Regain Records 2007
Marduk have long been reigning kings of the Swedish black metal scene but for me have fallen off the throne as of late as the last few albums passed without much interest. But now I am face to face with the Supremely confident and adventurous album, Rom5:12. This is the best Marduk album since the genre-defining opus, Those of the Unlight. For most of the material on the album Marduk deftly combine mind numbing speed from their middle career with more melodic and atmospheric material and they have learned to add some more little tricks that keep the songs interesting. I guess with age does come wisdom. At least for some bands. Imago Mortis is a mid tempo creation that emphasizes Marduk’s skill at writing interesting riffs and mingling it with more expansive and dare I say, “catchy” guitar passages. As a sharp contrast Through the Belly of Damnation is a furious and trauma inducing machinegun assault of Marduk’s trade mark warp-speed style before it break’s down in the middle. The Riff that kicks in at the 3 minute mark of the song is possible the best of the entire album. And I know I said this was Marduk’s most varied album as it contains fast material and slow material as well as ambient material such as the bombastic and imperialistic 1651 with its war march mood. Of course the song generating the most talk is likely to be Accuser/Opposer with it dual vocal attack of black metal screams and operatic hymns by guest vocals courtesy of Alan Averill of Primordial. The two vocalist duel over slow surging riffs for what is surely one of the best compositions of Marduk’s lengthy career. Another thing I am impressed with is how clear the bass lines are in these compositions as they normally get lost in the mix by a band that operates with this sort of intensity. Mortuus’ vocals are equally grim and emotive at the same time through his singularly tortured gurgle. Marduk really went all out on this album both in terms of musical quality and with the 44 page booklet that comes with it. I think they new this album was special and wanted to highlight it in every way possible. Original Marduk vocalist Joakim Gothburg even makes a guest appearance on Cold Mouth Prayer. With Rom 5:15, Marduk have once again claimed the crown that is rightfully theirs and proven that they are still a relevant force within the black metal underground.