A musically pretty unique band is MADDER MORTEM, no doubt, already their last album "All Flesh Is Grass" could enthuse me. After I had also given "Deadlands" enough time to unfold, I have to say that the Swedes (Ehm, their Norwegian, but that only as a side-note - Alex) have managed again to record absolutely gripping music.
And they also sound pretty unique, you can indeed talk about a few real trademarks. MADDER MORTEM can sound a bit dissonant, which gives this band its special flair, although it is not as prominent on "Deadlands" anymore, if you compare it to "All Flesh Is Grass". The songs have turned a bit catchier, not so weird as before, maybe a bit more mature!
Especially the vocals make this band so special. The bandwidth that singer Agnete Kirkevaag covers with her impressive voice, seems to have further grown on "Deadlands". The Gothic-typical angelic voice is almost the only pitch that she does not use, she doesn't have to either. She has a so expressive and variable voice that she has so much more to offer than just the highest chant and thankfully she utilises all of that as well. If she screams, shouts, whispers, sings or even almost growls, she gives life to the songs. It is definitively her voice that leaves its very own mark on MADDER MORTEM, because it doesn't have to be harmonic all the time, especially the contrast that Agnete's rough shouts build up is very appealing.
Sure not a commercial success for the Dortmund-based label, but for fanatic music-freaks and innovation-junkies a sure tip! (Online November 6, 2002)