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Here's an interesting effort by a band that is completely void of new ideas. An attempt to create a sound and a theme that would set itself apart from the repetitive and uninteresting sound of past albums and go in an entirely different direction. And the result was an album that sounds exactly the same with a bunch of samples of WWII thrown in. And here we come to adressing of the inherent flaws of P.D.M's sound. One that can be addressed in the quote from (of all and everything else) Spongebob that just about sums it up.
"If we play loud, people will think we're good"
There you have it. Such is the musical philosophy of Marduk, as the sound is nothing but a mindless burst of chaotic violence, without any variation, artistic vision or reason to give a shit. It comprises of nothing above these terribly uninspired guitar riffs, which just repeat over and over and over again, along with some very violent blast beats that just force their way through the sound, ripping apart everything in their path, and Leigon's forced and throaty vocals to top off the whole mix. And all of these things already, on their own, are very mediocre and the end result is just as boring as it is meaningless. There is obviously no creativity or thought going into this. It's pretty standard black metal, but with every song following the same structure, style, tempo, pretty much every song is just a recycling of the previous one, all serving one purpose of being (quote) "evil" and "brutal". A goal that can only work for so long. But the complete laziness of the record is just painfully obvious, when you're listening to it and realize that this whole album is just one song being played on repeat that have only one or two teaks here and there to be able to tell the difference. This utter monotony makes the album borderline unbearable and I dare anyone to listen to "Baptism By Fire", "Christraping Black Metal" and "Fistfucking's God's Planet" and be able to tell me the difference between these tracks.
It might be obvious by the name and the album cover that the main theme of the album is war. More specifically, World War II. A gimmick that has a lot of potential for a concept, but its completely wasted. There is nothing at all separating this album from the rest of their discography save for a shit ton of sound samples. Now going back to what I said at the start of this review, I do feel like that Marduk was attempting to break away from what they had been doing for the past five albums and wanted to do something entirely different. But also what it feels like, when listening to it, I get the impression that the band had no idea on how to make something different and instead just went with what they had been doing for the past five albums, added a few sound bites of Stuka roars, tank engines and machine gun fire and that would be enough to create a totally new sound. And obviously that didn't work out too well.
If the terrible song writing wasn't enough, another problem this album suffers from is the production, which is an absolute joke. The drums overpower everything and vaguely popping up in this wall of noise are the riffs that are barely noticeable and then the vocals, which have little to no presence whatsoever, and at times are so buried in the mixing that at times they sound like nothing but vague white noise. Now this album is from 1999 so one expects the production to be great, but I mean, come-on, the production the band's debut "Dark Endless" was better than this, and that album was from seven years earlier. Though its not much of a loss, because even if you could hear the music properly it still would suck.
By the time to closer 8th song comes about, I've been praying for it to end for the past seven songs. All it is, is just thirty minutes of mind numbingly boring and unoriginal black metal that does nothing but rehash itself over and over and over again for eight songs that tries to be "inventive" with a WWII theme which ends up doing nothing to make the album unique or original in any way, shape or form. It's an utterly boring release of repetitive, unlistenable material devoid of any creativity, substance or meaning, but how much that really says is unclear because pretty much the same can be said for all Legion era Marduk albums.
I'll tell you why I admire Marduk: their single-minded bloody persistence. This album is, if anything, a pure demonstration of that trait abstracted and extrapolated upon for thirty minutes. It is a cliche among the critics of the black metal scene that Marduk's albums (or songs, for that matter) are seen to be virtually identical, or interchangeable. I don't think that's true. Marduk DO have a certain musical formula, but it is one they are constantly updating and improving upon with each release, and this album marks a highlight in that progression: a devastating benchmark for other black metal bands to try to live up to. In fact, I think they have perfected what they set out to express on their albums throughout the last five years: that they are the musical embodiment of a modern military attack.
This album is all about war: that is the theme as evidenced by the artwork, and the album contains soundbites of military conflict burned into various places between the songs (or even in the songs). As I understood it, Marduk announced with the release of their last album, Nightwing, that they were working on a trilogy of records that were going to be based on the themes of blood, fire, and death (Bathory fans will recognize the ancestry here). Nightwing, with its songs of vampirism and murder, was about 'blood', this one is based on the idea of 'fire' (gunfire, napalm, burning villages, etc.) and the next one will be a paean to death. I can't wait for that.
In the meantime, Panzer Division Marduk relentlessly attacks again and again, with burning, lacerating, squealing guitars, the overwhelming crush of B. War's deep bass fuzz rumblings, and the drummer's machine-like snare precision. The drums on this album are one of the highlights: blast mania, insane hyperspeed blur tempos that will make your eyes roll back in your head. Legion's vocals are not as clear in the mix as on the last album, but they are his usual choking rabid Satanic screams and bloodthirsty yells.
The secret to listening to Marduk's albums is the use of headphones. I can't stress enough the importance of paying close attention to the riffs and breaks in the songs. They have always been given production standards that remove the harsh distorted edge off the guitar - the 'Dark Funeral' Swedish Black Metal production - this time with Tagtgren at the Abyss studios. When the guitar is smoothed over that way, the riffs are very hard to distinguish at high speeds. This is what makes people claim all Marduk songs are the same - but they aren't, listen closer and you'll see.
So what makes this Marduk album special? The sheer epic brutality of it all, and the mind numbing speed. This is a new kind of black metal - I don't see this style really claiming any antecedents, especially from the Norwegian camps. This is a documentation of a band at the height of their devastating powers.
Marduk's sixth full-length album, Panzer Division Marduk, was recorded in Abyss Studio and released by Osmose in March 1999. With this album, the band attempted a shift in direction, in more ways than one, while also creating something that would serve as the epitome of what many would deem to be pointless noise with no atmosphere, masquerading in the guise of black metal.
