Produced by Mordred. Recorded by Will Dean. Mixed by Matt Winegar. Artwork by Claudio Bergamin. Released on M-Theory Audio on 23 July 2021.
One of my favourite albums from the 1990s was Mordred’s In This Life (1991). An album that was almost guaranteed to make all my friends respond with “who?!” I can’t remember how I got switched on to them. I’m guessing that it could have been from the Raw Power TV series presented by Phil Alexander. Anyway, I rushed out to track down the album (no easy downloads in those days) and I loved that album.
I knew there was a previous album, Fool’s Game (1989) but I never found it in any of my local record stores, and when The Next Room (1993) was released, I was sitting my finals and fussing over what I was going to do next after graduation from university.
And then Mordred went silent. There were no further releases for the next 27 years.
So, imagine my delight when I spotted on Twitter last summer that they had just released their fourth full-length studio album of new material, The Dark Parade (2021). I downloaded it straight away and listened to it in bed on my headphones throughout the night on repeat.
On that first play through, I already knew that it would be my album of the year 2021.
I love this album. It has everything that I could want from an album. It is heavy, it has melody, it has depth, it twists and turns and surprises you in each song. One of the things I loved on In This Life was the use of scratching turntables to provide texture and this album has that in abundance. The vocals are fabulously twisted with recitative—where the lyrics are almost spoken more than sung to emphasise the rythmn and accents of the music.
The music is solid. Take the intro to “Dragging for Bodies” (track 4), for example. It kicks off with a killer riff that gives way to drawled vocals. The song bounces and cuts through the underlying beat. Changing step a few times as it hits the chorus.
The title track, “The Dark Parade” (track 5), is fabulous fun and utterly mad! It is reminiscent of New Orleans marching bands. I love it. It’s probably one of my favourite tracks on the album.
This is a brilliant album. I can’t stop playing it. It is by far their best album (and I already would have given In This Life a score of 100%). For me, there really isn’t anything here that I don’t like or feel the need to fast forward through. As I said in my end of 2021 review: “It has everything I love in an album. It is interesting, unpredictable, humourous, serious, and it crosses so many musical boundaries that it’s hard to pin down where it should be categorised. I could listen to this on repeat … and, actually, this year that is exactly what I have done.”
A brilliant, brilliant album!
Review score: 100%