Review Summary: Modern crossover metal soaked in darkness and despair.
"How long can the silence hold?"
This is the first verse being heard in Madder Mortem’s 4th effort, Desiderata
. It is also the last verse recited in the band’s previous record, Deadlands
. The four years in silence that interjected between both albums were indeed a very
long time. Severe communication problems with their record company, Century Media, left Madder Mortem without a record contract and brought them close to their status before the release of All Flesh is Grass
. Fortunately, the band struggled and managed to stay alive. Desiderata
is the token of this struggle.
In All Flesh is Grass
, Madder Mortem conceived, yet came relatively far from solidifying a new hybrid of gloomy music (no comma) by slipstreaming influences from nu-metal and progressive rock to their already present goth/doom legacy. The perfection of this endeavor took place in full in Deadlands
. In Desiderata
, their songwriting is fundamentally different. While they keep the progressive rock element and their infamous “goth” semi-electro-acoustic melodic signatures alive, they enhance the nu-metal component, while they slipstream distinct influences from rock, punk rock, thrash, industrial and the blues into their songwriting. As a result of this newly developed songwriting philosophy, the slow-to-mid-tempo song pace of the previous two records coexists with the tendency to fluctuate the speed and the overall groove per track constantly.
The band performance is maintained in a high level throughout the record. The rhythm section is more than proficient at its tasks, although it is not improved by a large margin. The guitarists’ work, on the other hand, is pure mayhem. The riffing is far more diverse in comparison to the previous two records, while it’s undeniably crushing. Agnete Kirkervaag’s vocals aren’t as strong this time as in the past. Although she did a miraculous job in Deadlands
, in Desiderata
she is having – at times – a hard time adapting to the relative fast rhythms per song of this record. As a result, she sometimes goes off-key, but this is not annoying in a great extent. The quality of the sound production is a great step forward for the band. Voices and instruments are superbly balanced in the final mix. Especially, the sound of the guitars is immaculately devastating.
Summing up, Madder Mortem managed to channel their anger for their forced 4-year hiatus from the music industry to this record, breaking new ground not alone as a band, but in the indefinable genre of crossover metal as well. The end result is a record with no mediocre songs overall. The aforementioned rock/metal genres are mutually and fluently welded the one with the rest. Adding the band’s belief to drive its music beneath the shadows, what we have here is modern crossover metal soaked in darkness and despair.
Plague on This Land
The Flood to Come