Marduk - Plague Angel review
|Release date:||November 2004|
01. The Hangman Of Prague
02. Throne Of Rats
03. Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets
04. Life's Emblem
05. Steel Inferno
06. Perish In Flames
07. Holy Blood, Holy Grail
10. Everything Bleeds
If a month ago someone had said I'd be willingly writing a review of Marduk's latest effort I would have replied: "Blasphemy!" I somewhat enjoyed Marduk's early material but I found most of their later material to be tedious and uninspired, especially the last two records before "Plague Angel." It's the usual "been there, done that" kind. My first encounter with "Plague Angel" wasn't very friendly either because I didn't give it a fair chance just writing it off as "generic norsecore." A mistake I might say. But let's dissect this one bit by bit.
The first "pro" is a very obvious one; even for those not in possession of the record might notice it: the album cover. A grey-ish piece of work that sets the mood perfectly and most importantly - does not irritate. It is an improvement over "World Funeral" artwork which was "not admirable" to say the least. Another positive thing that you might notice very quickly is the production. Morgan thought it was about time to try out another studio besides Abyss and that's a damn good idea! This time around Marduk just sounds a bit more "organic," more powerful in its delivery, more convincing.
The guitar sound is more than satisfactory; Morgan comes up with some really memorable riffs and tremolos. If you have heard "Throne of Rats" you get the general idea. Most of you might know that the band parted ways with their bass player B.War, who is well known for his skills. Maybe this is the reason why bass is a bit less prominent than in some previous work (not that I'm suggesting Devo Andersson is not a worthy replacement, far from that). Drums are competent too, as usual. The thing that really makes this record an enjoyable experience is the new front man Mortuus (or Arioch as he was known in Funeral Mist). I might firmly state that he blows Legion out of water. It is hard to describe Mortuus so I'd like to use a phrase suggested by one colleague (thanks, Skol!), apparently he read it somewhere: "angry soul." He sounds commanding, powerful, combined with the fact that lyrics are much better than previously with Legion, he leaves a really strong impressionů "Thrrrone of rrrats!"
The only big problem with the album is pretty much the same as with all Marduk albums: the songs just tend to blend together after some time. The album still has its stand-out tracks though, my personal favorites are: "The Hangman of Prague," "Throne of Rats" and a slower "Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets." "Deathmarch" is a filler ambient track but I don't really mind it.
To sum it up this is a really solid album with good musicianship, great vocals, better production and lyrics than previously. Even though it might get boring after some time, it is still a piece worthy of your attention. Just remember, this one is not about flowers.
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