Review Summary: Marduks best effort since Opus Nocturne.2 of 3 thought this review was well written
Marduk are a Swedish Black Metal band that have been around since the beginning of the second wave of black metal. While their style started as Death Metal they progressed to Black Metal. After their album Panzer Division Marduk many even condemned them of drumming fit for a grind band, and they were a prime reference for the term norsecore. After vocalist Legion (whose mediocre vocals I personally feel was even more detrimental to the band than the boring drumming) left the band recruited Mortuus from Funeral Mist. Hoping that this would be a change for the better it was somewhat disappointing when the first album with Mortuus proved to be little better than the very mediocre World Funeral (the last album with Legion). That being said I think it is safe to say that Mortuus has greatly improved along with the songwriting. It's safe to say this is the best Marduk in a decade, probably since Opus Nocturne.
Marduk have been known for being a relentless assault on the ears regarding tempo and riffing. The first thing I noticed when hearing this album for the first time was that they add a lot of mid tempo riffing, and this contrasts the fast drumming a lot. It's far better than just a ten minute headache of 250 bpm drums. One other thing that is really enjoyable on this album are Mortuus' vocals. You can sense the aggression and energy in the vocals, and they sound truly disgusting at times, especially on the brilliant vocal performance of Cold Mouth Prayer
which also features an appearance of an old Marduk vocalist from the early 90s. The band has really put a lot of work into making this an interesting experience, they seemed to be somehow lacking the depth that this album shows on their previous efforts. They even go so far as to include numerous booklet pages simply depicting scenes of the black plague and other morbid scenes that add to the aesthetics and depth.
Production wise this is extremely clean for a black metal release. Guitars are sharp and clear though they the distortion is set to typical black metal standards. The bass is also nicely produced giving the more mid-paced areas a nice backbone, and staying out of the way in the faster sections or those sections dominated by vocals. Drums are rather high in the mix as always on a 21st century Marduk recording. Vocals are mixed brilliantly. You can pretty much visualize the spit flying out of Mortuus' mouth while he was doing them. reverb also compliments the guttural and almost gurgling sounds that sometimes occour in the vocals. It should also be mentioned that there is one track on here, 1651
, that was not made by Marduk. 1651 was made by prominent martial industrial band Arditi, and with Marduk's fascination with war and death the song fits quite nicely. Lo-fi military marching drums accompany slow synth sounds and vocals. The track Accuser /Opposer
is also worth mentioning because of it's featuring Naihmass Nemtheanga on vocals. This isn't necessarily good though because Mortuus' vocals are so good and fitting that the clean-ish vocals on this song seem weak and unfitting for the cd.
Rom 5:12 definitely marks a turning point for Marduk. The bands has matured a lot and grown out of their formulaic old style and returned somewhat to some earlier elements that can be traced back as far as their debut cd Dark Endless (1991) (especially the track Womb of Perishableness). Even if you aren't a fan of any of their past work, you should give the cd try if you want to hear some varied but still unrelenting black metal.
More well though out riffs
I'm still waiting for some tremelo riffs a la Those of the Unlight