Released: 2009, Peaceville Records
On first listen, this remarkable record captivates me immediately, and that is definitely down to singer Agnete Kirkevaag's incredible voice. Hard to describe? Of course, when she deploys such a wide range of...everything! Emotions, melodies, harmonies, power, dynamics - I could just sit here listening to her wondrous voice all day.
Thankfully, EIGHT WAYS is about five minutes over an hour in length, so there's plenty of time for me to get acquainted with Miss Kirkevaag. And she takes me through soothing, slightly slow-jazzy-breathy passages, to whimsical, Annie Lennox-ish spaced-out verses, to demented full out scream-fare lunacy, and all the while, through all these different moods and sounds, the power, depth, richness and emotion of this band comes through perfectly.
Sounds like I'm going overboard? Perhaps, but EIGHT WAYS could be a soundtrack to a David Lynch movie, no problem. 'Donnie Darko', 'Edward Scissorhands', 'Requiem for a Dream'...the darkness shines through, a gnarled and twisted paradox. With minimalist (yet varied) downtuned riffs, almost reminiscent of nu-metal coupled with an ear for the non-conventional and the 'huh???' factor, with gruesomely laidback drumming, all the while with Miss Kirkevaag wailing, howling, crooning, and generally bending your ear, this is NOT your typical metal release.
Nutshell time? The detuned flappy string madness of Korn, the vibe and feel of an Aronofsky movie, the progressiveness of Opeth and the weirdness of a Pink Floyd jam, the combined voice of Bjork, Norah Jones, Doro Pesch, Annie Lennox, Billie Holliday and Tina Turner...hang on, that's just the first song. Get EIGHT WAYS, have your senses assaulted, and revel in the madness that is Madder Mortem. Definitely will make my 2009 Top Ten.