Marduk - _Heaven Shall Burn When We Are Gathered_
(Osmose, 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (9 out of 10)
Ten seconds or so into this CD's amazing opening track, any doubts that Marduk is one of the most intense bands on this planet should be vaporized for good. "Beyond the Grace of God" is a totally rabid, yet streamlined hybrid of haunting black metal riffs, extremely anguished vocals, and blasting percussion - and it showcases some pretty wild melodic bass lines to boot. "Beyond..." more or less sets the tone for the rest of this incredibly relentless album, during which the band goes on to wring some surprising sonic variety out of the standard (no keyboards) formula for way-fast black metal. "Glorification of the Black God" borrows from the classical barnstormer _Night on Bald Mountain_ (you've heard it), while "The Black Tormentor of Satan" welds some memorable riffing to ringing sonic sheets of heavily distorted guitar. Things slow down for the ultra-grim "Dracul..." - but only momentarily, since "Legion" follows, and closes the album out at a level of breakneck speed and severe intensity which is downright scary. (Dig the vocal effects on this track!) Enhanced by solid production and a clean, clear mix, _Heaven Shall Burn..._ is an unrelenting and uncompromising slab of spitting, sped-up rage - definitely Marduk's best work yet, and easily one of the most extreme black metal releases ever.

(article published 11/10/1996)

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