Released: 2016, My Kingdom Music
Motus Tenebrae is a new discovery for me, albeit not a new band. Formed in Pisa, Italy in 2001, DEATHRISING is the band’s 5th full-length album. While this might be my first listen, I like what I am hearing. DEATHRISING contains eleven tunes of high quality gothic doom metal delivered with confidence and a studied appreciation of the genre’s progenitors. The cover artwork is eye-catching in a gleefully doomful way, and in this case it is a worthy representation of the dark and mist-shrouded songs within.
The two opening songs, “Our Weakness” and “Black Sun” are among the best on the album and provide immediate examples of the band’s main strength, which is down-tuned guitars crashing the party with melodic runs interspersed through the mostly slow tempos. Both tunes reach back to Paradise Lost’s IN REQUIEM and FAITH DIVIDES US- DEATH UNITES US albums for inspiration, and the similarities are fairly obvious. However, Modus Tenebrae does vary things, with the beginning of “For A Change” being a prominent example of a much faster pace as well as the utilization of subtly incorporated death vocals by singer Luis McFadden.
Musically, the keyboards are used sparingly and in many places those weepy guitar lines fill the gap instead, which is another familiar Paradise Lost trait. These lines and the strategic keyboards lend themselves well to the dark and atmospheric elements of the album. From a mix perspective, everything sounds balanced and the guitars are thick and multi-tracked. Credit the band for showing restraint and patience by allowing the songs a chance to breathe and set a mood without rushing into unnecessary tempo or key changes.
Not everything is perfect, as the eventual sameness of the songs begins to rear its head by the second half of the album. There are also several points in the album where the Paradise Lost influence turns to unabashed hero worship, right down to McFadden nailing Nick Holmes’s patented Hetfield/baritone delivery. Minor gripes aside, DEATHRISING is still a fine album from a band that deserves more recognition for the quality of their songwriting and the ability to establish and sustain a mood. Highly recommended for gothic doom fans, particularly of Paradise Lost but also My Dying Bride, Moonspell and Type O Negative.