Reviews Marduk Rom 5:12

Marduk

Rom 5:12

Black metal and obscene, blasphemous imagery are like peanut butter and jelly"¦they were essentially made to go together. Of course in a sea of peanut butter as huge as the black metal scene is, it's usually hard for one band to spread on enough jelly to really stand out amongst the crowd. In 1991 Sweden's Marduk took this into account and released their first demo, Fuck Me Jesus with a cover that portrayed a naked woman penetrating herself with a crucifix. The rest is pretty much history, as Marduk is now one of the largest black metal groups around. That isn't to say they are all style over substance; their catalog, now ten full-lengths long with the addition of Rom 5:12 and a handful of EP's, live albums and DVD's, is a solid one that features black metal ranging in speeds from fast to breakneck to time travel. Think somewhere along the lines of Immortal or Dissection snorting a concoction of steroids and meth.

Rom 5:12 showcases the band's ability to play at ridiculous speeds, but also has them throwing in a few slower beats to offer a bit more dynamics than some of their previous albums have featured; I'm sure the band barely broke a sweat with the first track "The Levelling Dust." But on the second track, "Cold Mouth Prayer," Marduk lets us know that they're all warmed up and ready to hit the tracks; it starts out with a quick one-two-one-two fast beat, then snorts a line and destroys us with blast beats the rest of the way. But wait! What's this? The third track "Imago Mortis" isn't fast at all! No blast beat, nothing fast, not even double bass. It's over eight minutes of just mid-tempo beats.

"Through the Belly of Damnation" brings things back to a blazing speed, but is followed by "1651," a keyboard track with vocalist Mortuus' gurglings and screams mixed in. The rest of the album pretty much follows this pattern of fast song, slower song, and while I don't think the slower songs were bad in and of themselves, I found myself skipping over them. I'm too used to previous albums like Panzer Division Marduk and Plague Angel, whose songs barely have anything but blast beats.

I will say though that Mortuus, the band's fourth vocalist, seems more comfortable and in his place then on his first and previous jaunt, Plague Angel. And I'd say he's come a lot closer to filling the large shoes left by previous vocalist Legion, who sang on some of the band's better-known efforts and was undoubtedly a fan favorite.

Although Rom 5:12 is not a bad album at all I'd say it comes up looking a bit weak compared to some of the other albums in the band's catalog. I'm all for a band throwing in a bit of diversity, but it seemed a bit contrived here. Doesn't matter too much though because Marduk has proven themselves to be able to come ahead of the pack and having plenty of staying power. I only expect good things in the future.

7.5 / 10Daniel
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7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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