Musically, it would appear that Morgan decided to improve upon the mistakes of the previous two albums, in a sense. While the constant blastbeats and generic riffs were already a problem on Heaven Shall Burn and Nightwing, the other tracks suffered even more. The thing was that the faster songs seemed to be stronger and more enjoyable, at least in the sense that they passed more quickly and got right to the point. On the other hand, the songs that featured more variation in tempo often meandered around with no direction and were incredibly boring. While not really solving the problem of weak songwriting, the band took the opportunity on Panzer Division Marduk to accentuate their strengths and to better hide their prime weaknesses. The end result is an album that is, as hard as it is to admit, more tolerable than its predecessor. That is not to imply that the record is not boring and largely worthless, for it is, with countless guitar melodies that hint at something better and then disappear back into the false chaos. Of course, Legion continues doing what he does best: making a complete nuisance of himself, trying to fit too many lyrics into every line and ruining the songs even more.
The production is a total joke, just as with most albums that were being raped by Peter Tägtgren, around this time. While one can put a lot of the blame on his shoulders for creating such a sterile and lifeless sound, no one forced Marduk to seek out his services. With two awful records having already been defiled in his unholy studio, the band knew what to expect and actively sought more. Ultimately, they are to blame for the slick, modern sound of drums overpowering guitar riffs and the terrible clicky bass sound interfering with already-weak guitar riffs. If nothing else, they could have buried the vocals in the mix, so as to condemn Legion's wretched performance in obscurity, where it belongs.
Panzer Division Marduk is the total opposite of what black metal should be. There is not one shred of dark atmosphere to be found, while the death metal mentality of trying to be brutal and sound heavy is quite dominant. It is sad to think that a lot of people got the impression that this is indicative of the typical black metal sound and went on to copy it, as they only perpetuated the lie. That being said, the band at least won a personal victory, as they managed to make a more concise and less irritating album than they had, the previous year. Avoid this and stick to the classics.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com
Marduk has been around enough to know that their genre is extreme black metal. When I say "extreme" I mean literally no letup during any of the songs. Legion slays on vocals, Evil dishes out amazingly fast guitar, Bogge blisters on bass and Fredrik Andersson blast beats on the drums galore. There aren't any songs on this album that are slow by any means. It's high intensity, riffs are tremolo picked so fast it's amazing. They've got to be on speed to play this fast and relentlessly empowering. There's no song on here that isn't filled with blast beating.
First of all, the songs are not only fast, but are memorable. That's one thing that stuck to me when I was listening to this release. All of the songs are worthy of praise. It's 30 minutes of hyper speed Satanic black metal. Some riffs on the guitar were a tad slow but then it's followed by more tremolo picking. It doesn't matter what song that you pick for this. All of them are worthy of praise. Just by intensity, awesome throat, shining guitar riffs, limited amount of solo guitar work, and drums that go well along with the music.
The music and vocals are the highlight to this. All of the songs I like. That is because of the intensity, the amazing amount of hard work on the unique guitar overtures, and drums backing up this amazing release. I love the guitar because the riffs have so much diversity in speed which is what makes this album stand out among the black metal loving community. The guitar goes well along with the vocals. They designed it good to have it made like that which is awesome. A song may open with a riff that has chords then the drums come in and the guitar goes insane.
Production/mixing was with perfection. All of the instruments and vocals blended in perfectly so that you can hear everything in unison. The vocals don't drown out the guitar or drums. All of the songs are only about 3-4 minutes in length. There's only 8 tracks on the album and it clocks in for only about 30 minutes in length. But these 30 minutes are black metal the way that it should be played which is fast and furious. There are little bomb intros to some of the songs then blast the guitar and drums come in and dominate.
It's hard to find any faults with this album. Everything seems to fit evenly with the band's performance. Top notch black metal that doesn't have much diversity, only speed. That's what Panzer Division Marduk is all about. Fast and furious metal with Legion's killer vocal outputs. If you want to hear some black metal frenzy then get Panzer Division Marduk. It doesn't fall short from any standpoints. I can't see why anyone would say anything negative about this release. There isn't much else but a frenzy of madness among these Satanic human beings. Fast, furious, gutsy and unrelenting in the 30 minutes that this album devours.
To keep it short, this 30 minute long black metal album is packed with the most brutally violent attack one might come across anywhere in the world. Thick violent riffs, never ending pounding bass lines, crushing drumming on blastbeats and precision, and sick grasping vocals that give birth to an atmosphere that takes you by the hand through ruined landscapes, smoke-black skies, dive bomber hissing, tank canons blasting, and endless machine gun barrages - it has it all! If it were any longer, this album would surely send every listener to hospital wards with snapped necks, severe bone fractures, and deep raging brain damage.
After more than 10 years, it still is one of the most brutal albums ever with matching quality. No song actually stands out here as every single one of the 8 tracks delivers a straight forward bombardment of over the top aggression where the pace of listening to song after song creates a sort of mesmerizing atmosphere that will completely keep you from even dreaming of pressing the stop button before the last shell on "Fistfucking God's Planet" finishes exploding.
This albums delivers what it promises. While you listen to it, you feel like you are inside that gigantic Panzer amidst a WW2 battlefield. Nothing can prepare you to such brutality! One of the best metal albums ever!
Panzer Division Marduk is Marduk’s sixth studio album and it is considered to be one of the albums that were in Marduk’s glory days. Released in 1999, at the time there was not many bands around then that could match the pace of Marduk and they opened up a whole new world of black metal which is beyond extreme. Everything is fairly balanced and the instruments are insanely tight and technical.
The first thing to hit you about this album is the overwhelming barrage sounds that resinate with so much force that you might fall out of your seat. Yep, this is what many people consider to be the real Marduk. The sheer tightness and speed is definitely the main highlights in this album. Awesome blast beats that rip your ear drums to shreds, guitar riffs that actually match the pace of the music and vocals that don’t sound like shrieks of despair but sounds like, well… words. There is one work that really summarises what this album is all about, “extreme”. When it comes to black metal, this is as extreme as you can make it and it still has evidence of song structure and planning. It seems that they have put a lot of thought into their music because everything fits in musically and even lyrically, and what better way to support such extreme music with some extreme “war” lyrics.
