Madder Mortem Deadlands

The name Deadlands is an appropriate one for Madder Mortem’s latest album, a musical collection of the bleak and the haunting. Its dark gothic flourishes fall in with an Eastern accent, more empty desert than foggy night. Down-tuned and loaded with groove, Deadlands showcases the Grace Slick-esque singing of lead vocalist Agnete M. Kirvaad. A few male growls are used for effect, but it’s Kirvaad’s voice that provides Madder Mortem’s most easily identifiable signature, running the emotional range from a near-whisper to a banshee wail. And following the vocal cues, the instrumentation is full of extremes, but always thick and almost dirge-like. Subtle in its quieter moments, Deadlands pounds you over the head with the intensity of songs like "Jigsaw.” A rewarding listen, but not to be entered upon lightly. (The End)