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There must be something highly conducive about prolonged bouts of cold weather that is useful in creating good metal. Norway – home of ice hockey, limited sun light…and a thriving heavy metal scene. Female fronted Madder Mortem continues this trend on studio album five, ‘Eight Ways’.
Any band that can last sixteen years must be doing something right. Carrying on from 2006’s ‘Desiderata’, Madder Mortem push the boundaries of experimentation whilst displaying the benefits of their vast experience. However, this album is going to take time to grow on you.
Opening track ‘Formaldehyde’ is as haunting as it is mesmerising. The dark guitar tones of Kirkevaag and Ebbesen are complimented by the earnest vocals of Agnete Kirkevaag. Other tracks such as ‘Armour’ and ‘A Different Kind of Hell’ follow suit, changing tempos and musical pulses regularly.
The album ebbs and flows in the right sense. Slow, tranquil rhythmic sections work in tandem with faster bouts of aggressive riffs and drum sections. There seems to be an inherent ‘token’ element to most female fronted metal acts in the sense that more attention is paid to the gender of the singer than the actual music. Madder Mortem (containing members of both sex) however, prove that rock is not exclusively a gentlemen’s club.
‘Eight Ways’ runs the gamut of musical moods. Dark and gloomy in certain stages whilst loud and optimistic in others – essentially in the same mould as one of the bands Scandinavian neighbours, Finnish band ‘HIM’.
When one thinks of prominent Scandinavian acts, Madder Mortem is certainly not the first name to pop up. Nevertheless, ‘Eight Ways’ is twelve tracks of consistent and decent metal.
Like most progressive releases, this album is not exactly one you will crank up on the stereo in your car. Rather, the charm is in its complexity and is intended to appeal to the listener who likes to hear to their albums from start to finish.
- The Little Things
- A Different Kind of Hell
- Riddle Wants to Be
- Where Dream and Day Collide
- The Flesh, the Blood and the Man
- Get That Monster Out of Here
- Life, Lust and Liberty
- All I Know
- The Eighth Way