Marduk
Plague Angel


3.5
great

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
October 26th, 2007 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The excellent result of a long evolution of black metal from long-time black metal outfit, Marduk.

Black metal. You either love it or hate it. Marduk are a black metal band hailing from Sweden, and since the second wave of black metal bands (early 90’s), they have consistently provided us with the most evil and blasphemous music we’d dare listen to. Black metal is a hard genre to review, as there are so many differing opinions on what good black metal is. I will try my best to give Marduk a fair judgment. Before I begin, keep in mind that I have listened to an extensive amount of black metal, but Plague Angel is my first Marduk album. I have not listened to them previously.

Plague Angel is Marduk’s 9th studio album, and is a damn fine effort compared to the large amounts of standard black metal out there. Aggressive, menacing, absolutely evil, the album bursts to life from the second you press play, and does not relent until the album has finished. Plague Angel is definitely one of the most ferocious and grim albums I have listened too.

In the classic vein of black metal, the bass is basically non-existent. This may have had something to do with a change of bass player, but don’t quote me on that. It doesn’t hinder the album though; this is a black metal album that actually sounds HEAVY. An example would be the song Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets. The song is just a repetition of the same riff, separated into sections by short periods of silence, but it really blows you away. My eyes lighten at the thought of hearing this live. On that note, another reason for the great sound would have been the quality of the production. Of all the black metal I have listened to, Plague Angel is indeed the best produced. I certainly hope that this will become a trend within the black metal community, as it makes the music so much easier to listen to.

In spite of the bass, the drumming and guitar work are very well executed. There are some great riffs on the album, and they all blend in well with Lars Broddesson’s drumming. However, the most important factor in determining this album’s longevity is the vocals. I believe that this album followed a vocalist change, and I do not know what the previous vocalist sounded like, but the new vocalist Mortuus is exemplary. His screams are very in touch with the music, and he really manages to make each song a great deal more effective. Hearing him scream ‘Warschau’ on the track of the same name gives me shivers. There is a large diversity in his vocals too, he varies his voice from high pitched screaming to quite low guttural growls.

The songs themselves are all very similar; this can be seen as a drawback on the album, but personally I think that they had found a good sound and made use of it. If the overall sound was bad, then we’d be right in thinking that the album as a whole was rather bland. That said, don’t expect too much variation. There are two instances where the album changes its style slightly, and this is in the longer Perish in Flames, and the instrumental Deathmarch. Perish in Flames is generally a lot slower than the rest of the songs, although it does speed up a little in the middle section. Deathmarch comes towards the end of the album, and does well in accordance to the album. It has this sense of foreboding to it, and does give us a welcome break from the aggression. The screams in the background from Mortuus are a nice touch. The only bad point about it would be that at 4:10, it does tend to drag a little. I’d assume that after a few listens, most people would just skip it. It will probably have a similar effect to that of Dawn Patrol on Megadeth’s Rust in Peace. Most people will just think of it as a waste of space, but a select few will enjoy it for what it is (I love Dawn Patrol).

One important point I’d like to mention is the way that Marduk begins and ends the album. It has always been important for me to have an album which is single piece of music, rather than a collection of songs which do not really have much to do with each other. In this respect, the way that an album begins and the way it ends can really affect how you view the album. Marduk takes full advantage of this. The first song on the album, Hangman of Prague (which is one of the best on the album), starts off really well. We begin with 18 seconds of anticipation, and then all of a sudden the music just blasts in your ears, delivering one the best riffs on the album. The intensity of the beginning is carried out throughout the whole album. Even on longer songs, like Life’s Emblem, or the finale Blutrache, the music is as intense as ever (Perish in Flames being the exception). And this brings us to the end of the album, Blutrache: a long and vicious song that just keeps going until it disintegrates and the guitars fade out. It’s almost as if the music was so powerful that the band just burnt out, and it leaves you feeling overwhelmed.

The lyrical quality of the album is also very good. The overall theme of the album is carried on through the lyrics, and is punctuated with little sound clips of tanks, cannons and guns. The lyrics are very imaginative, and laced with a general sense of dread and evil. I also liked the fact that the lyrics of Blutrache, along with the music, added to the sense of ‘the end’.

‘Judgment Day edges toward evening.
Every nation marches singing,
every nation towards death.
Let us rejoice in the light
of this man-made Armageddon
this man-made blazing Hell.’

Another mention is the conversation a man has with Death on the song Life’s Emblem.

So far I’ve given nothing but praise to the album, but by no means is this album perfect (although I don’t have too many complaints about it). First, as mentioned before, the bass is just lost in the mix. I read that in so many metal reviews you’d expect bands to try and change in order to fix this criticism that is always plaguing them, but no, bass is just not going to be prominent in a lot of metal music. Another criticism I have of the album is that there is not much variety throughout the songs. For black metal in general, this is common, so it is not a huge complaint, but it’s large enough to deserve a mention.

