Marduk - Heaven Shall Burn... When We Are Gathered
Osmose Productions
Obscenely Fast Black Metal
8 songs (35:42)
Release year: 1996
Marduk, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Aaron
Archive review

Marduk reached their peak with this album, in my opinion. Never again will Marduk’s music reach this insanely coherent yet purely demonic and outstandingly blasphemous point again. There’re only a few bands that can release more than one classic in their career, and, unfortunately, Marduk is NOT one of them, and thus, regardless of how heavy or fast they make any future albums… they’ll never be this good. Ever again.

This saddens me, because this is one of the greatest demonstrations of what war should sound like… ever. Truly epic in theory, yet somehow avoiding the monotony that plagues (no pun intended) their newest, Plague Angel.

The production on this album is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Clear, with resounding clarity and well-defined, well-textured instruments. I do enjoy it when black metal bands use digital production: it’s not that expensive (hey, these guys can afford it, can’t be that expensive then, eh?), and when done correctly, produces eminent results.

The opening track (I don’t count the intro as a track- I count it as an intro) will show you how much these guys have progressed since Opus Nocturne, which, while good, was… half-formed. Beyond the Grace of God begins with an extremely fast riff, followed by several dozen quick fills that are ‘blink and miss,’ and in comes Legion.

This is the first Marduk album with Legion, formerly of Ophthalamia, who brought along his unique yet versatile and charismatic presence to help out this record, replacing ‘Af Gravf,’ whoever the hell that guy was. Luckily, he’s much better then the previous fellow. His profane broken-glass screams and higher throat-tearing hollers have more range and are executed in a more believable manner then those of his predecessor. His vocals are also way, way up in the mix, so you’d better like them.

The songs themselves shred all the way up and down the guitar strings in an exquisitely complex manner that’s just technical enough to be satisfying but not so technical as to make the listener think that they’re showing off. This is another pro- it’s nice to hear a technical black metal band with no keyboards, though they’re never really a problem as long as they’re restrained. But I digress.

In short, this basically goes on and on with this brutal insanity of speed, mayhem, technicality, brutality, and a veritable orgy of all that makes extreme metal worthy of people’s consumption, and when you buy this because I recommended it or because the cover is damn cool, your stereo will be blasting through track five, and you’ll be thinking this:

“Man, all these songs are in-fucking-sane, but… while they’re all really awesome… nothing here is masterpiece-worthy yet. Sure, the second song had an excellent medley of aggressive death-tinged riffs, the third had some breathtaking drum fills, and this one I’m hearing right now is giving me a headache in terms of sheer brutality and vocals… where does it all come together?”

Then you’ll hit track six.

And suddenly, forcefully, you’ll understand.

The Black Tormenter of Satan is, quite literally, one of the greatest black-metal songs ever written and recorded. It has everything: A vocal performance that could peel the paint off a new house, ludicrously fast tempo with numerous changes and actual slowdown sections, some of the most complex fills outside Gene Hoglan’s drum kit, and some actual emotion… other than anger, that is. Somehow, the obvious sorrow felt behind this song seeps through the musician’s performances. This, of course, will never, ever, ever, happen again in any Marduk album, ever, so savor it and savor one of the greatest black-metal riffs along with it.

Soon after the glorious anthem of hate that is The Black Tormentor of Satan is over, the album will follow suit. You will emerge from the wars, tired, battered, but smiling from ear to ear.

In case you haven’t quite followed me, Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered is fucking MANDATORY. Get it this very instant before I am forced to torment you to death.

Masterpiece all the way.

Killing Songs :
Every last Jesus-raping anthem, but especially The Black Tormentor of Satan
Aaron quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Marduk that we have reviewed:
Marduk - Frontschwein reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Marduk - Serpent Sermon reviewed by Tony and quoted 88 / 100
Marduk - Those of the Unlight reviewed by Tony and quoted 89 / 100
Marduk - Nightwing reviewed by Tony and quoted CLASSIC
Marduk - Iron Dawn EP reviewed by Tony and quoted no quote
To see all 14 reviews click here
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