Band: Marduk
Title: Serpent Sermon
Label: Century Media
Distribution: EMI
Release date: 28/05/2012
Review: CD

Marduk, being one of the most notorious Black Metal acts ever… More than two decades of victorious and blasphemous excellence, they do need no further introduction. The wwweb is full of nonsense if you do care. For me: an act I grew up with, and one of those bands that teached me a passionate relationship with the Second wave that also escaped out of Sweden’s borders. Time after time über-succesfull in my mind, and to my ear drums, and still honoured, praised and worshipped by undersigned.

This twelfth official full length recording, recorded again at Devo Andersson’s Endarker Studio, and recorded by Devo (b), Morgan ‘Evil’ Steinmeyer Håkansson (g), Mortuus (v), and Lars Broddesson (d), lasts for forty six minutes and, as a matter of fact, it goes completely on in the vein of ALL former material. Then again, did you expect something else? Unholy, blasphemous Black-assaults, speed-up sonic Violence and a taking-no-prisoners mentality, Serpent Sermon represents Marduk at its best.

The ‘melodic’ approach is not that much different from any former effort. Yet what strikes me is 1) the rather epic sound (production + performance), going for both faster and less fast parts, and 2) the increased experiment / variation. As from half of former decade, Marduk do introduce more in’d’ensity, and this time it is not different, of course. No, it does not mean that these Swedes are now introducing modern, progressive or avant-garde elements. With this increase of variation I’d refer to the more important use of changes in tempo (even though the main focus is still pointed at all possible definitions of ‘speed-up-ness’), the variety within (almost) each single hymn, and the variative vocal range. The permanent growth of individual compositions at the one hand, and of the album as a whole at the other, did not stop after ROM 5:12 or Wormwood (resp. 2007 and 2009, and both of them belonging to my favourite Black Metal albums that very same year; last year we also could enjoy the superb, yet slightly mechanical-industrialised EP Iron Dawn), yet this continuously elaborated idea of genius and intelligence almost reaches perfection.

Like we’re used to, the main speed on this Marduk album balances in between lightning fast and blasting fast, yet like we’re used to as well is the addition of at least one doomish track (amongst several decelerations throughout some other songs too, of course). In Serpent Sermon’s case it’s called “Temple Of Decay”, the slowest and most oppressive, suffocative and haunting piece on this record, and last song “World Of Blades”, a perfect grand finale for again another sublime Marduk-piece!


Ivan Tibos.