Norwegian critics unanimously hail Madrugada’s eponymous fifth album, which will be released next week. And now it is official: it will also be their last. Although uncertain what the future will bring in terms of further collaboration Singer Sivert Høyem and bassist Frode Jacobsen are very clear about one thing: they will not go on under the name that has come to denote the perhaps most unwavering and artistically ambitious name in Norwegian rock: Madrugada.
The band’s guitarist Robert Burås passed away last summer, no more than a month after the first sessions for the upcoming album had been completed. However these were sessions of such intensity and inspired playing, most of all from Burås himself, that the finished album is by and large built upon his initial contribution with very little added in terms of guitars.
-It was important for us to let Robert’s guitar-takes constitute the spine of the songs as we proceeded with the production of the album, says Høyem and Jacobsen.
-And his playing was better than ever so in fact he looms larger on this record than ever before, despite the very limited time he was allowed to spend on it.
With this fifth and final album, they have also found the time right to call it simply Madrugada.
-We’d been saving that for the conclusive album we’ve always known we would make some day. And this is it; artistically but also, sadly, in that other, definite sense. It was never an option to continue without Robert, he simply cannot be replaced.
With the first reviews in, the critics seem to agree with the band that this is indeed the definite Madrugada album.
Dagbladet (a Norwegian daily) finds that “producer John Agnello has helped the band keep hold of the brooding dark landscape, with an expression that is restrained, but with all hell surging under the surface. The desperation, majestic gloom and the drawn out, dirty melancholy that has always characterised the band is fully in place.”
Aftenposten’s man calls it an “all time finish” and expounds on the fact that the very last tune features Burås’ on vocals, singing words than in retrospect seem ominously foreboding. The tune ends with a long fading piano psalm. “It could not have been done more poignantly” he concludes and gives the album the 6/6 score.
Madrugada is out on January 21st.
Listen to tracks here: