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This is a great find for the diehard Marduk fan. A few extra tracks from arguably one of the best black metal bands around never hurt anyone. My first impression of this tour EP was a good one even though I could not understand why the band chose to put an alternate version of “Steel Inferno” on this. I like the original track a lot, and the alternate version is good, but not that much different from the original. The 2nd track, “Tod und Vernichtung”, is a fitting track to grace a Marduk album or EP. It sets the perfect apocalyptic mood with the rusty tank treads at the beginning and the heavy slow guitars with the war drums bellowing over the top of everything pulverizing your eardrums. I recommend turning this track turned up to 11 if you have a good stereo to really get the maximum carnage possible.
Now, the 2nd part of this EP is only for true diehards. It is two rehearsal tracks, which for those who do not know means demo quality at best. The songs are “The Hangman of Prague” and “Throne of Rats”. These tracks will definitely take the listener to the definition of raw when it comes to sound, but I like the different sound. It still shows the brutality of the band and appeals to the listener who likes their black metal a little more primitive in sound. The vocals on the two rehearsals are especially vicious and really bring these to life for me.
In short, killer EP and should be sought out be any Marduk fan, but if you have not heard “Plague Angel” then that should be the first step before checking this out. Even better, the band just released the “Plague Angel” box set with the album, EP and live DVD together so you can experience them together which is how it should be.
The Deathmarch 2004/2005 tour EP seems kind of rare when one looks at the theoretical availability of the thing but…I’ve seen it quite often on sale on the internet. Still while not really rare it’s a nice little EP to have.
First off we have an alternative version of the popular Steel Inferno off the Plague Angel album. To be honest it’s not my favorite song off Plague Angel and this alternative version is a little weaker than the album or live versions. It’s not a bad song but it’s not something overly exciting either. Next is Tod und Varnichtung, a mostly instrumental war march which is exclusive to Deathmarch. It’s pretty cool and inspiring considering it’s conception as a war march but the sampled German spoken repeatedly at the end of the track somewhat ruins it.
The last two tracks are rehearsals of two Plague Angel tracks. Both are great tracks, some of my favorites off Plague Angel but being rehearsals obviously makes them sound crappy production-wise. Again, I prefer the album versions.
This is a pretty cool release but to be honest it’s quite far from being essential in one’s collection. I’m still glad I have it as I love Marduk but it’s a rather bad representation or the modern Marduk sound. It’s more like a sample designed to show those who listen to it what Marduk sounds like while recording their music. Get it if you’re interested in the sound of new Marduk rehearsals or if you’re a Marduk collector like me.
Responsible for the most offensively titled and packaged demo (and later official release) in all of black metal – which is really saying something! – Marduk is a band I’ve tended to avoid. A couple of tracks have turned up on compilations and I’ve had to admit to enjoying them, sucker as I am for the bituminous sludge of primordial black metal.
“Only to be sold on The Deathmarch Tour 2004/2005” the cover says. A limited release? Collectible? Get behind me, Satan! Maybe I could re-sell it for heaps, I considered venally. Eat that, Marduk!
I still have the EP. It’s terrific, I have to say. Nice and short like a shot of black espresso, it hits the senses like a brick, very much similar in pace, sound and attack to fellow Satan boosters, Gorgoroth. The opening track, "Steel Inferno (Alternative version)", blasts forth in the classic vein with Luftwaffe guitars, impossibly fast blast beats and lacerating vocals. Track 2, the (mostly) instrumental "Tod und Vernichtung" is sensational, the ultimate war movie soundtrack with marching drums, sub-floor bass and tenderized guitars, sounding like a well-oiled Tiger Tank. Modern black metal at its best!
Let’s face it: the ultimate black metal comes in demo form and the two tracks offered here are exactly what any squat-dwelling, bullet-belt-wearing, corpsepainted black metaller could want. The obligatory rapid fire click-sticks intro is there, the phone booth acoustics, then it’s rip shit and bust for 2:50 apiece. Tight as a mailed fist and hard to beat. Amazingly, the balance is quite good. You can even hear the vocals clearly. Fantastic stuff.
Whether I buy any more Marduk remains an open question. Maybe "Nightwing" …