Category Archives: Reviews

Mephorash – Shem Ha Mephorash Album review – Shadow Records – April 2019 AB

Imagine yourself on a warm and sunny day, entering an empty little gothic church in the countryside. The coldness of the place and the silence of the statues are pierced by the rays of the sun which enter through the beautiful stained glass. As you glance in awe at this beautiful sight, the dust particles dance in the sunlight and then you hear the seraphic voices of a chorus from above. This is exactly how I would describe Mephorash‘s latest release.

Mephorash sigil

4 years after the release of their last album, Swedens’s Mephorash will come forth on the 18th of April with their 4th full length, suggestively titled Shem Ha Mephorash. The album will be available in various formats (cd, DLP and tape) and it will be released by the already famous home of the brave, Shadow Records/Helter Skelter Productions.

To begin with, I have to admit that even though I received the promo for this disc some time ago, I could not write a proper review until now. And that is not because I do not like the album or I had to convince myself that is worth a review, but because this is an album that needs so many hours to be absorbed into one’s body and mind. It is not an easy listen, as each of the 8 songs present on this album are so full of layers that it is impossible to dissect them after just a couple of listens.

Mephorash-Shem Ha Mephorash cover

Since its first release, Death Awakens in 2011, the band has continuously evolved and it has reached its highest peak now, in 2019.
With 3 albums and a handful of EPs under their belt, Mephorash have gradually shifted from a straightforward black metal to a more complex and majestic style of black metal.
Things have started to take a different shape with their 3rd album, “1557 – Rites of Nullification“, after the addition of Nebiros (Malign, Ofermod) to their ranks. From there on, the band delved more and more into an operatic type of extreme metal, while keeping their (primeval) roots very much alive.

The best proof of this change is Shem Ha Mephorash, a chameleonic album which can take so many shapes or colors in the blink of an eye. The music on this release is much more than black metal, it is something that cannot be named (and for this there are no 72 names). With these 8 songs, we embark on a journey back in time, a journey which will take us through various metal genres, from classical music, funeral doom, opera and black metal. Everything is well planned on this album, nothing happens without a reason.

First of all, this album is long: 8 tracks, for almost 74 minutes of magic. But the trick is that it is not boring. On the contrary. Like its predecessor, 1557 – Rites of Nullification, the songs are connected, they flow one into another, creating the illusion of one single, long track. And that keeps you focused on what’s going on there, because the music is more than grandiose. There is a strong aura of mysticism coming out of those speakers which literally envelops the listener in a shroud of beauty – just listen carefully to Chants of Golgotha or Sanguinem and you will see what I mean.

The use of those superb female vocals, the pianos, the bells, the slow, funeral doom tempo and the wailing guitars build an extraordinary atmosphere which is completed by the aggressive parts, reminiscence of the band’s black metal past. Best listened at dawn or at twilight, Shem Ha Mephorash has a strong ritualistic feel, which, combined with the ferocity of black metal creates this hypnotic,mystic atmosphere. The perfect example of this is the majestic title track, which, in its 15 minutes, compiles the whole essence of the album in one monstrous track. Here is where the black metal influences are heard the most, adding that perfect heavy balance between the aggressive elements and the slow parts.

Mephorash-band photo

With their latest release, Mephorash takes you on a dark trip into the true occult music, somewhere so many bands have tried to go these last years, but where only a few have prevailed.
This album is truly a magician’s magnus opus, with hidden messages and symbols mixed with blood and esoterism. A melancholic and scary album at the same time, a contradiction from start to finish, Shem Ha Mephorash glows in darkness with beautiful malevolence, only to prove one more time why black metal can be such a “cursed” music.

Track list:
1. King of Kings, Lord of Lords
2. Chant of Golgotha
3. Epitome I: Bottomless Infinite
4. Sanguinem
5. Epitome II: The Amrita of Vile Shapes
6. Relics of Elohim
7. 777: Third Woe
8. Shem Ha Mephorash

Line Up:
Mashkelah M’Ralaa – Vocals
Nebiros – Vocals
Mishbar Bovmeph – Guitars/Bass
Tephra Brabeion – Drums

Band Contact:


Siculicidium – A halál és az iránytű 7″ EP review – Sun and Moon Records – March 2019

Hailing from the mythical land beyond the forest, better known as Transylvania, this mysterious group which is Siculicidium strikes back, 3 years after the release of their outstanding EP Land Beyond the Forest, with another material simply called “A halál és az iránytű” (The Death and the Compass).
This EP will see the light of day beginning of April in two attractive and limited formats (100 black and 200 clear vinyl), under the faithful banner of Sun and Moon Records.

