Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Morte Macabre

Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Morte Macabre Symphonic Holocaust album cover
3.99 | 164 ratings | 23 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Apoteosi del Mistero (4:16)
2. Threats of Stark Reality (2:59)
3. Sequenza Ritmica e Tema (7:02)
4. Lullaby (8:02)
5. Quiet Drops (6:43)
6. Opening Theme (2:50)
7. The Photosession (7:10)
8. Symphonic Holocaust (17:51)

Total Time: 57:17

Bonus track on 1998 LP release:
9. Suoni Dissonanti (3:21)

Line-up / Musicians

- Reine Fiske / guitars, violin, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes
- Nicklas Berg / Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Theremin, sampler, guitar, bass
- Stefan Dimle / bass, Mellotron, Moog
- Peter Nordins / drums, percussion, Mellotron

- Yessica Lindkvist / voice (4)
- Janne Hansson / waves Fx (7)

Releases information

Covered themes from horror movies, plus 2 originals (tracks 2 & 8)

Artwork: David Östlund

CD Mellotronen ‎- MELLOCD 008 (1998, Sweden)

2xLP Mellotronen ‎- MELLO DLP 1 (1998, Sweden) With a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MORTE MACABRE Symphonic Holocaust Music

MORTE MACABRE Symphonic Holocaust ratings distribution

(164 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MORTE MACABRE Symphonic Holocaust reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
5 stars This album is really special to me because of many reasons. Let me tell you the story why. When I was doing the Swedish military service 1987-88, there was a guy at the same regiment that I learned to know. The guy was Stefan Dimle and he would have a lot of influence on my future life. By that time he had a band called KAJUKU and I taped some songs from him. One of the songs was "Älvkungen" that I really liked. He also used to have tapes with him that I borrowed. He introduced me to band such as HÖST, CAPTAIN BEYOND, WEED, TOAD, SVANFRIDUR, MAYBLITZ, YELLOW, GARYBALDI and others. Before that I had only listened to the big progressive rock groups such as MARILLION, KING CRIMSON and GENESIS. Now a whole new world was open for me, and I became a real progressive fan. That was he's musical influence on me. Once in a while he also brought horror movies to the regiment and we used to watch them when we were off duty. It was movies such as "The Beyond", "The House By The Cemetery", "City Of The Living Dead", "Cannibal Holocaust" and "Zombie". Most notably was the Italian director Lucio Fulci. The movies and the soundtracks that often were played by the Italian band GOBLIN astounded me. That was he's movie influence on me. Stefan Dimle later started he's own record store and label Mellotronen, and became the bass player in one of the best Swedish progressive bands through time, LANDBERK. On this album the best of both worlds is brought together. This is a musical collaboration with four of Sweden's best musicians in the progressive field. Two members of ANEKDOTEN (Nicklas Berg & Peter Nordins) and two members of LANDBERK (Stefan Dimle & Reine Fiske), playing those legendary horror movie soundtracks. The CD includes 8 tracks. The edition is 1000 ex. The first 500 copies are packed in a beautiful special paper sleeve. The music is all-instrumental and contains music from "City Of The Living Dead"; "The Beyond"; "Rosemary's Baby"; "Beyond The Darkness"; "Cannibal Holocaust"; "Golden Girls" and two new songs: "Threats Of Stark Reality" and "Symphonic Holocaust", they are written by the four members of MORTE MACABRE. Another great thing about this album is that each member plays the Mellotron. I really love the Mellotron, and here you got plenty of it. If you like the Mellotron, you have to love this album. But there's also some other interesting instruments here: Fender Rhodes, Theremin, Sampler, Guitar, Bass, Moog, Violin, Drums & Percussion. The guitar player Reine Fiske is a man that has a great influence on the music wherever his participating. When I played this album to a friend of mine, he, without knowing what band it was, asked: "Is it the guitar player of LANDBERK?" There are not many guitar players that I know that has such an original way of playing. In Sweden we got Roine Stolt and Reine Fiske. The aforementioned Italian band GOBLIN writes the best track. It's called "Quiet Drops" and was written for the movie "Beyond the Darkness". Here you can hear Reine Fiske at his best. Another very beautiful song is "Opening Theme" from "Cannibal Holocaust". A Mellotron drenched piece that makes your soul bleed. I also like "Sequenza Ritmica Etema" from my favourite horror movie "The Beyond". This is definitely, without competition, the best album put out in 1998. It's also one of the best albums from the 90's. This is a true masterpiece in the progressive genre. If you like dark progressive rock like GOBLIN, MUSEO ROSENBACH, LANDBERK, CATHEDRAL and Italian horror movies, this is really something for you. Recommended!

