Marduk - Wormwood
This new album takes a few turns before appreciating it, as it’s no copy of its predecessor. Instead, it looks like Marduk has even more advanced their balanced sound, by creating more atmosphere and variation within the songs. The distinction between brutal blasting tracks and slower groovy tracks is more faded; many songs now have both features. In addition, the album sounds more experimental, as you can hear by the distinctive, almost ritual-like ‘Funeral Dawn’, or sudden slow (drum) interludes in ‘Chorus of Cracking Necks’ and ‘As A Garment’.
It’s not that Marduk’s lost its bashing energetic spirit, as it’s still very noticable throughout the entire album; it’s just not straight on anymore, but balanced out by slower melodic parts or interludes. This provides excellent songs like ‘Into Utter Madness’ (my personal favourite), a perfect combination of blasting brutal riffs, dramatic tremolo picking, slower melodic parts and a beautiful bass outro; this song really gets to you. Other outstanders are to me brutal tracks ‘Nowhere, No-One, Nothing’’, ‘This Fleshly Void’ and mid-tempo ‘To Redirect Perdition’ (kind of the ‘Imago Mortis’ of the album).
Wormwood also has some weak points, though. Second track ‘Funeral Dawn’ is a song you either love or hate, as it brings you some peculiar-sounding tremolo riffs and melodies; you really have to love this atmosphere. And ‘Unclosing the Curse’ is, just like ‘1651’ on Rom 5:12, an interlude track that’ll bring you into a dark mood, but you’ll skip it after a few turns. Furthermore, fans of more extreme black metal like Marduk presented on Panzer Division Marduk will probably be dissapointed, as Wormwood is in general by far slower and lays the emphasis rather on the atmosphere of the songs. You get to miss tracks that are just straight on extreme; now they’re often ‘interrupted’ by slower breaks. This is examplified by final track ‘As A Garment’, which would’ve been way more interesting if not slowed down all the time.
If you are a fan of more balanced out black metal, however, this album is perfectly right for you. The band’s style sounds a bit more modest yet mature overall, with a good balance between aggressive blasting parts and melodic or groovy slower parts. I have fears however that Marduk will lose its extremity bit by bit, so hopefully the next album will be a bit more extreme again.