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Two sides of the same coin - 60%

metalarchivesvalenverga, March 18th, 2013

Alright, this album came out a long time ago, but I recently bought it. In terms of production, this is the best sounding Marduk album ever. Everything is perfectly engineered and there are no weak points in its quality. Nevertheless, the songs can be put into two different categories: the slow ones and the fast ones.

The slow ones are the worst thing ever. They are boring and are without any kind of tempo changes and what makes them worse than other similar ones from the past is noticing they are eternal. It's listening to the same slow, rock-styled thing for centuries before going to the next track. I agree when people say that slow songs have always been a weak point in Marduk's music. I don't understand why these guys create them.

On the other hand, the fast ones are the most incredible creation ever made by this band, and what does distinguish them from the older ones? Drumming. Yes, the fast drumming is awesome because the tempo is quite higher than what's usual for this band and the sound engineering makes the kick drum sound better than ever without an excessive presence of the snare. As for what concerns the other elements, they are very well-performed as well. The bass sounds fine and the vocals are great as usual in Marduk. One positive thing about this band is having good vocalists all the time despite the line-up changes.

Another remarkable point of this release is finding it in the version with the thick booklet, which has many pages with its lyrics and a lot of artwork. All the imagery used here is very elegant and well-done. The whole album concept is very well thought out and more solid than in other albums. So in general terms, it's a very well-conceived release with an amazing sound, but the problem here is having the best and the worst of this band's music put together in one single record.

A cold harsh reminder of Marduk's longevity - 84%

Alhadis, September 9th, 2010

With a career that now spans seventeen years, Marduk have maintained a solid reputation for producing fast-paced, savage black metal since the Swedish group formed in 1990. They’ve proven themselves time-and-again to be worthy of their status as one of Sweden’s most respected black metal bands, refusing to compromise their old-school style of keyboardless black metal that’s served them so well over the years.

Rom 5:12 presents an expertly-produced portrayal of the style that Marduk continue to hone and refine with each successive release. Cold and furious, the album opens with a steady eruption of guitar riffs and blast beats before vocalist Mortuus cleaves the listener’s ears with a pained, prolonged wail… so drawn-out and agonised, it isn’t immediately clear whether or not he truly was suffering fits of pain. Whatever the case, some listeners might find his vocals strained and thin, particularly to those who’re more used to the cruel, sneering rasps of former vocalist Legion. Regardless of opinion, all listeners will find Mortuus’s vocals compliment the dark, furious feel of the album’s music beautifully, augmenting the album’s slower moments with a bleak, tortured feel (particularly evident on Imago Mortis).

The album’s flow is powerful and steady, ranging in tempo but always keeping listeners interested with time signature changes, sudden breaks of melody and medium-tempo songs smoothly integrated between Marduk’s characteristically breakneck playing speed. Musically, Rom 5:12’s production is nearly flawless: the guitar riffs are fast and crunchy without being recklessly frantic, broken up with moments of melody that induce a sense of contrast in the music. Lars Broddesson’s perfectly-timed drumming never loses a moment’s pace, with nearly every drumbeat neatly falling into place amidst the hurricane of guitar riffs. Lyrically, Rom 5:12 falls well out of range of originality, being everything you might expect from a black metal band.

Marduk have shown no qualms about challenging their listener’s expectations altogether, either. Occasional moments of unforeseen softness are sprinkled between songs, breaking up the brutality of the faster-paced tracks with unforeseen silence, such as that best heard between Imago Mortis and Through the Belly of Damnation. Some listeners might find the sudden presence of silence bothersome, but these moments never last long enough for one’s interest to waver. Only the song 1651 actually touches on tedium, spanning nearly five minutes of nearly ambient listening with a soft, steady drumroll played to the sound of Mortuus’s distant vocals calling from beyond the sound of muted trumpets. The song isn’t immediately boring, but it might prompt some listeners to skip ahead to the faster-paced Limbs of Worship. Listeners who reluctantly sat through 1651 anticipating a sudden eruption of guitar riffs were probably relieved to hear the sudden blast of speedy guitar riffs that awaited them on the successive track… exemplifying how well Rom 51:12 manages to lure listeners in and tinker with their expectations to keep the music’s composition interesting and diverse. Alan Averill (of Primordial) guest-stars on Accuser/Opposer, a sudden break of clean singing marking an unexpected change from Mortuss’s hoarse rasps and pained wails. Long time fans of Marduk might’ve also recognised former vocalist Jocke Göthberg’s voice on the song Cold Mouth Prayer.

In closing, this album is a masterpiece. If there’s ever a reason why Marduk have maintained such a steady and loyal fanbase throughout their longevity, Rom 5:12 crystallises it perfectly. Dark, intense and diverse without being too approachable, the album heralds itself on the shelves as a trustworthy bet for any black metal fan.

(Originally written for VampireFreaks Magazine, Issue #1)

Nothing but Blast Beats? I think not. - 86%

Sathanas_BM, August 28th, 2010

Here, we have Marduk. Marduk is known for their blast-happy melodies, their over the top lyrics, Satanic imagery, and for their tendency to release what some would call dull and uninspired wankery. Although Marduk has not always been this way. Around the time of the departure Joakim Göthberg, Marduk decided to take this aforementioned path, and decided to get a new frontman: Erik "Legion" Hagstedt. Legion was either praised by fans as an infallible vocalist who suited Marduk perfectly, or by fans of Marduk's early outputs as a horrible replacement. Legion led Marduk to take a more simplistic approach to song writing, and focus more on fast, blasphemous music. After many albums, Legion finally contributes on his final album with Marduk, World Funeral. With Legion finally gone, it was time for guitarist Morgan to find, once again, another replacement. That is when he found the vocalist Daniel "Mortuus" Rosten Know for his work in Funeral Mist. Fans can only wonder how this addition to the band would turn out. For most, it would seem that Mortuus would have no place in Marduk, being that his music in Funeral Mist is drastically different than the usual style you would expect to hear from Marduk. Then came the album "Plague Angel". This album was extremely well received, and any doubts of Mortuus' place in the band were immediately forgotten. But there was still one problem… the music had not changed all too much. It still was oozing with blast beats, and was still saturated with the common tremolo-picked riffs that you would expect to hear in a Marduk album. Aside from Mortuus, there is really no drastic changes to the band’s sound. Finally we are brought Marduk’s second effort with their new vocalist, ROM 5:12. Since the band has not changed their trademark hyperspeed sound for about a decade, they wouldn’t start now right?

