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Wormwood

Marduk

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Album Review

Marduk are commonly accused of being unchanging; no matter who's singing, drumming, or playing bass (founding guitarist Morgan Håkansson is the last original member left), they still sound like Marduk. But in fact, that's not true. Since vocalist Daniel "Mortuus" Rosten joined in 2004, the group's sound has steadily developed, becoming more compositionally sophisticated and lyrically challenging. The rote, if shockingly vituperative, blasphemy has become more informed, transforming into a genuine critique of Christianity rather than mere "we hate Jesus" bluster, and the fascination with World War II and Nazi war crimes has taken something of a back seat. This, the band's eleventh studio full-length, is their most musically adventurous to date, and it seems logical to attribute many of the changes to Rosten, whose solo project, Funeral Mist, is one of the most forward-looking black metal outfits not based in France. The old Marduk blast-furnace sound is still present; most of the songs here rip out of the speakers at 1000 mph, just as they did on discs like Panzer Division Marduk and Dark Endless. But there are also slow tracks like "To Redirect Perdition" and "Funeral Dawn" that create a more ominous mood. The production is excellent, too, filled with sound effects, sampled movie dialogue, and treated drums and guitars. The bass is even clearly audible on several occasions, a rarity in black metal. And beyond what he may or may not have brought to the songwriting and arrangements, Rosten is a terrific vocalist, guttural in the manner of Laibach's Milan Fras or Rammstein's Till Lindemann rather than a high-pitched shrieker like so many of his black metal brethren. This is easily Marduk's best album to date; as they approach their 20th anniversary, they're at an artistic peak.

Biography

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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Wormwood, Marduk
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