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After the hellishly fast and brutal "Panzer Division Marduk", one would think the Swedish masters of Black Metal had to stop in order to catch their breath. The "Obedience" EP abandoned the war-tainted atmosphere (or lack thereof) of the predecessor in favor of a sadomasochistic theme, reflected in the cover art depicting a naked and bound woman as well as the lyrics.
The title track continues in the neckbreaking pace of the preceding album, with the MARDUK horde storming forwards without remorse. There doesn't seem to be much progress from previous efforts, but the song still serves its purpose as a solid addition to the MARDUK legacy. To contrast this brutality, “Funeral Bitch” is a mid-tempo slab that slows everything down several notches, and feels very out of place in this point of the bands career. It doesn't help matters much that the song is a boring snoozer, and ultimately very trite and forgettable.
The last three tracks are cover songs (number 4 and 5 have been added as bonus-material for this Regain-reissue), and for the most part feels like filler material. “Into The Crypt Of Rays” is a fairly straight-forwards Black Metal cover of the classic Celtic Frost song, and sounds exactly as you'd think, not bad, but dreadfully generic. The band should be commended for being more adventurous with the choice of the last two covers, as they could easily have done more BATHORY or VENOM tributes. Even though “Paint It Black” is the most predictable choice for a THE ROLLING STONES cover by a Black Metal band, MARDUK pull it off surprisingly well without straying too far away from the source material retaining some of the original feeling while adding their own pitch black flavor. “Earth A.D.” is a MISFITS cover, and unfortunately doesn't fare as well as “Paint It Black”. Here we return to the violent soul-crushing spirit of MARDUK, and the result is a two minutes-long chaotic mess that is barely recognizable as the Horror Punk classic.
In spite of there being a few good moments throughout the 17 minutes of "Obedience", the short running time and unnecessary covers gives me the feeling that the entire thing should have been re-released as bonus tracks to "Panzer Division Marduk" instead of warranting its own EP. Unless you really love MARDUK and THE ROLLING STONES and think the combination of the two would be the greatest thing ever, this release is only worth getting for die-hard fans and collectors.
(Online July 1, 2008)
Written for the Metal Observer