Iron Dawn

1. Warschau 2: Headhunter Halfmoon
2.Wacht Am Rhein: Drumbeats of Death
3. Prochorovka: Blood and Sunflowers

[Regain Records]

I don’t know a whole lot about Sweden’s black metal blasphemers Marduk. But I do know that when I saw this 2009 video of frontman Mortuus violently dominating a drunken fan who jumped onstage for a harmless bro-hug, I thought it was a totally shitty, gross overreaction. I lost some respect for them that day, but in the post-Dimebag era I suppose this is somewhat excusable. You can never be too careful these days. After learning more about Marduk and their recent output taking a heavy interest in World War II  imagery, I’ve come to understand Mortuus’ actions a little more. The stage is their battlefield, and if you step onto their battlefield, you might become a casualty.

This is a concept that Marduk takes to heart on their new WWII-themed EP, Iron Dawn.

The first track, “Warshchau 2-Headhunter Halfmoon” starts things off heavy and fast, like jumping into the frontlines of an apocalyptic war. If the overall atmosphere of the track doesn’t tip you off, the cheesy samples of bombs falling will. It’s a bit goofy and generic, but the intensity with which it is delivered let’s you know that the band is dead serious.  Plus, I’m a sucker for war-themed metal (some years ago I had a long love affair with Iced Earth’s Glorious Burden and accompanying Gettysburg trilogy), so it’s very interesting to hear similar concepts applied to black metal. My promo copy doesn’t have an accompanying lyric sheet, so I’m not sure exactly what message they are putting across-but color me excited to hear how they expand on this concept in their forthcoming LP, which is supposed to be a sequel to Iron Dawn.

“Wacht Am Reighn Drumbeats of Death” continues in the high velocity blastbeats and tremolo picked guitars vein as the first track. In fact, it sounds almost too similar to the first track in terms of tempo and style. But it’s still a high quality song that features enough variation (and some more subtle ear candy samples) to keep your attention.

The eerie, doomy stylings of closer “Prochorovka Blood and Sunflowers” is probably also Iron Dawn’s finest hour.  Lars Brodesson  switches to a simple, plodding drumbeat that complements Morgan “Evil” Steinmeyer Håkansson’s guitar riffs very well. The slower tempo allows us the space to get a great taste of his blackened guitar tone as well, which is a damn fine example of how to dial it in for this genre. Mortuus also exhibits some excellent vocal delivery on this track. I just wish I could make out what he is screeching about.

As the EP fades out (to the sounds of more bomb samples no less), it practically begs you to hit the repeat button and listen to it again. The brief running time definitely lends to this, and musically it is interesting enough to warrant a few extra listens to digest.  It’s not the most innovative material and some may find the samples a bit over the top, but the songs are delivered with a conviction that is very respectable. Marduk are definitely onto something here, and I’m officially looking forward to the sequel full length.

P.S. Is it weird that I absolutely love the album art? I probably shouldn’t, but I do.

Marduk – Iron Dawn, gets…


– JB

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