Deadlands (The End)
by Martin Popoff
Mikael from Opeth reveres them, which is a goodly high praise point to begin your exploration of this Goth band beyond. Yes, Norway’s Madder Mortem have a female singer, but that’s where the clichés stop. Well, OK, I’ll venture one more: You’ve seen where The Gathering have gone (far, far away), and Madder Mortem are far away as well. But still loud. Vocalist Agnete Kirkevaag almost directs more than she sings. She is the anti-Björk, the Chrissie Hynde, the middle-aged, impossibly-weathered, world-weary Marianne Faithful, the overseer of the complex, mind-frying prog metal that roils beneath her wings at a fidelity level mercilessly exact.
Is there a Gothic element to this band? Most definitely, but it is one of timelessness and triumph, these songs stabbing heroically with the impression of recurring anthems sent methodically via the whispering and resolute lips of the perpetrator. The band’s songs are rhythmic, uneasy, even vaguely nü metal every once in a while (around the back of the shed), but the overall vibe is one of mathematical greatness, illuminated formulas, separated periodically by quirky bits of avant-garde deconstruction thrown in to throw curves, highlights to highlight. Those being stretchy opening impresser “Necropolit” and “Rust Cleansing,” which sports a chorus that’s as exhilarating as it is nonsensical. And all the while, Agnete sounds like a leader, an interrogator, fulminating trance-like or at minimum preoccupied as to the method of your next torture.
(331 Rio Grande #58 Salt Lake City, UT 84101)