As usual, this band doesn’t give a fuck about trends or fashion and delivers two songs very much opposed from each other, two songs which last around 14 minutes. The overall result is super interesting, with some atypical instruments being used to provide an even more weird touch to the gloomy atmosphere.

Continue reading Siculicidium – A halál és az iránytű 7″ EP review – Sun and Moon Records – March 2019

Ultra Silvam – The Spearwound Salvation album review – February 2019 AB

Two years after the release of one of the best demo tapes I listened to these past years, the Malmö based trio Ultra Silvam strike back with their first full length, The Spearwound Salvation, which will come out next month, on the 22nd of March. As their previous material, the album will be once again released by one of the best metal labels out there, the mighty Shadow Records.

I remember how awe stricken I was after listening to the demo when it first came out – 3 tracks of pure aggression and primitivism, blended with a huge dose of melody and super addictive riffs. I kept on wanting for more, hoping the band will soon release more songs in the same vein, as the 15 minutes of the demo were not enough for me.
And here I am now, finally listening to the band’s most recent release, the mind blowing The Spearwound Salvation.

Ultra Silvam -The Spearwound Salvation cover

And what a salvation that is indeed.
Due to a personal saturation with this genre I do not follow the black metal scene that much these days, but I keep an eye on some labels which I know still have interesting acts on their roster, bands which really stand out from the actual current.
This is how I discovered bands like Voodus, Plaguestorm or Ultra Silvam (just to name a few), Swedish groups with a different approach to black metal than most of their counterparts.

But what can be said of Ultra Silvam‘s debut LP, what makes it so special? To start with, it’s not long: there are only 7 tracks (well, 6 full songs and 1 short intermezzo), spanning for almost 28 minutes. The focus is placed on the music, so if you are looking for long songs to sink yourself into, go listen elsewhere. Heic Noenum Pax, the time is too short for slow, mellow moments…

Do you remember that album which was released 33 years ago, and also lasted for almost 28 minutes? What was its name? Ah, Reign in Blood, yes. Comparing the two releases might be a bit outrageous, but believe me when I say that The Spearwound Salvation has many things in common with that album which changed the face of extreme metal back in the days. Now, in 2019, the impact cannot of course be the same, but what Ultra Sivam brings new to the game with their release is this freshness/new blood/we piss on your trends approach which many modern bands lack. Right now they are one of the most promising bands out there and they have the power to change black metal for the better, just give them some time.

Ultra Silvam band photo

The album basically follows the same pattern as the s/t demo, with the same structure of violent speed mixed with a generous amount of melody. From the opening title track to the last song on the record, The First Wound, you’ll discover some amazing parts of grim melancholy placed here and there, bringing some light in the overall darkness that enshrouds the album.

Like on the demo, the main catalyst are the insane guitar riffs which shred your brain from start to finish and the inhuman blast beats which pound in your ears like the hammers of doom. The rhythm is fast, almost super fast sometimes (I wander how many drum sets have been destroyed during the recording of this album), but there is a catchiness in these songs which makes them extremely addictive. You do not even realize when 27.57 minutes have passed and you’ll want to press play again. AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

Somebody said at some point that black metal is not about riffs…Let me beg to differ and we have the proof here, with this album. These 3 guys took everything that was best from thrash, combined it with the murky atmosphere and primitive violence of black metal and the result is The Spearwound Salvation. Simple as that.

To keep their ties with the not so distant past, they even included (as track nr 6) the magnificent A Skull Full of Stars, presented here in a reshaped and extended version which is even better than the one on the demo (with some extra “noisy” sounds added as an outro).
The whole album is extremely “fluid” and the songs slide smoothly one into the other, creating this sensation of a black and violent vortex which hungrily devours everything in its path.

I am looking forward to the physical release of this album and I strongly suggest you keep an eye on it as well. As usual, it will come out in various formats (CD, LP and tape) which you can buy from here.
Also, keep and eye on the band cause most likely they will tour in support of the album and for sure we will hear more about them in the not so distant future.