The vinyl version (2-LP in blood-red vinyl) will be released in March 1999, and it's gonna have 1 bonus track: "Irrealta di Suoni aka Suoni Dissonanti", from "City Of The Living Dead".

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Half Anekdoten , half Landberk, 100 percent mellotron melancholy: Need I say more? Indulge , you shall not regret it , especially for the last epic 15+ min Symphonic Holocaust. Apparently these numbers on here were for horror movies but most of those movies never got released.
Review by loserboy
4 stars You know your gonna love a band when all members are credited with playing the Mellotron ! MORTE MACABRE is actually a concoction of band members from progressive bands LANDBERK & ANEKDOTEN who pay tribute to the horror movie soundtracks. Close your eyes and just try to imagine this aggressive musical quartet interpreting and improvising on haunting musical scores from old horror movies and you are getting the picture (no pun intended!). Songs are quite atmospheric and dark yet warm sounding. Without a question overall "Symphonic Holocaust" is a slower-paced "mood piece" (with only a couple aggressive breakouts) which is a wonderful for those evenings when you just want to be kind of quiet and relax in that couch of yours. WARNING: you might get scared listening to this album if you are alone in the house.
Review by The Prognaut
5 stars Highlights of the all-instrumental CD, whose title may be slightly misleading (the emphasis is on "symphonic" much more than "holocaust"), include the driving, hypnotic "Sequenza Ritmica Eterna" (from The Beyond), in which the Mellotron- driven "eternal rhythmic sequence" of the title occasionally subsides just enough to allow some subtle guitar to emerge, only to come back for a crashing reprise and a surprisingly mellow ending; the fragile "Quiet Drops", gradually gaining intensity as Peter NORDIS' drumming builds; and the brief "Opening Theme" from Cannibal Holocaust, a sweet Mellotron duet which provides a welcome counterpoint to the generally very dark atmosphere of the CD and is worth the price of admission alone. The CD ends with the 18-minute title track, the only MORTE MACABRE-penned composition: while possibly overstaying its welcome for the casual, impatient listener, it is likely to exhibit almost hypnotic potential for others. Even upon repeated listening, I found my mind drifting -- not dozing out of boredom, but drawn to some underworldly region by the music.

This isn't everyday music, and isn't likely to sell in large numbers outside the Prog community. It is uncompromising, thoroughly full-on, and needs to be listened to at volume -- preferably at night. The CD title and its subject matter -- pieces from horror and soft-porn movies -- may deter some listeners, but that's their loss: the MORTE MACABRE members must be congratulated for exhuming (if you'll pardon the pun) some of the more obscure music of the 1970's, and for giving it a 90's face. Perhaps that's their greatest triumph, in fact: with the possible exception of "The Photosession", none of the songs presented here sound in any way dated. With the last studio albums from ANEKDOTEN (Gravity, 2004) and LANDBERK (Indian Summer, 1996) somewhat less exciting than some of their earlier work, I'm even looking forward to any follow-up MORTE MACABRE CD's more than to new releases from the original bands. "Symphonic Holocaust" is easily one of the best CD releases of 1998.

I consider this project very ambitious, well achieved, well played, very profound and dark by prognosis due the similitudes contained in both bands perspectives. Nonetheless, it's quite disappointing that LANDBERK couldn't hold on to the projects of their own right after "Indian Summer" and complicated the release of a MORTE MACABRE's second album. ANEKDOTEN kept on producing and composing such marvelous recordings after "Nucleus" and "Symphonic Holocaust", touring and performing until present days when they gave us "Gravity" (not my favorite ANEKDOTEN album, "From within" had much of a heart).

