Reviewed By Simon Crawley
Published 16 April, 2019
There's nothing like a ferociously morbid start to the year and especially when there's a mass of riffs and dark melody partial to such a beginning. My first contribution of 2019, in the way of heavy metal ramblings here, is my take on the first full-length studio album from Pulchra Morte. Heard of them?
I hadn't, but was immediately drawn to giving this release a spin when I saw Jarrett Pritchard's name. Guitarist in this band and also producer of the album, Pritchard has worked with the likes Goatwhore, 1349, Exhumed and Gruesome - all making for an attractive résumé.
Pulchra Morte (Latin for “beautiful death”) plays a doom-laden style of death metal; big on gloomy melody, chunky riffs and a fair amount of groove. The production quality is great and accentuates the focus on the bruising ‘90s doom - to the extent where you know you are listening to a modern day metal album but to the betterment of its nod to yesteryear.
Breden and Pritchard make for a formidable guitar duo. The weight of constant riffs is balanced out suitably with melodic chords that are at times epic and dizzying and then quite trippy and melancholic. “Divina” as an album is dark and brooding, but never feels dull or monotonous. There is good diversity between the songs. The overall recipe is not complex, but the band's vision comes through clearly and with impressive execution. Barron maintains a deep, gurgling growl which is perfectly measured for this style of rumbling death-doom.
Of the ten tracks here, there is a good sense of continuity between them. Even the brief instrumental and acoustic “Ignis Et Tempestas” has a place; it leads nicely into “Fire And Storm” which is a standout track. “IX” is also instrumental and the longest track on the album with over five minutes of resounding and purposeful song writing that strips it all down without any vocals and pulling it off in good style. It would in fact make for a solid closing track, but “When Legends Die” is a fitting parting shot.
“Soulstench” (great song title) is the first single from the album, but with other solid highlights like “Black Ritual”, “Fire And Storm” already mentioned and “Thrown To The Wolves”, Pulchre More really do impress here with their debut release. The death metal influence to the overarching doom signature is a refreshing and tantalising attribute that makes “Divina” very memorable indeed. If you enjoy your death metal and the foot-off-the-gas pace and gloom of doom, then this is definitely worth a spin.