I would very much like to see how the songs will sound live, considering there’s only one guitar in the band. But that remains to be discovered another time. For now, witness the Birth of a Mountain and support Ultra Silvam.

The Spearwound Salvation tracklist:
1. The Spearwound Salvation
2. Ödesalens Uppenbarelse
3. Birth of a Mountain
4. Förintelsens Andeväsen
5. Wings of Burial
6. A Skull Full of Stars
7. The First Wound

Ultra Silvam Line Up:
M.A. – Bass, Vocals
O.R. – Guitars
A.L. – Drums

Band Contact:

Voodus – Into the Wild Review – November 2018 AB

I first came across the name Voodus when I listened to the Night Queen EP released 3 years ago. To this day I still cannot say it’s a favorite of mine, no matter how hard I tried. Then, in 2017, they released their 2nd EP, Serpent Seducer Saviour and something was clearly happening with(in) the band, cause this 2 song material was way better than the debut stuff. It caught my eye and I decided to watch the band closely.
And now, at the end of 2018, the Swedish quartet finally came out with its first full length album, released under the (un)holy patronage of Shadow Records, a label specialized in keeping the true underground spirit alive since the end of the ’90’s.

Voodus Logo

Into the Wild came out on the 26th of November and, as I already mentioned, is the band’s first full effort. And what an effort it is, indeed. 8 tracks (1 intro, 1 instrumental and 6 full tracks), with a total span on 1 hour, that is really something. I usually do not fancy very long albums as after some time I kinda lose interest and I just cannot focus properly on the songs anymore (I am getting old or maybe pretentious, I don’t know). But there are some exceptions out there and to my surprise, Voodus‘s Into the Wild is one of them.

From the very first sound of the intro The Awakening and the Ascension to the very last note of The Terrain of Moloch I was immersed in this fantastic album which really swept me off my feet. Without any shadow of a doubt, I consider this album one of the best extreme metal albums of the last decade. I said “extreme” and not simply “black metal” because with this release, Voodus definitely made it clear that while their essence is deeply rooted in the spirit displayed by bands like Watain and Dissection, they are walking on their own path, outside of a specific genre. And that is extremely rare nowadays, unfortunately. Into the Wild is an album which has an aura of Storm of the Light’s Bane mixed with Sworn to the Dark, but where it lacks in blast beats, it gains in atmosphere. Also, the guys have managed not to become mere copycats of the already mentioned bands, but instead they searched and somehow found a style, a niche of their own. And you can definitely hear that on Into the Wild, from the very first listen.

Voodus Promo Picture

The 8 songs on this album are a tribute to the night, a soundtrack to the darkness, full of melancholy and beauty. (Do not an expect gooey songs, ballads or stuff like that. On the contrary). The common denominator during this 1 hour and 1 second are the guitar parts and their wailing riffs and solos, which haunt your feeble human mind to the point of desperation. Into the Wild is the perfect listen at night, in the dark, with only the light of a handful of candles dancing on the walls. Only that way you will experience this album in its full, when the mind is emptied of any other useless thoughts and the focus is on the music and the lyrics.

The songs have an epic touch, which really makes them super addictive and easy to listen to, despite their length. Not a single moment this album becomes boring, but after each listen you will still able to discover something new and attractive in it.

Take the 6th track for example, the intermezzo Dreams From an Ancient Mind Pt I, which basically cuts the album in 2. After a furious assault in Communion Amid the Graves, who would have thought that this kind of No Dreams Breed in Breathless Sleep piano would be inserted there, to teleport you somewhere far away from this ordinary world.

If by reading the above you somehow understood that there are no aggressive parts on this album, then you got it all wrong. First of all, the drummer on Into the Wild is the war machine Jocke Wallgren who stepped in at the very last moment to replace the original drummer I.Carlsson, who injured himself just before the recording of the album. Those familiar with Jocke‘s background (Valkyrja, Ofermod, Ondskapt etc) know that he is a fucking mean, lean, drumming machine, so the lovers of blast beats and double bass drums can rest in peace, the aggression is still there. The best example to back this up is the last track, the longest of the album and also the quintessence of what the record is about, The Terrain of Moloch and its 14 minutes of pure (black) magic.

