MADDER MORTEM — Old Eyes, New Heart (review)

MADDER MORTEM — Old Eyes, New Heart album cover Album · 2024 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
From the early years as Mystery Tribe to the many incarnations of MADDER MORTEM, this Oslo based band led by the indefatigable siblings Agnete Kirkevaag (vocals) and BP M. Kirkevaag (guitar) have been going strong now for well over three decades first starting out as a doom metal band but finding its true calling as a unique mix of proressive, gothic and alternative metals. After a few years of turbulent events such as the death of the Kirkevaag’s father, the band has finally returned in 2024 with its eighth album OLD EYES, NEW HEART which welcomes newbie guitarist Anders Langberg who replaces Richard Wirkstrand who played on the last two albums.

Such tragedies always unleash a wellspring of emotional upheaval and it’s a tried and true catharsis for musicians to channel all those unresolved unsettlements into the vehicle of their musical output and indeed MADDER MORTEM has done just that with a collection of 10 new tracks that slightly exceed the 48 minute mark. Continuing the angsty mix of the alt-goth prog metal style that the band has made their own, OLD EYES, NEW HEART channels the visions of the past into the modernity of the now. While the traditional MADDER MORTEM sounds are prevalent through the album especially on the opening “Coming From The Dark,” the tracks offer a much more diverse serving of musical deliveries ranging from the most caustic and abrasive guitar intros on the extra frigid “Cold Hard Rain” to the more serene placidity of “On Guard.”

The tracks excel in the art of contrast with each pulling the rug out for expectations and offering varying tempos, elements of syncopation, vocal phrasing, riffing diversity and the emphasis on either the prog, alt or goth dominance. What keeps the album fairly uniform in its overall vibe is the combo effect of Agnete’s skillful vocal style as well as the grungy guitar angst in the heavier tracks. Perhaps the most overtly lyrical in reaction to the events of the past year are reflected in the slower tracks “Here And Now” and Long Road” which are almost ballads in relationship to the rest of the album with slow contemplative parts that allow Agnete to display her tender aspects in full vulnerability.

Overall another decent album from MADDER MORTEM that continues its idiosyncratic stylistic approaches only expanding its tentacles into even further realms that touch many disparate arenas. A period of great personal change and growth the band reflects this in a very strong album that forges ahead despite all the adversity. Once again the star of the show is the inimitable Agnete Kirkevaag who has one of the most unique female presences in all of metal and continues to lead her goth tinged prog alt metal into ever expanding worlds hitherto unconsidered. A triumphant return from one of Norway’s most unique sounding prog metallers who forge ahead well into their third decade of existence and still defying exact pigeonholing of its style. While the ballad is a strange track to end the album on, the album for the most part is fairly dynamic and changes things up quite a bit.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
42 days ago
Yeah, they're as solid as ever. 2024 is finding all kinds of long lost acts making a comeback.
UMUR wrote:
42 days ago
I thought they were long gone...apparently not. I´ll probably check this one out. They´ve released some pretty decent albums in the past.

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