Well, that is definitely what I was expecting out of this album. But knowing how much of a fanboy I am and because of how much I enjoyed Plague Angel, I definitely did not hesitate to pick up this album. But oh how wrong I was to think that this was just another album! In reality, what Marduk has so graciously brought us here is a breath of fresh air. When I first listened to this album, it absolutely crushed me. This album could be seen as an experimental album, although not in the traditional sense that the average listener considers experimental. But for a band like yours truly, this is surely out of the norm. But the key detail that makes this album so great is that although Marduk has finally abandoned the sound they are typical stereotyped for, they have done it in a way that would even make someone like me who is a fan of albums like “Panzer Division Marduk” enjoy what these Swedes have brought to the table. It still has the fast songs that loyal fans love so dearly, it still has the heavy, evil, and Death Metal influenced sound that Marduk has kept in their music since their debut, but ROM 5:12 also adds a few elements that are foreign to Marduk. But what makes this album superior to many other Marduk albums? A quick overview of a few of the album’s songs should tell us why this album’s eminence is obviously evident.

Let’s start with the album’s opener, The Leveling Dust. After the first listen of this song, my immediate reaction was “wow!”. If you want to know what I meant when I described the album as crushing, this is the perfect example. This song is absolutely heavy, and even though this song is not one of the more experimental songs on the album it still shows a great amount of change. If this song does not make you want to bang your head furiously, then you must have heard the wrong song. Let me just say that this is most likely the best song on the album, and to this day remains my favorite Marduk song. A very noticeable difference on this album is also the song length, which is exceptionally longer than usual. Oh, did I also mention that the lyrics have greatly improved as well? Awesome song. Second you have Cold Mouth Prayer. This song is a gem for fans of the classic Marduk albums, as it features ex-vocalist Joakim Göthberg, who I mentioned earlier. Let me say that he does a great job on here, and his vocals fit the song like a glove.

Afterwards comes Imago Mortis. This shows the experimentation of this album very well, with it’s very slow tempo and it’s odd instrumentation (at least by Marduk’s standards). Then starts the fourth track, Through the Belly Of Damnation. Chances are you have heard how versatile Mortuus is when it comes to vocals, and how he has a great range. Songs like this are the reason why he has been praised as one of the best Black Metal vocalists of the modern scene. Next is 1651, and as some other reviews have said, it sounds like it could fit perfectly with Plague Angel. Out of the next three songs we have two other favorites of mine, “Limbs Of Worship” and “Vanity of Vanities”. There also is Accuser/Opposer which is another fine example evolution. This song is very different, so much that it even has clean vocals, a trait that is so rare for Marduk that no one in their right mind would predict they would include them. Although this is not a bad song by any means, I feel that it does not fit with the mood of this album. The flow of the album would work much better if they made this song a bonus, or even did not include the song at all. The second to last song “Womb of Perishables” is another slow song and is, once again, different than the average song you would find on previous albums. The first half of the song mixes the evil riffs of Morgan with an almost rock-type feel, the second half creating a feel of a slower, more calm Imago Mortis. This song also has excellent bass, which I think actually suits Marduk very well. Finally you have the album’s closer Voices of Avignon. This is, in my opinion, without a doubt the most evil sounding song on the record. Another very head-bangable track. It ends the album as well as it possibly could, with an onslaught of Black Metal excellence followed by the ending of a church choir. The ending definitely creates a great finale with the religious overtone that is conveyed throughout the entire album.

So will normal Marduk fans love this album? Yes. Will this album attract a whole new accumulation of fans? Yes. All in all, this marks a new chapter for the band that was unimaginable. Something that has always attracted me to Marduk was that they seem to get better consecutively with each album after “Heaven Shall Burn…”, and this album is certainly no exception. Marduk has topped themselves with this album (only to top themselves once again with Wormwood), proving that they are a force to be reckoned with within the modern Black Metal scene. This album is represents every reason why Marduk is one of the better straight-forward Black Metal acts of this generation. Although I can see why some would be turned off by this album, I have nothing but love ROM 5:12.

Highlights: “The Leveling Dust”, “Limbs of Worship”, “Vanity Of Vanities”

Oh..Looky here. I can blast beat - 70%

BudDa, June 14th, 2009

This album gets jaded sometimes. Fine..technical prowess-tick, blast beat abound-tick, well done slighly dechipable lyrics-tick. What's the problem then? Well, all these are overdone and midway through album you kinda get that feeling. "Hey, wait amin..isn't this song similar to the first?"

Rom 5:12, I must say is one of my favorite Marduk album because for one of those few times when focus was put on writing the lyrics (Yes, I have looked at the lyrics sheet) other than just worthless blasphemy and for that, I think we should applaud them. Don't get me wrong..Marduk are kings of blasphemy and sound good too doing so but I mean, common already..10 or so fucking years down the road and thats all you can sing about?! When I say writing lyrics..my mind just goes back to imago mortis. Fuck me, not only is this guy making sense, by any extreme metal standards (meaning you still have to look at the lyric sheet), but the song also kicks ass. Ok, I don't think am saying that right. Imago Mortis is one of the bloody highlights of this album!! Ofcourse, you also have Cold Mouth Prayer that doesn't mean shit and a pointless 1651(love the programmed drums in this one, by the way..its so summoning-esque) but..then again..this is Marduk..they are trying here; so its totally understandable if, once in a while, they got carried away.

Probably another highlight of this Rom 5:12 episode is the vocalist's 'bag of tricks'. Seriously..btn 2:05 and 2:06 of Through the belly of Damnation. Did you hear that?!..what the fuck was that?! How about between 0:09 and 0:25 of Limbs of Worship?! What about 1:57 and 1:59 of Accuser, opposer?! But its not just that but..God, does this guy have alot of fire in his arsenal..such presence; Wait, whats that I hear on Accuser, opposer..is he trying to sing?! Yes, certified, confirmed and affirmed..the guy can also fucking sing!

