Let it be known - "desiderata" is my absolute favorite word ever and it has been for some time now. In fact, I've been in love with that little quintasyllabic phoneme since I first encountered it in an introduction to Metaphysics course many a year ago. When I received this album, I took one look at it and thought to myself "there is no way that any album could ever live up to the awesomeness of that title." I mean, seriously, say it to yourself. Desiderata. Desiderata. De-si-de-ra-ta. Pure bliss!
So, has this third release by Norway's rather interesting Gothic Metallers MADDER MORTEM managed to do the impossible and live up to it's namesake? I can't say that it has, but it still is a damn solid record. The songs here are complex and atmospheric, propelled by the wonderfully frenetic vocals of Ms. Agnete M. Kirkevaag. She doesn't exactly have a pretty voice, but she's got enough power and soul backing it up to more than make up for it. She especially shines on opener "My Name Is Silence," especially when delivering the lyric from which the song gets its name, as well as on the epic title track, "Desiderata."
I do, however, have beef with this. While nearly everything about "Desiderata" shines, the guitars are entirely too drenched in Nu-Metal. They bounce, slam and groove away, at times sounding like something straight out of a KORN record. It's a shame, because with different guitar work, this album would have probably blown me away. The music surrounding the riffs is sophisticated and well-thought out, with tasteful string sections and keyboards, but the Nu-Metal riffing keeps this from being a contender for album of the year.
But album title of the year, now that's a different story... (Online April 29, 2006)