Thanks to a mutual acquaintance, namely Rik Hunter of 4GEN7, I got interested in a Mancunian band professing to make black metal. The British may have played a huge part in the creation of black metal but unfortunately, we don’t have a plethora of bands like the Scandinavian scene, in particular Norway, whose bands have made a successful living from it. Success would be deemed blasphemous by the originators of both the first and second wave of black metal as black metal is defined by its message and not by success. Black metal bands usually follow the Satanic route when portraying their message but there are some who focus on the horrors of war and that is where Deus Mori come in.
Opening with the spoken word of “Rendezvous of Death” adds an uneasy and eerie start to the EP, preparing you for the atrocities that lie next. “Obsequies in Death” takes a while to get started but when it does, it’s mid-paced black metal with power riffing and a great vocal range from Dodsklokken in particular. This song is constructed well and emanates a depressing and powerful message at the same time.
But it’s the third track, “Under the Sigil of Death”, that really turns it on for me. This is by far the best song on the EP and one I have played regularly in my own time. There are some of the best riffs from Exigne and Enecate who also contribute to vocals in places. There is nothing more in a band that I love more than having more than one vocalist, so seeing three vocal contributions will be something to behold live. This is much faster than its predecessor with blast towards the end of the track, there are plenty of atmosphere and strength in this song.
“Ritual Silence” starts off with what sounds like an old Iron Maiden riff and punky feel. This track is more than seven minutes and of the faster hardcore variety over that time within even the vocals falling in line with the music. There are also quite a few time changes with bass lines and desolate winds spreading the horror and atrocity of war on the front lines. Militaristic drums then bring forth the depressive dread of the vocals and there is a similarity to latter-day Belphegor, ending with a nice dark ambient piece. Title track “Umbra Mortis” is again a seven-minute track and showcases how much of a talented musician each band member is. There is clear creativity in the song and it flows beautifully onto the next section. It has everything in it, from the atmospheric elements, the depressive elements interspersed with the ferocious blasts but all constructed masterfully from a band still very much in its infancy.
A grim spoken word “Suicide in the Trenches” is, unfortunately, describing the horrors that happened in every trench in the First World War. This EP took me by pleasant surprise and I was glad that I took a punt on it. Deus Mori have set the bar very high for themselves and have made themselves very much heard in the UK extreme metal scene.
Umbra Mortis is out now