Sort of derivative and uninspiring, Marduk have moved from poor black metal to Entombed-style death metal to fast but banal black metal after one reasonably qualifying album, "Opus Nocturne." This band consistently creates interesting "sounding" albums, with cool melodic tuning and distortion, cool bass sounds and tape-sped drums. Their riffwriting and compositional skills lag behind.
flag of Sweden Marduk - Dark Endless (1992)
Marduk - Opus Nocturne (1995)
Marduk - Heaven Shall Burn...When We Are Gathered (1996)
Marduk - Glorification (1997)
Marduk - Panzer Division Marduk (1999)
Dark Endless
No Fashion
Production: Halfway good but nothing better than mediocre.

Review: This album is tied to the Amerikan tradition more than the Swedish, created with forceful chords and riffing derived of any anchoring except rhythm, resulting in music than can maintain a single direct narrative at once but landlocks itself to that principle and does not budge. This distills to a speedy but sloppy death metal band with a talented black metal singer screaming over it.


1.Still fucking dead (Here's no peace) (3:55)
2.The sun turns black as night (3:05)
3.Within the abyss (3:45)
4.The funeral seemed to be endless (3:36)
5.Departure from the mortals (3:22)
6.The black... (4:02)
7.Dark endless (3:51)
8.Holy inquisition (4:27)
Length: 30:15

Marduk - Dark Endless - Interminable Black Metal 1992 No Fashion
Copyright © 1992 No Fashion

The rhythms of riffs are right where one would expect a mediocre death metal band to put them, and the chord progressions are of the broad interval leaps within standard power chord forms type which give little to melody or other constructs when their foundations and motives surround a key center and a tugging motion away, but little else, employing mainly chromatic or dissassociated wide intervals for aesthetic structure. While instrumentation outside of guitars is reasonable, no great labors are undertaken to the degree that this band lags roughly four years behind its contemporaries (death was well defined by 1992).

The one incredibly cool part of this album, oddly, is the intro, which is a loose composition of minimalist keyboard riffs and almost free-jazz extreme violin scraping. From there, however, the path is not so much downhill as straight across -- you can sing along with this one on your first listen.

Opus Nocturne
Production: Clear but thin, allowing the guitar to bleed into oblivion and giving the music a cold but insubstantial feel.

Review: Simple but compositionally aware fast black metal, Marduk evolved from the death metal camp to write fast elemental riffs overlaid with melodic subtext to create engaging material of enduring interest.

Complexity is not the goal but compositional awareness and some avoidance of totally predictable tonal progressions augment the power of this music which is in the rigorous guitar rhythms and the unrelenting high speed drums which blast precision double bass under furious bashing snare and delicate, inflected highhat nicking which rides over the blast as a rising spirit of decease.


1. Intro/ The Appearance of Spirits of Darkness (0:33)
2. Sulphur Souls (5:41)
3. From Subterranean Throne Profound (7:47)
4. Autumnal Reaper (3:31)
5. Materialized in Stone (5:10)
6. Untrodden Paths (Wolves Part II) (5:27)
7. Opus Nocturne (2:33)
8. Deme Qua Den Thyrane (5:06)
9. The Sun Has Failed (7:22)
Length: 43:12

Marduk - Opus Nocturne - Black Metal 1995 Osmose
Copyright © 1995 Osmose

Using the simple elements of basic chord construction Marduk strum overlapping elements of triads to form melodies, or bend them out of a succession of power chords on a stamping snare beat. Vocals are fast and growling shriek, a squirreling voice coming screaming out of eternity one moment and a paced war-chant the next, all under dubs and echo spreading the diffuse chalkthroated howl.

All rhythms fit together like self-enclosable units overlapped to provide a simple sense of connectedness to the whole, while distributing an individual signature made essential by their tonal similarity. Deconstructionist theory functions here, although not on the conceptual level of Immortal or Burzum and more essentially at a fast dark music level, where the sound and timbre of power chords creates an entirely different compositional style denigrated by the uninitiated.

The military undercurrents of such precision based music are not emphasized but the essential violence shines through, providing a strange currency of negativity to the aspirant rhythms and melodies. No awards for vast profundity but this album delivers satisfactory metal with a unique style and distinctive attribute of insanely fast, precision drumming.

Production: Clear and metallic, almost overly digital sounding in its clarity but lack of texture and depth. However, the important elements are preserved, with drums a respectable distance into the background and vocals overamped to ludicrous proportions

Review: One of the simplest black metal bands, Marduk have broken the musical style into a patterned language they usefully exploit for making albums and songs of reasonable consistency. However this strength is I think Marduk’s primary weakness: their music is product, and has none of the epic qualities of black metal.

Furthermore, its structures are conventional and its iconism absolute, leading one to wonder which side of the fence Marduk is on. But if you think you would enjoy simple commercial death metal played in high-speed melodic intensity by an enterprising black metal band, your mood is right to pursue this beast. (On the cover, there are gathered freaks with weapons and shields bearing the Marduk logo. Much is made of the angry title which resembles the righteous anger of Pantera and the patented angst of Nirvana.)