"Symphonic Holocaust" is a challenging album for all those prog rockers out there, its extremely edgy, moody, punchy and has got mostly all to be considered as a masterpiece. Nowadays its quite impossible to get because it's been out of stock over the record stores, but if you are really committed to listen to it, there are way too many prog sites you can log on to to get this album, like it did. I assure you won't regret fetching it yet listening to it.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I heard this album being played at the record shop, and I got instantly interested about it. As I'm a fan of the classic mellotron sound, and I like the both bands from which members formed this project (ANEKDOTEN and LANDBERK), so this is album was truly a record I couldn't afford to miss. Though the main focus of the album is on the cover versions of old B-movies ("Quiet Drops" from a Dario Argento film being the best), the most enjoyable track is still their collective jam "Symphonic Holocaust", which has some very fine emotional moments on it. This collaboration project also gave much influences to ANEKDOTEN's musical style, I think one can hear that by comparing sing their "Nucleus" and "From Within" albums. I had my copy as a double vinyl with a nice gatefold sleeves, and there's also a one bonus track included, which isn't on the CD version. An essential release in my humble opinion.
Review by erik neuteboom
2 stars A progrock joint venture from Anekdoten - and Landberk members, what a thrilling combination, .... it could have been... Altough some tracks sound very compelling feauring moving Melllotron waves, most of this album doesn't appeal to me: too fragmentic and too dark, after a few listenings sessions I remain only delighted about the first track "Apotheosi del Mistero"(great Mellotron in the vein of the early King Crimsom) and some parts of the long titletrack "Symphonic holocaust". Eventually I sold it to a proghead who was 'on cloud number nine' with this CD, also because it's very difficult to purchase it nowadays. But I'm not a collector, I only keep albums that I use to play for the whole running time.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. ANEKDOTEN are one of my all-time favourite bands, and listening to this record is almost like listening to an ANEKDOTEN album without the vocals. ANEKDOTEN's lead guitarist and drummer are here (Nicklas Barker and Peter Nordins). While LANDBERK's lead guitarist and bass player round out the band (Reine Fiske and Stefan Dimle). They all play mellotron on this album ! Interesting that the band member i'm least familiar with Stefan Dimle is the one who chose the songs they covered on here, as well as arranging the music. Of the six songs they covered five are from Horror movies and one is from a Porn movie.

"Apoteosi Del Mistero" is from the film "City Of The Living Dead". This is one of my favourite three songs on here. Waves of mellotron right off the top as a full sound comes in before a minute. I should note a second mellotron comes in when the full sound arrives. Amazing. This contrast continues. Check out the guitar and drumming 3 minutes in as the mellotron storm continues. Nice. "Threats Of Stark Reality" was written by the band and is an intro for the following song.This one is dark, creepy and experimental. No melody. "Sequenza Ritmica E Tema" is from the film "The Beyond". Drums, guitar and bass hit us hard on this one as mellotron rolls in. It settles then kicks in again as contrast continues. "Lullaby" is from the film "Rosemary's Baby". A mysterious bass line is joined by drums. This is a haunting soundscape to say the least. Female vocal melodies come in, but it's still a laid back sound. Mellotron and keys join in as well.

"Quiet Drops" is from the film "Beyond The Darkness" and was done originally by GOBLIN. This is another top three for me. Gentle guitar is joined by a second guitar that sounds like rain drops falling. Mellotron and drums come in as sound gets fuller. "Opening Theme" is my least favourite. It's from the film "Cannibal Holocaust". Fortunately it's the shortest as well. Lots of mellotron anyway. "The Photosession" is from the film "Golden Girls", no not the TV program. Waves can be heard rolling in as a guitar line joins in. Drums follow in this mellow track. Waves end the song. "Symphonic Holocaust" is the almost 18 minute title track. This is my other top three tune. Pulsating mellotron sounds as gentle guitar comes in at 1 1/2 minutes. It's almost like Post-Rock at this point. Bass comes in and is really prominant. An outburst of sound after 3 minutes and later 4 minutes in. It really explodes at 4 1/2 minutes. Check out the bass before 7 1/2 minutes! The guitar starts to make some noise 11 minutes in as the bass continues to impress. It's building as mellotron waves and deep bass continue. Fantastic song.

I'd love for these guys to get together and make a full album of their own material. This is so close to 5 stars for me but "Opening Theme" is just too annoying. Great album regardless.

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars The Halloween Record.

Since it's around that time, I figured what a time to review this album. It's one of the darkest and dismal sounding albums one is likely to own. Although, it's not exactly evil sounding. The backgrounds to many of these songs is what drives the gloomy mood. Quiet Drops is one of the few that's a tad calmer, and even it has it's moments towards the end. As has been said, this album is full of mellotron and more mellotron. All of this really builds towards the last track, the title track, an extremely dark and moody song, capitalizing and the momentum of the background effects to set the piece up. At around 3 minutes in the sounds cresendo into a full band effort, and then we are pulled back, and then in again.