They have tried to vary things here. Some songs are epic-ish(1651, Accuser opposer), some are mid-tempo(The Levelling Dust, Imago Mortis, Womb of Perishableness)..some songs are just plain-necro-sheer fucking fast crazy black metal(Cold Mouth Prayer, Through the Belly of Damnation, Limbs of Worship). The drummer, though, is the one I have a problem with. While the rest of his drumming is ok; but after Through the belly of Damnation we pretty much know the guy can blast beat but its so one dimensional. By the time am at the end of the album-Voices from Avignon..am cringing every time he comes in with his blasts making the last track sound similar to the 2nd, 4th, 6th and the 8th. Listening to this album again and again after that makes it such a painful experience.

By the way, did I forget to mention that this is a black metal album?!

Remarkable and majestic - 100%

bloodstainedritual6, March 3rd, 2009

This is the best Marduk album so far, It’s has almost every single detail that you would expect from a mature black metal album. I’m one of those who believe that the incorporation of Daniel "Mortuus" Rosten to the band was an amazing Morgan’s idea because he is one of the best black metal singers, his feeling while he is singing and also his numerous vocal styles make him a perfect black metal vocalist.

Talking about the album, I have to say that I was pretty impressed when I listened to it for the first time, I said to myself, “shit Marduk is much better with this guy now”, I’m not saying that Legion’s work with Marduk was bad, It’s just that Mortuus is supernatural. Rom 5:12 has everything, its production is perfect (totally different from the production of previous Marduk albums) and its lyrics are about anti religious topics but they are not the typical anti religious lyrics that are lame and with no sense such as the ones used for several black and death metal bands like Deicide or Impaled Nazarene; for example: fuck the mother of Christ or Jesus is a whore, Hail Satan, etc. In contrast, lyrics in this album are kind of intelligent and poetical, I’m sure that if you look at the lyrics you’ll realize it.

Another important thing in this album is the presence of clean vocals in the song named “Accuser/ Opposer”; it was a great idea to create this song with the initial speech and then sing with clean vocals. The rest of the songs are pure black metal but all of them are amazing.

The music of this album is just brilliant, the guitar riffs, the bass lines, everything is very enjoyable. I got impressed when I checked the bass lines of this album because as you all know black metal is not well known for its bass lines at all. Devo demonstrated his skills playing bass in this album, bass lines in this album are not monotonous or without something special like some other black metal bass lines, they are cool bass lines(If you don’t believe me just check the bass lines of the songs: Through the belly of damnation and Womb of perishableness). Guitars riffs are impressing as well, they are more technical than the ones used in previous Marduk albums such as Panzer division Marduk that has many repetitive guitar riffs, and the drummers’ collaboration here was amazing too. All this combination for creating majestic black metal gives me the sensation of satisfaction and some other things that I have no words for describing them.

Disseminating the Psalms – Marduk’s Latest Evil Sc - 70%

Tzeench, September 25th, 2008

Being a long-term black metalist, I’ve taken more time over the years to examine some of the veteran black metal bands I first was introduced to and began disseminating their quality. As for Marduk, they still remain a staple favourite of mine regardless of any musical flaws – but that’s just personal taste. In general, personal tastes aside, Marduk unfortunately tend to be a black metal band that are very “hit and miss” when it comes to albums and are better off onstage than in the studio.

I’m not saying that ‘Rom 5:12’ is a BAD album, but sadly it isn’t as GOOD as their previous effort ‘Plague Angel’ or older classics like ‘Heaven Shall Burn…,’ ‘Nightwing,’ or ‘Panzer Division Marduk.’ To start, the first track is a great opener – “The Levelling Dust,” with Emil’s fantastic ‘groove’ and power layabouts in drumming with very fitting yet steady waltz-like riffs. For once, the band accomplishes another well-thought slow to mid-paced song that isn’t boring or monotonous. The breaks and rests that lead back to the pace back and forth like a trudging slave in a work compound definitely brings the thematic atmosphere to my mind – filth, disgust, disease and religious slavery – perfectly Marduk’s trademark. The next track, “Cold Mouth Prayer,” is a good song, but unfortunately it seems that Marduk are jumping a “fashion wagon” of inviting previous members to do guest vocals – for what reason I simply don’t know. Joachim “Grave” Gothberg’s vocals could have or should have been left out because they don’t sound like they used to. In fact, Joachim’s vocals today sound more like “metalcore” vocals than proper black metal vocals and it grossly takes away from the song.

Reiterating Marduk’s “hit and miss” with artistic planning (NOT thought), their lowest points on this album are the droning, dragging and monotonously sleep-inducing slow tracks that should not have even been included – “Imago Mortis,” “Accuser/Opposer,” and “Womb of Perishableness.” The third track has a word that doesn’t even exist – ‘perishableness’ – unless it hasn’t quite reached our lexicon yet. These songs are about akin to their WORST SONG EVER – “Castrum Doloris” from the ‘World Funeral’ album. These songs are too long, too slow, irrelevant filler and with some other session drummer by the name of A. Gustafsson playing the most boring drums I ever heard. If it were any slower and one/none-dimensional it would’ve been either doom metal or black metal’s version of AC/DC and Phil Rudd. Additionally, Naihmass Nemtheanga’s guest vocals on “Accuser/Opposer” were very unsuited for the song. He made both his own and Mortuus’ vocal lines clash so horribly you would have guessed they were having a karaoke competition for a movie musical.

Skip ahead now to the slightly better half of the album, “Through the Belly of Damnation,” “Limbs of Worship,” and “Vanity of Vanities” gets back to Marduk’s blazing, speedy best. Emil’s final album show’s he is willing to go drumming out of this band with a ‘BANG’ just as he came in and maintains great timing balanced with speed and control on all three songs. Surprisingly, more of his “technical” splash fills and snare rudiments like on The Legion albums are incorporated here throughout the album which are quite pleasing to every listener/fan – especially drummers. ;) The guitar riffs pull everything else together perfectly with mood, feel and brutality which Morgan never ceases to fail. An improvement with this album is definitely the reduced number of layered guitar tracks which Morgan avoided. On this album, there’s only two – one left speaker track and the other right speaker track. In a way, it gives more of an organic, natural feel to the album that’s just as thick and violently loud, without being too washed out in a wall of noise or sounding too digital.

