Mors Principium Est

Written by: MST on 01/03/2014 01:45:40

There's always that one album that escapes your attention until right after the end of year lists that it should have been featured on. In 2013, that album was Urna's fourth effort for this writer. The Italian blackened funeral doom outfit released it all the way back in September 2013, but despite my liking for the band's previous album "Iter Ad Lucem" I never got around to listening to it. To make amends, here's a reminder for everyone interested in extreme doom metal to get right on "Mors Principium Est", sooner rather than later.

Urna is currently a trio, but the creative core of the band is definitely one Marco Z. who handles all guitars, bass and effects. Marco has many different projects, and fans of the genre may recognise his name from Arcana Coelestia in which he also handles most of the creative duties. The two bands play very similar styles and could easily be confused for one another, but on "Mors Principium Est" the music is considerably faster. Mind you, it's still funeral doom metal, and "fast" only gets you so far in this genre. The atmosphere is cold and melancholic most of the time, with some of Esoteric's trademark controlled chaos added into the mix for good measure. Urna (and Arcana Coelestia for that matter) have their own take on the genre that deviates from the tried and tested formula that most bands tend to replicate, and they execute it excellently.

Five regular tracks and a single interlude amount to 52 minutes of great music, with plenty of highlights and few dull moments. The album gets off to a great start with the duo of "Omnis Infinita Mens Est Gremium Et Sepolcrum Universi" and "Ego Sum Templum Et Principium Omniae Rei", two songs that build into each other to great effect. The first is slightly more up-beat and showcases Marco's great riffs, as well as vocalist Roberto Mura's excellent, if somewhat limited, vocals. The vocals are mostly in screaming territory, but they fit the atmosphere and convey bountiful amounts of emotion. The songs (and the rest of the album) flow naturally from one mood to another, and there's never a change in pace that doesn't feel completely natural, even when the peculiarly titled "137 = 73 + 64" breaks into blasting territory.

With all the great moments in the rest of the album, Urna still manage to surprise by saving the absolute highlight of the album until the end, with "Fui Sum Ero" ending the album in monolithic measures; it's the perfect mix of gloomy doom and insanity in a single, rapidly changing track that helps to give the album an extremely high replay value. "Mors Principium Est" is a brilliant album, and yet I don't feel like I can give it that remarkably high score. I guess Arcana Coelestia just set the bar too damn high with their latest masterpiece - but that doesn't make this album any worse. Urna is one of those bands who can seemingly continue writing breathtaking material that just never disappoints, but in the end it feels like "Mors Principium Est" could easily have contained another song - and that's possibly the only real negative point I can find. So, returning to the point I made many, many words ago: funeral doom fans should get right on this album, not sooner or later, but immediately.

Download: Omnis Infinita Mens Est Gremium Et Sepolcrum Universi, Ego Sum Templum Et Principium Omniae Rei, Fui Sum Ero
For The Fans Of: Arcana Coelestia, Esoteric, Woebegone Obscured
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Release date 27.09.2013

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