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Peccatum - The Moribund People

With their fifth release, Peccatum continues down the path that they have traveled before with this new EP, The Moribund People. While this may be a short 3 song and 1 video CD, it's one that makes old fans crave for more and makes new fans scramble to find out where to buy their first four albums. To say that Peccatum is a bit of a strange mix of styles is an understatement. The opening title track has an somewhat earthy, contemporary, atmospheric rock feel with angelic female vocals by Ihriel. The pace quickens somewhat with the chorus as Ihriel's husband, Ihsahn (ex-Emperor) joins in with haunting clean vocals. There’s some beautiful synth sounds as they enter the second verse back with just Ihriel’s vocals. Later in the song however, comes the metal with Ihsahn’s blackish vocals (which are outstanding as always). The metal is short lived though as they switch back to what brought them there as the finish out the song. This is the song that also has a concept video clip to go with it. The clip is very good quality and it's a pretty cool video as well. Definitely one that you’ll want to watch more than once. The next song, “A Penny’s Worth of Heart” is another good track. This song instead of just having one section of metal with black vocals, alternates throughout the song between the very quiet verses that incorporate piano and some electronica sounds and the metal parts. You may not want to listen to this one at quiet volumes though as the softer parts will be more difficult to hear. This EP ends with the band doing a cover of the song “For All Those Who Died” by Bathory (in memory of Quorthorn who died recently). And as expected the band adds their own “flare” to the song. The first couple minutes is soothing and relaxing with Ihriel singing the first two verses. When they get to “burning naked but smiling….” for the first time, that’s when Ihsahn takes over with the metallic side of the band and his “rake you over the coals” vocals. The song stays metal the last 3 minutes and definitely ends this disc in fine fashion.  I personally like this version better than the original.

Production and packaging on this release are nicely done. The artwork makes it look like the pages of the booklet are an old book that’s been taped back together with certain pages earmarked. That along with the artwork itself gives it that old timey feel…which goes along with the old lady on the front. The lyrics are interesting and while they seem to have an easy meaning on the surface, I believe, they are open to more than just one meaning.  The title track sings the chorus of "Some suffer to the point/where they grow numb/others are so numb/they deserve to suffer".  That alone can be a somewhat true statement at times.  However, when taking into consideration the beliefs brought forth in Insahn's former band, the verses seem to maybe have a little bit of an anti-religious, maybe even anti-Christian slant.  "The broken minds are for the mad they say/and shun it like a dog astray/I know nothing of such a lie/and neither did he/blessed be the unmasked enemy/of the righteous content mass."  The second verse goes onto possibly describe the "he" and the "unmasked enemy" in the first verse..."He wrote his life in blood/reaching for a star beyond/which I, the writer, do not know/What was - is - or shall become/where he showed courage I saw shame/as I mirrored him in the common eye of the herd."  Then the next song, "A Penny's Worth of Heart" starts off..."One is looking away/Another has walked far astray/the flock is gasping their laugh/they seem to believe/their petty hearts are not black holes/I see a penny's worth of heart/to bathe them in/the very same nightmare/I drown."  The song finished with, "To tie a gallows rope/of mockery and spite/for the dawn/to breathe the air/of night, of rain/of solitude."  You may have to read them more than once, and maybe I'm reading into it a little bit, but couple those songs with the Bathory cover and we may have a common thread throughout the three songs.

Despite the vague, but questionable lyrics, Peccatum does put forth a very strong offering here.  While many Emperor fans and black metal fanatics will find it hard, if not impossible, to sit through the mellower parts, I think the open-minded metal fans will really dig this disc.  A weird mix for sure, but one that works in my opinion.

Rating:  88/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: The End Records

Total Songs: 3

Total Time: 15:11

Tracklisting: 1. The Moribund People, 2. A Penny's Worth of Heart, 3. For All Those Who Died, 4. (Video) The Moribund People.

Best Songs: Track 3.

Band Lineup: Ihriel - Vocals/Keyboards/Programming, Ihsahn - Vocals/Guitars/Keyboards/Programming, Jarle Havras - Drums.

Band Website: http://www.peccatum.com