Definitely there are hypnotic like effects here, with the consistency of the ryhthms and drift like nature, one can be lulled into a false sense of security. That's part of the creepy effect, along with the distinct tone of the guitar which has been chosen very well. Towards the end the track really picks up, with significantly more drums and wilder instrumentation. A superb track, but one that takes much effort to really comprehend and wrap yourself around it. The other tracks are average at best, and lacking in some areas. However, this is a unique record that is really one of a kind.

Review by hdfisch
4 stars "Symphonic Holocaust" has been a brilliant compilation of dark progressive music by musicians of the bands Anekdoten and Landberk joining exclusively for this single project. Originally it should have become a tribute to Italian band Goblin who released a couple of horror movie soundtracks during the 70's. There's still one composition of them included here, that is "Quiet Drops" from the film "Beyond The Darkness". Only two of the tracks are compositions by the musicians of the project Morte Macabre, the short "Threats of Stark Reality" which serves as an introduction for the following track and the 17+ min title suite which is certainly the highlight of this disk which can be considered a very pleasant and nicely done hommage to horror film music. I couldn't claim to be a dedicated fan of this particular genre and with the possible exception of Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby" which is represented here by the dreamy and atmospheric song "Lullaby" I actually don't recall having watched any of the others being rather B-series ones. But I like quite a lot to listen to the music done by the main bands of these musicians without being a fanatic fan of neither of them and I love melancholic and somber music. Not to forget mentioning the beloved Mellotron which is the perfectly fitting instrument for this kind of music and therefore the dominating one here and even played by each of the four musicians (not simultanously of course). Although it's the main instrument used there aren't exclusively keyboards but rather quite fine electric guitar as well. Apart from two exceptions, the not very progressive but nice "Lullaby" and the short "Opening Theme" which is the least interesting one the overall atmosphere is very melancholic and somber but not really creepy with lots of minor keys. The long title suite is really a masterpiece what cannot be told about the whole album in my opinion. This is also the place where we can find the most obvious Crimson influence, therefore similarity with Anekdoten and there are as well some sections where the sound becomes heavier wheras most of the music on this disk is in a rather slow, quiet and sluggish pace. Though fitting probably not everyone's preferred taste I would they this record can be considered an excellent addition to any Prog collection and it's certainly a must-have one for any fan of dark progressive.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Perfect Halloween music, whip it into the Cd player while taking the little impish monsters scavanging pitilessly for assorted unhealthy candies, spooking the entire neighbourhood in the process (this way they will remember your batmobile!). When the uninitiated first listen to prog, the most common comment is Well, gheez, it's like soundtrack to an unseen movie kind of music . Very perceptive, fella!There just might be room for a ritual conversion! Between Tangerine Dream, Goblin, Floyd, Vangelis, Trevor Rabin, Can, Wakeman and countless others, there is most definitely a cinematic coloratura to our favourite genre, especially when there is a strong symphonic inspiration. Furthermore, when featuring arguably the paragon instrument that most defines the glory years of Prog, the reverential Mellotron (you may rise!), the result can only be stupendous. Our nordic swedish friends from Anekdoten and Landberk have slapped together this seemingly one-shot tribute to the B-movie soundtracks first espoused by Goblin and produced for Dario Argento's catalogue of cultish european horror movies (Suspiria being the most noted). Monster bassist Stefan Dimle and ultra-original prog cult guitarist Reine Fiske from Landberk have joined forces with Niklas Berg and Peter Nordin of Anekdoten to release this aptly named Symphonic Holocaust ! This is a cyclonic display of the 'tron's mystical power, howling with wagnerian passion, led by a devastating bass line, doomsday drumming and effect laden guitars by both Fiske and Berg. As correctly observed and stated by my fellow PA colleagues, this isn't really all that creepy (a la Zombie) nor melodramatic ( ala Alice Cooper) but rather quite somber, melancholic and sad. Those traits happen to illicit some deep feelings within my musical soul and I just love it when the arrangements get hot and heavy. No point in a track by track breakdown, this is a prog soundtrack of the highest caliber which could easily accompany many ghoulish events besides Halloween, like riding through a storm or driving through an alpine mountain pass at night (which I both did with this album). This would be a fine companion disc to Magma's brilliantly hellish Kohntarkosz. 4.5 mellotrons
Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This album is almost full of mellotron (if you would expect the experimental Threats Of Stark Reality). Not one? but four mellotron! What else can I say?

