Marduk - Wormwood
Regain Records
Black Metal
10 songs (45:59)
Release year: 2009
Marduk, Regain Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

The arrival of vocalist Daniel “Mortuus” Rosten (Triumphator, Funeral Mist) and bassist Magnus “Devo” Andersson in 2004 completely changed Marduk. On the verge of becoming the joke of the Black Metal scene, the band couldn’t even stop their corpsepaint from sweating off in live shows, and their studio output was repetitive at best, 2001’s La Grande Danse Macabre and 2003’s World Funeral following pretty slavishly in the blasting trail blazed by Panzer Division Marduk. Yet 2004’s Plague Angel was a respected step sideways for the band, returning to their atmospheric roots with pounding slabs of misanthropy like Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets, and the follow-up, 2007’s Rom 5:12 was little short of a masterpiece, definitely one of Marduk’s greatest creations and proof positive that people dismissed the band at their peril.

Wormwood, then, is a conscious effort to experiment from the band. As with Rom 5:12, there seems to have been a real attempt to mix the band’s basic palette up with some slower, more Doomy sections, yet it’s interesting to note that the opening noise of Nowhere, No-one, Nothing turns to blastbeats suddenly, almost as an afterthought; the band ripping through the sort of track that they’re famous for with Mortuus’ throaty exclamations almost rivalling the divine Attilla himself in pure atmospheric value. It’s the following track where Wormwood really takes off, however, a catchy opening riffs changing to an atmospheric mid-paced march as the Funeral Dawn is revealed, twisted choirs wailing in the background as churning guitars are swallowed by the drums’ relentless pounding. It’s a great song, and should be more than enough to convince those still shellshocked by the band’s past material that change has come – granted, the likes of This Fleshly Void have enough raging intensity to keep old fans satisfied, but it’s hard to ignore their diversity or simple ass-kicking heaviness.

Overall, it’s hard not to prefer the atmospheric likes of Unclosing The Curse, percussive tappings over ominous chords and twisted vocals having more impact than a billion blastbeats. The fast, brutal offerings work due to Mortuus escaping from the straitjacket and spilling his mentalist vomit all over the competent instrumentation of the others – especially Morgan “Evil” Steinmeyer, who provides some deliciously twisted guitarwork, the pair teaming up to ensure that Into Utter Madness lives up to its name. It’s a relief as well to see that Marduk have given up sodomising Jesus Christ and have diverted their lyrical attentions to pastures less silly – whatever Mortuus is jabbering on about, the songtitles are wonderfully unwince-worthy.

It’s not quite as epic and apocalyptic as the fallen star of its namesake, but there are enough times where Marduk really hit their stride and produce material that shows them worthy of their status to make Wormwood a worthy purchase – a personal highlight is the six-minute To Redirect Perdition, a crawling burst of misery that grips you in its skeletal blast and refuses to let go. What ultimately marks this album out as of high quality is the atmosphere that writhes through Whorecrown, reminiscent of past Mardukian glories and reaching for future heights at the same time. That my one complaint comes at the quality of the samples on the otherwise stellar Chorus Of Cracking Necks (someone had walnuts in their lunchbox, clearly) says it all, really – if there was any doubt over Marduk’s quality after their last two albums, then Wormwood should make it pretty obvious that this band really do matter to the Black Metal world. Let’s hope they go from strength to strength.

Killing Songs :
Funeral Dawn, Into Utter Madness, To Redirect Perdition, Whorecrown
Goat quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Marduk that we have reviewed:
Marduk - Viktoria reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
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
To see all 15 reviews click here
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