Biography – The Music Of The Underdogs

Mercury and the beginning

Madder Mortem 1999

Madder Mortem was formed by siblings Agnete og BP M. Kirkevaag in 1993 under the name Mystery Tribe and a demo, “Days in Sorrow”, was recorded in 1994. The name Mystery Tribe was changed to Madder Mortem a few years later and in January 1997, the MCD “Misty Sleep” was recorded. The result was mailed around to record labels and Misanthropy Records reacted positively. They signed the band and the debut “Mercury” (recorded in X-ray Studios) was released in February 1999. “Mercury” was well received, but sadly, Misanthropy decided to close down, which left the Madders with neither company nor contract.

In 1999 Christian Ruud (guitars), Boye Nyberg (bass) and Sigurd Nielsen (drums) left the band to pursue educations and other pastimes. This was naturally a setback, but after some time Agnete and BP found new musicians. Eirik Ulvo Langnes (guitars), Pål Mozart Bjørke (bass) and Mads Solås (drums) joined the band. The new members fitted in perfectly and a drastic change in musical direction and attitude started to build.

All Flesh Is Grass

Madder Mortem 2000

In December 1999 Century Media got in touch. The Madders promptly got to work, and in January 2000 a new demo was recorded (Space Valley Studios). This demo, containing three of the “AFIG” songs, saw the Madders turn in a new and much heavier direction. Century Media received this demo exclusively and Madder Mortem became a CMR band.

Madder Mortem”s second album, “All flesh is grass” (Studio Underground, Sweden) was released in February 2001, with cover art from former guitar player Christian Ruud. Reviews were very good, and the aggressive and driven music lent another face to Madder Mortem. In September/October 2001, Madder Mortem supported Tristania, Rotting Christ and Vintersorg on a 23-date European tour.


Madder Mortem 2002

Returning back home, the Madders started writing again. Studio Underground was re-invaded in May 2002, and after a hard-as-hell period of three weeks, “Deadlands” was born. It is darker and groovier than its” predecessor, but also shows even more sides to the Madder face. Music, lyrics and cover art (by Christian) was developed together, and the conceptual whole is a bleak but organic monster not fit for the faint of heart. “Deadlands” was released 21st October 2002. The End Records licensed it for the US, and on 11th February 2003 we had our first album release in the US.

In February and March 2003 Madder Mortem supported Opeth on the European leg of their “Deliverance” tour. A chance like that doesn”t come often. The reason for it was Mr Åkerfeldt’s personal interest in the Madder music and we’re very grateful to the Opeth guys for giving us this opportunity. In addition to taking us all over Western Europe, the Opeth tour also saw us entering the UK shores for the first time.

A total of 33 gigs with Opeth didn’t quite leave us played out. We played the Inferno festival in Oslo in front of an amazing audience. Southern Discomfort was next, and we went on to do several more Norwegian gigs, amongst others supporting The Kovenant in Hamar and also a one-off gig in Mexico City.

Upon return to Norway there were some big changes brewing in the band. Paul announced his decision to leave the band just after returning from Mexico. We were very sorry to see him leave. This disruption also led to the musical disagreements within the band crystallizing, and as a result, Eirik left the band shortly afterwards. Unfortunately, the musical side doesn”t always work out, even with the best of people.


Madder Mortem 2006

Looking for new members again, we used the same procedure, and scrutinized our circle of friends. Long-time friend Odd Eivind Ebbesen was a very natural choice for guitarist. For a bass player, we went to another friend, Tormod Moseng. With Tormod enthusiastically accepting the offer, we had in a couple of weeks solved the problem which we were dreading would set us back for months.

We entered Space Valley studio in april 2004 to record Desiderata. It was mixed by Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman later that summer. At the time it became clear that Madder Mortem and Century Media wanted different things and parted ways. With no record label, the release of “Deisderata” got stalled until we signed with Peaceville records. Desiderata was released in spring 2006. It also saw us make our first video for the track “My Name Is Silence” and also a download single for the same track with two new tracks recorded in 2006. Amongst other gigs we played our first show in the Czech Republic at The Brutal Assault festival to a great response.

