Album Reviews

Issue 2018-070

Duo Review

Madder Mortem - Marrow

Madder Mortem - Marrow
Country of Origin: Norway
Year of Release: 2018
Time: 53:29
Track List:
Untethered (1:18), Liberator (3:59), Moonlight Over Silver White (5:43), Until You Return (6:40), My Will Be Done (4:13), Far From Home (4:52), Marrow (6:19), White Snow, Red Shadows (4:16), tumble On (6:33), Waiting To Fall (9:03), Madder Mortem - Tethered (0:30)

Raimond Fischbach's Review

On their newest effort, Marrow, the Eurymthics Of Metal move a good step back to their roots that is progressive doom metal. The band’s restart saw them in rather positive, energetic mood, and their 2016 release Red In Tooth And Claw got heavily embraced by the fans of progressive rock and metal because it had such a positive, yet pop-ish approach. And that is quite fair.

Marrow has become way more sinister in style, following the band's pristine style, but not by losing quality. On the contrary, the cleverness of the compositions that always remind me of the Eurythmics is the same as before and perfectly marries doom metal with the world of progressive music.

Raw, unpolished metal guitars deliver a riffing of unheard constellations on one side, and on the other we hear arpeggios that are on a quest to make your heart burst and teach you the feeling of helplessness of doom. That alone is emotion enough to bear, but Agnete Kirkevaag’s outstanding vocals add even more gravitas. The melodies are unique and so is Agnete’s voice. Rarely do you hear a vocalist delivering so many different styles and techniques. It stands in a class on its own and creates a timbre that defies every drawer or comparison.

Putting these ingredients together cleverly and setting up nine tracks of a doomy concept album within an almost cinematic approach, surely isn’t the worst thing to do. The result is an album that should attract all fans of emotional, melodic metal, in and outside of the prog world. Owning this album is a must.

Calum Gibson's Review

Madder Mortem, hailing from Norway, were formed back in 1997 (although they originally went by the name Mystery Tribe from 1993). Having started off with an atmospheric and doomy sound, they have evolved into a more progressive metal style. Their first album dropped in 1999 (Mercury), with another five following over the next seven years. Their last release, Red in Tooth and Claw was praised by many. So naturally their newest offering, Marrow, had me interested.

It is easy to form an opinion of an album within the first 30 seconds of listening to it. It is difficult not to, and I always try to avoid doing so. However, I couldn’t help it here. Within the first 30 seconds of Liberator, we had it all. A rhythm section that got the blood flowing, vocals that will not let you go, and guitars that make you want to dust off the old air guitar and jump around.

Throughout the album, elements of Devin Townsend’s sound are present, along with some of Anathema’s work (think their 1999-2003 era). However, the band's wide range of tastes is apparent from start to finish. For example, My Will Be Done sounds strongly influenced by the likes of 90s metal, particularly the likes of Sepultura and Fear Factory, to produce a hard-hitting track.

In contrast, we have the following song, Far From Home. This one is a heavy, sorrowful ballad that according to the band: “contrasts fragility and heaviness, anguish and hope”. And I would agree. It is a truly stand out track on an album of greats. The video is a perfect accompaniment as well.

The closing track, Waiting To Fall, is a truly epic piece of music. It takes you on a journey through all the emotions, with emotional lyrics and delivery, with the clean vocals backed up perfectly by anguished screams, and with lighter passages blending with the heavier sections.

In short, this offers a melancholy sound, mixed with heavy, chugging guitars with a bass heavy resonance. Soaring vocals and a perfect blend of emotion, gentleness and metal complete the picture.

If you are a fan of Anathema, Devin Townsend, Katatonia and similar, then pick this up and spread the word. This is a fantastic album if you enjoy your prog atmospheric and emotive.

Album Reviews