Voodus Into the Wild Album Cover

Using ferocious blast beats, slow passages and inhuman double bass pedals, Jocke‘s drums basically set the pace of the album and represent the skeleton upon which the music is based on. Besides the drums, the guitars also play a primordial role on this release with their melodic touches (just listen to the amazing solos on The Golden at 5:21 or on Gnothi Seauton at 4:35) and their icy cold riffs spread all over the whole album.
The clear production done by Tore Stjerna in his by now (in)famous Necromorbus Studio also adds a chilling touch to this concoction that is Into the Wild: a sort of reminiscence of the glory of the mid ’90s, but with a proper identity and an original approach to black metal.

If you really want something different than the average blast beat frenzy from start to finish and also fancy other experiences which can open your eyes and mind while enjoying melancholic tracks, then Voodus has the perfect thing for you: Into the Wild is now available in several formats (digital, cd, LP and tape), so better act fast now or be sorry later.
This album will be written with bold letters in the black book of metal and I am pretty sure that Voodus is a name which will have more things to say in the years to come.

“Join the hunt and go Into the Wild!”

Voodus – Into the Wild track list:
1. The Awakening and the Ascension
2. The Golden
3. Gnothi Seauton
4. Into the Wild
5. Communion Amid the Graves
6. Dreams from an Ancient Mind Pt I
7. Dreams from an Ancient Mind Pt II
8. The Terrain of Moloch

Voodus line-up:
T. Fongelius Guitars, Vocals
E. Kjönsberg Guitars
F. Sundgren Bass
I. Carlsson Drums

Band Contact:

Sektarism – Fils de Dieu Review – September 2018 AB

Do you like galloping riffs and sing-a-long choruses? Maybe you fancy frenzied blast beats and groovy guitar parts? Well, in that case this review is definitely not for you, simply because Sektarism is the exact opposite of what I described above.

With Fils de Dieu, their third full length album which was released more than a week ago (10th of September) by the label End All Life Productions (and distributed by the infamous NoEvDia), the French quartet has pushed its limits and boundaries to an unbelievable level of religious fanaticism.

Sektarism Logo

During the interview I did with them one year ago, vocalist Eklezjas’Tik BerZerK said: “We have achieved our goals and our views and now aim to do even better with the album to come, “Fils de Dieu”. Maybe quite differently, you will see…”. And he was right, cause Fils de Dieu is something that I have never heard before, something Sektarism has not done until now.
Released one year after the splendid opus, La Mort de L’Infidèle, Fils de Dieu was recorded live in the studio (I assume during the same session as its predecessor), therefore the quality of the sound is impeccable and it provides the album that brute force and darkness that only the real recordings have.

It becomes perfectly clear from the very beginning that this album is not your traditional metal record that you can listen to when you enjoy a beer or want to feel happy. On the contrary, this record challenges and succumbs your senses and mind into a pitch black abyss, full of brimstone and fetid smells. The content of this record is black, putrid and extremely slow. With every listen it creeps under your skin and devours the last part of innocence that was left in you, spawning the seeds of doubt and the desire to cross the threshold, to the other side…Which side is that, it is up to you to find out at the end of the album. After the first couple of spins I was left “bouche bee” by its intensity, but it took me more and more time to really understand this beautiful and dark material for what it really is, to discover all its hidden parts that cleverly create this impressive chef d’oeuvre.

Sektarism – Fils de Dieu cover

The first track, Oderint Dum Metuant is “only” 10 minutes long, but this track is very scary and uncomfortable, only creating some sort of a twisted intro for what is really to come. This collection of sounds and savage vocals puts you right to the test, wrapping you in its sombre and terrifying atmosphere.
The obsessive shamanic drums, the otherworldly screams and the sinister noises that can be heard during this ordeal put together a perfect soundtrack to your insanity. For 10 minutes there are no guitars, no “traditional” instruments a classic rock band would use (but you should have already known by now that Sektarism has proven not to be your “traditional” metal band, right?), instead you are viciously assaulted by a tortured voice and ritualistic noises. Too bad you cannot sense the smell. Of molested human flesh, of blood, of incense…Or can you?

The second track of the record, Sacrifice, is basically the center of this album, with its 33 minutes of pure religious dementia. Gongs, bells, invocations, whispered prayers and noises, all mixed with some ethereal sounds and accompanied by the now classic instruments (guitars, bass and drums), build up the spine of this album and also represent the essence of what Sektarism‘s music is all about.