Most of these songs are cover from soundtracks of scary movies, and believe me: while you will listen to this one, there are little doubts. Scaaaaaaary is the word my friends.

Actually, this album could have been more achieved if several of the songs wouldn't have this experimental, improvised side. Some tracks are a mix of sublime and cold beauty with weird and almost unbearable passages (Sequenza Ritmica Etema).

Fortunately, there are also some tracks as Lullaby which denotes a huge melancholy (reinforced by the pure and magnificent voice from Yessica Lindvist). It reaches the climax of tranquillity and superb beauty. This is frankly a jewel of melody: a highlight. The original one was written for Rosemary's Baby, the very good movie from Polanski.

Most of this album is a pure and wonderful travel into a great tron world. Just sit and shut while listening to Opening Theme. If you don't have gooseflesh, it just mean that you are made out of stone.

The centre piece of this album should have been the epic and closing number Symphonic Holocaust. An eighteen minutes languish track which has its ups and downs. Vaguely heavy for a while, it holds more guitar than usual. It is quite a lengthy impro though. I'm not totally charmed with these repetitive sounds; it could have been halved IMHO. The finale is truly gorgeous though.

Still, this is a very good album which is of course to be recommended to all mellotron fans as well as the ones who are deeply in love with the fantastic Nordic scene from the nineties. Four stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Morte Macabre is a delightful one-time get-together of Anekdoten and Landberk, resulting in something entirely new that is completely different from what both bands usually create. Only their melancholic essence is maintained, that sombre mood of gloomy Swedish winter days and long dark cold nights.

Listening to this music you can almost see sombre phantoms rising from the freezing lakes, to come and hunt the petrified souls that hole up round the fireplace, waiting for doom to happen. Right you get it. The soundtrack to B-movies.

The music takes a very subtle approach: no scary sound effects or big gestures but loads of mellotron and Stefan Dimle's unsurpassed guitar subtleties. Understated as usual, the Swedes work themselves through 8 entirely instrumental pieces from several soundtracks of spooky movies. Only 2 tracks are self-penned, Threats of Stark Reality and the 18 minute title track that closes the album.

Only the Opening Theme seems a bit out of place at first but actually it's a well positioned and provides a welcome lighter touch in the middle of the album and prepares us for the swirling masterpiece at the end. The result is an astounding album that has found a unique balance between solemn and romantic moods and that ranks among my favourite instrumental works.

PS. Word is out they're working on a new album!

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars A dying tree cuts an album with a winter-breeze

Boo! Oh, I didn´t mean to frighten you... I´ve always enjoyed horror movies, and part of the pleasure for me, as well as being one of the biggest components of fear, - is the background music. Can you imagine The Carpenters recording the score for any John Carpenter movie? (That would probably be frightening though, but in a bizarre way not really fitting Carpenter´s imagery. Not everyone can turn something as sugary sweet, like two small school girls in a hallway, into something that will haunt you forever, like Kubrick was capable of.)

This album is a tribute to old school horror flicks and the music they contained. It´s a dark and somber venture this one, and even though you haven´t had the pleasure of listening to the record in a long while, it somehow stays with you - like some sort of ninja-chlamydia that´s impossible to get rid of. Evil sadness carved in ice.

Symphonic Holocaust is the result of Reine Fisker(guitars, Mellotron, violin, Fender Rhodes) and Stefan Dimle(bass, Mellotron, Moog) from Landberk, Peter Berg(Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, Theremin, sampler, guitar, bass) and Niclas Nordins(drums, percussion, Mellotron) off Anekdoten. Both bands here hail from Sweden, and the cold and unforgiving weather - the snowstorms, the howling wolfs together with the fading voices of old and terrifying Nordic myths carried on the wind - all are deeply integrated in the music. A natural tattoo, you´ll have to use your ears to see, if you will.

All the guys play the mellotron as you´d probably noticed, and I think it is the reason behind this record´s originality. A quite disturbing, but somehow very beautiful fingerprint. The mellotrons have a ghost-like feel to them. Hovering stagnant and ghastly above the music like a white phantom of fear. It gives the music another dimension, and takes you to a land of muddy and swampy bogs, where everything is hazy and all objects are but a shadow of themselves - nebulous contours. This is in fact the best way of describing the actual music contained within this album, as this facet seeps into all the other instruments. Even the drums have an extremely dry sound, which makes you think of either withered away tree branches cracking away to the beat, or like stepping on small twigs in a place you prefer not be heard.

