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Madrugada | The Nightly Disease (Virgin Norway)
After subjecting us for years to Nil Points at Eurovision and A-Ha videos, Norway seems to be making up for it by unleashing a series of bands whose tastes and dispositions lean towards the dark end of the street. Madrugada are a band that (literally) wear their influences on their sleeve. The cover looks like something from Nick Cave's days with Anita Lane and the mood of this (long) album never veers from the King of Goth's territory. Opener, Black Mambo, starts off as dark, sinuous jazz but quickly slips into a more muscular sounding Willard Grant Conspiracy before descending into a bridge so heavy it would give Slayer the shivers. Powered by a bass line straight off Unknown Pleasures, the songs tend to drift over their allotted 5 or 6 minutes with lead singer, Sivert Hoyem, mumbling in that deep, theatrical style mastered by Andrew Eldritch. Step Into This Room And Dance For Me, the best song here, is a subtler thing altogether, a slinky subdued seduction song like something from Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man period. It's a shame that Madrugada don't capitalise on this; most of the other songs meander like the aforementioned WGC. The title track is a second rate Stooges screamer while Lucy One is mumbled indecipherable vocals and scratchy guitar, the sound strangely eighties sounding like the ghost of Scandinavian Satan metal. As the album tips the hour mark, the awful metal dirge of We Are Go does nothing to sway you and the nine minute Sonic Youth on Mogadon stretch of Sister is only barely better.

Stav Sherez
June-July 2001