“1651” was a good interlude, although it sounded a lot like a ‘Plague Angel’ outtake. Then again, it gives the listener a chance to catch their breath before the next fast track.

Again, this is a GOOD album by Marduk, but it’s not GREAT. As much as Mortuus has been a great change for the band and with a new drummer behind the kit today, Morgan has to try to remember to remain focused so that there won’t be any more “misses,” otherwise we could sadly be in for another flop in the near future. At least this album is a lot better than ‘World Funeral.’ Please let there NEVER be a “World Funeral II.”

Highlight Tracks: “The Levelling Dust,” “Through the Belly of Damnation,” “1651,” “Limbs of Worship,” “Vanity of Vanities.”

Worst Tracks of Filler: “Imago Mortis,” “Accuser/Opposer,” “Womb of Perishableness.”

Marduk Finally Grow Up - 79%

CannibalCorpse, August 26th, 2008

Yeah, integrity and progression are the words most fitting for Marduk's newest release. It seems that Legion was not ready to accept the fact that his band mates were old enough to get rid of their romper suits and put on some real pants.

I am not a hater of all things Marduk but I also never had a special interest in them, which has changed quite a bit with "Rom 5:12". Usually, Marduk would fall into a void of blasturbation (Panzer Division Marduk) or amateurish, dragging doom parts (La Grande Danse Macabre), totally neglecting any actual songwriting while further engraving the term "mediocrity" alongside their name. But then, when Legion left in 2003, a guy named Mortuus came into the band, slowly changing the direction the band was heading to - the way to a more mature Marduk. While I've heard many old fans complaining about the lack of "Panzer Division Marduk" influence (a very questionable influence) there are many people who seem to agree with me, so maybe Mortuus' influence did not only make their sound better, but did also enlarge their fanbase by quite a margin. When I saw them live this year, for once, people were longing for their new material instead of the typical "DARK ENDLESS, OPUS NOCTURNE!" yelling.

On "Rom 5:12", Marduk tried to blend their usually monotone fast material with their rather experimental doom parts and succeeded. Also, the fast parts are not only their usual blast-fare, they are very often replaced by great double-bass work and atypical, march-like or even rock-ish drumming (especially in "The Levelling Dust", "Imago Mortis" and "Limbs of Worship"). Also, they finally have GOOD and AUDIBLE bass parts. Bass in black metal? Mostly neglected, but thankfully Marduk managed to get the bottom end done with some great basswork by axeman Magnus Andersson.

For me, one of the personal highlights is the vocal work by Mortuus. He not only has a very (for black metal) intelligible voice (you can understand more than half of the lyrics, even if English is not your mother tongue) and a truly harsh and evil tone. It truly sounds as if he's spitting venom right in your face. He also uses a very fitting clean voice (not singing, rather some kind of moaning, as if he was in pain) that isn't overused in the least - overall definitely a lot better than the sub par Legion.

The tremolo-picked riffs are actually in the minority here. Morgan doesn't shy away from influences outside the black metal genre and therefore he adds a lot of variation to the riffcraft. The aforementioned doom metal influence is quite audible in songs like "Accuser - Opposer" and "Imago Mortis" - the former track being one of the highlights in Marduk's career, featuring various guest vocalists from different eras of their past (some excellent clean chants are there as well, I don't know who does them, but they are very good). Morgan also uses a more melodic, and sometimes even seemingly disjointed (no, don't think Meshuggah, but still some quite offbeat melodies appear here and there) riffing style in the father sections - melody on a Marduk album - weird, isn't it? Overall, he's quite creative, with a few riffs even bordering on excellence.
Do I think this album is amazing? No, I don't and that's because, since this is Marduk, they have to fuck something up. The "instrumental" song "1651" is nothing more than a weak ambient track with spoken word passages on top. Yeah, that's all that happens in those five minutes of wasted album space. I'd compare it to the equally worthless "Will to Power" by Gorgoroth (or "The Force Gorgoroth" or whatever the fuck they call themselves nowadays). Also, a few songs are too much alike - mostly it's the fast songs with this problem, especially "Through the Belly of Damnation/Vanity of Vanities/Voices from Avignon" - they have too much of the typical Marduk blasting and don't differ much apart from the lyrics. Mortuus vocal approach on "Vanity of Vanities" is also rather weird with too much moaning on the wrong places at the wrong time.

Overall though, Marduk have definitely released a worthy record. Might not seem possible to many, but "Rom 5:12" is a good album. Nothing I'd put into my personal Hall of Fame, but worth a listen, at least. I recommend this album to anyone who didn't like previous Marduk releases or thought the band couldn't do anything right - because this time, they did.

Highlights:

Imago Mortis
Limbs of Worship
Accuser - Opposer

If I HAD to listen to Marduk, I'd choose this one - 65%

The_Boss, June 5th, 2008

Everyone knows Marduk and their relentless style of overwhelming black metlal that has very little substance and really doesn't appease much. I've never been a fan of Marduk, I never really could enjoy their insane blasting and just way to over the top black metal, but finally when Rom 5:12 came out last year, I had heard from several different sources that it was a lot different than usual, a newer path that Marduk chose, straying from their old sound and with that I decided to check them out.

With Rom 5:12, they have changed from the ridiculously hyper fast wall of blast beats to a more almost 'atmospheric' type black metal release with more of a mid-pace approach... well mid-pace for Marduk. The album starts off with a weird moaning noise and goes straight into an almost grooving type riff, with a faster section of drumming but not necessarily using blast beats, just some ridiculous drum fills and leading into a more mid-paced actual RIFF, something that I never thought they would do or a lot of black metal would do. It's almost something I would find on a new Dimmu Borgir album (now before you say oh noes not Dimmu!) I mean something of a like a more modern approach at making black metal still being fast and very harsh but still being a bit more accessible instead of a wall of haze, with fuzzy tremolo picking and ridiculous overwhelming blast beats mixed with a retarded pterodactyl screaming overhead. It's not to say that the entire album is mid-paced because there are some very fast black metal songs on here that are actually quite good, but the longer more atmospheric and 'epic' songs are mid-paced and try to go for some overly evil type feeling.

