“The Evil That Balances the Universe,” Spiritus Mundi’s third release, is about a 2 year effort resulting in 1 great CD! It is a labor of love, as are all Mundi projects, and reflects it in the final product. From out of the gate it is a hard hitting assault on the listener.
The opening track, “The Gauntlet of Fears” pummels the ears with the near verbal abuse that only a 6’5” German can deliver, as he shouts the first stanza: “As your dying body convulses / Violently on the blood soaked asphalt / Is it everything you ever feared / A high beyond what you’ve ever sought”. The chorus features some phenomenal drumming from Miller, as he explodes upon his kit with the fierceness of a Slayer like drum fill extended throughout the entire section, somehow managing to effortlessly keep the listener in the groove of the song! Further into the Gauntlet we are kicked in the head by the sound of Wopshall shredding his guitar up with a wah solo in a somewhat sadistic and methodical way.
Once the listener has endured the “Gauntlet” he is quickly thrown into a wicked world of dominance and submission known as “Death of a Thousand Cuts”. With an almost swing like rhythm to the song, it can nearly induce a trance like state as one delves deeper into the lyrics, full of madness and darkness. It deals with the darker side of the human condition, as the title suggests, yet offers a poetic feeling to the lyrics, which are sang with aggressive passion but remain audible to the ears.
After surviving “A Thousand Cuts”, it is time to indulge into the narcissistic madness of “The Regression”, a sick and twisted tale of contention and lust. It features a sing along chorus, and killer change in the middle of the song eased into by the previous breakdown transition. A great track to listen to if you have been failed by love and are angry about it!
In the midst of the angry backdrop of the CD, we find “The Weighing of Souls” the first of four thought provoking instrumentals spread throughout the CD, poking through the veil like treasured beams of light in a forest of darkness.
With the slow fade of multiple acoustic guitars and keys, the listener finds his way back to the full on Metal with the stabbing intro to “Dissent in Paradise”, a song influenced by Man’s hatred for his fellow Man. “Dissent” also features a half time section rich in melodic guitar harmonies making it one of the more memorable tracks from the disc.
Next up is “Para Bellum”, a great track about how war begets war. The guitar solo is approximately a minute long and compliments the various changes of the solo section. Miller plays some very unique beats on this one.
"Violent by Design" and "The Face of Wrath" are next to explode from the speakers! Both of which sport some of the most brutal lyrics on the CD. The vocals sound like the Devil on a bad morning before his first cup of coffee! Angry, relentless, and well written lyrics snap sharply from Mikey’s tongue like a severe lashing from a whip.
Leading you back away from the heaviness again, is “Forests of the Suicides”. The second short instrumental, composed of all acoustic guitars and accompanied by some light keys, offers another brief moment of peace from the chaos of a CD that hardly lets up.
The slow fadeout of “Forests” is abruptly followed by the pounding intro riff of “Hate at First Sight”. Another song based on the contention that Man feels as he looks another man in the eyes…. and murders him.
“Of Agony and Lust”, following the punchy outro of “Hate”, offers even more punch from an almost AC/DC – Judas Priest – like beginning to the song. It is the second and only other track on the disc which could almost be mistaken for a love song, although it is more related to the love’s sinister cousin, lust. It also holds a nice, unexpected piece of clean guitars near the middle. Layered with alternating solos panned from left to right, it moves flawlessly into a new riff accented harshly by the return of Mikey’s shouts into the microphone.
After “Third Secret of Fatima”, another quick instrumental, the CD takes a turn into its remaining epic ending songs. First in line is “Unseen Enemy”, taking on the controversial topic of Terrorism. It boasts a great chorus and a just as awesome clean part before the solo. Featuring some heavy FX on the vocals and guitars, it creates an ambient and memorable moment before plunging headlong back into the Metal.
This brings us to “The Wizard behind the Curtain”. Besides the chorus and massive outro to “Wizard”, it is by far the softest of the songs, yet somehow stands as one of the most powerful! It is a ballad without the intent to be a ballad. The outro just plain ROCKS!
With its epic beginning and ominous lyrics, “The Winds of Black Death” shines through as a solid chunk of molten Metal! After a blistering guitar solo, Miller plays some outstanding drum fills which are complimented by the huge sound of a gong falling on the downbeat of another of Wopshall’s mega-riffs.
Clocking in at 11:28, “How the Mighty Have Fallen” is a musical journey into the declining state of America and its freedoms which are being slowly stolen from her in the name of Freedom! “Mighty”, with its many musical twists and turns, rounds out the album nicely before just one last instrumental: “Spear of Longinus”. Officially closing the CD, “Longinus” completes the metal madness by fading into oblivion, wrapping up precisely 78:00 minutes of pure, unadulterated Metal!
I - THE GAUNTLET OF FEARS
II - DEATH OF A THOUSAND CUTS
III - THE REGRESSION
IV - THE WEIGHING OF SOULS - instrumental
V - DISSENT IN PARADISE
VI - PARA BELLUM
VII - VIOLENT BY DESIGN
VIII - THE FACE OF WRATH
IX - FORESTS OF THE SUICIDES - instrumental
X - HATE AT FIRST SIGHT
XI - OF AGONY AND LUST
XII - THIRD SECRET OF FATIMA - instrumental
XIII - UNSEEN ENEMY
XIV - THE WIZARD BEHIND THE CURTAIN
XV - THE WINDS OF BLACK DEATH
XVI - HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN
XVII - SPEAR OF LONGINUS - instrumental