Review by Rosh on August 20, 2023.
So, Spiritus Mortis are apparently the first Finnish doom metal band, and when you listen to them, it's pretty believable based on how they epitomize the hard-rocking stoicism typical of early doom and heavy/doom metal. And although it took 14 years after their first demo to put out, Spiritus Mortis is the complete package - ballsy traditional doom done right. It's an authentic listen that feels all too underrated when compared to Candlemasses and Pentagrams, especially because its structure is very similar to other doom albums in the same league, such as Count Raven's "High On Infinity". The formula at play is essentially enthusiastic and potent rockers balanced against the doomy and mysterious serenades, which is pretty standard for traditional doom, but the exemplary execution of this standard formula is what makes Spiritus Mortis such an underrated record, because it does these things with as much class and valor as far more well-known doom releases.
Usually, I tend to think of albums with 14 tracks as being collections of songs rather than cohesive album experiences, but the way Spiritus Mortis is divided into suites of songs does actually make it feel like a well-crafted helping of unapologetic heaviness. There's only two interlude tracks and 12 actual songs, which means the interludes are well-placed and the tunes are varied, putting forth a plentiful array of enticing riffs. "Beyond" has an unmistakably bludgeoning staccato attack to it unheard since "Lord Of This World", which commands a formidable presence, and "Death Walking" progresses nicely from a warm riff, that sounds like sipping the foam head of a satisfying stout beer in musical form, to a blood-curdling, maniacal chorus. "Rise From Hell", though, is the centerpiece of the album, lurching forth with a menacing riff rivaled only by Trouble's "Psalm 9" or Candlemass' "Bewitched." This, along with "Forbidden Arts", and "...In Me" is the way mid-tempo doom should and must be pulled off, actually thriving on not being too slow. It's what this incarnation of Spiritus Mortis does when they're not playing uptempo songs like "Baron Samedi", which are another part of the reason I describe this album as being "balls out."
Stellar tracklist aside, though, I think another thing I like so much about Spiritus Mortis is how every member of the band is a hero. I would've loved to hear more albums with this singer, he's got a very throaty roar complimented exquisitely by his pronounced Finnish accent. The riffs, meanwhile, are not only superior to Count Raven and Reverend Bizarre's due to the tutelage of Trouble/Pentagram, but the guitarist also makes fantastic use of pedals that reminds one steadfastly of doom's relationship with psychedelic heavy rock. Then there's also the way that the bass lends equally towards enhancing both the guitar and drums, creating a muddy wall of sound when the guitar takes rests unheard since Saint Vitus' 1984 self-titled album, and making the percussion feel all the more walloping and infectious, actually reminding me of the classic combo of D.D. Verni and Sid Falck in Overkill. After all, this is ballsy doom we're talking about, not your Warnings and Pallbearers who play the melodramatic equivalent of the black album. Disses aside, though, I rarely praise every member's performance on an album, but Spiritus Mortis seriously delivers on all fronts.
Ultimately, this debut full-length of Spiritus Mortis is basically Finland's answer to Relentless by Pentagram. You have a band who is one of the oldest in the scene with a slew of demo material finally recording their debut full-length over a decade after formation, whilst the regional doom scene had already taken off. Way too underrated considering what a killer package of muscular, aggressive doom metal it is. Piss off if you think doom metal is supposed to be mellow or something, and listen to this album, "Lunar Womb" by The Obsessed, and "Black Night" by Iron Man!
Also, in "Sweet Oblivion", he's saying "I'm coming my God!" during the chorus, but you'll probably hear it as "I cum in my cunt!" And even if you didn't, you can't unhear that now.
Rating: 9.7 out of 10522