Madder Mortem - _Mercury_
(Misanthropy Records, 1999)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
Although Madder Mortem play a form of doomy metal with female vocals, they did not choose the more symphonic path that several bands have been taking lately. Instead, _Mercury_ reminds me more of a generally heavier version of early The 3rd and the Mortal at times. In "He Who Longed for the Stars" and "The Grinding Silence", two excellent tracks, the resemblance is uncanny, although the rest of the album doesn't suffer too much from lack of originality (at least considering most of what comes out these days). Like The 3rd and the Mortal, Madder Mortem don't depend on keyboard melodies as much as other bands in the genre, although _Mercury_ does have plenty of melody, too. It comes mostly from the guitars and good vocals, as the keys take a secondary role and the guitars are the main instruments behind Agnete Kirkevaag's very enjoyable voice. Nevertheless, although they may not use keyboards as frequently as one might expect, they're still very well handled and planned ("These Mortal Sins" being a fine example). Acoustic parts are also occasionally, and successfully, thrown in. The band seems more concerned with creating their own music than with following trends, something that applies not only to the instrumental part but also to Agnete's very interesting work. Although there are exceptions to this description, there is a lot of melancholy and emotion in _Mercury_, which is very important, as well as musical quality to back it up. Except for the weaker "Remnants" and some other occasional sections that appear during the second half of the album, the quality level is usually very high and there are plenty of delightful moments scattered throughout _Mercury_ that contribute for a remarkable overall result.

(article published 13/2/1999)

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