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Album Review

Marduk, who have turned out to be one of black metal's most long-running bands (albeit with quite a few lineup changes along the way), marked their 17th anniversary in 2007. Stylistically, Marduk haven't changed much since their early recordings; play 2007's Rom 5:12 alongside 1992's Dark Endless (their first full-length album), and one won't hear a huge stylistic difference between the two even though they're 15 years apart. The things that have changed for Marduk since the early '90s include stronger production, generally improved songwriting, more craftsmanship, better arranging, and albums that are more consistent. None of those things, however, mean that Marduk have softened their blows; they are still unapologetic masters of brute force, and they continue to distance themselves from the symphonic black metal style. The basic Marduk recipe that prevailed in the early '90s (ultra-fast tempos, occult-obsessed lyrics, sinister rasp vocals, ominous harmonies, and a lot of blastbeats) are very much intact on this 2007 release. Rom 5:12 does not pretend to reinvent the black metal wheel; this is state-of-the-art Marduk — bombastic, abrasive, full of venomous aggression. Marduk aren't as unsettling as the infamous Gorgoroth (few bands other than Slayer are), but when it comes to delivering black metal with uncompromising, exhilarating forcefulness, they get the job done. The word uncompromising, in fact, frequently comes up in connection with Marduk — at least among black metal purists — and Rom 5:12 does nothing to change that perception. This isn't an expansive or adventurous disc, but it's an inspired, if formulaic, effort that does nothing to alienate Marduk's longtime followers.


Formed: Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

An unswerving commitment to blasphemy and extremity combined with a relentless touring schedule and a steady stream of recordings has helped establish Sweden's Marduk as one of the better-known bands on the Scandinavian black metal scene. They began as more of a standard death metal band with a black metal influence, but have come to be known for their style of extreme black metal, which tends to focus on themes of warfare and anti-Christian sentiment and is characterized by relentlessly fast drumming...
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Rom 5:12, Marduk
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