Here, I think the thing that works out the best is the production and how it seems to be a bit more modern, or polished like that of Dimmu Borgir or even Behemoth. The drums are no where like they used to be, so take it for what it's worth. It actually surprised me very much so, like on Imago Mortis which starts off with the most typical drum beat, "bum bum bop, bum bum bop", which is something I'd never expect in a black metal album. The guitar production is more polished as well, something that I enjoy in black metal, but the problem is the guitars here are bland and boring as hell. There are very few actual riffs that are enjoyable and worthy of headbanging or keeping my interest. The bassist barely makes himself known, as usual per black metal standards BUT there is a great bass fill or "solo" almost in Through The Belly Of The Damnation which is actually really awesome. 1651 has a really cool intro with an organ or something and some haunting drums in the background making for a very evil atmosphere but then the vocalist comes in and starts croaking with some vague distortion and ruins it. Maybe if they had left it an instrumental track with a good guitar line it would be an awesome interlude type song leading into the best song on here Limbs of Worship where it's simply black metal insanity. Guitars going crazy, the vocals actually vile this time and drumming all over the place, very fast yet varying itself reminding me a bit of mid-era Behemoth.

The vocalist is a screeching bastard, having a somewhat decent mix of screeching, wailing, and croaking like Shagrath meets -insert generic name here- to make an interesting mix. Sometimes it's like he's whispering or talking with a harsh rasp included which makes or adds to the atmospheric approach they are going for. He either does a great job, or ruins the song like Vanity of Vanities and 1651 respectively.

So, this is a newer type of album presented by Marduk, with a much more modern and polished type of sound to me. It seems like they've gone down a new path recently and taken it to a better place, at least this is the best Marduk album I've found with some decent songs here that I can enjoy for black metal and Marduk standards. I can't imagine any hardcore early Marduk fans enjoying this, but moreso for fans of newer more polished and almost focused black metal. I still am not a huge Marduk fan, but with Rom 5:12 I think they have the right idea in mind and should continue with this path, only problem here is that most of the stuff isn't very memorable, overly long or filler. If they were to take this sound again, but right better songs then it would work out.

Marduk finally created a great album. - 86%

orphy, February 17th, 2008

Marduk finally got it right. They finally found the perfect balance in their music. Sure, this may have come with some new blood and influence, but Marduk has finally made an album that rules.

Marduk was a band I never really cared for. They were known for hyper blasts, and overall just non stop, high speed and monotonous black metal. I felt this was just redundant after so long so I never could enjoy a lot of their material. However, this changed my opinion about Marduk. There are several reasons why this album rules. The songs are much more elaborate and dynamic, the lyrics are much more intelligent, and the overall presentation here just seems more focused and improved.

As mentioned, what made Marduk suffer in the past was they'd over do things too much; usually the hyper blast stuff. However, here we have a great range of dynamics. The opening two tracks are already varied enough from each other, but they're mostly fast. Still, you can see that the band is playing more with thought out riffs and arrangements. Come the third track, the band enters a more groovy, rock feel, but while still retaining consistency with their black metal sound. These songs are played with a lot of feeling, and it certainly shines well.

This leads me to discussion of the song "Accuser/Opposer". This track makes the album shine. It's that thing that makes this album have an extra 10% at least. It's a slower based song, with eerie chants and some of the coolest lyrics ever. Not only that, it features some additional vocalists who happened to be former members of the band. This creates dynamics in the song, like a story being told from two different points of view almost. Again, this song is a slower tune but still completely evil and appropriate for this album.

With the addition of Mortuus (aka Arioch from Funeral Mist), the lyrical aspect of the band has grown immensely. For those not familiar with Funeral Mist, this band writes lyrics that are well educated dissection of religion, using its own stories to deconstruct itself. This influence is obvious even from the title (taken from Romans 5:12). No longer is the band writing about war, blood, and simplistic subjects. They have grasped onto an ideology and expressed it in an artful form. Not only that, but the performance of these lyrics is nothing short of astounding. Mortuus voice is the voice of Satan, filled with hate, evil, and complete chaos.

With all this taken into consideration, one cannot notice that the band is just so much more well presented now. They've got a great lyrical concept, with the right visual aspects and the right music to accompany everything. Marduk has certainly matured as a band, in every aspect.

I hope this band can keep releasing material like this, because it's the path Marduk should've been on years ago. Even if you hated their previous material, but are interested in some other Swedish bands of the last decade, this album will please you.

Black Metal Insanity - 93%

Thuggernaut, January 31st, 2008

Marduk has unleashed an absolutely hellish album with Rom 5:12. Basically this is an all-out black-metal furious attack on Christianity, organized religions, and your ears. The level of fierce riffing, intense rhythm and hyper-speed beats are unsurpassed. Also, Mortuus' vocals are pretty good as well, delivering a level of depravity and frenzy that is necessary for intense black-metal assaults. If you are a fan of Marduk or black-metal in general, you shouldn't miss Rom 5:12.

The songs vary from incredibly-fast paced to medium-slow. The opener "The Levelling Dust" is halfway between fast and medium, giving the album a solid start. Other songs such as as Cold Mouth Prayer, Limbs of Worship, and Through the Belly of Damnation are insanely fast, with nonstop machine-gun-like drumming and powerful guitars. Imago Mortis, Accuser/Opposer and Voices of Avignon provide slower pace and greater atmosphere. The segment 1651 is pretty cool, mostly like a funeral dirge with Mortuus' sickened vocals providing a backdrop. The selection of songs is diverse compared to non-stop hyper-speed axe-attacks such as most of Marduk's previous work.

