Libris Mortis - Official Website

Vengeance Is Ours

China Country of Origin: China

Vengeance Is Ours
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: February 15th, 2022
Label: Independent
Genre: Power, Progressive
1. Overture 2022: Dreams Of Endless War
2. The Siege On Morcillia I
3. The Siege On Morcillia II
4. Bride Of Blood
5. The Phylactery
6. Of Dawn And Dusk
7. Libris Mortis
8. Reanimation
9. Billow Of Death
10. Vengeance Is Ours

Review by Lynxie on December 11, 2022.

Anyone familiar with the Chinese metal scene will know that power metal was never its strongest point. Lagging ten years in time when it comes to metal, we missed the peak of the first two waves of power metal and the third wave has yet to hit us. However, existing Chinese power metal bands are all of pretty high quality. Most renowned Barque Of Dante plays EUPM that can be ranked among the best of them. The more obscure and sadly short-lived Iron Blade produced a very impressive album in the style of German heavy/power metal. We also have Dreamspirit, molding the elements of Chinese folk music and heavy/power metal perfectly together. And now the newcomer Libris Mortis filled the gap in progressive power metal with their debut LP Vengeance Is Ours. I have a feeling this one will be hard to top, at least coming from the power metal scene in China.

Starting off with an epic orchestral intro, the album then plunged into 'Siege On Morcillia I&II'. Both are fast track with some very thrashy moments. Then the speed slow down to 'Bride Of Blood', making strong use of the orchestra. The progressive side never rang truer on the album than in 'The Phylactery'. The self-titled track opt for a more neoclassical style. Reanimation returned to the usage of a strong orchestra. 'Billow Of Death' and the title track picked up the speed again. Those two falls more on the old school side that's for sure. The melodies had gone brighter and we return to the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure. The bass in 'Billow Of Death' is by far the most pronounced on the album and you hear the ''woah'' opening on 'Vengeance Is Ours'. Stylistically speaking, the title track is the only traditional power metal song on the album judging by the more upbeat melodies, fast and melodic riffs, the catchy and glorious chorus and the flashy solo - nothing short of DragonForce and Stratovarius. But the whole mood of the album is definitely more melancholic and ''eerie'', to use the band's own lyrics.

Libris Mortis may be a relatively newly formed band, but the musicianship here is by no means raw or immature. Seeing as the guitars always tend to be the more dominating instrument in Chinese power metal, you'll be hearing slick, heavily neoclassical influenced solos on most of the songs here. Dai JinShuai and Fan XiaoJin had put on quite the show on the self titled track. And when the Barque Of Dante resident guitar god Zhang Qing himself dropped by to contribute to a showy solo in 'The Siege On Morcillia II', what more should I ask for? The riffs are hooking and banging too. The distortions are sometimes toned to the point it sounds almost death metal. The drumming has a certain tech death quality to it as well. The compositions are progressive enough, the Symphonic X influences can never ring truer. Another dominating feature in Chinese power metal will always be the orchestration, mostly due to the fact that Nightwish was many metalhead's gateway band. Personally, I'd had enough of orchestral arrangements from Twilight Force and Disney metal of the sort. And quite a lot of Chinese bands also have the same tendency to mix the orchestra so forward that it drowns out the guitar. But that's not the case with Libris Mortis. I mean, just feel my goosebumps when the proggy orchestra proceeds in harmony to the guitars on 'Reanimation'. Besides, what's a better device to render that slightly chilling and eerie feeling, or to build up the epicness? These guys could definitely give Witherfall a run for their money. Also, their vocal Ma Lin has quite the vocal range. He manages easily both the harsh vocals and the high, Michael Kiske-ish screams. In tone I find him sounding closer to Lione. Now if only he can throw off that accent...

I admit, I was never a true prog power fan, having always preferred the simplicity and cheese that belonged to old school stuff. But I'm positive that Vengeance Is Ours will appeal to fans of Symphony X out there, and maybe of Witherfall or Evergrey as well. This is not what I would call a masterpiece, but this is solid and well worth your money. I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed for a more active band, and hopefully, they won't quiet down after just one release like Anduril and Eternal Power.

'The Siege on Morcillia I'
'The Phylactery'
'Billow Of Death'
'Vengeance Is Ours'

Rating: 8.7 out of 10