Review Summary: The release that began the career of brutal black metal outfit, Marduk.Marduk
is a black metal band from Sweden, who despite undergoing countless line-up changes, have managed to retain their credibility in their illustrious career. The band began on waves of controversy due to this explicit demo, and are still considered one of the blackest and most evil black metal bands to date. They were not caught up in the whole Norwegian black metal scene (probably because they aren’t from Norway :P), and kept the brutality of their music since their creation in 1990. Guitarist Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson is the only member to have remained in the band since then. Analogous to their distance from the typical black metal scene, Marduk’s
music is also not typical black metal. There is most definitely a focus on sounding heavy, brutal, and less melodic, and production is not intended to be low-quality. Although this demo does not have very good quality, I believe it to be the band’s recording capabilities to blame, not a desire to have it sound bad.
*** Me Jesus
was released in 1991, and is their first titled demo (they had released a demo the same year called Demo #1). For a demo, I was quite interested in it, and it is a very good insight into the makings of the style the band utilizes now. There are 3 actual songs on it, and an intro/outro to make up 5 tracks. The intro really gets your attention quick. It is a clip from the movie The Exorcist
and has the voice of the demon (Mercedes McCambridge) screaming ‘LET JESUS *** YOU’ to the sounds of the mother screaming. In the movie, the little girl (possessed by the demon) stabs herself between the legs with a cross while screaming the line. I think Marduk’s
plan was to try and gain notoriety with this release, especially with the theme surrounding it. They certainly achieved it.
The songs themselves are reasonably decent black metal songs, all with that Marduk
touch to them. To be honest, they aren’t really anything special in technical terms, but remember that this is black metal. The production is not too horrible, but it’s still not good. As mentioned before, I put this down to it being a demo, rather than having low quality production on purpose. One thing that annoyed me was the vocals were set to be a lot louder than the music. The vocalist is not too bad, but their current vocalist Mortuus is definitely the best vocalist Marduk
have ever had. The vocalist on *** Me Jesus
does however sound similar to Mortuus, albeit not as good.
Still, the biggest aspect of this demo is definitely the novelty. As I mentioned before, Marduk
play a unique style of black metal, and this album really shows how it all began. Just listen to the intro of the 4th track, Within the Abyss, as well as the entire song, and the heavy sound that they would later adopt is apparent. On that note, this album scores points for the novelty of being the beginning of Marduk’s
reign of terror. The album cover is also pretty cool, and adds to their evil reputation. However, the one thing that I disliked most about this demo was the outro. I’m unsure if it is taken from somewhere, like the intro, but it really does not fit. There isn’t really anything evil about it.
If you’re a fan of Marduk, add a 0.5 to the score. This demo is really only good for novelty purposes, so if there isn’t a particular reason you need to get this, don’t bother. However, it is an interesting foray into the beginning of the band, and is a lasting monument to the controversy that Marduk
so willingly created.
- Marks the beginning of Marduk
- Definitely has novelty value
- Bad production
- Doesn’t stand up as a release, relies on novelty value