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I remember that at the time, there was a lot of curiosity about World Funeral album. The main reason was the entrance of a new drummer after Andersson left and this new drummer was Emil Dragutinovic, who already played on the previous EP. La Grand Danse Macabre was not an astonishing album but it was not horrible either and with the new World Funeral we can notice the new Marduk direction after the unbelievable speed of Panzer Division Marduk. The new style is quite strange in my opinion: to the always incredibly fast songs, they oppose slower ones but these two styles almost never joined in one song. They are almost completely detached.
Let’s take the opener, “With Satan and Victorious Weapons”: it’s completely relentless and massive. Here Marduk takes a lot of influences from the recent past in terms of speed. The vocals are always quite good even if I believe they already started to loose something in power. However, the song is compact, brutal and nasty. The savage riffage is composed by tremolo pickings and open chords parts. The production is something unbelievable for volumes, sharpness and power. All the instruments are massive and loud. A sort of strange reverb-distortion is utilized by the guitars and this is quite new.
To sustain my theory about the almost complete detachment of the fast parts to the slowest ones we can find the second song, “Bleached Bones”. The riffs are slow, almost groovy and they always reminded a bit the ones bit mid-era Hypocrisy. This is a quite new thing for Marduk because even in the past the band didn’t put out such strange mid-tempo parts. They did play some sort of mid-paced sections but they are not like these ones. “Cloven Hoof” is another blast beats/tremolo pickings hammered and it’s again relentless in destroying anything it meets on its way. “World Funeral” is more of the same and it’s utterly fast.
I believe that Emil plays even faster than Andersson but he’s equally quite recognizable and remarkable too for the technique, united to the speed. The riffs on the fast songs are actually always quite catchy and good, with some fast solo and a truly dark atmosphere. “To the Death's Head True” is a return to the epic/slow patterns but this time is better thanks to dark and evocative parts. By the way, the riffs are a bit recycled and, going on, the will to skip this track is too strong. “Castrum Doloris” is the weakest track of this album because it features completely senseless and dull riffs. The vocals are more growlish and the boredom comes after few seconds. As always, forget about fast restarts during these mid-paced songs.
“Hearse” is again completely different thanks to the unmatchable brutality but shows also some fast bass drums parts in order to sustain a bit different patterns. The idea was good but the riffs are sloppy and derivative. This is maybe the first episode in which the different tempo parts are mixed together to create a good mixture of atmospheres. “Night of the Long Knives” is just remarkable for the awesome, fantastic, superb, epic section by the middle, immediately after the lead guitars part. “Bloodletting” is too long for being founded only on one or two slow riffs and with “Blessed Unholy” we return to sheer power and speed but with fewer ideas. Everything is “cold” and “arid” is sense of ideas and songwriting, with no standouts or memorable parts.
“Blackcrowned” is a dark and epic march. The trumpets announce a sort of a funeral procession. It’s a good outro to put an end to this album. Basically, the first tracks are the best here, at least the fast ones, while the rest could be pretty forgettable. The production, in spite being great, can’t save lots of boring and weak parts. The ideas are not present here and the sheer power is not enough. This album already shows the not-too-slow decline but Marduk.