sure, they have moments when they sacrifice melody for share ferocity, but you will not find these moments in “Liberation = Termination.” For fans that are turned off by this feature of today’s popular melodic death metal band, this album will not disappoint. Who has not missed the golden era (“Lunar Strain” – “Clayman”) of In Flames? When listening to “Liberation=Termination,” it reminds me of In Flames at their prime. However, I am a firm believer that each album a band makes should be better than their last. Unfortunately, "Liberation=Termination" gets lost in the shadow of the two albums that came before it: “Inhumanity” and “The Unborn.”

The album starts off with a cool intro “Orsus” and transitions into one of the heaviest tracks on the album, “The Oppressed Will Rise.” Ville Viljanen is still shredding his vocals at an amazing pace and Jori Haukio keeps on writing memorable riffs with a memorable solo that transition at the two-minute mark. However, the chorus is really clichéd (“No I can’t take this anymore, you just make me feel like a dog. You don’t listen to me no more. You just want to see me crawl”). When you are competing with bands that really have inspirational lyrics such as Dark Tranquility, you need to come up with something that is a bit more thought provoking. The next track is where things start to take a better turn.

“The Animal Within” starts off with a nifty Egyptian influence keyboard and guitar riff. This is also the only song with a dash of a woman’s voice. In the beginning, you can hear this voice chant like many other stereotyped middle-eastern and Indian songs. This track is also memorable for having the coarsest vocals. There really is no inflection, which can be viewed as a negative or positive, but this particular track favors the latter.

“Finality” is probably the heaviest track of the album, with the shredding guitar riffs with no let-down of tempo throughout the song. The use of keyboards is used at a minimum. I thought that they can implement a segment of just a cool rhythmic keyboard part, but I guess they missed that opportunity to impress me.

The next couple of tracks are where I start to look at my watch. The most obvious filler track is “The Distance Between,” where the guitar envelops breakdown after breakdown, with very little change, which is frustrating to listen to. The album picks up with “Sinners Defeat,” which is one of the better tracks on the album because it does utilize keyboard segments/breakdowns and a synth riff reminiscent of the psychedelic keyboard riff from In Flames' “My Sweet Shadow.” However, it does not have one riff repeating throughout the song and has multiple transitions and changes of tempo. The ending is not a minute filler gap of keyboard like “My Sweet Shadow,” but rather a more appropriate length of about fifteen seconds. This is enough to satisfy, but not overstay its welcome like “My Sweet Shadow.”

The album ends on what could have been the best track on the album, “Lost Beyond Retrieval.” It has the best keyboard riff, but this all goes to waste as the song is bombarded with too many breakdowns to make the album go out with a bang. Regardless, this song still has the best introduction, but without an original guitar riff to compliment this, it proves to be yet another filler track.

“Liberation = Termination” is a solid listen, but has some quirks that prevent it from becoming more than average, leaving the album a bit unbalanced. There are some uninspiring tracks like “It is Done,” “Distance Between,” and “Lost Beyond Retrieval.” If you listen to the two other albums that Mors Principium Est composed, you can find that the keyboards are more original and fulfilling, not to mention even catchier. Even though “Liberation=Termination” is not as impressive as its predecessors, Mors Principium Est proves to still be a contender for tier 1 melodic death metal. We have not yet seen the full potential of this band, and I can foresee a breakthrough in the upcoming years as they continue to persevere.

Highs: "Sinners Defeat," "The Oppressed Will Rise," and "Terminal Liberation," just to name a few.

Lows: More breakdowns than one will want to hear in the genre of melodic death metal.

Bottom line: "Liberation=Termination" is good, but the former albums completely overshadow it.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)