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Sunlight Has Failed - 100%

ClusterFuct, May 4th, 2014

This is an evil fucking album. From the opening blast of "Darkness Breeds Mortality", Marduk immerse the listener in pure darkness. Aside from the obvious and continuing theme of the black and the bleak, Those of the Unlight sees Marduk expanding the already stellar songwriting evident on their debut LP. While Dark Endless succeeds in cohesion of atmosphere, Those of the Unlight is thematically tighter than its predecessor.

Dread's departure from Marduk is certainly disconcerting for fans of his unearthly wail, though drummer Af Gravf's desperate rasp perfectly accompanies the evil songs on display. While Those of the Unlight blasts Marduk's requisite evil riffs and classic black metal vocals, the album takes a more depressing tone lyrically. By the time the listener is drowned in the brooding despair that is "Echoes From the Past", it is clear that Marduk have evolved as a band.

Stylistically, Those of the Unlight differs little from the sound established by Marduk's debut LP. The riffs evoke dread and evil, while the bass is loud enough in the mix to add a sinister undertone to the mostly blasting drums. The difference here is that Marduk seem to have "found their sound" on their second album. Those of the Unlight foreshadows the greatness of future Marduk releases. That "Marduk sound" that fans of the band's newer material have come to so easily identify has its roots deeply entrenched in this record.

Evil's guitar playing is as inspired as its ever been and really is the anchor of the album. The solo in "Wolves," the savage assault of "Burn My Coffin," the slow kill in the cold that is "Echoes From the Past"... Whether it's blasting tremolos or slow dirges of riffs, the guitar playing on the album pushes the aesthetic boundaries of what black metal had attempted to establish early on. Suddenly, slower passages in black metal became more acceptable, and the bass guitar could share the lead to great effect. In short, Those of the Unlight brought black metal to places it had never been, and pushed the genre even further.

These dark, evil, brooding songs will claw their way into your psyche and light the fires of hell in your cold mind. While Norwegian black metal bands of the early '90s were freezing the scene with cold blasts of hatred and evil, Marduk defined a "Swedish black metal sound" that would further the scope of what black metal would accomplish in the years that followed. A black metal milestone.