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Madder Mortem: Deadlands

If the front of Madder Mortem's third full-length CD featuring a sepia-tone photographic image of what appears to be one dead man carrying another isn't enough to drain the blood from your face, wait until your ears get a load of the songs on Deadlands. Dark and swirling rhythms undulate around cold-as-steel guitars and unorthodox female vocals that explore the human condition of loneliness and independence with a parallel look into the land of the dead. Welcome to a Sunday afternoon of musical fun for the entire family

With singer Agnete M. Kirkevaag, Norway's Madder Mortem continues to eschew beautifully crafted, traditional female-fronted gothic metal in favor of off-kilter beats and vocal interpretations that are, plain and simple, frightening. Kirkevaag doesn't pretend to be an opera singer or a shimmering yet mysterious angel who feeds off male listeners' lust. (In fact, she kind of looks like a man on the back of the CD booklet.) Rather, with a voice that falls somewhere between The Gathering's Anneke van Giersbergen and Grace Slick, Kirkevaag can rip holes in your speakers with her forceful and convincing delivery that leaves no option but to believe every bleak word that comes out of her mouth. Backed by a band that plays music powerful enough to compete with the voice, Madder Mortem experiments with a multitude of aural soundscapes from down-tuned walls of sound on "Ominvore" to what could be described as a quirky interpretation of straightforward progressive metal on "Distance Will Save Us."

When Madder Mortem gets into a dark groove near the middle of "Silverspine" or strips its soul bare on the mournfully propulsive closer "Resonatine," I won't blame you if you feel like you're going to die. Approach with caution, for this is highly potent.

Added: April 6th 2003
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: The End Records
Hits: 3823
Language: english

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