Marduk // Iron Dawn EP
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — Laying down the gauntlet for mass-obliteration.
Label: Regain Records | Blooddawn
Websites: marduk.nu | myspace.com/truemarduk | marduklegion.com
Release Dates: Out now
Marduk stand as one of the most revered and influential black metal acts on the planet. They were hugely significant to me personally when I was fresh to all things diabolical in metal. Albums such as Heaven Shall Burn as We Are Gathered, Nightwing and especially the faultless Panzer Division Marduk are masterpieces straight from the abyss. I’ve always maintained this band as the uglier brother of fellow countrymen Dark Funeral, never quite as ambitious, but much rawer in their approach.
When vocalist Legion left the band in 2003, fans were massively disappointed. Many could foresee the inevitable demise of this legendary act. But they returned with a new front-man in the form of Mortuus (Funeral Mist, Triumphator) showing no signs of letting up. Since then, a string of albums gradually evolving their sound have been unleashed upon the tortured masses. Two years have passed since the very peculiar Wormwood album divided followers with its slower and more tentative approach. However, it felt to me like they had abandoned their initial purpose of creating the most ferocious black metal imaginable 15 years ago.
Flash forward to 2011 and the lords of Nazarene-slaying return with a new EP and the promise of a full-length to follow. Less than fifteen minutes in length, this recording is pretty much trimmed to three brand new songs and any unnecessary extras are absent. I have to admit that I was quite apprehensive about this release considering my displeasure towards Wormwood [Which for the record, got a 4/5 from me. – AMG]. The album-art however, sparked interest. A fairly stark image of two ominous-looking mechanisms of war, reminded me of the glory days of Panzer Division Marduk.
Press play and “Warschau 2: Headhunter Halfmoon” blasts at you from the get-go. No fancy intros, just a pure black metal assault displaying all the attributes that made this band so well-regarded in the first place. The riffs are incredibly derivative of PDM and I’m truly thinking these Swedes have a desire to go back to basics. While Mortuus is a respectable vocalist in his own right, I feel like he doesn’t quite impose his will upon the music like Legion did. Instead, it often feels like he is a bit detached. This doesn’t take away from the composition that much, but in the same breath it doesn’t really elevate it either.
Track 2 “Wacht Am Rhein: Drumbeats of Death” continues the primeval assault with more blasting and urgency re-affirming these sentiments. The last track on the EP “Prochorovka: Blood and Sunflowers” may be a slower and less resolute affair, but I feel like the overall intention was clearly illustrated here.While this EP may be rather brief in its volume, the declaration is rather apparent. One of the most respected black metal bands on the planet is preparing to launch a warhead of biblical proportions.