Marduk has long been in the black metal spotlight, casting darkness and death upon us all since the late 1990s. Their sheer rage and hatred can only be surpassed by the lyrical content, which deals with the usual black metal stuff, such as Satan and the like. However, one thing that has consistently set the band apart from the rest is their deep focus and examination of the Third Reich—the infamous regime of Adolf Hitler that led to World War II and almost led to the eradication of all non-white, non-Aryan peoples the world over, and brought us to the breaking point. This breaking point eventually led to toppling the regime and setting off 2 nuclear weapons, the only two ever set off during wartime, over their ally Japan. This reviewer must preface this review by stating what is obvious: there is no connection with the beliefs in the Third Reich. The band has no connection with it other than a historical one either, and this review is not acting as proponent to the atrocities Hitler committed. This review, however, will examine an absolutely blistering album from the band that proves that “trve” black metal is still alive and well.
This album has some of the best music the band has ever written, and some of these songs have riffs for days. ‘Afrika’, a favorite track from the record, has some of the most ridiculously catchy riffs in it, along with the epic song ‘Doomsday Elite’. The latter displays the band exploring the domain of lengthy tracks once again, except this time with a lot more accuracy. The longer, slower songs never get tiresome, and the shorter songs are just brief enough to invoke some sort of evil within you. Whereas on past releases some of the songs seemed to plod along meaninglessly, or seemed to stagnate in a puddle of their own monotony, this album remains fresh from beginning to end, and is a guaranteed repeater, with countless spins ahead.
The band has long experimented with the Third Reich, but on this album, they really channeled the evil that came from within it. As stated before, the band, nor this reviewer, are in any capacity Nazis, or neo-Nazis, or whatever. However, when listening to the record, reading the lyrics, and understanding the subject material, it’s hard not to conjure up images of the ultimate definition of evil that was the Third Reich. While it may be difficult for many people to withstand (this reviewer also having a history of family members put to death by Nazis) the record gets its point across: you want evil? Look no further than those that perpetrated the very definition of it by the command of a man possessed by nothing less than evil.
The production of this album is also interesting. It sounds modern, but somehow manages to sound vintage in a sense, particularly with the recording of the drums and guitars. The signature fuzz of yesteryear is extremely present, and the drums don’t sound processed, save for a slight addition to the kick drums to boost the overall tone. While most “trve” black metal albums have garbage production for the sake of sounding “kvlt” (yes, it’s garbage 90% of the time), this one retains a more polished tone, while somehow keeping the grit and dirt and filth sewn into it as well. The band must be really proud of this sound, and hopefully others will take note and try to emulate it over time.
So, in the end, we’re left white-knuckled, gripping at the nearest stable object we can find, finished with the ultimate ride through the darkest minds with the most evil spirits wandering throughout. This release is an absolute monster, an unapologetic beast that will destroy anything it comes into contact with, much like the Third Reich. With this record, the band has sealed their place in black metal history forever.
Marduk’s Frontschwein gets…