Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marduk: "Frostschwein"

Of all the second wave black metal bands, Marduk feels like the Ac/Dc or Motorhead of black metal. Like those bands they are finely tuned juggernauts that have mastered the straight up in your face approach to rocking. With both Ac/Dc and Motorhead, their are certain era's of their work I prefer over the other say the Bon Scott years or with Motorhead my cut off point is "Orgasmatron". With Marduk I'm open to most of their discography. Their newest album "Frostschwein" finds them to continue polishing their raw and to the point style of black metal.

Right from the title track that opens the album they blast at you, the only change is they have a slightly creepier dissonance to the chords. They don't slow down to find a groove until "Wartheland". This album features the new drummer, youngster Fredrik Widigs. Widigs fills the throne nicely. In fact I almost did not notice the change. It is hard to tell if he plays with more precision than past drummers or if this is the benefit of crisper production. The production might be a point of contention for those who only want the "Cvlt" sound. It's 2015 get over it.

They seem to have a matured their appreciation of letting some of the chord throb awhile and soak in melody rather than just tremolo pick a hundred percent of the time. On a song like "Between the Wolf packs " this gives it a thrashier feel. They always seem to find their way back to the blast beat, but wedge them in-between some rather hooky riffs. The vocals are more enunciated, making the lyrics almost discernible in the storm that roars around them.

The more militant stiffness they sometimes employ is put to good use on  "Nebelwerfer". There is actually a smidgen of atmosphere in the guitar melody that floats around the march at times in the song. It comes and goes as the song takes on a drone of it's own. This is not to say Marduk has become Watain. What they do best is very much intact. The blast beat ridden song that follows is all the proof you will need. They do allow for the occasional gallop to accent what might be seen as a chorus.On the other hand the moments they do dabble with the tried and true formula, like the doomy trudge of "503" really pays off for them.

The icy cold that comes with the territory freezes to the bone . The tension to "Doomsday Elite" is especially chilling. They prove Marduk can hit the sonic sweet spot black metal captures so well, with just as much ice in their veins as any of country men. They close out the album with even more crazed fury than they began it with. The frantic blast of "Thousand Fold Death" rushes past you, before you can attempt to figure out what just happened. The vocals are squawked out in a spit fire manner that stays on top of the snare. I'll round this one up to a 9.5,  and see how it grows on me.

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