1. Summon the Darkness (0:21)
2. Beyond the Grace of God (5:17)
3. Infernal Eternal (4:41)
4. Glorification of the Black God (4:52)
5. Darkness it Shall Be (4:40)
6. The Black Tormentor of Satan (4:15)
7. Dracul va Domni Din Nou in Transilvania (5:39)
8. Legion (5:55)
Length: 35:42

Marduk - Heaven Shall Burn...When We Are Gathered - Black Metal 1996 Osmose
Copyright © 1996 Osmose

Fast melodic guitars race over blasting drums and then cut into sawing power chords, thrashing against their own rhythm with simple resistance and then taking off into long runs of guitar lines stretched through percussive drumming designed to enhance the BPM of the recording. Their patterns are simple and often deliberately redundant, but even from this Marduk wrench appropriations of beauty in their simple variations and obvious, leading structures. The essential concept begins in simplicity yet aesthetic is complex enough to force changes into the otherwise consistent progression of blasting beats and three-chord fast strumming riffs.

These patterns have the rebound tenseness of hardcore music but the bounciness of more popular styles of punk, all under the minimal minor-key melodies of any halfway proficient black metal band. The distinction comes in the fast and synchronized by bland high-speed drumming, and the yapping growl of the vocals, a taunting stance of aggression. While this recording delivers all of the speed and precision desired in a metal band - strangely, death metal characteristics - it also expresses an aura of darkness in the ripping speed of the iteration of chords in the style of classic black metal mercurial temperment.

What lead guitar augment the rhythm are few, as most of this music is straight-ahead blasting material, although later songs follow a trudge beat and rough harmonic abstract progressions in order to ensure boring filler material to emphasize the pounding, flaring, screeching black metal compositions of the early parts of the album. This is black metal but like other bands of a newer ilk it resembles a patented styling of black metal made to approximate an audience mean on most issues of aesthetic. For this reason, there is no evil or mystical aura to the band or their work of mostly disjointed concept, and many find their music more predictable than the sometimes more random or more conceived older black metal bands.

Production: Clear but compressed sound with reasonable but overamplified, obscure distortion.

Review: An EP from Marduk to satiate fans comes with an "original" song remixed and four covers by noted black metal ancestors. A track by track review is appropriate:


1. Glorification of the Black God (remixed version) (4:50)
2. Total Desaster (orig. by Destruction) (3:50)
3. Sex with Satan (orig. by Piledriver) (4:13)
4. Sodomize the Dead (orig. by Piledriver) (2:07)
5. The return of Darkness & Evil (orig. by Bathory) (3:21)
Length: 18:23

Marduk - Glorification - Black Metal 1997 Osmose
Copyright © 1997 Osmose

1. Glorification of the Black God - remix version of the song based on a Mussorgsky piece Reasonable song, probably the most complex compositional work so far from Marduk as they deeply integrate the singular main melody of the original piece into a high speed black metal cover with rigid death metal underpinnings in its arrangements.

2. Total Desaster - Originally recorded by Destruction, this song brings out the archetypes of middle- to late-1980s proto-death metal as bands on the edge of simple speed metal began to branch into the more extended structures of death metal and hardcore. Functioning as an apex to this release, the rendition offered here works a central theme through a simple opening riff to a bridge of dirgish, quickly-strummed chords hinting a melody behind a wandering furious solo.

3. Sex with Satan - Originally recorded by Piledriver. Tumescent cover of clanging incoherent diatribe of repetition; whoever originally wrote this is worse than Marduk, even.

4. Sodomize the Dead - Originally recorded by Piledriver. Even worse, tangential march dirge wanders into blathering repetition.

5. The return of Darkness and Evil - Faithful cover of this Bathory tune that allows monolithic drumming and riff intensity to build until hyper-accelerated conclusion, almost as if turning Quorthon's ripping masterpieces into techno animals.

Production: Blisteringly digital clear with emphasis on guitars separated from thrashing drum holocaust.

Review: Marduk plow through another blasting release of black metal made from vaguely atmospheric melody riffs speed-picked over screamingly rapid pummeling percussion, using a unification of vocal melody to stitch together a sensibility of onward motion. Their incessant and invariant use of almost trademark middle-of-the-road black metal technique takes this release beyond Norsecore to a new genericism despite the continued lifting of classical themes for the sake of chorus lines. Yet while this is at its core unsatisfying, the rhythmic hook and persistent energy of Marduk has converted many to their camp, despite unresolved instrumental and musical issues after uncountable albums from this Swedish band.


1. Panzer Division (2:39)
2. Baptism by Fire (3:51)
3. Christraping Black Metal (3:46)
4. Scorched Earth (3:37)
5. Beast of Prey (4:07)
6. Blooddawn (4:20)
7. 502 (3:14)
8. Fistfucking God's Planet (4:28)
Length: 30:04

Marduk - Panzer Division Marduk - Black Metal 1999 Osmose
Copyright © 1999 Osmose

While this is easy listening for its childrens-song way of swaying a chorus into a verse and letting the rhythm carry a series of rhythmically similar phrases, with emphasis on syllables cadenced to the hooks in the vocals, it is driven by the racing percussion that is more noise than precise. The music is not complicated or new or really all that different from Dark Funeral or a million other bands making rock n roll covered in gooey melodic death metal-black metal hybrid skin.

Vocals are reminiscent of the best shrieky persistence of Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir and constant blasting drum drubbing calls to mind of Impaled Nazarene or early Bathory on a cocaine binge, yet in these moderate styles Marduk have found a mean which more than commercial is a satisfying, unchallenging compromise, and mating this with a lack of ambition in making melodic statements besides pure momentary aesthetic appeal, one has the picture of not just this band but most of the genre at this time. Sturdy riffs are nonetheless rarely significant in their structural recombination or overall melodic motion, which causes belief that this album like many recent Marduk albums is best forgotten or bought from the $2 bin on a rainy day.

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