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Clearly, as much as I enjoy and respect Marduk as a powerful black metal outfit, they really need to get their act together more properly and start listening more to their next door neighbors - the Norwegians - and figure out what made their material more memorable and more artistically air tight. Not that Marduk have not produced good black metal material, but it seems that they try a little too hard flaunting the evil mask, getting lost in the erratic shifts of lightning fast to disparagingly slow guitar tempos and too many layers of flat brutality in their sound that they become very one-dimensional in their approach and aesthetic, therefore getting distracted in only the technique of the music, but never contemplating the "feel" of evocation through their music. This album, sadly, turned out to be rather a disappointment.
To start off, this is Marduk's third consecutive album recorded in Peter Tagtgren's Abyss Studio. The sound is extremely squeaky-clean, ultra-sharp, treble-y with mid-range and bass frequencies up the evil whazoo that it kills all texture in the album. Already, the album sounds very flat and monotonous in it's production. Especially since it sounds extremely digital and this doesn’t help in providing “evil atmosphere” for raw black metal.
One of Marduk's biggest weaknesses has been their ineptitude to write better lyrics. Some of their lyrics are good, while many other songs have the most dumbest, contrived, lame, clichéd and almost "pubescent childish"-sounding lyrics I've ever heard. They practically undercut the intention of evil that Morgan Håkansson is aiming for to get his point across, but instead falls short sounding almost like the temper tantrum of a young Protestant boy who hasn't fully found a solution to his disgust and misery of being dragged to church every Sunday with his parents.
On this album, once again, Morgan and Co. try doing some slower songs, but unlike a slower tune such as "Dracul Va Domni Din Nou In Transilvania," Marduk have mostly specialized in fast tempos only. Making a slower tune for Marduk is a very precarious task that unfortunately, for 'World Funeral' fails miserably. Songs like "Bleached Bones," sound like a tattered and torn necrophilia love song with - yet again - pure Swedish black cheese-styled lyrics. It's so dorky I'm not even going to mention them. Just read them for yourself. The song also takes on a slightly more rock-beat feel with it's slow to mid-paced tempo – just plain annoying.
The lowest point ever on this entire album of pointless fodder is the sixth track, "Castrum Doloris." Where "Bleached Bones is annoying, "Castrum Doloris, " totally aggravating and irritating. The song's slow pace and shuffled beats/guitar riffs sound deplorable. The entire tune almost takes on the feel of what a black metal band like Marduk would sound like if they tried playing blues and classic rock in a Texas bar, since it has the triplet/shuffle beat. DISGUSTING! What is even worse, is - again - the lyrics. It drags on so long about the loss of love through death of some vague kind and other bullshit I won't dare try and figure out. It ends with the lamest line in black metal-song writing history: "We're all still thirsty as can be." WHAT!? Maybe the band could have advertised itself for a Nestea commercial with a line like that. But that is NOT what I call ideal, evil black metal song lyrics. That's just plain fucking stupid.
Legion's vocals don't help much either. Where once he carried a very demonic bellow, exemplified on the 'Heaven Shall Burn' album, his vocals have now died due to throat infection and detrimental overuse. One even once criticized Legion's vocals to sounding like "a pirate with laryngitis." He sure sounds like one. But you got to give him credit for his effort. He practically destroyed his own voice box in the name of Satan. That's what I call dedication. Too bad it's as one-dimensional as the rest of the sound on the album.
However, it's not ALL that bad. It does have it's better highlights too. The heaviness purported by the digital sound of Abyss Studios production does give perfectly to the feel of unrelenting punishment the band has always pioneered. Also, being the debut album of drummer Emil Dragutinovic, the drumming fills the bill perfectly in both aggressiveness and rhythmic timing. Many of Morgan's guitar riffs carry a nice flavor of both mutilated thrash precision and baroque/neoclassical-styled melody and virtuosity. The musicality of the album is most likely the only backbone that holds this entire travesty together. Hence why my rating of 62 is all I can honestly give.
The only GOOD songs on this album (without paying heavy attention to the lyrics) would be the following tracks: "With Satan and Victorious Weapons," "Cloven Hoof," "World Funeral," "Hearse" and "Bloodletting" (the ONLY GOOD SLOW SONG ON HERE). Just a reminder, that's with me letting the lyrics slide, as well as Legion's constantly weakening vocals.
Concluding, Marduk as a veteran black metal band really need to focus less on being evil-doers and more on being better composers and songwriters. Focusing on brutality, sound and aesthetic profanities alone isn't enough. World Funeral sounds more like "Marduk's Funeral," as it falls significantly short. It's time for some vast improvements.