Marduk - _Rom 5:12_
(Regain Records, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (9.5 out of 10)
Should you cast a glance to the horizon at some point in the near future and happen to spot a rather agitated figure brandishing a flaming sickle and sat atop an equally incensed equine companion, know this: it's not because some lunatic despot has decided to incinerate the planet. No, if one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse were to rear its head anytime soon, it would be down to something of which most human minds could never conceive. I'm talking of course about a Marduk album that not only does not average speeds in excess of 250 BPM, but boasts clean vocals, epic songs and vividly tells a coherent story to boot.

The first indication that we're in for far more than just the hyperblasting vehemence of _Plague Angel_ comes as early as "The Levelling Dust" -- the album opener and a grinding, atmospheric orgy of lava-like riffing and a sustained, pummelling groove. Vocalist Mortuus sounds positively demented; his rasp echoing more along the lines of the death-howl of something out of "Night of the Living Dead" than your average black metal screamer. "Cold Mouth Prayer" takes us back to traditional (read: faster) Marduk fare, but even here the execution is that much more precise and pulverizing.

The record's true delights are saved for later however, starting with a harrowing instrumental in "1651" -- an almost extravagant take on Wagnerian baroque. On the equally brooding "Accuser / Opposer", Primordial singer Alan Nemtheanga's arresting voice delivers a staggering caesura, before the song's dying moments are wholly dominated by Gregorian chants.

As for the concept itself, who cares? Something to do with sin entering the world through man, death coming to all men, and so on.

Ten albums in, and Marduk haven't just topped their previous efforts; they each one sound utterly prosaic by comparison. That alone should be more than enough to get just about anyone with the slightest fondness for black metal very ebullient indeed.


(article published 1/5/2007)

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1/31/2008 J Smit Marduk: Echoes of Decimation
6/10/2007 J Smit Marduk: Hosannas From the Basement of Hell
11/29/2004 J Smit Marduk: The Plague Rages On
3/14/1999 D Rocher Marduk: Far Beyond the Grace of God
7/1/2012 J Carbon 7.5 Marduk - Serpent Sermon
6/26/2011 J Carbon 6.5 Marduk - Iron Dawn
10/24/2009 J Ulrey 8.5 Marduk - Wormwood
11/29/2004 J Smit 8.5 Marduk - Plague Angel
5/13/2001 M Noll 8 Marduk - La Grande Danse Macabre
8/12/1999 D Rocher 9 Marduk - Panzer Division Marduk
4/13/1998 S Hoeltzel 7.5 Marduk - Nightwing
8/12/1997 S Hoeltzel 8 Marduk - Live in Germania
10/11/1996 S Hoeltzel 8 Marduk - Glorification
10/11/1996 S Hoeltzel 9 Marduk - Heaven Shall Burn When We Are Gathered
12/2/2007 J Smit Marduk / Vreid A Doomsday Celebration
5/13/2001 M Noll Marduk / Mortician / Vader / God Dethroned / Amon Amarth / Mystic Circle / Sinister / ...And Oceans / Bal Sagoth Baptized by Fire and Beer
8/12/2000 M Noll Deicide / Immortal / Cannibal Corpse / Marduk / Vader / Dark Funeral / Hate Eternal / Vomitory There's No Mercy in Satan's Oven
1/15/2000 P Azevedo Marduk / Angelcorpse / Enthroned Night of the Living Corpses
1/15/2000 M Noll Cannibal Corpse / Marduk / Angelcorpse / Aeternus / Defleshed Two Corpses, One God and No Flesh
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