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Madder Mortem - All Flesh Is Grass CD (album) cover


Madder Mortem


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.16 | 24 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
5 stars This album is a monster. A female vocalist who sings like Grace Slick's slightly insane sister with a high priestess complex over progressive doom metal with a powerhouse production is what I call goodness in a nutshell. The guitars have an angry downtuned crunch, although the band utilizes chord progressions from all over the guitar necks to create these offerings as opposed to mindless chugging. Offbeat time signatures and tempo changes abound, and trippy mellow sections give this effort a heavy prog vibe.

There's a lot of variety in their song constructions, with no definative singular influence, thus the band retains an identity unique to themselves. You'll find some eerie southwestern folk in "Turn The War On" and a bit of The Beatle's "Tomorrow Never Knows" in "Traitor's Mark". One of the real kickers is "Ten Times Defeat", which seems influenced by King Crimson's Discipline era. It is absolutely brilliant showmanship and something I've never heard before. How many extremely heavy bands consider Discipline a piece to the puzzle of their sound? It's actually become one of my favorite songs, certainly of the heavy variety. Ruby Red is another fantastic number with the quiet / loud dynamic explored in an intense and creepy fashion.

The musicianship is tight with effective heavy riffing combined with dark melodic passages and some full on prog workouts (such as the middle break in The Cluster Children). No guitar solo exercises, but they aren't actually missed due to the interest I retain by the song structures themselves. Keyboards are very sparsely used but add atmosphere, particularly during the opening of Traitor's Mark. The vocals are bewitching and beautiful, and Agnete's lyrics should be particularly noted for avoiding female fronted group clichés and going for a much darker and reflective tone.

Released by Century Media, the album seems to be a difficult one to find these days. I'm going to assume that Century Media picked them up expecting a revamp concerning the goth metal shoegaze of the band's previous album into a more Lacuna Coil-like sound (considering that Lacuna Coil was on that label at the time), and just didn't know how to handle or promote such an unusual creation that is All Flesh Is Grass. The label reps probably weren't expecting that. It's a real shame this album isn't better known, and for that matter, the band themselves. Madder Mortem still exists(on Peaceville Records), and their later efforts are excellent as well, although the groovy bits on a couple of these efforts veer a bit towards a nu-metal sound. Not a bad thing I suppose, but I prefer the bombastic doomy approach they accomplished with this incredible beast than the rest of their catalogue, and pretty much almost anything full stop. Brilliance.

Prog Sothoth | 5/5 |


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