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Review: Root - Madness of the Graves
Madness of the Graves

Label: Red Black
Year released: 2003
Duration: 45:08
Tracks: 10
Genre: Unclassifiable

Rating: 4/5

Review online: November 15, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Madness of the Graves

Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (12 Votes)

The fateful seventh album from cult gods Root is a bit of a step back, but after the incredible "Black Seal" anybody would be hard pressed to come up with an equally amazing CD. Root have been following killer album after killer album for so long that I thought they'd never slip. But I have to say this album is not quite as good as albums like "The Book" or "The Temple In The Underworld." That said, falling short of masterpieces is no big criticism, and this is still a great album.

How to describe Root…I give up. This is one of those bands that don't sound like anyone else, because they are not followers of a sound, but originators. There are elements of Doom, Thrash, early Black Metal like Bathory, Progressive Rock, atmospheric music, and ever swing (!). This album is a lot less metal than previous albums, but still stomps most modern bands' asses like they were smurfs, and it only sounds less heavy in comparison with the bonecrushing "Temple In The Underworld". The melodies are a lot more accessible on this disc, and Big Boss has flavored his vocal lines with – I swear – swing and big band influences. (I think this band should do a cover of "Tainted Love" as a B-side or something, that would be unbelievable.) This album is the most weird and eclectic Root material to date, and it travels from doomy riffs to thrashy, to atmospheric interludes and delicate melodies. In some places the melodies don't seem to quite work, even in the context of Root's already twisted soundscape. And I have to dock them for track 9, which is an unlistenable six-minute ordeal of noises and jabbering voices, not a song at all. Root always stick some weird shit on their albums, but this one goes way to far.

So this is another fine Root CD, and right now the easiest one to get ahold of, but I have to say that overall it is the weakest I have heard yet. The performances are spot on, and some of the songs are excellent, but here Root seem to have gotten a little too weird for their own good. All that aside, this is still a very good album, and it only pales in comparison to their other material. A worthy album from a singular and iconoclastic band.

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