New Zealand’s Exordium Mors bring battle-tested metal on debut ‘The Apotheosis of Death’

Exordiu MorsFor all of the heavy metal bands roaming this planet, there aren’t as many as you would think that encapsulate the sound of pure hell and thunder raining down on a battlefield, with severed limbs flying and blood dashing combatants’ mouths. That’s a special sound reserved for the likes of Bolt Thrower, Diocletian, and Cobalt, and not many others can match the combo of rage and glory of those killers.

But now New Zealand’s Exordium Mors are here to answer the bell, and they do that and a whole lot more on “The Apotheosis of Death.” It’s not that the songs are about war necessarily; it’s that they feel like they are. The band is heavy and ridiculously unforgiving. Yeah, I know that seems redundant to say on a site that covers the heaviest of metals, but try this records on for size and see if I’m not right. Oh, and that cover of a barbarian warrior holding aloft a severed head likely claimed during warfare? Yeah. That’s an excellent indication of what’s ahead for you on this pulverizing 10-track debut that’s smeared with black, death, and thrash metal. This is a band that could get you maimed in a live setting, and more than likely they’d just watch you tend to your wounds, chuckle heartily, and get back to the business of crushing bodies.

Exordiu Mors coverYou may have guessed this from looking at the photo of these crazed beasts, but there are some damn fun names circulating among this band. Let’s dig into them, shall we? Might want to jot these down, because they’re amazing. On vocals is Scourge Witchfucker; on guitars are Santi and Black Mortum; on bass is Assailant; and on drums is the mighty Hades. Now, these guys also don’t use plain old terms like vocals and guitars when describing what they do, but you can go find all of that fun stuff on your own. And you’ll want to because, as silly as their terminology may seem, it oddly describes what they do perfectly. They’re not just playing music. They’re conjuring the fire of beasts, ready to burn off flesh and leave the unsuspecting lying in their wake. They’ve been doing this for 10 years, and they’ve got this thing down to a gut-ripping science.

“Axiom” rips open the record (as well as the six-part “Apotheosis” suite) with a killer riff, and the song gallops from there, channeling the unpolished spirit of early Iron Maiden. There is a chest-caving guitar solo that’ll make your blood rush, and the songs ends as violently as possible. “As the Vultures Descend” follows and is fast, dangerous, and gnarly, stabbing its way across its course, with growled vocals spat back onto the ground. There is plenty of speed to be had, and the gang shouts that adorn this thing sound primal and to be feared. Then it’s onto “Ascension Through Vanquished Flesh” that is heavy, raw, and splattering, with the band sounding like it’s headed deep underground to find buried bodies. “The Corpse of Your Divinity Now Burns” tells you everything you need to know in its title, but it goes ahead and kicks your ass anyway with razor-sharp black metal-style guitar lines, glorious stomping, and spirited vocals that slip behind and enhance the growls. “The Purging Storm of Chaos Unfurls…” begins with thunder and soaking rains, naturally, before it slips into off-kilter guitar work, a pace that eventually goes berserk, and soaring playing that makes this an instrumental that burns on high. “Unto Lightning Swords of Conquest (Mars Invictus),” the final part of the six-track series, has speedy riffs, savage vocals, a sinister attitude, and drums that’ll powder your bones. What a sextet of terror!

Then it’s off to the rest of the record, starting with “Fire and Triumph” that has a fitting name as it is full of both. It’s a heaping serving of total, true death that refuses to relent, and it is vicious and hammering. The band gang shouts “Fire!” and “Triumph” toward the end of the song, as if they’re marching toward a world-toppling clash. “Abandon All Hope” is one of the most brutal yet catchy metal songs of the year, and it just explodes from the gates. The song is a total rager, with vicious vocals, blinding fast playing, and the whole band howling, “Abandon all hope!” over the chorus. Go ahead and try to remove it from your head. It’s easier pulling an ax embedded in oak. “Blade of Brutus” injects some of the most punishing moments of the album for the back end, as the song burns for nearly nine minutes with shredding fury, shouted vocals, and an assault that just does not quit.  Once the fury finally dies down at the end, the lead and backing vocals go on a capella for several rounds, providing one last chance to these guys to gurgle and spit their disapproval in front of you. “Outro” is packed with passionate playing, some piano notes dripping, and a rare glimpse of beauty from the band. It’s a merciful conclusion to an utterly devastating record, which you’ll definitely need after the beating you will have sustained.

Exordium Mors must be heard, especially if you hunger for brutality and death that is real and pure. As clichéd as this will sound, this is a record that’ll make you want to wield a sword and drive it into a wall. I don’t advise trying to start a battle, as there are laws against that these days. But you can live vicariously. This is a killer record from an underground gem that’ll take your head clean off your shoulders.

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