If you think 33 minutes in a row are too much of a song for you then you are completely wrong. Sektarism has done this on purpose to provide the music a continuity which otherwise would have been fragmented, if the song would have been split in 2 or 3 distinct parts. Forcing you to “witness” a 33 minute ritual with no possibility to go to the next track is the best way to keep your attention focused so you can drown completely in that black abyss I was talking about earlier.
The moment when those crunchy guitars – with their heavy, doom infused riffs – and the super slow rhythmic section come into the being (7″ 45′) gives the whole picture a full sense of despair and abandonment that envelops you progressively. BerZerK‘s haunting vocals are some of the best vocals I have ever heard in this genre and I cannot help to feel oppressed and crushed under their power. In the end, after the last noises have finally stopped and the smoke has cleared, I was left sweaty and confused, asking myself what the hell just happened to me.

What Sektarism is playing is definitely not an easy music listen, definitely not for the faint of heart. In order to get to the beautiful, pulsating core which lies wrapped deep inside, one needs to crack open the heavy shell of its surface. And this is exactly why Sektarism is a true occult band, as the beauty of its message lies buried deep beneath the “superficial” layer of the album cover. Their message is not for everyone and one has to give this music many listens in order to better understand what these apostles of ignominy really preach about. The beauty is in their darkness but you need not to fear it, just embrace it and you’ll see it for what it is.


With Fils de Dieu the French combo has managed to create a superb album, which, in my humble opinion crosses the boundaries of acceptance and breaks the rules of any of your previous perceptions you might have had regarding extreme music, opening instead two heavy doors to new feelings and experiences one can live/get while listening to this band and its releases.

From start to finish, Fils de Dieu represents a sinister voyage back to those dark times when free thinking and free speech were offenses punishable by death and when a human life was worth nothing in the eyes of the mighty Lord.
This 44 minute release is nothing but a bold statement that the son of god had to die, because he was mortal after all. He was only brought back to life not by a miracle, but by the strong belief of a being too afraid to think for itself, too weak to oppose and to fight a power whose only scope was to enslave and instill fear and guilt in the mind and life of the common man.

Sektarism is not making music, they are using music as a tool to create atmosphere, images and sounds, inviting the listener to imagine with his mind’s eye what really happens behind every gong, behind every tortured scream or behind every beating of the ritual drum.
If you don’t like to imagine, then the best way to find this out for yourselves is to go to one of the shows the band will play this September, under the banner of the Lux In Tenebris European Tour 2018, which will include dates, among others, in France, Germany, Austria, UK and the Netherlands.
From what can be seen on YouTube, each live appearance of this fantastic band represents a truly insane religious manifestation, therefore catching them live somewhere is a must.
As they say, be there or be sorry.

Fils de Dieu track list:

1. Oderint dum metuant
2. Sacrifice

Sektarism line up:

Eklezjas’Tik BerZerK – vocals
Kristik A.K. – bass
Shamaanik B. – drums
Messiatanik Armrek – guitars


Album Review: Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods – Nuclear Blast – July 2018 AB

Once upon a time in Norway, there was this band called Immortal…This is how I could have started a brief history about this famed Norwegian black metal band and its influence it had over the unsuspecting black metal scene which was about to be born 27 years ago.
But since everyone already knows who Immortal was and still is, I will not do that. Instead, I will write some words about their new release, Northern Chaos Gods, which came out exactly 13 days ago, via the German label Nuclear Blast.

Immortal Northern Chaos Gods album cover

So far 2018 has been a good year when it comes to black metal: Funeral Mist has released a new album after 9 years, Tormentor have reunited and started a Reunion tour of selected shows and Immortal have come back from the dead after 9 years of slumber with a different line-up and a fresh new album.

The first surprise was the departure of one of the founding members, Abbath Doom Occulta, and his replacement by another founding member, Demonaz Doom Occulta, who in the last 21 years had to stop playing the guitar and was only in charge of the band’s lyrics. I have to admit that for me this came as a pleasant surprise, because during the last years Abbath turned Immortal in some sort of circus and the band lost a lot of its credibility because of that ( I will always remember the disappointment I had after witnessing the band’s show in Wacken in 2007, which was later released as the Seventh Date of Blashyrkh DVD).

