They come from Norway and proudly proclaim that their music is a reflection of their home. While there is a rustic, earthy quality to a lot of their sound, the dramatic metal which permeates this disc is not what I expected at all. While their previous records show flashes of what they have become, Eight Ways shows a group that has finally found their way and are not afraid to show all the different roads it took to get them there.
Melodic and epic metal is the backbone of Madder Mortem, but there is something to this band that transcends many cultures and musical boundaries. It will take many plays before you gander the breath and scope of their sound. With a very unnerving jazzy beginning to the disc, they almost lull you in before the crash of metal assaults you on the first song "Formaldehyde". This disturbing tune which is the musical equivalent of a David Lynch movie sets the tone for an album filled with music that never lets you sit still or get full at ease. Prepare to have your nerves exposed and scraped raw as Madder Mortem takes you on a tour that will hit you on so many different levels that the grey matter might go into sensory overload!
Lead singer Agnete Kirkevaag has the knack to tug you in whichever direction she wants to take you. She has a voice that suits the many moods that this album seems to elicit. Tender and serene on songs like "Armour", "The Riddle Wants To Be" and "Resolution", Agnete creates a comfort zone for you before she hits you with some mighty metal vocals on songs like "A Different Kind of Hell" where she shows that she could sing most songs from the Heart discography and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between her and Ann Wilson. She has a great voice for this kind of material and it helps to create a very exciting metal album.
Since getting the download of this album (Yes the record company would not supply a disc, so this review is based on mp3 quality material) I have listened to the album many times and each time I have been able to pick up something different. The musical ability of this band is well above the norm that you hear on a daily basis. They can be dramatic and bombastic at times or they can also carry you away on a serene cloud of lush melodic melody that is usually the calm before the storm with this band! It is great stuff and I am sure will only sound better when I finally get the chance to hear it uncompressed. This is a terrific album and I am sure it will be on my list as the best of 2009.
2. The Little Things
5. A Different Kind of Hell
6. The Riddle Wants To Be
7. When Dreams & Day Collide
8. The Flesh, The Blood & The Man
9. Get The Monster Out Of Here
10. Life, Lust & Liberty
11. All I Know
12. Eighth Wave