Eight Ways

Madder Mortem 2009

By 2007, most of the material for what would become “Eight Ways” was already written. In 2008 we decided to spend our budget for studio-time on equipment and recording the album ourselves with guitarist BP mixing it. A long and at times gruelling experience, but we worked through it and “Eight Ways” was released to much critical acclaim on Peaceville records in spring 2009. We made a video for the track “Armour” and played our first ever two shows in Greece. Peaceville wanted to re-release our 2002 album “Deadlands” and we wouldn’t like a re-release with nothing new for the fans. Therefore we recorded one new song based on ideas from that time-period and also reinvented the song “Deadlands” including a string arrangment.

Madder Mortem 2010

In may 2010 Peaceville released the “Where Dream And Day Collide” EP for wich we had recorded three new songs. On the same release was also the video for the title track. An amazing animated video directed by our long-time collaborator and designer Christian Ruud. A bit later the same year we played the Inferno-festival for the second time. This time on the main stage. Soon after the festival, guitarist Odd made the decision to leave. In came longtime friend, and mainman of the band Frantic Bleep, Patrick Scantlebury. It instantly sounded great and we pushed forward with writing and rehearsing new songs for our 6th album. In august we played the Brutal Assault festival in The Czech Republic for the second time.

R.. 6th album and onwards

Madder Mortem 2015

By 2012 we had the material for our 6th album ready and started to record in february. Once again doing all the recording ourselves. This time we recorded the drums live, with everyone playing together. No click-track and a much needed change in the process of making albums. Everything felt more alive, organic and fresh. It simply sounds a lot closer to how we play. Because of conflicting schedules it took its time to complete the album but in the end it paid of and the end-result is staggering!

Unfortunately, guitarist Patrick who had a great part in writing the album left in 2013 before we could release the album. Once again we were left with the one guitar-player situation. After some serious thinking and looking around we finally heard of a guitarist living nearby and aksed him to try out. It turned out that he was a great guitar player and also a very nice guy. That’s our new permanent 5th member and guitarist Richard Wikstrand.

Red In Tooth And Claw

In 2015 we signed with Norwegian label Dark Essence records and Red In Tooth And Claw will be released on October 28, 2016.

After much critical acclaim for our return to the musicworld with Red In Tooth And Claw we toured Europe in 2017 as support act for Soen, the Swedish band of former Opeth-drummer and longtime Madder-friend, Martin Lopez. We had a great time and were happy to be on tour again. Especially great was the opportunity to meet our fans and listeners face to face.


Madder Mortem 2018

Being back on tour, listening to people tell us how much our music truly means to them lit a fire in our behinds and we got right back at finishing and recording the music for Marrow. During the touring-cycle for RITAC it became apparent that it’d be difficult for Richard to be away for such long periods of time. We had substitute guitar players for both tours that year. Henning Ramseth of the band Ram-Zet came to the rescue for the first tour and Anders Langberg for the second. When working on the material for Marrow, we decided together that it’d be best if we found a new guitar player after the abum was done, but that it’d be cool to finish the writing and recording with Richard. We had a great an inspired time recording Marrow. Luckily this time we didn’t have to look far to find a suitable 5th member. Anders Langberg had already delivered in tons by touring with us and we knew 100% that he would be the right guy for the job. To our relief he was eager to jump right onboard the Madder family.

Marrow was released on Dark Essence Records 21 of september 2018 with cover art by legendary norwegian illustrator and author Thore Hansen.

The album is accompanied by two videos. A beautiful animated video for “Far From Home” and the filmed , slightly surreal video for “Liberator”. Both conceptualized and directed by the genious of Romanian artist Costin Chioreanu.