Yes, of course, death conquers all. It’s good to remind oneself of that fact now and again. Death is the great equalizer and life is precious only because there is death constantly hanging above it. What you do with your time and with your life matters only, because your time on earth is limited. While pondering illness, death and decay as an integral part of life was part of many a religious and philosophical practice in the past, today, the majority of people don’t like to be reminded of any of the above. So-called spiritual teachers urge the modern individual to be positive and happy, preferably all the time. That is not only impossible to do, but also unnatural and counterproductive. Moreover, it’s the essence of fake. And one of the cool and countercultural things about metal is that it’s rubbing illness, death and decay in the happy-go-lucky mainstream’s face.
Calling almighty death to mind this time are Crimson Moon, a long-standing black metal outfit founded as a one-man project in 1994 in Southern California by one Scoprios Androctonus. The Fattail Scorpion relocated to Germany, however, in 1998, and since then he’s been spreading his special kind of poison from there. Among numerous releases especially the LP Oneironaut (2016) gained the audience’s and the critics’ attention and praise. Since its last release Crimson Moon has developed into a full-grown band and Mors Vincit Omnia is its first album as such.
What can you expect from it? First of all, quality, because the band’s new label Debemur Morti Productions does not compromise in that regard. Apart from that you should know that Mors Vincit Omnia is firmly rooted in second wave Norwegian black metal, with Crimson Moon audibly also sharing the genre innovators’ love for traditional metal. That template is further enhanced with symphonic elements, reminding me in sound primarily of Master’s Hammer. But that is not all. Gregorian-choir-like chanting, my favourite among the album’s ingredients, is omnipresent in the background, often parallel to black metal vocals, adding eeriness and spaciousness to the tracks. The chanting connects the music to medieval, dark times, to rites and rituals. It is well paired with the Latin in the album’s title and in the names of tracks, adding to the overall occult atmosphere. Additional instruments have also been carefully and thoughtfully chosen. There is, for example, the sound of a flute to be heard and, most notably, organ music. Everything fits very well together, and if you’ve been reading my reviews, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for things fitting together.
The only track that differs decisively in character from the rest of the album is its closer, Tempus Fugit (Engl.: time flies). It lacks all black metal ingredients, featuring instead only the organ and atmospheric synths sounds, with a bell tolling in its end. What did the artist want to say with it? I’m not quite sure. Perhaps “Time flies and then you’re dead”?
Mors Omnia Vincit is undeniably black metal, maybe not of a new kind, but certainly of a very listenable and satisfying one, the album’s atmosphere dramatic and occult. If you like that sort of thing, your money will be well spent here.