Monday, August 15, 2011

Morito Ergo Sum - I Die, Therefore I Am (2010)

Traditional doom is an art form. Sure, you can go a little to the left, or a little to the right. But the straight and narrow road of doom, as it is and always will be, is one rarely traveled. Sweden's Morito Ergo Sum are walking that fine line, with violin in hand. On their debut offering, "I Die, Therefore I Am," the haunting melancholic tones are the star, and they will leave you stirred, not shaken.

The album begins with "The End," an intro track of pulsing bass and screeching strings, but all awash in various effects. One minute of eerie instrumentation and sounds, flowing directly into "Gone." This is traditional doom metal through and through, with the slow distorted guitar work creating a somber atmosphere. The drum patterns barely move above a crawl, providing only a beat at most times. An occasional fill rolls through, tying together bridge to chorus. The vocals are ghostly, but beautifully melodic. Much like Aaron Stainthorpe, lead singer of My Dying Bride, Walter Basile has a "doom and gloom" quality that cuts through to your core. A few moments of double bass and heavier guitar work reignite the fires of the track. But this isn't a headbanger. This is pure sadness.

Out of the ashes of "Gone" comes the title track, "I Die Therefore I Am." The guitars have a distinctly darker mood here, winding through chord progressions. Basile's voice comes to you from beyond the misty graveyard. He chants along to a downtempo tom beat, with guitars showing intermittent chugging ability. The greatness of the track is in the simplicity. The power is in the vocal delivery, calming, yet somehow unnerving. The violin enters, first in solo form. But as the guitars and drums build back, the strings take over as the melody. The lightly distorted guitars that dominate the breakdown portion are stirring, with darting notes layered on top of massive chords. The bass rumbles through your speakers, with only drums to back it, paving the way for a violin outro that may leave a single tear hanging from your eyes.

Morito Ergo Sum, which is Latin for "I die therefore I am," provide a short but long-lasting impression. From Basile's voice to the simple yet satisfying musical accompaniments, everything falls into place on this EP. In fifteen glorious minutes, you are taken into the depths of sadness. No death metal pieces. No forty piece orchestra. This is doom. No ifs ands or buts.


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