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Madder Mortem - Mercury CD (album) cover


Madder Mortem


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.38 | 16 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

sleeper | 3/5 |


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