Moving on to 2018 AB, Demonaz, together with the old trusty drummer Horgh reunited Immortal and finally released an album which is definitely on my Best Albums of the Year list.
And why is that, should you ask? It’s very easy: because Demonaz compiled in the 8 songs present on this album all the best stuff Immortal was able to produce at the moment. The album in its entirety is a compilation of all of Immortal‘s back catalogue, from Diabolical Fullmon Mysticism to Damned in Black, written and arranged by a very inspired Demonaz to fit the year of grace 2018 (The best way to illustrate the link with the mighty past is the inclusion of the band’s old logo in the 6 panel digipak, how cool is that!!).

Obviously, when you say Immortal, you say ice, mountains, cold, winterdemons, storms, frozen North, ravens, blizzards and of course Blashyrkh. Their trademark is here once again, in full shape, freezing the speakers while the chaos spews forth. On Northern Chaos Gods, more than ever, these elements show a mature facet of Immortal, a band which learned from its agitated past but refused to give up.

Immortal band photo

Having performed the vocals on his beautiful solo album, March of the Norse, Demonaz shows us, 7 years later, a bold and captivating alternative to what Abbath used us to. It’s a clear statement that this is his band and his work and now Immortal is back, stronger than ever, to kick the fucking asses.

In several interviews Demonaz gave during the years, he claimed his love for the first wave of black metal, made of Venom, Bathory and other bands alike. I think that on this album, the Bathory influence is very well present, both in the harsh passages and in the slow, epic portions of the songs, where the “mellow” guitar parts combine with the double bass drums in mid tempo sections (Storm of Blashyrkh, Where Mountains Rise and the majestic 9 minute Mighty Ravendark).

But what I like best on this album is the ferocious speed of Horgh‘s drumming mixed with the walls of icy riffs patterns and guitar solos Demonaz is playing with youthful enthusiasm (Northern Chaos Gods, Into Battle Ride, Grim and Dark, Blacker of Worlds). Of course all these wouldn’t have been possible without a strong production and fortunately Peter Tagtren, besides filling in the session bass parts, managed to create one hell of a monster album, where every instrument is clearly heard.

I admit that it took me several listens to fully assimilate the majesty of this album, as at first something just did not click right. But believe me, once you allow your body to absorb the essence of the true North and its icy landscapes, you’ll walk the paths of sorrow, mesmerized by the mighty ravendark. And it’s not a cliche, it’s the truth: Immortal stood up to its name and delivered one of the best albums in the chapter or true Norwegian black metal.

Even if the resurrection of Immortal came as a huge surprise, it showed, one more time if necessary, that no one is irreplaceable, not even a founding member. Demonaz and Horgh have brought Immortal back from the dead, and this time I have the feeling that they are really here to stay. I truly hope the band will embark on a European tour to support this album, as there are some really good songs which deserve to be played live.

“Blashyrkh by fire
Blashyrkh by name
The throne of north
Mighty be thy law
Mighty Ravendark”

Immortal – Norther Chaos Gods tracklist:

1. Northern Chaos Gods
2. Into Battle Ride
3. Gates to Blashyrkh
4. Grim and Dark
5. Called to Ice
6. Where Mountains Rise
7. Blacker of Worlds
8. Mighty Ravendark

Immortal line-up:

Demonaz – Vocals, Guitars
Peter Tagtren – Bass
Horgh – Drums

Band contact:

Blood and Iron: Review Marduk – Viktoria – Century Media Records – June 2018 AB

Heic Noenum Pax or Here’s no Peace, as Marduk once put it so well. Starting with Wormwood, they got us used to releasing albums every three years, in a feverishly chronology. So, 3 years after the surprisingly good Frontschwein, Marduk will release on the 22nd of June their 14th full length album, Viktoria (Century Media Records), a name as simple and short as its content: 9 songs under 33 minutes, an album shorter than the mighty Panzer Division Marduk, which was considered the Reign in Blood of black metal.

