Review: Evangelist ‘Ad Mortem Festinamus’

Polish doom metallers, Evangelist formed back in 2008 and their decade long journey began with a debut full-length In Partibus Infidelium in 2011. After the sophomore Doominicanes and split with revered Chilean doom metallers Capilla Ardiente, they released their third full length Deus Vult during 2018, which received high praises from all exposed. In 2019, they did a perplexing act by covering the classic black metal anthem Freezing Moon by Mayhem, in their epic doom metal style that was released as a single, a notable deed by all means.

Evangelist 'Ad Mortem Festinamus'

The anonymous Polish evangelists have never stayed silent for long, and now they return with Ad Mortem Festinamus which is out now through Nine Records. This six tracker is made up of three newly recorded songs and three songs that were recorded in the same session as their previous album, Deus Vult, which ultimately went unused until now.

Ad Mortem Festinamus is a title that cannot be more ‘doom’, translating to ‘we are approaching death’, it’s derived from a medieval liturgical manuscript. Although it’s a matter for further exploration as to what the lyrics behold conveying such a mystifying subject matter, but in terms of sound, there are no mysteries, as once again epic doom metal is conjured here, majestic and powerful as Candlemass taught, but never devoid of personality.

Compared to their past, the epic component gains further space, already evident from opener Perceval with its exquisitely metallic riffs, which return in the equally full-bodied Anubis (On the Onyx Throne of Death), two songs that don’t forget that variability in atmosphere, typical of the best doom. Third track Puritan is enriched with evocative passages, while Pale Lady Of Mercy, and penultimate track Towards The End, return to a darker and more obsessive atmosphere, sounding like Evangelist are bringing the listener a dark message.

epic doom metal is conjured here, majestic and powerful as Candlemass taught, but never devoid of personality…

Perhaps the message is that the album is now over, as the last track, Mystification, a cover originally from Manilla Road, is a nod to the late Mark Shelton. A very meaningful tribute rendered with a strong acoustic guitar in this slowed down version, which not only provokes an intimate atmosphere, but also reminds us of the profound legacy left by the great visionary.

Throughout the record, the vocals are very much in that Messiah Marcolin camp, generally atypical of epic doom bands, but adds their own story telling theatrics to engross any listener. Recorded, mixed and mastered at JR Studio, the production delivers a crisp sound that flourishes the whole doom-laden mood and atmosphere.

Although epic doom metal is very much set in how it sounds, Evangelist are another in a long line of similar bands, but to all lovers of Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Sorcerer and Manilla Road, Ad Mortem Festinamus shall be regarded as a compelling and enveloping release that will further establish the sound and visions of these Polish evangelists.

Label: Nine Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Randolph Whateley