25 May, 2012

Marduk: Serpent Sermon – new album


Even if due to, er, life, this blog wasn’t very active of late, the infamous MARDUK will be nevertheless releasing their twelfth album, ‘Serpent Sermon’, on May 28th, 2012 through Century Media Records. The “blasphemous monster of an album that is not afraid to spread its leathery wings and sink its sanguine-soaked fangs into the listener” was apparently “recorded in pieces whenever the dark muse overtook MARDUK” in bassist Magnus “Devo” Andersson's Endarker Studios in Östergötland, Sweden, and produced by the band. You can still pre-order ‘Serpent Sermon’ here (CM Distro EU) if European, or here (CM Distro USA) if American. Watch their Håkan Sjödin-directed new video, ‘Souls For Belial’, below and visit Metal Hammer Germany to hear MARDUK's new track ‘M.A.M.M.O.N.’ here:

“The members of MARDUK - guitarist and sole original member Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson, drummer Lars Broddesson and vocalist Mortuus - have created an album that marks a return to the very diabolical essence of what black metal is really about. From sheer brutality of the opening title track to the blast beats of ‘Souls For Belial’ and the doom driven ‘Temple Of Decay’, ‘Serpent Sermon’ offers diversity in extremes without losing their trademark sound. Guitarist Morgan explains, “We just go in when we feel the time is right to have it done and then we enter and paint the picture of the death of your world!” The album is a testament to their burning desire to create blackened metal of the highest order. A concept album of sorts, ‘Serpent Sermon’ is an unadulterated attack on all that is good, casting a heavy pall over light and love. Morgan offers, “The lyrics should speak to everybody, to realize the power contained within. Just let it embrace you and the journey has begun!” That journey is a deep one that plumbs the very depths of Hell as guitars rip and shred, drums thunder and the low end bass pulls at the very bowels of the soul. “As long as we have the desire and burning ambition to spread the message we will continue to be the servants of a higher cause and keep delivering blood, fire and death to the world!”

Formed by guitarist Morgan “Evil” Steinmeyer Hakansson in 1990 in Norrköping, Sweden, MARDUK, consisting of vocalist Andreas Axelsson, bassist Richard Kalm, and drummer Joakim “Grave” Göthberg, released their controversial (banned in seven countries) ‘Fuck Me Jesus’ EP in 1991, and continued their blasphemous path with their debut full-length ‘Dark Endless’ in 1992, after second guitarist, Devo Andersson, was added. Described as “an exciting and historic relic from black metal's early years”, ‘Dark Endless’ was followed by the band's sophomore album, ‘Those Of The Unlight’, less than a year later and 1994's ‘Opus Nocturne’ came next as Joakim Göthberg gradually switched from drums to vocals, B. War became MARDUK's new bassist and Fredrik Andersson assumed drumming duties. Showcasing far bigger, clearer sound, 1996's ‘Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered’, was recorded at Abyss Studios with Peter Tägtgren, and introduced new (“gravel-throated”) vocalist called Erik “Legion” Hagstedt:

“Every track here, excepting the brief introduction and the slower ‘Dracul Va Domni Din Nou in Transilvania’, is more or less a full-speed, blasting assault with wall-of-sound drums, blurred guitars and shrieking, raspy vocals. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately MARDUK don’t show the sort of emotional depth needed to make their tirades fully convincing,” [cleverly noticed William York, AllMusic – more here]

EP ‘Glorification’ was released in 1996, their fourth recording issued through Osmose Productions, live album ‘Live In Germania’ followed in 1997 as was ‘Here Is No Peace’ EP. MARDUK quickly returned the The Abyss recording studio and their fifth full-length ‘Nightwing’, an album partly inspired by the life of Vlad Tepes (also known as Drakula), came out in 1998. Practically living in that village called Pärlby by then, MARDUK issued war-themed ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ in 1999, an EP called ‘Obedience’ followed in 2000, and they finished off their “Blood, War and Death” trilogy with ‘La Grande Danse Macabre’, issued in 2001 on Regain Records:

“Those disappointed by the blastbeat overload of previous album ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ will be pleasantly surprised to gander at the grotesque, club-footed cave beast that is La Grande Danse Macabre: A few grandiose song structures, plenty of tempo variations (blasting drums are still abundant, if not as prevalent), gleefully blasphemous lyrical exhortations, and a crisp, clean Abyss Studios production. … Sure, MARDUK knows how to wield its weaponry with succinct efficiency but, unless the group finds and embraces its own demonic muse, it will always be an unholy bridesmaid and never a bride,” [found his muse John Serba, AllMusic – the rest here]

MARDUK's 2003's ‘World Funeral’ introduced Emil Draguntinovic on drums, and was the last to feature Legion on vocals and B. War on bass, as well as their last mixed by Peter Tägtgren. 2004's ‘Plaque Angel’ was recorded with new, Bible-obsessed (“solely for its violent content”), vocalist Mortuus, while Magnus “Devo” Andersson switched over to bass and took upon himself the mixing of the album. 2004's EP ‘Deathmarch’ was followed by the group's second live album, ‘Warschau’, in 2006 and ‘Rom 5:12’, “an expansive or adventurous disc, an inspired, if formulaic, effort” – as perceived by Alex Henderson (more here) - came next in 2007. MARDUK's 2009's ‘Wormwood’, praised by AllMusic's Phil Freeman as “their most musically adventurous to date” (more here), introduced a new drummer Lars Broddesson, with whom they recorded their fifth EP, ‘Iron Dawn’, in 2011.

“As even a cursory look at their back catalogue highlights, MARDUK have proved themselves capable of a surprising level of diversity, having reinvented themselves on more than one occasion during their twenty plus year career. Whatever era one favours, their longevity, consistently prolific output and constant touring of the world in that time remains undeniably impressive and a reflection of the band's self belief in their ability, as well as in the power of extreme metal itself,” [concludes this black journey the press release]


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