If I kept mentioning the number 3, I would also like to mention the 3 periods in Marduk‘s long lasting activity: the first period of the early and mid 90’s when they were trying to find their own identity, the Legion period with classics like Nightwing and Panzer Division Marduk, and the period with Mortuus on vocals, who brought the much sought consistency and clarity for this acclaimed band.
Cause after this fantastic vocalist joined Marduk, the band has immediately found its own path and started to release consistent albums, one after another, until today. Also, with Mortuus, Marduk has become one of the truest bands active in this fucked up scene, a band that doesn’t give a fuck about the leftist politically correctness and who just delivers whatever the fuck it wants.
Add to this “behaviour” the impressive shows, with no gimmicks, just the right black metal attitude and atmosphere. Cause every Marduk concert is actually a fist in the face of all the posers and trend setters of today, be it musicians or fans.

marduk band photo

Viktoria is no filler and starts exactly where Frontschwein has ended. In a nutshell, this rocket-like album is ugly, fast and deadly.

From the very first track, Werewolf, which was also the first single the band released in April, one can almost expect what will happen on the album. The punkish vibe of the track hits you hard in the face and goes on for 2 minutes in a groovy double pedaled rhythm.

But then all hell breaks loose and the next 2 tracks, June 44 and Equestrian Bloodlust, are exactly what Marduk is about: fierce, cold riffs and sharp blast beats mix with the insane growls of Mortuus, who shots his verses like some old rusty MG 42s hidden in the bunkers above the Falaise.
The speed and the precision of the instruments are incredible, creating a black metal whirlwind of sound. To be honest I just cannot figure how (or where) Marduk found the inspiration to reinvent themselves (again) in such a brilliant way.

After the cavalcade of these three aggressive tracks, it’s now time to catch our breath and seek shelter in the cold, soaked trenches cause Tiger I shows its ugly face on the horizon. This slow, crushing song reminds of the deadly tanks which were the kings of the battlefields in the 2nd World War, from the East to the West.
“Grand horse of steel, sword of flame – the ground is shaking
Massive apparatus of death, 58 tons of hate”.

Pounding drums and hateful vocals accompany this monster of a song all through its duration of 4:12 minutes, while during the bridge and towards the end of the track, machine gun like riffs and blast beats explode to conclude its march.

The album continues with one of the best Marduk tracks I listened to recently, “Narva“, a pure sonic onslaught of hate and destruction (just like the fate of this Baltic city). The song is split in the middle by some groovy drum parts while Mortuus, with its cavernous voice, vomits “Down, see Narva go down”. Outstanding track!

The Last Fallen, the title track Viktoria with its sick chorus and intriguing bass parts and the amazing The Devil’s Song carry us through a battlefield of horrors, accompanied by relentless shelling in form of insane blast beats, precise riffing and chaotic vocals.

Marduk Viktoria cover

Even if the 4 musicians have outdone themselves on this album until now, the best is yet to come, in the form of Silent Night, the last song of this fantastic album which closes the hostilities in a slow march of death and despair. Featuring Mortuus‘s best vocals so far, the track seems like a mockery of the famous Christmas carol many people celebrate in the coziness of their homes:

“Silent night
we share the sacred promise of death
Holy night
aligned shall we enter the last breath”

Overall, Viktoria is a very solid album and bears Marduk‘s trademark all over it. Lyrics about war, death, panzers, historical events, all seen through the lens of 4 black metal musicians. Musicians who have evolved to the point of perfection, transforming a band once on the verge of mediocrity into a real monster, which, after almost 30 years of activity, has become probably one of the best black metal of this planet.
I specifically want to praise here the drummer, Fredrik Widigs, who reached a level of total insanity on this album. Marduk has always had great drummers, but the work this guy did on Frontschwein and more recent on Viktoria shows that what were are dealing with here is much more than talent, is almost “insanity”.

The only thing which I really do not dig and not understand is the cover, which I think is one the most “unsuccessful” covers Marduk ever used (and they used some, especially in the mid 90’s). I am pretty sure that a better cover would have suited this album better, but after all, as I already said it above, Marduk do what they want and I have to respect that.

If you will have the chance to see them live this summer in support of this great album, do not miss them or you’ll be sorry. This band really has the best line-up ever.

Marduk – Viktoria track list:

1. Werwolf
2. June 44
3. Equestrian Bloodlust
4. Tiger I
5. Narva
6. The Last Fallen
7. Viktoria
8. The Devil’s Song
9. Silent Night

Marduk Line-up:

Mortuus – Vocals
Morgan Hakanson – Guitars
Magnus “Devo” Andersson – Bass
Fredrik Widigs – Drums

Band contact: