Review 2052 : Madder Mortem – Old Eyes, New Heart – English

Madder Mortem writes its future.

After a first existence from 1993 to 1997 under the name Mystery Tribe, followed by a debut in Doom Metal, the Norwegian band led by Agnete M. Kirkevaag (vocals) and BP M. Kirkevaag (guitar), completed by Mads Solås (drums), Tormod Langøien Moseng (bass) and Anders Langberg (guitar) celebrates its comeback in 2024 with the release of Old Eyes, New Heart, its eighth album, on Dark Essence Records.

The album opens with melancholic and majestic sounds on Coming From The Dark, where clean vocals join a heavy but heady melody, complemented by a few backing vocals, sometimes even screamed, and more ethereal elements. The vocalist indulges in a few more intense passages, while the instrumental bursts into flame too, before opting for a softer but more disquieting approach on On Guard, the next composition, which adopts carefully crafted Blues influences that perfectly embellish the more soaring, dissonant tones. The sound suddenly explodes on Master Tongue, blending infernal rhythm and terrifying screams, before remaining on a complex, sometimes dark basis that allows for some brighter more heart-rending breakthroughs that burst into flames without warning, and then quietude is at work again on The Head That Wears The Crown. There’s a latent darkness that takes advantage of a certain slowness to develop haunting sonorities, disturbed by energetic Prog patterns, before the band sinks into mysterious swirls with Cold Hard Rain, the album’s longest and most suffocating track, which takes advantage of a certain gentleness on the first half to surprise us with real oppression later on, also incorporating more raw vocal parts. Unity‘s more upbeat riffs play on the band’s Prog roots, with a few modern additions to let the musicians dance together, before returning to a catchy groove on Towers, the first track unveiled to introduce the album. The band turns to a jerky and almost euphoric rhythm again at first sight, before offering an impressive heaviness leading us to the light Here And Now, which mixes soothing sounds and polished riffs that progress to this apotheosis final. Aggression resurfaces with the lengthy Things I’ll Never Do, probably the album’s liveliest track, immediately revealing blast and breathless riffs before slowing down to shroud us in its dark haze, which eventually fades into nothingness, giving way to Long Road, the final composition, which closes the album in serenity with a minimalist rhythm led by the enchanting vocals.

The complexity of Madder Mortem seems almost unreal, so natural is it. On Old Eyes, New Heart, the band’s comeback is magnified by their ability to move from total appeasement to indissimilar fury without batting an eyelid.


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