Sweet Release: Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World (2/10)

Yeah, yeah, I know Embers of a Dying World came out last Friday. But I’m not going to listen to it until after I talk about how excited I am for it, dammit!

At some point, I don’t know when, Mors Principium Est became one of those bands for me. You know the ones — class acts like Amon Amarth, who consistently put out quality tunes without ever messing with their formula. For MPE specifically, not even a major roster change in 2011 did much to steer them off course the familiar Finnish waters of melodic death metal. In fact, with their new multi-national lineup, they’re at their Mors Principium Best. For reference, I’ve been spinning …And Death Said Live on my Zune (what the fuck year is this again?) since it came out.

But since this Sweet Release column invariably becomes about what I want most from new releases, I’ll throw my lot in for this: I want MPE’s heaviness back.

Album art for Mors Principium Est's 2017 release, Embers of a Dying World.

Don’t get me wrong — MPE, in all their forms, always handle their sense of melody with the skill of veteran songmanship. Like, that’s never a thing I have to worry about with them. I know they’ll treat their skeedle-dees and their chugga-wuggs with equal importance. But!! I can’t help but listen to songs off The Unborn and wish the band’s new blood would throw my subwoofer a frickin’ bone. Gimme some of that bottom end, knowwhatimsayin?

In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor nitpick. After all, what other nits can I pick? For years now, MPE only ever does what they do best, and that usually lines right up with what I want to hear from them: catchy, kick-ass melodic death metal. Regardless of whether they don’t give me what I want or not, I’m sure Embers of a Dying World will have some of the year’s most memorable tunes.

I’m not down with this sickness.

So I’ve got this cough. Gorgonna, darling daughter that she is, gave it to me. And since my Priority Number One as a parent is to act stoked for whatever she does, I accepted the accursed common cold with feigned glee.

But not once has my cough sounded like “ooh ah-ah-ah-ah.”

Unexpected, I know. In fact, there are other unexpected things about being sick with a child you should know about. So let’s get a little disturbed, let David Draiman and Co. into our lives for a hot minute, and get down. Wayyyy down.

The sickness is rising

“I can see inside you / The sickness is rising / Don’t try to deny what you feel.”

You’ll see The Sickness coming, and you’ll think you’re safe. But you aren’t. Oh, no. The vitamins you’ve crammed and extra orange juice you’ve slugged to stave off its arrival will be in vain, for The Sickness will be knocking on your door soon enough. It just has to make a couple stops first.

The Sickness will weave, serpentine, through your family, striking the immune systems of the strong and weak alike. Your rambunctious child will suffer the most; she’ll Jekyll and Hyde her way through the day, alternating between states of feeling fine and feeling absolutely lousy. A post-lunch play session will end with mucus oozing from her nostrils — the telltale sign that things aren’t all right.

At least it hasn’t hit you yet, eh? Now that you mention it, you’ve had this tickle in your throat for a few days already. And as the week goes on, you start to feel The Sickness fully manifest itself.

Get up, c’mon, get down

Once The Sickness has infected you, your path is set. You’re in for a world of hurt.

“It seems that all that was good has died / And is decaying in me.”

You’re sick. You have to admit it now, because you can’t keep your usual pace. As your strength is sapped by the day, wistful memories will surface of when you were well and capable of moving. Running, laughing, playing — even staying awake will seem like the distant actions of another person. You can’t even remember what feeling good felt like, let alone see an end in sight. The Sickness is all-consuming, and it’s crippling you from the inside.

“It seems you’re having some trouble / In dealing with these changes / Living with these changes / Oh no.”

Once you start to feel better, you’ll feel like you can take on the world. You’ll start to want doing things again.

Don’t. Resist the urge to embrace life again, else you could suffer a relapse. Suffer for a while longer, maybe spin some misanthropic black metal — whatever gets you in the mood to close the blinds and stay indoors for a while longer.

Madness has now come over me

“You fucker / get up, come on get down with the sickness.”

Aside from the fact that I equally ironically/unironically love that song, “Down with the Sickness” serves as a decent roadmap for being sick with a child. The angst and frustration in the lyrics (not counting the incredibly stupid “skit” that always gets cut for the radio edit) are surely echoed by every parent who has ever felt the obligation of child-rearing yet feel so damn weak. It’s enough to drive one mad.

A side-by-side comparison of Disturbed's The Sickness album cover with my daughter, Gorgonna, heavily filtered.
Who wore it best?

But as I type this, the worst of The Sickness has passed; only an infrequent phlegmy cough remains. Like all things rough about parenting, these times will pass, until they rear their ugly, ugly heads again. (Kind of like Disturbed’s first album cover.)

Because come again, it will. The Sickness moves in a remorseless cycle, and you’ll inevitably feel its sting again. Will you be ready? Can you ever be ready?

I don’t know if I can. But the most we can ever do is just deal with it.

Sweet Release: Wintersun – The Forest Seasons (2017)

I promise I won’t make any jokes about “time.”

‘Tis the season for the forest, if Jari Maenpaa has anything to say about it. Assuming the album doesn’t get delayed and comes out sometime this year, as the band asserts in their Facebook post, what the fuck will it sound like?

What do I want it to sound like?

Wintersun’s 2006 debut was a formative album for me. It helped me bridge the gap from soaring, melodic power metal to soaring, melodic power metal with death vocals and blast beats. But seriously, Wintersun helped get me acquainted with more extreme metal, which few other bands or albums had been able to do at the time. Time I was a step back in the extremity department for sure, but a leap forward for the kind of band I think Wintersun is currently becoming. Which is a band that doesn’t release albums for years and years (damn it, I blew it!!).

Wintersun's forthcoming 2017 album The Forest Seasons features folky album art, depicting a lush forest with a winding river in its center.

I think The Forest Seasons will be a blend of both Wintersun’s ferocity and Time I’s more cinematic soundscape. A name like “Forest Seasons” almost sounds like we could get some grampa’s guitars, yes? Not to mention the gnarled wood frame of the album art. That’s some Blind Guardian/Elvenking shit. If it were any other band, I’d expect this release to be folk as fuck, but I somehow think they’ll resist the temptation to go all slide whistles and washboard spoons on us. Maybe we’ll get that with Time II.

I don’t think Jari and Co. are writing an album “for the fans” by any means. But I’m guessing the album will be more or less a return to form, for better or worse. Believe me, I want bands to change their sound over time. I love it when they get fucking crazy. But frankly, I don’t think the time for that is right, not from Wintersun. I’m fully ready to embrace The Forest Seasons as a safe, comfortable album for fans and newcomers alike.

If anything, The Forest Seasons has my curiosity piqued. Lemme follow that breadcrumb trail, already.