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Label: Dark Essence Records / Release date: 26th January 2024
Madder Mortem is a Norwegian band that was founded back in 1993 under the moniker of Mystery Tribe. The band currently consists of Agnete M. Kirkevaag (Vocals), BP M. Kirkevaag (Guitar & Vocals), Anders Langberg (Guitar), Tormod L. Moseng (Bass) and Mads Solås (Drums).
Five years after its predecessor Marrow, this quintet is finally ready with their eighth studio album entitled Old Eyes, New Heart. This brand-new album contains 10 semi-length song, where Madder Mortem again manages to break away from genre boundaries, further evolving their already progressive and experimental sound. It makes it hard to categorize, other than to paraphrase the press material – it’s ‘…spanning from post-metal to soft Americana grooves and everything in between’. In other words; it’s not a piece of a traditional heavy metal, and not something we hear often coming from Norway. First thing noticeable, already with the opening song, “Coming from the Dark” is the addition of more dynamics and unpredictable moments, than we could hear on the previously mentioned predecessor Marrow. Apart from the very strong album-opener, my other highlights are namely, the driven and aggressive “The Head that Wears the Crown”, then the moody and doom-laden “Cold Hard Rain” and “Towers” (see video below) where the band is drawing inspiration from grunge, post-metal and 70s rock. The album ends on a high note with a very strong and emotional “Long Road”.
Lyrically, and musically, the album deals with hope, disappointment, and the ambivalence between the two opposite feelings and emotions. The best thing I can say about it is that it feels as the music comes from their hearts and with a clear desire to write a good, honest song/album.
Old Eyes, New Heart is a wealthy mosaic of emotions and states. Ethereal atmosphere, the immense creativity, and the artistic character ensues a true musical treasure. It feels mystical and while listening to this magical work, you have a feeling of being in a hallucinatory, laid-back and almost transcendental state. Finally, variety is the keyword throughout this beautiful record.
As I said on a few ocassions earlier, there’s nothing like the power of a an image/cover art, it speaks silently in multiple ways and it has the ability to create different emotion. This one more so than many of the other album artworks, as Agnete and BP’s dad Jakob passed away. He was the artist who had prepared two paintings especially for this album, and with the adaptation and additional design by long-term Madder collaborator Costin Chioreanu, the cover artwork for Old Eyes, New Heart was completed. Even though Jakob didn’t live to see the finished album, he would have been immensely proud to see his art on the cover, and the album is dedicated to his memory. It’s a personal, emotional and adventurous journey into the minds and hearts of Madder Mortem.
Fronted by one of the genre’s greatest and most unique voices in Agnete M. Kirkevaag, Old Eyes, New Heart is an album full of surprises, unexpected twists, but at all times unmistakably Madder Mortem. Old Eyes, New Heart is a further expansion of a great legacy.
Esp. recommended for fans of Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Meshuggah, Baroness, Solefald, Opeth and for anyone who like their music progressive, adventurous, ambitious and audacious! For further info on this particular release visit https://maddermortem.bandcamp.com/album/old-eyes-new-heart
Watch the official music video for “Towers” below.