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Join Those Of The Unlight... - 85%

brocashelm, June 14th, 2006

Despite it’s black metal look and feel, Norway’s Marduk had only managed to sound like a decent death metal band on their 1992 debut Dark Endless. This made the advancements made on this, their second try at bat all the more surprising and pleasing.

First off, the material is far stronger as far as it’s writing is concerned, and the band’s ability to manage performing frantic tempos overlaid with ear-catching melodies comes into focus as well. Just listen to the way the riffs of the title song build and build, pausing long enough to spit forth melodic passages that can’t help but drill themselves into the brain. “On Darkened Wings” offers similar morbid tones, balancing the beautiful with the savage, the savage being where Marduk would concentrate their energy on the batch of releases following this one. But here the blending of disparate styles pays off big time, and even the atmospheric and ethereal “Echoes From The Past” is a perfectly executed experiment, and for my money one of the band’s finest musical moments.

Marduk would go on to forge an indelible mark on black metal from here, mostly through a triumph of power over finesse. And while some future releases are excellent, Those Of The Unlight retains an aura all it’s own. A future cult album? I believe so.