It seems practically a given that any doom music released under the Svart Records moniker is going to be great, given the label’s track record, so of course it comes as no surprise that the label is home to original Finnish doomsters Spiritus Mortis, who are getting ready to release their latest opus The Year Is One.
Consisting of eight tracks of old-school doom, The Year Is One is a very comfortable-sounding release and shows that Spiritus Mortis are by now confident in what works for them and what doesn’t. Everything feels in-sync and very natural, and the album is a pleasure to listen to as a result.
Despite this, The Year Is One does get off to a bit of an unsteady start and first track Robe Of Ectoplasm doesn’t hit you hard – it isn’t one of their more memorable songs and is subsequently a somewhat lacklustre beginning to the album. The vocals feel a little weak and unsubstantial, and instrumentally it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. However, things do pick up with following track I Am A Name On Your Funeral Wreath, which features a wonderfully meaty wall of sound before the vocals take centre stage to give the track a more ambient and haunting tone. Although the vocal line is fairly simplistic as a whole, it’s very effective and will certainly get stuck into your head after a few listens. Additionally, the spoken section in the middle is great and adds a good bit of atmosphere to the song.
Another very strong inclusion is later track Black Magic, White Powder, which is also one of the longer tracks of the album, and the slower pace of the track adds a lot of ambience and mystery to it. The sparse and heavy sections juxtapose well against one another and the vocal performance is versatile enough to slot in well to both approaches without sounding out of place in either, which is great.
As a whole, a great album. Spiritus Mortis are on good form, and this powerful release is testament to that.