Marduk – Frontschwein
Release Date: January 19, 2015
If you are a black metal fan then you have probably heard of Marduk. In the years since their formation they have lived up to their goal of being “The Most Blasphemous Band in the World” and have shown no signs of backing away from that throne. With each new album they cement their status as the kings of anti-Christian propaganda and show no signs of letting up anytime soon. With their latest offering Frontschwein they have once again delivered some intense and gut-ripping black metal.
Marduk started out in the early 90’s in Norrköping, Sweden. Being part of the same wave as Mayhem and Darkthrone they had a very important role in defining the genre. They are so important in fact that when Mayhem’s “Dead” blew his brains out, Euronymous sent pieces of his skull to the band as token of respect! If that is not the definition of kvlt then I don’t know what is. Though there have been a bunch of line-up changes over the years, Marduk has more or less stuck to their guns in terms of the style of music being played, the only thing that has changed seems to be the lyrical content with some WWII Nazi stuff creeping in.
Frontschwein is an awesome album if you are a fan of pure black metal. It has all the classic tropes you expect, and that is what I love about Marduk; they know what they are good at and execute it perfectly. Walls of guitars, insane blast beats and relatively raw production. The main word here is ‘relative’ because though they no longer record in the trve style, the production is still more raw than most of the stuff out there. Interestingly the most novel concept on this album was that I could hear the bass.
The whole album is a rollercoaster ride. It mostly alternates between fast and slow songs. It’s like Marduk planned it out: Blast the listener’s ears out and then give them some breathing room with some droney riffs. Even though some of the songs are on the longer side, I never felt like they were long. There was always something going on in the songs to keep me interested. I really like the first and last songs “Frontschwein” and “Thousand-Fold Death” respectively, they perfectly illustrate the sheer mind-destroying intensity that is Marduk’s specialty. On the other side of the spectrum there’s “The Blond Beast” which is a more stripped down song played to a rock beat, it reminds me of the songs on Satyricon’s “Now, Diabolical”.
The production on this album is quite raw with very minimal cleanup when it comes to tone and fuzz. This creates a unique sound that is neither too polished nor too raw. I feel this is the sound which suits Marduk very well. In fact it should suit any band which is looking to replicate old school black metal sound but still have people take them seriously. Evil on guitars is awesome, his riffs and tremolo melodies sound really good although I still can’t get into the weird guitar sound on the song “Rope of Regret”. Devo on bass is loud and clear on this album; I could hear everything the bass was doing which I usually don’t hear on black metal albums because they get lost between all the guitar and drums. Fredrik Widigs on drums sound brutal; he just destroys the kit in each song. Mortuus on vocals sounds horrid, in the good way, everything he says sounds evil as heck.
Even though the album sounds brutal, it doesn’t sound heavy. This is mainly due to the rawness of the production. The treble is turned up quite high and that takes away from the heaviness of the album. So if you are someone who is looking for a heavy album, you might be a little disappointed with Frontschwein.
In conclusion, Marduk have created yet another kvlt creation, filled with screaming guitars, brutal blast beats and wretched vocals. This album is a treat for black metal enthusiasts but might be a little hard to digest for people who are not well versed in the kvltvre.
Rating – 8/10