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A Dark Black Metal Jewel - 93%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, December 1st, 2008

Before Marduk went mad on the total blast beats period there was a time in which the pure sense of darkness and mystery lied inside their music. The gloomy sounds of the first two albums came together with a far better songwriting to create the masterpiece of that era and surely the best album ever recoded by this band, Opus Nocturne. This malignant album was like a bridge between the past and the future because in some points the speed of music was higher, but always keeping the right atmosphere of desecration of the first efforts.

Opus Nocturne is a quite obscure album also from the point of view of the famousness because many of the black metal fans started to love this band with Panzer Division Marduk that, even if was devastating, was in one sense only for the pure violence and speed, without that deserved and amazing atmosphere the band recreated on this Opus Nocturne. The organ introduction leads us into the darkness of this album and we continue with the screams of “Sulphur Souls” and its blast beats. The new drummer, Fredrik Andersson, was already great at these sections but we can also find sudden breaks. The guitars are fast when all the sound is on speed but they also play scary arpeggios and less impulsive parts during the mid-paced breaks.

The production is essential but extremely dark, so forget about the one from Heaven Shall Burn…and the following albums because here the atmosphere is ritualistic, freezing and demonic. A sort of strange reverb is utilized by the instruments in order to give a profundity to the sound and support the atmosphere. The long bass drums parts are heavily utilized and we can meet also long, sinister lead lines to fill the air with a weird and obscure aura. Also the vocals are far less “extreme” in speed and distortion, pointing on a sort of ritualistic tonality and pace. Everything sounds bestial but also controlled with dark, sinister touches. The tracks are quite long but never boring and the most impulsive sections are always broken by more creepy mid-paced solutions.

Surely, thanks to Andersson, the sound has acquired a lot in speed and dynamism. Everything sounds more powerful and nasty and the B.War bass was already heavy and loud like a chainsaw behind the other instruments. Thanks to the several stop and go parts, the restarts gain a lot of power and impact. The riffs are more on open chords to create a dark and evil wall, but the single chord pickings are also used for the atmosphere. The greatness is developed in tracks like “From Subterranean Throne Profound”, “Autumnal Reaper” and the mythical “Materialized in Stone”. They all have all these elements inside their length and even more. They are evocative, always we-written and dark.

The title track, surprisingly, is totally different from the rest of the album because the lead lines are far more present and they guide all the sound. The bass notes are epic, dark and the progression is like a march, a procession in the dark. A sense of sorrow and darkness has its climax here. The vocals are not extreme at all but they are here just with a sort of a simple speech to add darkness. The mid-paced introduction to “Deme Quaden Thyrane” is soon destroyed by fast blast beats but the real, last highlight is “The Sun Has Failed” where once again Marduk reaches the top in malevolence with always a special touch.

Most of the parts or the riffs here are almost always quite recognizable and the long songs always show different and perfectly balanced parts in order to give new air to the blast beats though mid-paced sections and vice versa. The most important characteristic here is, by the way, the sense of evilness and malignance Marduk was able to create even if the music was not always on speed. This is a mandatory album for any black metal addicted and the most memorable piece by this once great band.