The instrumentation is very good on this release. The vocals are higher in the mix, which in my opinion is a lot better than Plague Angel. One could barely hear Mortuus' raspy, gurgling screaming over the guitars and drums on that album; on Rom 5:12 his vocals are on par with the rest of the music. Lyrics are very good on this one, with an excellent focus on perverting Biblical passages and exposing the hypocrisy and bleakness of blind faith. The drums are good for black metal, mostly consisting of double bass runs and blast-beats. Guitars are great as well, with many original and ferocious riffs. Bass is good and raw if you can hear it over the guitars; in some parts it becomes more prominent than others such as on Through the Belly of Damnation.

Overall Marduk has made a solid black-metal style slab of insanity with Rom 5:12. I highly recommend it for fans of extreme metal in general. This one will keep you interested and in a state of intense headbanging for the duration of the fast songs, and give you a good dose of atmosphere with the slow ones.

Marduk speaks and removes all doubt - 90%

RedMisanthrope, November 23rd, 2007

Since Panzer Division Marduk the well of ideas has run just a tad bit dry for this uber-blasphemous band. Even with the coming of an all around solid album in "World Funeral" many were left wondering if Marduk would ever return to the former glory days of "Heaven Shall Burn...When We are Gathered" and "Opus Nocturne". This is where "Rom 5:12" comes in. While it may be a slightly different Marduk, it delivers on many levels and is actually become of my favorite albums this year.

Lets start with the vocals. New guy Mortuus puts on one of my favorite vocal performances in a while. He's absolutely disgusting and wastes no time showing this off. Within the few first moments of opener "The Levelling Dust", he makes these gasping noises as if he just clawed his way out of a centuries old grave and took his first breath in ages. He screams, snarls, bellows, and even sermonizes his way through the entire album while managing to sound like he had his throat slashed pre-recording. He really adds a whole new twist on the Marduk sound, giving the album a far more vile ambiance.

In strings we have Morgan Steinmeyer and "Devo". Morgan does an admiral job weaving some very nice and memorable riffs, unlike previous entries, which were just down right insipid. His guitar playing is nicely structured and often times frantic, but he's not afraid to mix it up a bit. The most obvious example of this is on "Imago Mortis", which is a mid-paced, semi-melodic song with a riff that has just a bit of sorrow behind it, with Mortuus all the while mocking "Jesus loves you/You useless corpse". This in turn ends up being one of the best songs on the album and actually exceeds the eight minute mark, ending the whole affair with what sounds like a distorted organ. Don't quote me on it though.

The bass in question is one of the most surprising elements on the album. It's razor sharp, dirty, and most importantly, completely audible throughout the entire offering. In some songs it's the glue that holds the entire thing together, such as on "Through the Belly of Damnation", a return to Marduk's familiar frenzy of blast beats and up-tempo riffage. Speaking of blasts, this is where Marduk has run into the most trouble in the past. They are chronic blasturbators, no questions asked. Surprisingly though on "Rom 5:12", the songs are rarely reduced to such tactics, and on the rare occasion the drums become reduced to a flurry of blasts (the aforementioned "Through the Belly of Damnation" and "Limbs of Worship" come to mind) the snare is down tuned. This was a fantastic idea in my opinion, allowing the listener to concentrate on the other elements of the song(s). The blasts don't make the song, in other words.

Now I mentioned this album was slightly different before and for Marduk, it is. The most prominent examples of this are "1651" and "Accuser/Opposer", the latter which has apparently caused a slight uproar. This is most likely because of the guest vocal performance by Naihmass Nemtheanga of Primordial, a fantastic band mind you. It's a very off key contribution but in some strange way it just works. This coupled with the fact that the song itself doesn't really get boring makes this one of my favorites from the album. "1651" is somewhat of an interlude track with Mortuus delivering a solo performance with drowned out church bells ringing in the background. It's an odd addition and I usually end up skipping it, but it is by no means a bad track.

The only knocks I have against this entire album is the song "Vanity of Vanities", which is pretty much standard Marduk with an awesome outro riff, and "Womb of Perishableness", which over stays it's welcome by a few minutes. Other than that Marduk have crafted something very special here. Many of the songs are a breath of fresh air in the overpopulated black metal scene. While some may cry foul at the slight change in sound and the unoriginality of some tracks, there is defiantly enough surprises here to warrant a purchase (or download, you bastards) for any black metal or Marduk fan. This album is the exact opposite of going to Sunday but still manages to be just as informative.

New Sound...Still Stroking Gentials...Still Marduk - 43%

GuntherTheUndying, November 8th, 2007

Marduk is one of those groups that have trashed their overall legacy by sticking to one sound and nothing else. Often hailed as one of the first second-wave black metal bands, Marduk have released a few good records, and then lots of CDs that have nothing but blastbeats, stupid riffs, and some moron drooling into his microphone. Still, fanboys continue to rub themselves over whatever has that over-the-top band logo of an inverted cross laced with the squad’s name.

Case in point, Marduk is not original…at all, but the concept of a record that’s not just total blasterbation would definitely make its way to my ears. So when Marduk began stroking genitals with their supposedly-masterful “Rom 5:12,” I became interested. Why? Because it was described as a total redefinition of their sound, and it is, but it fails to impress. “Rom 5: 12” is a very different record; however, it’s almost too different for Marduk to swallow. After pointlessly hitting notes for over a decade, Marduk has finally decided to take a new musical direction with “Rom 5:12,” but it comes with a price of several costly inconsistencies.

It might be shocking to a lot of people, but “Rom 5:12” has hardly any blastbeats or rapid picking sections at all; only a few tunes possess that terrible random pounding style. Instead, these Satanic clowns present themselves in haunting atmospheric compositions filled with mid-paced riffing and simplistic percussion patterns. Surprisingly, this laidback style creates a different outlook on black metal, in which the focus is on deep, slamming pressure; not random blasting. The lethargic musical spine supports this record wholeheartedly, and it certainly makes Marduk look more original than what their other material could offer.