After the shock of hearing this album for the first time, you being to pick up the finer details about the album and begin to realise there is much more to this album than just speed and brutality. The main thing to realise is that even though they are incredibly technical and speedy with their music. They have in no way thrown melody out the window, in fact they seemed to embrace it and have really incorporated it into their sound very well. Even though they have successfully created an insanely fast album it’s not their primary aim, I think they have chosen to deliver their extreme sense in many other different directions than just the music. Unlike other bands, their brutality is not only skin deep they have successfully made an album that still has the basic traits of black metal. The main thing is that this album still sounds quite dark and a somewhat sinister feeling behind it. This really fits with the back drop and judging from the album cover and titles, without even looking at the lyrics I can tell that it’s about war and because of the religious implications as well I’m guessing it’s from the realms of world war two.
The last thing to mention about this is that even though everything about this album is pointing at war, hate and anti-Semitism they have chosen to use a high quality recording rather than poor recording to create an illusion of darkness and a raw atmosphere. Many other bands do this but Marduk has a totally different approach to the music. Other bands tend to try and recreate all the death and despair which is usually accompanied with world war two within their music, rather than doing this Marduk have done the opposite. The music feels a lot more energized and a lot more projected, it’s almost like they want you to feel like you are actually in the warzone experiencing bullets whizzing past you and mortar shells falling next to you but at the same time still having a black metal atmosphere. By replacing the raw element with a more sinister feeling has still managed to keep the album sounding dark but lets them tinker with different styles. I think they have made the right choice with this. They have also backed all this up with actual sounds of war, this is evident at the beginning of some of the tracks.
From start to finish this album is 99% energetic brutality with the 1% being its small traces of melody. As soon as the first track “Baptism By Fire” opens you aren’t automatically introduced with a wall of black metal but by the sounds of primitive fighter planes dropping bombs in a warzone, then the music hits you. That track is a great way to introduce what this album is all about and what you can expect. Also once the opening track has finished, the music doesn’t get any slower in anyway. They have really tried to keep the same pace throughout the entire album rather than just one or two songs. Although each song sounds similar to the last one, they have made very minute alterations which change the entire feeling without compromising the energy of the song and because this album is only eight tracks long, it doesn’t seem to get boring at all.
Overall Panzer Division Marduk is one of the best black metal releases out there to date and I don’t expect anything out there today or the near future that will beat Marduk at their own game which is a combination of brutality and melodies. Some bands like Infernal War and Tsjuder might come close in terms of brutality but they don’t usually incorporate melodies very much into their sound. This is a great album because it one of the few black metal albums that I have heard where the intended mood is fast and energetic but they have recorded it in high quality which got rid of the raw feeling. This is great because they seem to get their messages across far easier, and the fact that this album was recorded in 1999 when bands were still experimenting with how raw sounding they can get make this feat even more amazing.
I don’t think there are any imperfections when it comes to music in general, the only thing is that the listener should note that it might sound highly repetitive at times. But at least they only made this album eight tracks long rather than dragging it for eleven or more. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who likes extreme metal and above all black metal fans who are into the brutal stuff. This album is definitely at the upper end of the scale when it comes to sheer brutality. Furthermore, for people who are wondering what to listen to, just put the CD in the player and just hit play. Everything seems to be evenly balanced when it comes to the songs also there is none of those dead slow tracks that some of the other Marduk albums feature. Everything is highly energetic you can count on it, that being said, people who like the rawer and darker side of black metal should keep away from this. Overall Panzer Division Marduk is one of Marduk’s greatest albums and I give it a 19/20.
Waaaaaarrrrrrr! The opening scream of “beast of prey” pretty much sums up this entire piece of blackened blast fuelled genius what more could anyone ask for in a concept album about war an unrelenting blizzard of blast beats and bullets.
This really is one unrelenting album opening with a sample of gun fire and explosions followed by a full speed tremolo picked blast fest that doesn’t pause for breath for the entire 30 minutes. What we have here musically is your standard basic tremolo picked black metal but with the intensity turned up by a fair few notches. The guitars are pretty much tremolo picked riffs for the entire duration but with a strangely catchy feel, I know this may sound odd but i’ve found myself humming some of these riffs to myself at work. The drums blast, blast and then they blast some more and there really is nothing else drum wise happening on this record its so one dimensional it hurts… And on any other album it would feel boring and repetitive but for some reason here it doesn’t. The bass is as with a lot of black metal there but just barely. Then there’s the vocals. I’d say the only thing letting this album down are the vocals in my opinion. Their not terrible or even bad they just don’t stand out as anything amazing. In an album so unrelenting and furious they just don’t seem to carry the intensity of what is going on.
The production is nice and clear the drums are very up front but not so much that they take anything away from the guitars, vocals etc. The drums keep the intensity up to a maximum at all times with the only breaks coming in the form of more samples of explosions and gunfire. Every instrument is clear and audible and has its own place in the mix which is why this album feels like a shotgun blast in the face.
Musically speaking I think a lot of people will find this album very one dimensional in its musical approach, but there’s something there amongst the constant blast beats and blasphemies that still grabs you and pins you down. Its raw its painful and its ugly and yet you still feel compelled to play it again and again and again. All things said and done this album still slays at rapes christ a new arsehole in the process. I think if the album was any longer it would probably begin to feel monotonous but it doesn’t, it’s explosive power is harnessed perfectly over it’s 30 minutes like a cluster bomb to the senses. This is an album that should not be enjoyed as individual songs but endured for the 30 minute duration like you’re scrambling for cover in a fire fight.
If there’s one thing that comes to the vast majority of people’s minds when one utters the word Marduk, it’s mindless blastbeat-happy black metal, or, for those who energetically despise that sort of thing, norsecore, whatever the hell that term may actually mean. And this stereotypical vision of the band is primarily based on the one Marduk album that nearly everyone knows, regardless of whether they’ve heard it or not: Panzer Division Marduk. The title is incredibly easy to remember, the band’s name is in it, and it’s the epitome of blasting black metal. Thus, Panzer Division Marduk is the figurehead album of Marduk, no question about it. Being the excessive Marduk fan that I am, I’ve long tried to love this, one of my last acquired Marduk albums, telling myself that a band which produced masterpieces such as Those of the Unlight and Nightwing, not to mention some of the awesome stuff to come later, couldn’t really create a bad album. Right? Well, unfortunately, the figurehead is something of a letdown, not totally awful but probably very close to the absolute bottom of the “Best Marduk albums” list.
