Review: Madder Mortem – Red In Tooth And Claw

‘Wait for me, wait for me, set the world on fire for me!’ In the first song on their new album Madder Mortem already declares it: Wait for me. And it was a long wait for the fans of this Norse creative metal troupe. Seven years after their last album, Eight Ways, the group surprises the listener with another mix of soulfull songs that combine singer Agneta’s expressive pair of longs with sometimes heavy, sometimes bluesy, and sometimes very fragile instrumentation. The screams of BP have more space on this album, where on the other albums it was only heard a few times. It brings more heavyness, but also more emotion to some songs. The songs are so diverse that not mentioning them seperate does not do justice to the album.

Opening song Blood on the Sand kicks off full of energy and with typical Madder Mortem changes in sound and rhythm. It is clear that the band have not gone dusty after all these years. On the contrary: Like good wine they have aged and grown better.
Second song If I Could has a sadness and a sensible helplessness over it, basically because BP brings more bewilderment into it. Great basslines make the song exciting, even though the chorus “I’m so sorry, I would change it if I could” could be from any boyband. Madder Mortem however turns the song into an anthem for the hopeless times when you think nothing you can do will make things better.
Fallow Season starts as some sort of heavy bluesrock. A song that is chosen as a single for a reason. It just feels fecking good! Great guitar riffs and Agneta’s voice make it filthy nice. And no worries, it is still heavy, especially the last part.
Pitfalls starts fast fast fast! The sound is much like what was heard on the Eight Ways album and the opposition of faster and loud against slower and soft work well in this song, The catchy chorus is a nice transition between the two.
All the Giants Are Dead has the unpolished and raw sound that I know from their All Flesh is Grass and Deadlands time. Apart from the raw guitarparts, it puts an emphasis on Agneta’s different vocalstyles.
Starting experimental and disturbing, Returning to the End of the World, has a quiet, dreamlike middlepart and uses heavyness and stillness as perfect ingredients for a build up to a great catharsis.
Parasite starts off fast and can be desribed as a garageband sound, but then with a much more intelligent use of instruments and the two voices that mix very well together.
Stones for Eyes introduces some prog sound which needs some adjusting for the listener, but is a nice change.
The Whole Where Your Heart Belongs is a little fairytale with a Tim Burton feel around it. The sound is odd, spooky and drags you into this fairytaleworld.
For some reason the last songs on Madder Mortem albums are always a bit special. Because of the style, the length, the climax. Underdogs is no difference here. A good bassline, together with great drumriffs push the song towards an emotional height of the album.
And basically makes you enclose the Madders into your heart (if the rest of the album did not do it already). That is, of course, if you are open enough for a different approach of metal…

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