But there is a consequence for every action, and Marduk’s beneficial alteration has its fair share of woes aside from its clear advantages. “Rom 5:12” is heavily damaged by the ever-lasting repetition factor induced by the atmospheric qualities that go on and on; we’re talking like seven or eight minutes of the same thing, which isn’t a blessing at all. Also, Mortuus’ slobbering yelps have no place in this musical rebirth as he sounds out of place and off key. Ironically, Naihmass Nemtheanga’s guest clean vocal contribution on “Accuser/Opposer” actually clarifies the musical transformation into a more meaningful sounding perimeter; someone like him should be singing on such an epic release, not Mortuus.

Adding to the curses is the production, which is actually very good, minus its effect on the vocals. Honestly, Mortuus sounds like a cretin with a speech impediment; his drooling vocals are caught appearing rough, off-key, and with no pitch control at all, but it’s the production that shows this. All the nice quality brings out what is typically missed, and since Mortuus is put at the very front of the recording, it’s very easy to hear. The overall result is nothing short of a catastrophic meltdown caused by the single-pitched shrieks, but with the messy factor at an all-time high. What a terrible performance!

While it has a few good moments, “Rom 5:12” is teebagged by the typical Marduk issues and some newer repercussions; change has aided the overall effort, but it’s still a very mediocre effort. On a side note, it’s certainly a good display of attempted progression on Marduk’s behave, but they still have a long way to go before the atmospheric element sinks into their sulfur-encrusted souls. I really hope Marduk continues down this uncharted musical path without looking back; it’s definitely a healthier option than the blasting nonsense they did before.

Best Marduk Album Since Opus Nocturne - 85%

PutridWind, October 17th, 2007

Marduk are a Swedish Black Metal band that have been around since the beginning of the second wave of black metal. While their style started as Death Metal they progressed to Black Metal. After their album Panzer Division Marduk many even condemned them of drumming fit for a grind band, and they were a prime reference for the term norsecore. After vocalist Legion (whose mediocre vocals I personally feel was even more detrimental to the band than the boring drumming) left the band recruited Mortuus from Funeral Mist. Hoping that this would be a change for the better it was somewhat disappointing when the first album with Mortuus proved to be little better than the very mediocre World Funeral (the last album with Legion). That being said I think it is safe to say that Mortuus has greatly improved along with the songwriting. It's safe to say this is the best Marduk in a decade, probably since Opus Nocturne.

Marduk have been known for being a relentless assault on the ears regarding tempo and riffing. The first thing I noticed when hearing this album for the first time was that they add a lot of mid tempo riffing, and this contrasts the fast drumming a lot. It's far better than just a ten minute headache of 250 bpm drums. One other thing that is really enjoyable on this album are Mortuus' vocals. You can sense the aggression and energy in the vocals, and they sound truly disgusting at times, especially on the brilliant vocal performance of Cold Mouth Prayer which also features an appearance of an old Marduk vocalist from the early 90s. The band has really put a lot of work into making this an interesting experience, they seemed to be somehow lacking the depth that this album shows on their previous efforts. They even go so far as to include numerous booklet pages simply depicting scenes of the black plague and other morbid scenes that add to the aesthetics and depth.

Production wise this is extremely clean for a black metal release. Guitars are sharp and clear though they the distortion is set to typical black metal standards. The bass is also nicely produced giving the more mid-paced areas a nice backbone, and staying out of the way in the faster sections or those sections dominated by vocals. Drums are rather high in the mix as always on a 21st century Marduk recording. Vocals are mixed brilliantly. You can pretty much visualize the spit flying out of Mortuus' mouth while he was doing them. reverb also compliments the guttural and almost gurgling sounds that sometimes occour in the vocals. It should also be mentioned that there is one track on here, 1651, that was not made by Marduk. 1651 was made by prominent martial industrial band Arditi, and with Marduk's fascination with war and death the song fits quite nicely. Lo-fi military marching drums accompany slow synth sounds and vocals. The track Accuser /Opposer is also worth mentioning because of it's featuring Naihmass Nemtheanga on vocals. This isn't necessarily good though because Mortuus' vocals are so good and fitting that the clean-ish vocals on this song seem weak and unfitting for the cd.

Rom 5:12 definitely marks a turning point for Marduk. The bands has matured a lot and grown out of their formulaic old style and returned somewhat to some earlier elements that can be traced back as far as their debut cd Dark Endless (1991) (especially the track Womb of Perishableness). Even if you aren't a fan of any of their past work, you should give the cd try if you want to hear some varied but still unrelenting black metal.

Pros-
Mortuus vocals
Tempo variation
More well though out riffs

Cons-
I'm still waiting for some tremelo riffs a la Those of the Unlight
Accuser/Opposer

Disappointing - 65%

corviderrant, June 1st, 2007

OK, I will be the first to admit that I am far from a purist when it comes to black metal; I don't give a rat's ass whether a band is "tr00" or "kvlt", as long as the music is good and intense and has some depth and excitement. And veterans like Marduk, you'd imagine they'd know their shit by now and would deliver consistently. I'm afraid I can't say that about this album.

After a couple listens, ratther like Dimmu Borgir's new release, I found myself consistently bored by this album. Even the faster material has a "been there done that" feel to it that really doesn't elevate the music to a new level, for my taste anyway. This album, like "In Sorte Diaboli" is just...there. And I'm sorry to say that. The energy level just wasn't there for me, unusual for a band known for their face-ripping intensity.

Mortuus is a more than adequate vocalist, but my preference is for Legion, as he had lots of character and plenty of homicidal energy. Mortuus' vocals half the time on this album sound as though he's constipated and working really hard to get over that. He just didn't rise to the occasion, it sounds like to my ears, and this is a bad thing. Alan Averill's clean vocal turn on "Accuser, Opposer" is good, but still fails to do much to improve the song. And Joakim Gothberg's vocals are indistinguishable from Mortuus, for my ear anyway.

The rest of the band, well, Emil Dragutinovic certainly left an impressive legacy of skin beating on this album, at least on the songs he played on. And you can tell, as he well and truly devastates the kit with his raging speed attack...but it still lacks something. The other guy is nowhere near as exciting with his more standard issue rock style of playing. And both Morgan and Devo fail to excite as well; the big hoorah about the extra low end of the bass on this album was unfounded, as the bass is drowned out as per usual most of the time. The production is not bad, but could've been thicker and heavier for my taste. The guitars seemed thinner (due to Morgan not multitracking his rhythms as he usually does), for one thing, and the drums are obviously triggered when Emil is on the kit.

