Madder Mortem were never a typical Norwegian metal group, assuming a typical one is a black metal suite; though there is some reference to black metal through the apocalyptic and gothic subtext.
Recreating the success the darkened atmosphere and bleak concept of "Deadlands" (2003) along with the groovier riffs and overall aggressiveness seems to be a hard enough task even without the constant lineup changes Madder Mortem had (the current lineup is the same one since 2003, in case you're wondering).
"How long can the silence hold?", A suitable whisper to start the business, slams the opening track "My name is silence" right into my face, probably aiming towards an anthem song; Agnete M. Kirkevaag attacks with her sharp voice, while a lot going on in the background- it's dense and tight enough that you won't notice when it's done.
If it weren't for the synths and cymbals opening "Evasions" it would have been a relaxed, almost post-rock-like, song with some groove in the distorted riffs and spidery calmness in the clean riffs; there is great sense of motion transferred whenever the chorus is near and through the vocal jumps, it feels vivid like lucid dreaming.
"Plague on this land" shows yet another side, in the form of the connection this band has with newcomers Frantic Bleep
, this is Madder Mortem's personal interpretation of avantgarde, featuring a duet of voices tenderly touched by a ghostly angelic choir in the background, leading to a climax and connection to the 3/4 rhythmed follower "Dystopia", being the calm after the storm.
In general, there are many climax moments and games here, take "Changeling" that becomes twisted all of the sudden (2:50) as an example, all it takes is a couple of strikes to change the entire vibe, then an unexpected drop to where you were before and gradually developing and a black metal originated end.
I find myself swept into the Thrashy Nevermore
like riffs of both "M for Malice" and "The flood to come"; both are very colorful, playing with harsh and tender touches, as if trying to tease.
Up until about half way through, "Cold Stone" is a virgin like, soothing, drum lacking song; but from that halftime moment on, it seems like something is about to happen- a light industrial tempo enters, something is happening, it swells and swells, becoming a chanted mantra until finally breaking by an odd guitar part right into an even stranger gypsy accordion part that closes it.
"Hypnos" introduces industrial guitars along with suitable drumwork, changing to progressive ones towards the chorus; this is built segment by segment, including the sustained guitar part, the drums doing a marching band part and the last word finish.
There isn't a dull moment here; each song gives more perspective, including the closing trio- all are translated to peak after peak, a very lengthy intercourse.
Be it the broken beats of "Sedition" or the journey taken in the title track, with the semi-ethnic lead and solo (plus the fact I can't stop air drumming along with the song), and the closing track “Hangman” which starts like easy-listening-elevator-jazz music coming out of the 50's and going into what I'll sum up in one word- Wow.