Madder Mortem

Picture of Madder Mortem

Mercury

Madder Mortem - Mercury ©1999 Misanthropy
1. Undertow
2. Under Another Moon
3. He Who Longed For The Stars
4. These Mortal Sins
5. The Grinding Silence
6. Loss
7. Remnants
8. Misty Sleep
9. Conviction

So what might you get if you cross the heaviness of Mandylion-era The Gathering, the somewhat spooky avant garde edge of 3rd & the Mortal and the doom outcroppings of Left Hand Solution? The answer happens to be Norway's Madder Mortem, a Norwegian five piece featuring yet more female-fronted dark metal. The band had released a short EP before this full length debut, so Mercury acts as the introduction of the band to the world.

Generally speaking, Madder Mortem sticks to a fairly tried'n'true method of darker moods, heavier guitar riffs from the doom metal backpack, but tends to throw on such gorgeous melodies that you can't help but be impressed. There are very slight hints of folk music in the melodies, but not done in a trite or careless way. The vocals of Agnete Kirkevaag are quite impressive, belonging to the same realm as Left Hand Solution's singer or early 3rd & the Mortal. Madder Mortem doesn't try to either depress the listener with a barrage of melancholy music nor aggravate the average ear with tendencies to experiment with perfectly enjoyable songs. Rather, the band offers a hint of an uplifting spirit behind all else while just pushing the envelope enough to keep their songs interesting. There are sprinkles of keyboards, but generally the guitars dominate the proceedings. The album goes through a series of moods and levels of intensity, all of which keep the arrangements bustling. The album does also happen to take multiple listens in order to accumulate enough of the feel to truly enjoy deeply.

While the band's association with Misanthropy records ensures this debut may now be hard to find, it is definitely worth the search, particularly for those fans of 3rd & the Mortal or those who wish The Gathering had stayed in the doom-metal realm. Mercury is indeed a fine first appearance for this band.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2001

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