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MORTE MACABRE

Heavy Prog • Sweden


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Morte Macabre biography
MORTE MACABRE is a band that is formed by the members of two great Swedish progressive bands: LANDBERK and ANEKDOTEN. They recorded in their own progressive way some of the not very well known European horror soundtracks, and adding an epic of their own. The Mellotron can be heard all the time while guitar and keyboards show the darkness, tension and anxiety included in such tracks.

"Symphonic Holocaust" is a true masterpiece in the progressive genre. This is an album for those looking for a subtly menacing but no less terrible beauty. If you like dark progressive rock like GOBLIN, MUSEO ROSENBACH, LANDBERK, CATHEDRAL and Italian horror movies, this is really something for you. Don't listen to it with the lights out!!!

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Symphonic HolocaustSymphonic Holocaust
Musea/Mellotronen 2004
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4.01 | 101 ratings
Symphonic Holocaust
1998

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MORTE MACABRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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.

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

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.

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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!

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by Koenji

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 mellotron ! What can we ask for more ? Nothing ! Grab it right now !

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Symphonic Holocaust  by MORTE MACABRE album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.01 | 101 ratings

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Symphonic Holocaust
Morte Macabre Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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