Even after many, many listens, this album is something of a blur. It certainly lives up to its designation as the war-themed album in Marduk’s career, from the album title to the song titles, the lyrics and even the intro, which lasts twelve seconds and involves some guys yelling “Fire!” and some artillery shots going off. War is indeed the album’s number one concern, be it in service of pure gratuitous violence or to kill those we don’t like, mostly Christians in this case (on earlier albums the band used to have this thing with killing Muslims in general and Turks in particular, although that was just a historical interest, considering the Vlad Dracul concept going on). The title track is extremely brief, a bit over two minutes, and is pure straightforward blasting from the intro until the very end, with Legion’s vocals surfacing among the blast beats and Morgan’s riffs, which are probably still the best part of the album. Then you get to Baptism of Fire, Christraping Black Metal and… every other song. Initially I’d had the impression that the second half of the album involved a bit of a slowing down, some variation in here. The intro to Blooddawn gives the illusion of a song which might be close to doom in terms of pace, but this lasts for a good two seconds before it turns into blastfest number six of this album’s Blitz through my speakers.
It’s certainly not all bad. Legion’s vocals are good, not his best ever but his decent average, his work on Nightwing being his best effort to date (at least, with Marduk). His vocals form an essential part of that classical Marduk sound, the middle era which started off incredibly well (Nightwing, and Heaven Shall Burn) before the band got a bit softer and more comfortable with themselves on the two follow-up albums, this one being the prime example of said fact. Morgan’s guitar work is pretty good but is no match for the timeless work he did during the Joakim Göthberg era (second and third albums). That said, his work is still the driving force behind the music and I’m certain that, had he failed to provide some decent riff work here, the album would’ve completely fallen flat on its face. His tremolo riffs are repetitive and played extremely fast, nothing even remotely original, but they’re quite good for this sort of album. The main element at work here, however, at least the most noticeable one by far, is the drumming. Frederik Andersson, the band’s long-time drummer by then, who would be gone an album later, delivers an unmistakably powerful and energetic, if one-dimensional, performance behind the kit. Blasting is definitely his motto throughout, and the production job is tailored towards making his drumming loud in the mix but not excessively so, the guitars being almost evenly balanced with the drums, as is the case with the vocals, to a lesser extent.
In the end, Panzer Division Marduk isn’t a bad album, it just falls short of the standards previously set, both by the larger realm of black metal and by Marduk’s previous albums themselves, each single preceding album being significantly better than this. It’s fun to listen to when you’re pissed off yet strangely patient enough to take the album, but for all intents and purposes the same kind of album was to be done a few years later by the same band in the same style, only a hell of a lot better. That album is Plague Angel, and it should become the new Marduk figurehead, because this one’s getting old and a bit stale.
Comrades, I welcome you to the fall. Not only the death of a band previously infatuated with brilliance, but one that has forever scorned a genre into noisy nonsense; something so bitter and repulsive, metal itself stands in utter disbelieve. Once again, the blood is on Marduk’s hands. The album is “Panzer Division Marduk;” so symbolically and poetically flawed…when does this torture end? Sadly, our production is the utter transformation into the cryptic garbage lurking amongst our kind; a release poisoning newer groups for a copy-paste method of writing. It’s inspirational, groundbreaking, and certainly unforgettable, but not in any positive sense. It inspires metal bands to avoid such defilement; it shatters our earth with mindless ideas; and it leaves an immortal impression upon those cursed souls who have experience what “Panzer Division Marduk” offers: the musical soul departing, never to return.
Unlike the tedious “Nightwing” or other feeble classics, “Panzer Division Marduk” outdoes them all. Morgan’s inconsistent aura of three-quarters obsolete has lost its twenty-five percent edge, so now we’ve really gone over the top with these blitzing riffs. That’s basically what the whole record is: speed. No coherency, change, solos, or anything remotely intelligent. Also, this album’s production is like a dagger in Marduk’s unwilling heart, mainly because the triggers and studio magic are obvious, making everything noise; really, just random farts. And all that isn’t without mentioning their awful writing techniques, which focus on relentless speed as expected, but when they attempt new material, Marduk retraces their past discography. Take for instance “Baptism by Fire,” and listen to the mild breakdown partway through the track…sounds pretty familiar. Yea, that’s because it’s an IDENTICAL copy of another slowed section within “Slay the Nazarene,” which appeared just an album prior. Who does that? Who applies sections from their own fucking songs and REUSES them on different occasions? The stupid…it burns!
Come on, just look at the drumming: blastbeats. I actually obtained a conversation between Marduk about writing and recording “Panzer Division Marduk.” Make your own judgment:
Fredrik: Hey guys, I’m a little confused about these hyper-speed patterns. What should I do for the percussion?
Morgan: Just blast.
Fredrik: You sure? I think our fans might be a little sick of that.
Morgan: Fuck it. We play black metal. But be sure to have those drums recorded in two hours. Legion and I have church, and we won’t miss the sermon about Paul. What a gripping story…
Fredrik: Damn it! I wanted a spot there!
Morgan: Yea, but that’s what happens when you don’t blast like an idiot. See you later. God bless you!
But when nothing works, a familiar man, an unforgettable myth, and a dire legend enters the picture to release his bowels all over the effort: the mighty Legion. There really isn’t any doubt in my mind that this record is definitely his downfall (considering he’s always sucked, mind you) demonstration, and possibly ranks as black metal’s lowest performance. His slurred barks are so incomprehensible and pathetic, it’s like no effort was attempted; he’s stuck on one tone, with hardly any variation as a vocalist. Altogether, this record cannot do anything right, let alone allow itself to produce at least a single instance of decency. So what if it sounds like black metal; it’s fucking noise! These songs are mimicked cuts, with no variation between all eight numbers. That’s how you make an album? I don’t think so, smartass.
