Album Review: Pulchra Morte – Ex Rosa Ceremonia
Fronted by Skeletonwitch vocalist Adam Clemans and featuring members who’ve played in the likes of Wolvhammer, Eulogy and Abigail Williams, Pulchra Morte have no shortage of heaviness in their combined CV. However, their first album, 2019’s Divina Autem Et Aniles, established that the American band’s creative core drew not from their own collective past, but from a sound birthed three decades earlier in, well, Yorkshire. The influence of early Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride still haunts the 42 minutes of Ex Rosa Ceremonia, but rather than a straightforward retread, this second album offers something more impressive and unpredictable.
Speaking of the latter, opening track The Serpent’s Choir features guest vocals from over 50 underground luminaries, including Nick Oliveri and members of Immolation, Exhumed and 1349, which isn’t something you’d find on Turn Loose The Swans or Gothic. Somehow, the end result isn’t a bloody mess, but a satisfyingly metallic call to arms. Elsewhere, there’s a distinctly blackened feel to tracks like Locust Humanity, particularly thanks to Adam’s wrenched-from-the-depths-of-the-soul vocalising. To Suffer (The Way You Do), meanwhile, journeys from the stately doom of its intro into sections which churn and twitch with the aftershocks of technical death metal.
When Pulchra Morte do concentrate on their signature sound, on melancholy bangers like Fires Of Coil or Knife Of The Will, they do so with absolute conviction, balancing their atmospheric qualities with both crushing weight and insidious accessibility. This knack of combining the mournful and the pulse-quickening marks them as masters not just of doom-death but of metal itself, while simultaneously proving that you can still punch the air even with your head in your hands.
For Fans Of: Paradise Lost, Temple Of Void, Seer
Ex Rosa Ceremonia is out now via Transcending
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