In short, this is a bit of a stumble for Marduk and I'm sorry to have to relay that. I hope next time around they get more aggro up and flowing and really tear it up like they normally do. Otherwise, this doesn't bode well for them.

Marduk take it to a higher level. - 95%

LordBelketraya, May 31st, 2007

I´ve been listening to my Marduk collection for an entire week straight up and I felt compelled to write a review on most of their albums. I´ve been listening to Rom 5:12 for close to a month now and many times over, so I feel that I´ve listened enough to not give a biased ¨fanboy¨ review. Here´s my take. The lineup is practically the same as on `Plague Angel´ but Emil plays on 6 of the 10 tracks since he left after the album was finished. The album is slower but I welcome it since now you can actually enjoy the songs more and they crush just as hard as any fast track they are known for making.

The opening track `The Levelling Dust´ has a nice riff that makes you sway your head side to side and listen closely. I have to say that Mortuus and Morgan are an excellent duo and really have a great voice-guitar connection that some bm bands lack. `Cold Mouth Prayer´ is something that could´ve been on `Plague Angel´ in terms of speed and intensity. `Imago Mortis´ is a catchy, grinding track that makes you wonder if it´s even Marduk. It´s a real headbanger. Have they learned new tricks? `Through The Belly Of Damnation´ is back to fast Marduk. Then `1651´ is an instrumental and a chance to let you breathe from the usual onslaught. Next up `Limbs Of Worship´ is back to remind you that you can never relax.

The track that everyone is talking about `Accuser / Opposer´ has clean vocals from a guest vocalist from some band I´m not familiar with. But I really like it nonetheless, it´s different and it throws you something new from a band that doesn´t like to change things much, which is a good thing. I like my bands to stick with a tried and true formula and Marduk always have been faithful to that. Maybe Mayhem could´ve taken the memo. Anyway, on to the the final tracks. `Womb Of Perishableness´ is a grinder, a crushing track that fits this album perfectly and the last one `Voices From Avignon´ is a great way to end an album with excellent break neck speed and with tempo changes. All in all. this is a step up from `Plague Angel´ because the quality of songs are just as good but the variety in speeds and tempos in the songs put together here give it a slight edge and shows a definite improvement in the new album and in Marduk as a whole. Early contender for album of 2007 along with the new Mayhem album.

The old Marduk is back, fortunately - 97%

_orc_, March 23rd, 2007

After hearing "Plague Angel" I was very disapointed with the lineup change. I missed Legion a lot, his abscence harmed Marduk's spirit... After all, he was the 'classic' frontman of the band. But Marduk's change was noticed many years before Legion's departure. After the "Nightwing" album, they started to play 'brutal' black metal, it wasn't bad, but not pure black metal, as the previous releases. For an example, compare "Nightwing" with "Panzer Division Marduk". The old Marduk was popularized with albums like "Opus Nocturne" or "Those of the Unlight", and that kind of sound was used for "Nightwing". But with "Panzer...", Marduk turned into brutal elements, losing some 'grimness', 'grimness' that would only be recovered with this album, "Rom 5:12".



What an album. All the mistakes of "Plague..." were fixed here, so we got a Mortuus much more adapted into the band, with a new intensity, a new feeling. Just with "The Leveling Dust" you realize that this Marduk is much more different and matured than the Marduk of "Plague". Now they seem much more accustomed with each other, so they can play better. But Marduk isn't known for their originality, in fact, all the topics used by Marduk, were previously used thousands of times. But with Marduk, they don't get boring. Is their quality that made them the best BM band of them all.... They stayed true to black metal when all the others bargained with their music, using synths or stuff like that. Marduk always plays brutal and satanic black metal. And "Rom 5:12" is a proof of their outstanding black metal. We've got here kickassing full-speed tracks (like "Cold Mouth Prayer") or long anthems (like "Imago Mortis"). All of them, outstanding. Although there's many "Plague" elements present here, they had been worked better than in that album, with another perspective. And although I don't like very much the lineup changes in any band, I support this one if they still can get albums like this one. If they follow this path, Marduk will always be the band that many black metal fans liked before and like now. They don't sound monotone although they don't have changed anything in their whole career. "Rom 5:12" could be their first album, and it would be the same. But it doesn't matter. If 'change' means that they will get softer, then I hope that the Marduk of "Rom 5:12" and many other kickassing albums, last for ever...



To have bands like Marduk, playing primal and raw metal, is great. This album is a great proof of why Marduk, after 17 years of career, is still the most blasphemous black metal band of the world...

MARDUK - ROM 5:12 - 95%

Vargblod, March 17th, 2007

I was pretty much surprised as soon as I put MARDUK – ROM 5:12 playing. The first thing I thought was, “Hey these are not Marduk at all!”

The first thing that comes to mind is that the production is not like Marduk’s previous albums. The sound is much more clear in Rom 5:12, and I dare say it has a Thrashy edge to the sound especially the guitar work. As for vocals, they are more audible than previous releases.

An interesting fact is that on the second track, entitled Cold Mouth Prayer, there are also vocals by none other than Joakim Göthberg, drummer and vocalist on the first two Marduk releases! Another unpredictable ‘insertion’ by the band on this album is the presence of clean vocals. I am referring to the track Accuser/Opposer which one can find singer from Primordial. This made the track a very interesting one (in my opinion it is the best track in the CD) I also like the Gregorian chants in the end of the track (reminded me of Funeral Mist’s – Salvation)

Also one has to point out the fact that the album is not from beginning to end with a series of never-ending blast beats but it has various mid-paced beats and tempos, and the songs each have a different edge and groove to them. This really gave the album an identity and I think that it was really a good step for Marduk to come up with new material like this. It showed that the band still has its aggressiveness, but also the sense of structure for the songs!

The Horde from the pits of Hell continues to spread their evil to the puny mortals of this earth!

HAIL MARDUK!