I will point out that being black metal, Marduk will deter many listeners who won’t even need to listen to them. This album received such a high score because I actually like black metal, as opposed to the majority of people who don’t. So I will say that if you have previously not liked black metal, Plague Angel won’t change your mind, and you will probably disagree with most of the things that I have talked about in this review. For fans of bands like Darkthrone, Mayhem, Emperor or Gorgoroth, Plague Angel is a very solid release and I recommend it highly.

Recommended Songs:
The Hangman of Prague
Throne of Rats
Seven Angel’s, Seven Trumpets
Warschau
Blutrache



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user ratings (87)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
October 26th 2007


14555 Comments


As with my other reviews, any criticism of my writing is welcome, I want to get better at it.

Dethtrasher
October 26th 2007


2211 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't think that you need any feedback, I have heard a few soudclips from this album and I think you nailed this very good :thumb:. I'm not a black metal fan so I will probably not look into this, I like black metal but then it has to be blended with something else.
I feel pretty damn stupid when I say this but I only know 2 black metal bands from Sweden, and I live in Sweden =/

kalkal50
October 26th 2007


2386 Comments


suddenly you don't like marduk?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2007


16478 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I still need to check out this band. Good review.

Unreal
October 26th 2007


229 Comments


decent review keep it up, i like BM, but this sounds too ballsy

blackened07
October 26th 2007


949 Comments


All I've heard is their new cd and I liked it so I might check this out.

masscows
October 26th 2007


2236 Comments


Marduk is really bad. You won't like them Crysis, they're just generic blastbeat-driven "brutal" black metal.

Crimson
October 26th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Marduk is really bad. You won't like them Crysis, they're just generic blastbeat-driven "brutal" black metal.
Have you heard their latest album? Not brilliant, but certainly not just blastbeat-driven "brutal" black metal.This Message Edited On 10.26.07

masscows
October 26th 2007


2236 Comments


I've heard that it has more variety, but I haven't actually heard the album yet. I can't imagine it being any good anyway.

Crimson
October 26th 2007


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's alright, and I'm not usually a black metal fan.

rasputin
October 27th 2007


14555 Comments


thanks for the feedback guys. masscows, I like this album a lot mainly because there simply aren't any other black metal bands who sound this heavy. So I don't understand how they can be generic when no other band sounds like them? It's all a matter of opinion I guess.This Message Edited On 10.27.07

Silenius
October 27th 2007


305 Comments


Rom 5:12 is a bit better than this, but I think adding Mortuus to the band was definitely a step in the right direction this album.

Good review This Message Edited On 10.27.07

devilsown667
November 7th 2007


14 Comments


I am a new member on Sputnik,and i had a question that i wanted to post on the forums but somehow i am unable to ,so i decided to put it up here so it can get some attention.I usually listen to Lamb of God,Opeth,Poison the Well and similar stuff but a few months ago i got this oppurtunity to listen to Burzum's Filosofem-and honestly i simply just blew me away.I have to admit i had never heard music so radical, affecting and gripping.Since then I have checked out other Black metal classics like Darkthrone's Transilvanian Hunger and Gorgoroth's new album.But i have also come to learn that most of the black metal musicians are white supremacists,racists,nazis and murderers-or at least support all of the above.I am Indian(not the american kind,but from the country in Asia),and probably one of the 10 people in my country who listen to Black metal,But i cannot shrug off the feeling that these artists that i appreciate so much might not appreciate my being a fan and might consider me scum that needs to be wiped from the face of the earth.I cannot come in terms with this and everytime i put the Burzum cd in,i feel uncomfortable.I was hoping if you guys can help me on this and tell me if black metal is meant only for white people and if i would be better off to avoid this music.



Please answer.

rasputin
November 8th 2007


14555 Comments


you have the right to listen to whatever you want, but if it does make you feel uncomfortable then you can just as easily boycott certain bands. It's not uncommon for a lot of people on this site to boycott Burzum because of the radical views Varg Vikernes has. I personally don't really care about the hype surrounding black metal and just listen to the music, but there isn't any sort of 'norm' that you have to follow: you can do whatever suits you best.

Hawks
March 11th 2008


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Its pretty good. Nothing classic that people are going to be talking about in 15 years, but for now it is fine.

rasputin
March 12th 2008


14555 Comments


Its pretty good. Nothing classic that people are going to be talking about in 15 years, but for now it is fine.

Good way of putting it.

Hawks
August 31st 2008


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Today I've decided to listen to all, or at least most, of the bands that I haven't listened to in a long time. Marduk falls under that category and I'm going to listen to this right after Pestapokalypse IV by Belphegor.

rasputin
January 21st 2009


14555 Comments


Your rating for this has jumped considerably hawks.

Thor
January 21st 2009


10202 Comments


Well with Hawks it's either a 5 or a 4.5 it seems

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

rasputin
January 21st 2009


14555 Comments


It's not that, it's just what he said earlier

Its pretty good. Nothing classic that people are going to be talking about in 15 years, but for now it is fine.




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