MADDER MORTEM – Old Eyes, New Heart
BAND URL: https://maddermortem.bandcamp.com/album/old-eyes-new-heart
Is there even any point in trying to categorize or label the unique sound conjured up by one of Norway’s most enticing musical outfits, namely Madder Mortem? Thirty years into their career and they still manage to amaze and excite me – how awesome is that?! Incorporating traits from doom metal, goth rock, prog metal, and post-rock into their weighty and layered songs and then taking everything to a new level is pretty much what the quintet does and Old Eyes, New Heart is as good and accomplished as Red in Tooth and Claw (2016) and Marrow (2018) – two favorites of mine – and the LP offers a stirring listening experience due to its compelling atmosphere.
Madder Mortem have never sounded more dynamic and magnificently unpredictable than they do here, and the way in which they shift gears and seamlessly weave strains of the dark, the brooding, the solemn, and the many glimmers of optimism that appear together to such staggering effect is mind-blowing. Incidentally, the memorable yet progressive piece of gloom titled ‘Coming from the Dark’ might in fact be their finest composition to date along with the almost laidback, strangely eerie ‘On Guard’. Why do I get a Twin Peaks-vibe from the latter? Another highlight is the driven and aggressive ‘The Head That Wears the Crown’ and the moody, slow-burning (and in many respects doom-laden) ‘Cold Hard Rain’. ‘Unity’ feels more uplifting somehow and adds a lighter touch to the proceedings. Variety is the keyword throughout.
A musically adventurous, audacious, and spellbinding output that will serve as the perfect soundtrack to the wintry months of 2024 and beyond.