There is a reason this album is called Symphonic Holocaust. It is through and through symphonic - soaked in giant musical castles towering in front of you like Bela Lugosi on stilts. Although things get rather heavy at times, with some fabulous bass work from Stefan Dimle, who has a wonderful way of adding tonal darkness to an already tomb-like recording, -the all powering symphonic nature of these pieces just seems impossible to overshadow.

Guesting on Lullaby, which is a track originally heard in Roman Polanski´s Rosemary´s Baby, is Yessica Lindkvist with some la-la-la-lahs. Her voice evokes the aforementioned kiddies from the Kubrick film, coloring the track in an eeriness as well as a melancholy that would make trees cry. All the pieces here are interpreted renditions of old horror movie music, except for the intro(which I´m not particularly fond of) and the last piece. (If you´re interested in finding out, where each track is lifted/inspired from, I urge you to read some of the other reviews, as this particular matter has been explained several times before.)

Reine Fisker is one of my current faves on the guitar, and if you´ve come across his work before - either in Landberk or Dungen, where he plays like a blend of Gilmour and Hendrix - you´ll pick up another side to his playing here, that most of all resembles long howling ticklings of the strings. It makes me think of the northern winds coming in from the black seas surrounding us here in Scandinavia. It´s yearning, sorrowful and beautiful like crimson blood on a blue glacier.

This album is recommended for Alaskan people, spirits of winds and folks around here who enjoy the bands these musicians stem from - and furthermore find great pleasure in the icy shafts of the mellotron once put on record by the great lord Fripp. 4.5 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Morte Macabre was a one-off collaboration between members of Anekdoten and Landberk, and it sounds precisely how you'd expect such a project to sound: dark as heck, with heaps of influence from classic 1970s prog bands of the past.

Indeed, the album - aside from the extended jam of a title track - is intended to pay tribute to a particular subset of 1970s prog: those musicians, the most famous of which being Goblin, who turned their hand to producing soundtracks for horror movies (and the occasional porno). Morte Macabre do not steer towards the more obvious picks, though - there's nothing from Goblin's Profondo Rosso or Suspiria, arguably the most famous works in this sub-subgenre of symphonic prog; rather, the band resurrect some of the more obscure works in this vein, ensuring that the tribute brings to light compositions which might otherwise have been forgotten.

Overall, the album is an impressive work of spooky symphonic prog, awash with Mellotron (all four band members get to play with the Mellotron at one point or another!) and equally soaked in atmosphere.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Morte Macabre was a one-shot Swedish Prog supergroup, formed in 1998 by veterans of the Scandinavian scene.It could be also regarded as a collaboration between Anekdoten and Landberk, as Nicklas Berg and Peter Nordins played with the first and Stefan Dimle, Reine Fiske were members of the fading Landberk (later they both joined Paatos).Most unique though was the idea behind the formation of this group, as the goal was to combine their love for Progressive Rock with the dark atmosphere of soundtracks.As a result six soundtrack pieces from horror movies of the 70's and one porn film are covered in Morte Macabre's ''Symphonic Holocaust'', along with two original tracks.The album was originally released on CD and double vinyl formats on the old-school Mellotronen label.

The whole story on ''Symphonic Holocaust'' starts and ends in the hymn to the sound of Mellotron.All members contribute on performances on the mighty keyboard and the liner notes praise the sound of groups like MUSEO ROSENBACH, CELESTE and GRACIOUS, presenting them as leaders of the Dark Symphonic/Progressive Rock sound.''Symphonic Holocaust'' is another chapter in the long story of Mellotron-drenched, haunting Prog albums, borrowing ideas from movies of the past and transforming them into modern, instrumental compositions.Modern is an odd word though, as the extreme waves of Mellotron recall the vintage sound of the past, but there is still a certain ANEKDOTEN/LANDBERK influence in the album, which mixes the intense power of the keyboard's master with the crunchy guitars and the bombastic bass lines.The result is series of tracks full of inner power, dreamy soundscapes, cinematic atmospheres and orchestral themes, based on analog keyboards, as Berg appears to play also some fair amounts of electric piano in the album.Very good and atmospheric music indeed with strong psychedelic vibes at times.Of the two original compositions the 18-min. title track is definitely the one to focus your interest.And that's not only because this is a long, sinister and emphatic piece of Mellotron-driven Progressive Rock, but mostly because ''Symphonic Holocaust'' is a nixe example of early Post-Rock stylings.Powerful guitars and hypnotic rhythmic tones sit next to a majestic Mellotron to offer what I would call a complete KING CRIMSON-ian history and its effects on Prog music.From the early days with the deep Mellotron washes and the mellow climates to the later era with the abstract bass/guitar/drums orgasms, ''Symphonic Holocaust'' catches the vibe of a diverse and unique Prog Rock timeline through the years.