Marduk has achieved absolute redundancy, the trophy of filth, a badge promoting nothingness, and their personal magnet attracting retardation only “Panzer Division Marduk” could obtain. Out of all objects ever built, this is the worst thing man has created; not some exaggeration, but truth. Britney Spears’ reality show presenting her white-thrash lifestyle uses more intelligence than this. Cradle of Filth’s flaccid take on music operates better also. The Brady Bunch? Oh yes. Mindless goregrind? You better believe it. The Bush Administration? Well, maybe not that, but you get the picture. Nothing can fight the bowels within “Panzer Division Marduk,” and Marduk exits with this pathetic crown to stamp their names on history. Nice job, dumbasses.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
This album is truly black metal. Yep, there's no denying it. While it's oddly not the fastest of Marduk's for some reason, it's certainly the most black metal. However, it's also the worst of black metal. A wise friend once said that blastbeats (and by blastbeat I mean the b-s-b-s-b-s-b-s drumbeat that permeates this album) are merely exclamation points, in the sense that to make a coherent sentance you need more than just punctuation; likewise, to make a coherent song, you need more than just blastbeats. This album is like a constant exclamation point. It's meant to be a brutal statement of raw aggression. However, it comes off as meaningless as a random middle finger you see on the road from a bunch of teenaged faux-badasses. We all know Marduk aren't serious satanists, so what's the point of all this dumb lyrical content and dumb songwriting? Unless you're actually out raping angels and slaughtering the christian god, what's the point of writing about this? It's trite, we heard it all 27 years ago (18 years ago when this album was made) when Venom made Welcome to Hell. Back then, it was fresh. Now it plain sucks, and from the looks of it, Marduk ain't about to be writing Nietzche (sp?) anytime soon.
But lyrics don't define metal, riffs do. And here we have a bunch of amorphous riffs (although a few memorable riffs are scattered here and there; look no further than the main riff of Christraping Black Metal or Blooddawn) over blasting grindcore beats and surprisingly audible basslines that waste the production effort spent on them by following the guitars the entire time.
Speaking of which, the production reigns as one of the shining points of Panzer Division. The album cover suggests it's meant to be a howitzer to the eardrums and this is, indeed, a howitzer to the eardrums. Complete holocaust to the ears. All instruments can be heard, but it still manages to sound like a hurricane channeled into black metal format. Many people despise Legion's vocals; I say they're an acquired taste. In the world of black metal, it is often considered uncouth to have growls in place of shrieks, and indeed Erik Legion has a lower speaking voice than most black metal vocalists. As a result, his vocals sound more like extremely scratchy and acidic shouts than glass bursting shrieks.
A lot has been said tearing this album down to nothing or praising it up to lofty heights. I will posit that neither position is correct. This is uber black metal, with all the strengths of black metal, like rapid drumming and razorblade guitars, and all the flaws of black metal, like monotony and silliness. Half and half, really, true to the two-faced nature of black metal. I give it 50 points + 15 because it's well produced and at least above average in the talent department.
The feeling you get from listening to MARDUK's infamous "Panzer Division Marduk" is not unlike being punched repeatedly in the face while a corpsepainted behemoth shouts at you very loudly. It might not be a very pleasant experience, and it will undoubtedly leave some bruises, but it's bound to be a huge fucking adrenaline rush. This might be why fans are so divided over this pinnacle of brutal Black Metal, this lightning fast war-machine either throws you off at the first turn, or leaves you hanging on like your life depended on it. I'm also convinced that this album contains every preconceived notion a regular soccer mom has about extreme Metal, from the “horrible racket” of the blastbeats, to the less-than-household-friendly song-names (“Christraping Black Metal” is a title for the ages).
As you probably already know, the basic concept of "Panzer Division Marduk" is total annihilation by warfare, played faster than you're ever going to hear anywhere else. The songs are driven by a completely ridiculous amount of blastbeats, and they fly by so rapidly that you'd think MARDUK were competing for an Olympic medal. When a band kicks off an album with such fierce intensity and rage, many listeners hope for the solace of some progressive elements, or at least an interlude. With "Panzer Division", don't bother, there are no such diversions from their ferocious charge, you just keep being pummeled further and further into the blood-soaked mud. MARDUK keep dealing out the lashings, and you just have to lay down and take it like a man, clenching your teeth as the jackhammer of the painfully cruel drums beats you down again and again.
As strange as it may seem, this never-ending flurry of straight-forwards pummeling that has made this album so notorious, is also the downfall of "Panzer Division Marduk". On the battlefield there might not be any boundaries to adhere to, but in music it would be nice to actually capture the listeners' attention with something vaguely resembling an actual riff or melody instead of simply stabbing them in the chest for 35 minutes. The aforementioned drums dominate the sound completely, there are virtually no riffs with staying power, and the vocals are completely muffled by the aural ultra-violence. The two bonus tracks on this Regain Records re-release, “Deathride” and “Todeskessel Kurland” are no exception, and aside from the improved album art there is nothing new find here.
If you're planning on enjoying "Panzer Divison Marduk" you are already in the wrong set of mind. This is not by any stretch a pleasurable listening experience, and it was never meant to be, it's a lesson in raping the ears of everyone within reach. If you're prepared to receive this sonic sodomy, "Panzer Division Marduk" absolutely lives up to the hype. On the other hand, if you're made from sugar and spice and everything nice, this is going to be an awfully painful fistfucking, courtesy of these rabidly blasphemous Swedes.
(Online July 1, 2008)
Written for the Metal Observer
This is a difficult review, maybe the most difficult I’ve ever done because it concerns a quite discussed album. Panzer Division Marduk has always been a controversial effort; someone says this is utterly boring and monotonous, others that is a huge piece of devastating black metal. My position is more or less in the middle. Now, you can accuse me to be slothful because I’m not able to take a decision or a position, but it’s not like that because I try to analyze this album in each single aspect, also referring to the real content and my tastes.
Subjectively, I like this album a lot during most of the songs but on the other hand I must say that it’s utterly monotonous in the way it is played. Let me say that, anyways, it’s not boring to me because it has the right length for such a violent and fast album. It is simply “played the same way from the beginning to the end” and now, a question comes to my mind: “What the fuck did you expect from a concept album about war? A Beatles album?”. “Of course no, but not that violent and monotonous…” some of you can answer. I’d agree with them and me too.
The Marduk’s concept about war features a never ending series of blast beats and completely restless guitars. It’s even difficult to imagine such a violent war! But this band, with this album, put out one of the most fitting musical portraits ever about the disasters and explosions in a conflict. It has all the flaws you want but it’s a perfect way of putting war in music, at least the most violent parts of a conflict; the ones in which you have no time to relax and all the weapons around you are burning hot for the continue fire power.
There are even some intros to the songs to rebuild that atmosphere of total annihilation. The band itself, is fucking compact and devastating through the powerful blast beats of a great Andersson. His style on this album has been reduced to the bone, because it is simply blast beats brutality, alternated to hyper fast drums rolls between the other hyper fast beats on the snare. Morgan delivers incredibly fast open chords riffs (no palm muting here, as in every Dark Funeral album too); they are vicious and, with this production, everything sounds even nuclear in power and intensity.
I believe that the most amazing tracks are concentrated at the beginning with the trio “Panzer Division Marduk”, “Baptism By Fire” and “Christraping Black Metal”: these songs are destructive and truly intense. Here the group is always able to make good, “catchy” (as long as it concerns black metal…) parts. The following ones are not bad because, for example, the riffage of “Scorched Earth” is truly black metal for malevolence. Legion does a great job here, because it was so difficult to follow with the shrieks this incredibly fast music.
“Blooddawn” is not great but enjoyable, as the following “502” (this song contains the only mid paced part we can find in this album that, obviously, it’s just for few seconds). The closing song for this album is the very good “Fistfuking God’s Planet”, where the band returns a bit to inspiration. Well, at the end I’m completely devastated with a big headache, but happy for this panzer in form of music. Now, it depends on the tastes but I like it. It has some weak points and two not great songs but the rest is enjoyable. I believe that the mark is a way between the personal taste and the objective analysis of this music. It’s brutal, compact and vicious but also monotonous and “not easy to be listened”.
Back when I was still kind of getting into metal, I was always fascinated by black metal. I was always looking for what band was more brutal, more epic, more blasphemous, more of everything. I just needed more. Well one day I came across a band that seemed to really deliver all of that. That band was, you guessed it, Marduk! I remember when I first got into these guys, I could not stop watching the video clip for their song Hearse on youtube. But now, I have moved on. Not that I do not like black metal anymore, but I am now into more technical forms of metal. Marduk just really did not cut it anymore, and I realized how much my first Marduk album, Panzer Division Marduk, really sucked.
That is not to say the album is total crap. There is still plenty of good here. For one thing, the album is most certainly a black metal album. There is no question about that. You get the raw, overdriven, buzz saw sounding guitars. You get the blast beats. You get the raspy vocals preaching destruction of Christianity. You get it all on Panzer Division Marduk when it comes to brutal, balls out, no keyboards black metal. In some cases, this is a good thing, as too many black metal bands these days are using keyboards in their sound just to get global distribution, while Marduk has cut out a nice place in the metal underground by being raw and brutal everytime, all the time. Still, there is much to be desired on Panzer Division Marduk.
Most of the good from this album comes in its vocal and lyrical department. When it comes to these two departments, Marduk does not do any any real wrong. All the lyrics here are black metal. The song titles practically ensure it (does a song called Christraping Black Metal make you really question the nature of the music?).
Vocalist Erik "Legion" Hagstedt, has and always will be (to me), the voice of Marduk, and one of the best black metal vocalists ever. Now before you say I have a case of helloweencongitis (a disease that befalls fans of bands like Iced Earth and Helloween, where the singer on the band's best albums is viewed as irreplaceable and the new singer who replaces them may be better but people cannot accept them into the band and criticize them and the band at every turn), I say this because he actually is better then any Marduk vocalist that has come before him or after him. Legion, unlike most black metal vocalists, actually growls, not screams. His vocals are really audible on quite a few tracks (best on the title track and Blooddawn) and just are really awesome. Totally ghostly, demonic and haunting, and definitely will get under your skin. The lyrics he spits out, well they are all about the destruction of Christianity from the World War Two perspective. Before you go and call Marduk NSBM, let me just take a quick excerpt on how this works.
The album is told that Marduk are the Germans. Not the Germans in the sense that they are out to kill Jews and spread Anti Semitic messages, but in the sense that the Germans are the ultimate evil (which Marduk wants to be) and the Allies are Christianity (who they want to destroy). This may come off as the wrong message, but if you read the lyrics closely you will find this is not national socialist black metal garbage. It is not some folk influenced crap designed to spread racism, this is real black metal that is about destruction of Christianity and not Judaism. There, explained, do not argue about it.
Even in the riff department Marduk does make the songs at least a tad epic. The riffs definitely give you that hellish and frantic nature of combat during World War Two. Anyone play Call Of Duty here? That is what these songs make me think of, especially the desert campaigns. Any recent World War Two movie that has to do with the war against the Nazis will come to mind when you hear this album's riffs. Morgan is very good at making black metal riffs. Now if he would just stop playing leads. A lot of these songs are just interrupted by Morgan's "solos". Did I say solos? I don't mean solos, I meant virtual masturbation with the dreaded whammy bar. Not that having whammy bar use in your solo is bad, but when it is all whammy bar then it just sucks.
B War you can actually hear and make out, and his bass lines are surprisingly very good. They are a lot like that of Alex Webster's, but a bit more slower. Still this is not so bad. His lines are very well pronouced (primarily due to the production), and he provides a nice gap between Morgan's riffing and the blast beats. Frankly I'm surprised that they put him into the mix this well. This could have ended up just like Metallica's ...And Justice For All if this had gone without bass.
Fredrik Anderrson. Yeah this guy really doesn't need much introduction. He just blasts away at like the fastest possible speeds, throwing in an occasional and shitty tom drum fill every now and then. He has no skill in technicality, reservation, or variety. All blast beats. Nothing else.
As brutal as this stuff is, you just cannot headbang to it! It is all in the same time signature, all in the same key, it is all the same. It would be easier trying to headbang to Watchtower then here. The music is all the same. Besides using different samples of old World War Two movies and sounds of guns going off and the scream of Stuka divebombers, all the songs sound the same! Like there is almost no way to tell them apart. They all utilize a constant stream of blast beats that just gets fucking annoying after awhile. I mean, maybe a pure black metal fan likes this, but after maybe four listens I was starting to get bored. I cannot listen to this album straight through because of the onesidedness of it. Single songs I can tolerate, but not the whole album anymore. It is just that boring.
Well, for a black metal album, and for those who are only into the â€œtrue kvltâ€ material, Panzer Division Marduk is for you. The music is black metal with a capital B and is extremely brutal. However I just wish Marduk had put some brains into their music. Oh well, better luck next time.
Generally, an album that sounds more or less the same all the way through would oviously become devastatingly boring after a while. But not in this case. Marduk, the undisputed kings of Swedish black metal, have in my opinion created a masterpiece with this album. An orgy of sheer, vicious brutality, this album sticks to its theme throughout its entire. The drums never stop pounding their skull-smashing blastbeats, the chaotic guitar melodies never once slow down, and Legion turns his throat into tomato gaspacho with his hellish screams in every single song. As for the bass player, he was probably passed out in a corner with gunpowder in his mouth and a gun turret up his ass. There are no keyboard melodies, no mid-tempo breaks, nothing. This album doesn't compromize. And there's no need for it, either. This is so good, the eight songs of pure mayhem actually leaves you hungry for more. It's brutal black metal as it's supposed to be.
The production is very good. This album doesn't lack the big, massive, evil sound that makes Marduk what they are. They clearly aimed to make this record as chaotic and violent as they could, and they didn't fail. All the instruments help creating a wall of sound that hits you in the face like a sledgehammer. The guitars are layered to make the sound fatter, the drums are well audible(which isn't the case on many black metal albums, sadly enough), and although the blastbeats aren't the fastest ever recorded, they fit well with the music and are an essential part in making this once-in-a-lifetime record what it is.
A lot of people complain about Legion's contribution to this album, but I have to disagree. He isn't my favorite black metal vocalist, but he sure does a good job on this album. His voice is extremely raspy, maybe too much for some to handle, but in this case it fits well in with the music and the general mood. In my opinion, he sounds better here than on Heaven Shall Burn, but not as good as on World Funeral.
But since his voice fits so well with black metal that focus more on brutality and violence than anything else, he's perfect for this one.
The lyrics maintain a steady theme throughout the whole record: war. The usual stupid accusations have hailed over this album: neo-nazism, aryan supremacy etc, but of course this is all bullshit. This album gives guitarist and main man Morgan a chance to express his fascination for World War II, proving that war-themed black metal sure is great mix, at least in this case. I don't think any other band could have pulled off the idea of a WWII-themed album, except for Marduk, and that's what makes it so awesome. Morgan is in my opinion one of the greatest lyricists in black metal ever, and this is clearly one of his prime works. The title track states a good example.
So, all in all, Panzer Division Marduk is a timeless black metal classic, one of a kind. There will never be an album like this again, and there's no need for it either. There can only be one Panzer Division Marduk.
Every aspect of it, the music, the lyrics, the theme, the production, everything about it helps creating an entity that forms a spirit of evil which we will never see the like of again.
And when Legion, in standout track ''Beast Of Prey'', manically shouts the unforgettable lines: 'All I want, all I need, is to see my enemies bleed / All I want, all I crave, is to kill the ones light saved', I always experience a terrible urge to put on a metal helmet, jump into a tank, and ride out on the battlefield with a ferocious battlecry. Attack, attack, attack!
First of all, I'd like to say that it's not that I didn't like this album, I just don't find it brutal at all. The Legion (as a similar black metal band), for example, owns Marduk in speed, harshness, melody and ferocity (as much as it's possible in black metal).
I have seen a lot of people writing good reviews about Marduk and talking about their music as something superb. Listened to their works myself, and I must say I disagree. In my opinion, they are popular for nothing - there are much better black metal bands out there that new BM fans don't know about.
Ok, well... This album lacks some melody, the riffs are quite fast most of the time, but nothing special, really. I noticed some good guitar work in the first track, titled "Panzer Division Marduk", and in the third track - Christraping Black Metal... and that would be it. Others are just... listenable, but hardly enjoyable even for an extreme music fan like me.
The "blast beats" people are talking about here, are nothing but junk. Please don't call this poor drumming blast beating. This isn't brutal, fast, technical or anything else. If you want really harsh drumming just check out some of the bands like The Berzerker and compare it to this. Even Dissection on "Storm of the Light's Bane" have better drum work than this so... the album gets a big minus for this part.
The lyrics are... well honestly I would call them pathetic as well. Easily comparable to Belphegor's and Dark Funeral's stupid wannabe blasphemous lyrics.
"Spilling your blood
Killing your god
The ripped and torn angels will bleed like a flood "
Come on, do we need more of this shit? I mean there are like 5000 bands that have at least 5 songs with this type of lyrics... masters of black metal and you can't to any better than this? How about showing a bit of imagination and creativity?
Everybody knows you ain't gonna kill no God, that you won't rip any angels apart, nor spill the blood of Jesus Christ, who was, by the way, killed almost 2000 years ago. The senseless blasphemy is another minus, black metal CAN exist and be against God and Christianity but still have some sense.
All in all, the music isn't bad... but it isn't brutal as well. Recommended for fans of a bit faster, blasphemous black metal who don't demand something more of music other than a good stuff for headbanging and singing along.
Right from the getgo you know Marduk aren't fucking around on this album, playing an audio clip of some guy shooting "FIRE!" Or something to that extent. Then after the audio clip is done they immediately start ripping it with fast guitar riffs and blast beats. The blast beats never go away, and the guitar riffs only slow down a little throughout the album. While to some this may be too repetitious and formulaic, I'm suited just fine. Especially considering this album is only about half an hour long, so the repetition doesn't have enough time to bother you. There are only a few guitar solos, the best of which is on "Christraping Black Metal", my personal favorite track.
The vocals on this album are just slightly above mediocrity, mantaining their raspy, almost gurgling-scare-the-shit-out-of-your-parents quality. The bass is pretty descent, hardly ever overpowering the guitar. The guitars are clear and harsh. The drums are pretty good, a little variety could have been used (AKA something other than blast beats), but it's not irritating.
To put the album in summary: Fast and quick hard black metal that's fun to thrash around to.
Marduk cobble up an interesting effort here. It's not really good, nor is it really bad. "Pointless" may be a word that best describes this over-the-top blast-a-thon that grinds like nobodies business but really doesn't go anywhere special. The production brings out enough life to the proceedings for things not to sound entirely dead in the mix. The band doesn't miss a shot despite playing at 1,000 miles per hour and the overall feeling is one of hatred and war. Marduk mark a certain extreme here, while avoiding doing anything useful with that extreme musically.
The few redeeming riffs/breakdowns shown in songs like "Fistfucking God's Planet" (classic title if there ever was one) lift the overall concept of the record and show that even Marduk are capable of delivering a nasty segment of black metal. Sadly, the rest is a morass of speed without finesse or direction and the message of "fucking God" becomes secondary to confusion over the pointless bashing that doesn't live up to the rather imposing album cover nor to the rather provocative songtitles.
Marduk are the second tier band tha never managed to be more than a cult sensation within a cult. They may be truly violent and might have been exciting live but these records were not made of the same material that made bands from other legions twice as powerful. They have the vibe and the image but Marduk simply can't find the ways to make their brutality serve a higher purpose.
If you need something so fast and extreme on every second, this is the record for you...if you're looking for something with more bite than bark...you might want to look elsewhere.
Destruction and speed is all what Panzer Division Marduk is about. This, apparently, is their way to get out their daily frustration, as this album is unbelievably aggressive.
From the start to the end, this is a motherfucker of an album. Fredrik, the drummer, puts in a very convincing effort, with blastbeats mostly filling the album up. I wouldn’t know if this is seriously difficult to play, as I am not familiar with the drums, but it sounds kind of hard… This is pure black metal to the heart and soul.Every single track has the same fast tempo although there are some slow parts (which last around 10 seconds). They use pretty simple riffs in the vein of their back-catalogue, and I wish the bass would be a little bit higher, but you cannot oversee this kind of album because of these flaws. The riffs, simple as they may be, are still pretty good, and the bass (what you can hear of it) is also very fast. The vocals would surely be better if Joakim still would have been the singer, but Legion sure knows how to scream too. I just think he uses the wrong kind of pitch on his growls, and he surely never changes his vocals.
This is a one-of-a-kind release, and it came in form of a raging blizzard. You should check it out if you’re into high-speed black metal, or if you don’t, just hear this for fun!
Fave tracks: Panzer Division Marduk, Christraping Black Metal, Fistfucking God’s Planet
Initially, I kind of enjoyed indulging myself in this...but now that I look at it more closely, this is sub-par music. I've never been a fan of grindcore, and this is what this resembles more than anything - old Napalm Death. Blast beats, blast beats, blast beats! Overly loud drumming with the aforementioned is all that goes on in the realm of drumming! This isn't chaotic, it's just irritating.
Aside from the monotonous vocal performance and arrangement, the singer isn't too bad. He sounds as if he wants to be Nocturno Culto or Dead, but he lacks the sheer personality and passion of the previously mentioned vocalists. Not bad growls by any means; what really kills his deliverance is the monotony and a seemingly lost passion for music. One thing is for sure, Marduk do not seem to bore themselves with their repetition in the guitar department. The overuse of simple power chords played in a speedy manner obviously doesn't aim to impress.
There are some good tremolo melodies here and there (the beginning of "Christraping Black Metal" is rather ardent), but once the blast beats start right after, everything just falls into a sloppy mess. Since the polished production is dominated by blast beats, it covers up the eroding and simple guitar riffs a bit; a stupid manner in which they try to retain their credibility as good musicians, but they should have thought of that before they got into the studio. What they need more of is tremolo melody and less fatuous power chords played fast. At this point Marduk should take a lesson from Mayhem's "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" album and learn how their style of black metal should be played and how it should sound. Download before you consider purchasing this, unless you're really into "the scene."
Imagine getting pounded on the side of the head with a rather average-sized brick approximately four times a second for a half-hour while a vacuum cleaner is turned to maximum volume in the background. That's Marduk for ya. Fucking blastbeats... pretty much these guys have decided that the way to gain tr00th and br00tality is to play as fast as is humanly possible, throwing all riffs out the window, and putting the drums way too prominently into the mix.
Sure, it's a great idea. For about four seconds. Then you realise, "wow, what a fantastically retarded waste of time this is... I sure hope they can introduce some creative elements, and soon!" They don't. It's just stupidly fast norsecore from beginning to end. Same "riff", if you can call it that, over and over again, and of course that goddamn drumming.
Vocals? Whatever... indecipherable shrieking, which in and of itself is not bad, but when you have it on top of that guitar drone and that time-bomb of a drum track, surely nothing positive is gained. Highlights? Hmm, I'm being asked to differentiate between the tracks here? I'm afraid I can't do that. Go get yourself some Darkthrone if you want to be all Nekr0, because this fucking sucks. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it, and you won't be any less tr00 if you don't like this. It's just norsecore, and Satan will forgive you if you do your blaspheming to actual music, so avoid this shit.