WAR has long proven a fertile wellspring of inspiration for metal artists, from the anti-Vietnam denunciations of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs through to the punishing blitzkrieg of Panzer Division Marduk ­— even spawning its own frenetic and explicitly aggressive eponymous subgenre.

Manchester’s Deus Mori are now seeking to push the subject in neoteric directions with their crushing black metal, inspirited by the cataclysmic horrors of trenches of the First World War.

After razing the Alma Inn in Bolton last month, we caught up with band at the Manchester Death Feast festival and their last show in the region for 2019.

For Deus Mori writing music about war has always been about reaching for something tangible, exposing the darker side of the human condition and the unavoidable truth that very real atrocities have been perpetrated.

“I think what attracted us to the whole First World War theme was the aesthetic of it,” explained guitarist, Enecate.

“We wanted to tackle war because it happened and we like to live in the real world, added fellow guitarist, Exigne. “We are very practical in our themes, we don’t go very fantastical like you see with a lot of bands talking about Satan and black magic.”

“But we are not glorifying war either,” bassist, Skogen, hastened to add.

Confronting and exploring the ideas of conflict, its agents and its fallout is also about Deus Mori finding a way to move beyond the clichés of the Second Wave Norwegian scene, and following in the footsteps of bands like Eastern Front and Crimson Brigade, search for a uniquely British black metal sound.

“When we started this band we wanted to do black metal but we didn’t want to just keep using the same tropes,” Skogen said. “We do love the Norwegian stuff but we didn’t want to just replicate.

“That’s no disrespect to the Second Wave, but we just wanted to do something different because it’s very easy to just copy that period.

“The UK is putting out so much innovative black metal it doesn’t need to copy the Second Wave.”

Enecate added: “We like to think we have got our own unique sound in the scene at the minute. We’ve got the thrash in there, we’ve got the groove and punk music too.

“There’s not many bands in the UK who sing specifically about war.

“In future we will progress past the whole First World War thing and will talk about warfare in general. We are going to explore.”

Deus Mori’s next step over the parapet is set to happen later this year as the outfit prepare to release their second EP.

Entitled Umbra Mortis, or Shadow of Death, the follow up to 2018’s And From The Trenches Bore Darkness will take Deus Mori into dark new territory, with an explicit focus on the grim and horrifying death toll elicited by war.

Enecate said: “Our first EP was more about religion’s effect on war. The second EP is heavily about the actual mortality of war.

“It’s a lot darker and more morbid. But it’s also very sombre and sad-sounding, and it’s very much about war and death and about people facing that mortality.

“We very much focussed on trench warfare because it was horrific. It was literally the most horrible thing you can imagine. If you didn’t die from the bullets and explosions you died from disease. So we focussed on that and on the pain.”

Over four neck-breaking tracks the EP delves into questioning why humans are the only species to go about killing each other in their millions.

While the EP’s title track encapsulates the release's funereal aura as it follows The Ferry Man reluctantly going about his morbid business of conveying the departed to the realm of the dead.

While musically, Deus Mori note that they have been strongly influenced by the sound and stylings of Australian outfit Advent Sorrow.

Exigne added: “So far, song writing wise, I would say it’s probably a bit more progressive than what we have done before.

“It’s definitely much more murky. I would also say in comparison to the last recording this EP is going to be a lot bigger, with a thicker sound.

Enecate added: “We start recording next month, we have one song to finish, the title track and them we will be heading straight into the studio.

“We have probably got enough material for a couple of albums but we’re very picky, we don’t just want to put anything on there.”

Although their conquering forays into the North West have ended for this year, Deus Mori still have dates lined up at HRH Vikings festival in Sheffield and The Fenton in Leeds.

And it is in Leeds they are planning to unleash their new single, meaning they will be able to play both their new and debut EPs for the first time in their longest set to date.

“We’ve got a nice finish to the year coming up,” Enecate said. “It’s going to be messy but it’s going to be good.”

However with 2020 just around the corner Deus Mori already have their sights set on releasing a split EP with two Manchester black metal bands and conquering the continent with their marauding stage show.

An album is planned to the following but the band admit they “don’t want to rush it”.

Enecate said: “I think the North West has got a good metal scene in general, Manchester especially. People always come out and support the local scene.

“But we would love to play some more dates around the UK, the South East, and hopefully in to Europe next year.

“That’s where the black metal scene is big and that’s where we can really make a name for ourselves. We’re not in it for the fame and glory we just want to play to a lot of people because we enjoy what we do.”