No question, anyone after Mellotron-driven Prog Rock or dark, Symphonic Rock should own this album.Haunting soundscapes meet some elegant, psychedelic soundscapes and pre-Post Rock touches in an album with a nostalgic aura.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A bit of a Scandanavian super group with remnants of Landberk (Fiske & Dimle) and Anekdoten (Berg & Nordins), the individuals here were drawn together by a shared love of dark musical soundtracks to old horror movies--which are honored with the band covering their choice of six songs from old "classic" horror film soundtracks.

1. "Apoteosi del Mistero" (4:16) sounds like a practice/getting-to-know-each-other song for the quartet: an Anekdoten song to jam with. (TONS of Mellotron!) It is nice to hear Reine Fiske mixed into the Anekdoten sound--though he is being very conservative here. (8.25/10)

2. "Threats of Stark Reality" (2:59) the first of the album's two original compositions, a gathering of individual ideas rendered into a spacey, somewhat eerie cinematic cacophony. (4/5)

3. "Sequenza Ritmica e Tema" (7:02) this one sounds like a Landberk song that the band has chosen to jam over: All of the requisite subtle spaces are present though, being an instrumental, this is more interesting for noting where, when, and how each individual decides to contribute their solo ventures.The final two minutes are the most interesting with all individuals exploring interesting expressions before coming together for a cohesive finish. (13/15)

4. "Lullaby" (8:02) tense and temporal, the spacious music is familiar to us from both bands, but then vocalist Yessica Lindkvist enters to offer her soothing vocalise "la-la"s. I love how the 'trons follow her and the other keys play off her in a kind of French cinematic way. Definitely a top three song for me. I love Stefan Dimle's sparse, laid-back bass contributions. He has the "Hole" discipline! (13.5/15)

5. "Quiet Drops" (6:43) This must've been one of the guitarist's cover choices as the guitar play is so focused and sublime; there is a Roy Buchanan mastery to Reine Fiske's lead play. I don't know the film from which it was taken but it must've been sublime! My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

6. "Opening Theme" (2:50) this one sounds like an informal practice jam that happened to be the best recorded version. (4.25/5)

7. "The Photosession" (7:10) ocean shore sounds are soon joined by smooth guitar note picking. Pretty. Soon cymbal play, incidental background guitar notes, and bass join in--and then Fender Rhodes and other keyboard synths. Reine's dreamy incidental notes are such a perfect complement and fulfillment to the "organized" foundational structure delivered by the other three gentlemen. My other top three song. (14/15)

8. "Symphonic Holocaust" (17:51) the other original composition (30.5/35)

Total Time: 57:17

While I have memory of liking this album upon first hearing it a decade ago, upon diving into it on a deeper level for this review I am surprised at how I am now finding it.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of cinematic prog from an all-star collaboration that this music lover would love to see/hear again.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars MORTE MACABRE was a short-lived so-called prog supergroup that included Nicklas Barker and Peter Nordins of Anekdoten along with Stefan Dimie and Reine Fiske both of Landberk and later of Paatos. Together the various members forged its one and only release SYMPHONIC HOLOCAUST which appeared in 1998 and featured eight tracks with slightly over 57 minutes of playing time. While the nearly 18 minute title track showcased a band collaborative effort as the grand finale as well as the short "Threats Of Stark Reality", the album primarily featured instrumental remakes of soundtrack themes that were mostly taken from European exploitation movies such as "Cannibal Holocaust" and "City Of The Living Dead." Also included was a version of the theme to the US film "Rosemary's Baby."

The album's bleak atmosphere and excessive dread were characteristic of its mellotron and synthesizer-rich motifs that focused on darkness, tension and anxiety along with the occasional heavy guitar outbursts. The use of the violin also added some melancholy but for the most part the album was characterized by synthesizer-heavy atmospheres accompanied by bass and drumming. The only vocals were provided by session vocalist Yessica Lindkvist who performed the "Rosemary's Baby" la-la-la bit. In many ways the album evokes the mysterious and haunting soundtrack film albums that Goblin cranked out in the 1970s and 1980s in Italy and the track "Quiet Drops" is featured as a Goblin cover. Another horror film score artist well represented on SYMPHONIC HOLOCAUST is Fabio Frizzi. The tempos are primarily mid-tempo to slow and brooding with only a few moments of guitar heft to contrast.

