Madder Mortem - "Deadlands"
(The End Records 2002, TE033)
From Aural Innovations #23 (April 2003)
From Norway, Madder Mortem was formed in 1993 under the name Mystery Tribe, though their first album wasn't released until 1999. Deadlands is their third album and my first exposure to the band, which consists of Agnete M. Kirkevaag on vocals, BP M. Kirkevaag on guitars, Elrik Ulvo Langnes on guitars, Paul Mozart Bjorke on bass, and Mads Solas on drums.
The band play heavy driving metal with Goth and Progressive rock influences. It's metal to be sure, but the music includes complex structures with frequent thematic shifts, including blazing power rock tempered by calming melodic interludes. There's also an anthemic quality to the songs that can be attributed to Agnete's majestic vocals (though standard growling metal backing vocals occasionally crop up). And while the band is ultra heavy indeed, it's refreshing to hear powerful crunching guitar chords that are distinct and clear without the mish mash wall of grind. Madder Mortem will certainly appeal to the heavy Goth/Prog metal crowd. They toured with Opeth recently and having heard that bands most recent CD I can say that it's a good pairing. And the CD comes with a thick booklet with beautiful artwork and lyrics to all the songs.
For more information you can visit the Madder Mortem web site at: http://www.maddermortem.com.
Deadlands is distributed by The End Records. You can visit their web site at: http://www.theendrecords.com.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz