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Panzer Division Masterpiece - 90%

HeidraCatharsis, December 1st, 2007

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!