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Madder Mortem

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Madder Mortem Mercury album cover
3.39 | 13 ratings | 4 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Undertow (6:02)
2. Under Another Moon (6:00)
3. He Who Longed for the Stars (5:50)
4. These Mortals Sins (5:15)
5. The Grinding Silence (5:28)
6. Loss (3:45)
7. Remnants (5:37)
8. Misty Sleep (6:25)
9. Convertion (7:31)

Total Time: 51:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Agnete M. Kirkevaag / vocals
- BP M. Kirkevaag / guitars, vocals, percussion
- Christian Ruud / guitars
- Boye Nyberg / bass
- Sigurd Nielsen / drums

Releases information

CD Misanthropy #19 (1999)

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MADDER MORTEM Mercury ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MADDER MORTEM Mercury reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Mercury" is the debut studio album from Norwegian goth/ doom metal act Madder Mortem. The album was released through Misanthropy Records in February 1999.

The music is pre-dominantly slow- to mid paced goth/doom metal featuring mid ranged female vocals. No operatic or soprano vocal parts here. Agnete M. Kirkevaag is a skilled vocalist with a strong voice. Sheīs not very distinct though, but her style suits the music fine. The music is at times quite sombre but also very melodic. The tracks are generally simply structured but there are a few diversions from the "regular" vers/chorus structure that make the music more varied. There are a few melodic folky elements in the music too that are worth mentioning. This is not folk metal though. Itīs only a few elements.

The musicianship is solid and I really enjoy how Madder Mortem are able to make their songs flow nicely without awkward shifts between sections.

The production is great. Itīs actually quite soft for a metal album but it suits the music well.

"Mercury" is a decent debut album by Madder Mortem and certainly recommendable to fans of goth/doom metal with female vocals. Itīs not terribly innovative or challenging to listen to, but it features a great atmosphere and some really well written material. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

Review by Bonnek
4 stars The Norwegian answer to Opeth's 'Morningrise'?

Madder Mortem evokes quite an atmosphere here, not by doing long Opethian compositions or black metal rasps, but by the same frost-bitten guitars and wet drum sound as Opeth had on Morningrise. They also have that Nordic folksy vibe and must use similar chord progressions as they create the same sweeping and melancholic atmosphere.

I'm not much of a fan of female-fronted metal. It's mostly more interesting for the visuals then for the music. The Gathering and Stream of Passion are the obvious exceptions, but you also can't go wrong with Agnete here. Over the course of Madder Mortem's career her voice evolved into a very prominent and acquired taste, but here she keeps things very gentle and melodious.

I'm not sure if this would be the Madder Mortem album of preference for prog fans, certainly not for the tech/extreme metal fans. Madder Mortem evolved in leaps throughout their first 3 albums. Each one being very different. Musically the debut is adequate and brooding, be it not as challenging or technical or extreme as on later albums. But it's the mood that gets me, very melancholic, grey, subtle, eerie.

The album needs some growing but slowly and irreversibly creeps under your skin. All songs compete with each other to evoke the most upsetting psychological distress, the deepest yearning or the toughest desperation. Not all succeed equally convincing but for a debut, this album is a true revelation. Not their most proggy effort but their most touching one. Recommended to fans of the Gathering and gloomy funeral music. A slightly flattering 4 stars.

Review by sleeper
3 stars The mid 1990's saw an explosian in prog bands from Norway, both of the more symphonic and metal variaties, and '99 saw Madder Mortem join their ranks with this, their debut album, Mercury. Unlike a lot of Norway's Prog Metal acts, the band keeps away from Black Metal here and instead offers up a fusion of Doom Metal, similar to the likes of Candlemass, and Goth Metal with The 3rd and the Mortal being an obvious big influence.

As you will find with many debut albums, the band seems a bit tentative here as their musical style keeps pretty close to the Doom/Goth fusion without developing that uniqe sound that will come to charecterise the bands albums. Its particualrly noticable with vocalist Agnete Kirkvaarg, who sings in a style reminiscent of that soft, calm and airy voice of the vocalist from The 3rd and the Mortal, a style that has encompassed many goth singers for quite a while now, and a far cry from the powerful, distinct and, some would say, aquired taste that her vocals will become. In short, Mercury offers little to distinguish itself from the pack, except that within its limitations its quite a well made album. The songs are driven forward by the twin riffing of BP Kirkvaarg and Christian Ruud, sometimes using the counterpoint that would become a hallmark of the band but largely relying on the strong riffs to dominate the song. Nyborg's bass and Nielson's drums work togethor to create a strong rhythm section underpinning the riffs but without ever really making their prescence felt.

The composition of the songs is pretty good, but the album lacks variation between most of its tracks, meaning that the album as a whole wont stick in the memorry to well but indavidual songs can certainly grab the attention. The biggest problem Mercury has is that the production is definitely second rate, the first few songs in particualr sound like they were recorded on the cheap. Its the kind of quality you would expect from a demo or a first time negineer getting to grips with the kit. The sound isnt terrible, the album is certainly listenable and you can hear all the instruments, but I'm left with a definite feeling of "could do better".

I'd say that last statement sums up the album perfectly, in all departments there is nothing bad, or particularly wrong, with the album but its unsatisfying in the end. Loss, Misty Sleep and Convention are my favourite tracks on here but Madder Mortem went on to much bigger and better things after Mercury. For fans of the bleaker end of Progressive Metal, like In the Woods... and Green Carnation, who arent out to be challenged and to those that want to complete their MM discography.

Latest members reviews

3 stars What Mystery Tribe is this? INTRODUCTION "Mercury" is Madder Mortem's debut album. It's quite hard to describe the musical field in which they operate on this album. Atmospheric/gothic metal intertwined with symphonic passages is what comes first to mind. What makes this band unique is ... (read more)

Report this review (#115985) | Posted by Draconean | Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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