Somewhat of a mix of film score reworkings and structured prog jamming sessions, the opening tracks showcase faithful representations of Frizzi tracks with a mid-section written by the band itself although the three tracks pretty much flow together seamlessly. The fourth track "Lullaby" is basically the theme from "Rosemary's Baby" in disguise and showcases the unmistakable series of la-la-la's wrapped up in symphonic splendor but more than outlasts its welcome by extending past the 8-minute mark. The track was done infinitely better on the 2001 Fantômas "The Director's Cut" which was a much more innovative and interesting soundtrack cover album in virtually every possible way. In fact the album dips throughout the middle section leaving a long line of tracks that feel like nothing more than filler leave a lackluster taste in the mouth as they become less energetic and simply drift on in a sort of slumber.

The one and only real gem on the album is the sprawling title track which showcases the band's ability to craft its unique style of gloomy symphonic prog without resorting to interpreting others' works. In many ways it seems like the first part of the album was a mere fluffer for this near 18-minute score of hypnotic bass grooves, receptive keyboard stabs and atmospheric moods that range from pure desperation and despair to rage and annihilation. The track showcases a wide spectrum of variations that evolve and drift on throughout its lengthy run and all the ideas that should've been presented all along are finally left off the leash and the band is allowed to show off its stylistic approach without any proper respects being shown to the greats of the horror film soundtrack industry. The track pretty much blows the rest of the album away in virtually every way and when all is said and done perhaps a simple EP would've sufficed rather than a long arduous journey to get to this juncture.

This is an album that resonated with me strongly in the beginning but has offered diminishing returns over the years as the differentials between the lagging first half contrasts strongly with the excessively brilliant darkened prog success of the title track. The soundtrack covers have been eclipsed by Fantômas' brilliant film score interpretations and the repeated exposure only showcases the flaws of the first half in ever clearer ways. It was certainly a unique album for its day and still is in many ways but it could've been made so much better if the mid-section wasn't so dreadfully boring. As stated the first three tracks actually sound pretty decent more in the vein of the title track but for whatever reason the band dropped the ball on quality control and just threw it all in for the sake of steering the album closer to the hour's playing time. It's definitely a worthy album for the brilliant tracks on board that any lover of darkened prog will devour with delight however the inconsistencies keep it from ranking high on my list in the modern era.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Oh ! Hell yeah ! One of the best album from the 90's. Forget the neo-prog and listen to this album ! Totally dark, totally unforgettable ! Each track are really great and the top of the album is personnally the last one : Symphonic Holocaust. Near 18 minutes of pure progressive rock ! Full mell ... (read more)

Report this review (#148295) | Posted by Koenji | Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The complex symphonic music from time to time reminding Anekdoten and Anglagard. Especially it would be desirable to note header Apoteosi del Mistero and final Symphonic Holocaust. In the end the level симфонизма is so high, that there ... (read more)

Report this review (#65085) | Posted by Serb | Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Like many of the previous reviewers,I had high expectations from this Anekdoten&Landberk venture.I must admit I was little confused after first listening,but after few additional tries I come to love this record.During the seventies I was pretty big fan of horror movies and very fond of eer ... (read more)

Report this review (#61893) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Tuesday, December 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I had very high expectations towards this album. Probably unreasonably high, but I was encouraged by the fact that there are two guys from Anekdoten (great band) and two from Landberk (not bad band) in this project. The album turned out to be rather dull and monotonous, with simplistic melodie ... (read more)

Report this review (#38876) | Posted by eugene | Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Formed by two members of LANDBERK and two members of ANEKDOTEN, MORTE MACABRE wanted from a principle to write music for terror films. Profits in this sense are the tapes "Rosamary's Baby", "City of the Living Dead" and "Beyond the Darkness". In their compositions, the sound that dominates is ... (read more)

Report this review (#36712) | Posted by MANTICORE | Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The song Apoteosi Del Mistero and the title track are very good. All the pieces are actually good but those two are the best. Also, Apoteosi Del Mistero ought to be liked by people normally not listening to prog. The song would do nicely in any movie. The title track is a lengthy piece that in ... (read more)

Report this review (#23495) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MORTE MACABRE "Symphonic Holocaust"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.