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Marduk's Glory Days - 95%

miniradman, April 4th, 2011

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.