Marduk - Nightwing
Osmose Productions
Black Metal
10 songs (47:27)
Release year: 1998
Marduk, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Tony
I believe in the life eternal! As promised to us by our lord Jesus Christ! From that point, all that is holy and righteous is stricken in a whirlwind of fiery vocals, speedy guitars, and violent percussion. This album marks many things for the Swedish blasting legends Marduk, including a track list that is quite possibly their finest. Legion brings in his second and possibly best record on Nightwing, an album equal parts insanity as it is calculation. The auditory assault on the self-righteous, pious religionists of the world presented here is to me the finest hour for Marduk.

I do not remember who it was that said that Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered was Marduk’s only shot at a true classic album, but whoever reviewed that is dead wrong. Nightwing has some of the bands strongest and longest songs, seemingly blasting their way through the album yet having enough variation and memorable riffs to keep things fresh despite the overwhelming amounts of blast beats. Bloodtide (XXX) opens the album with a declarative explosion of percussion and snaking riffs. There are times when the track slows down but this song is evidently best when blasting with no true aim except ripping your head off.

So what do Marduk do differently on Nightwing that makes it that much better than any of their works past and present? Well, nothing really. Marduk do what they have always done. Take a Death Metal approach to a Black Metal sound, add the best recording quality and finest vocal performance from Legion along with restless, relentless songwriting, a bit of catchy groove, and you have Nightwing. Of Hells Fire is another gem, building upon the blasting corpulence of Bloodtide (XXX) with pangs of groove and a long burst of double bass along with eighth notes to the snare. One of the elements to Marduk’s music that makes them that much more aggressive is the buildup technique. It is hardly original, but there is that moment where the guitars play a simple riff over a steady kick drum and bass thump that leads into a bestial roar from Legion and a salvo of blast beats that make your wrists hurt from just listening.

If you believed before that Marduk were lethal in their sacrilegious delivery, by track four the listener learns of the outstanding capability of this band when they put their aggression to usefulness in the form of catchy songwriting. What a song to lift weights to! Slay the Nazarene might be one of my favorite Black Metal songs of all time. When I lift the heaviest weights I can and blast this song through my earphones I feel like I myself could slay Jesus Christ without fear of celestial retribution. This song is the true embodiment of Marduk and their musical vision. This gem is one of their early classics and a song that would be a live fixture even if Marduk made 50 more albums. Nothing in the entirety of Black Metal is as heavy and brutal as Slay the Nazarene. The song title itself is a declarative measure of their evil intent, making one feel as if these are not just lyrics, but a grandiose vision for a dark world with no Christ, cross, or religion.

After this seemingly addictive masterpiece, a slow beginning to the title track makes way before a few seconds of feedback, later followed by another entry of rapid blasts. If you read some of my reviews from a while back, an example being Lucifer Incestus by Austrians Belphegor, you will notice that my chief complaint is that the entire album is riding on blast beats and tremolo picked riffs. With the early classics of Marduk and even later works such as World Funeral or the latest EP Iron Dawn there are no such grievances. Marduk do things a certain way and they do not care who listens or who does not. To my girlfriend, who has never even heard of Black Metal before seeing me, this is nothing but chaotic cacophony. It is understandable for someone who grew up in a religious household with nothing but Country and Coldplay to feel this way, but to those of us who experience the rush and extraterrestrial feeling that all forms of Black Metal give us, Marduk are the ultimate portrait of Blackened hatred. I find myself listening to more and more as of late, with not a care in the world if the album is all blasts or not. Somehow, some way, Marduk found a means of carrying an entire discography with almost all blast beats and kept people coming back, slaying all in their path. Even the more experimental releases such as Plague Angel and Wormwood are excellent in my view, with a different approach surrounding Mortuus, possibly the most intimidating vocalist ever to strike his mark on the genre. He to me is the Lord Worm of Black Metal, leaving you wondering where in the depths of his wretched soul he had to reach to conjure those horrid sounds, and what will become of his respiratory system at the end of a long and distinguished career. Legion is nothing short of masterful on Nightwing. He even is able to carry the same bellicose styling on slower tracks such as the excellent Dreams of Blood and Iron. Legion finds a way of carrying the lyrics to a point where they can be somewhat interpreted and succeeds over any beat or rhythm. Much like my comparisons to Endstille, I highly doubt that either band would be as staggering as they are without the luxury of a unique and excellent vocalist.

To be honest, production and improved vocal talents are the biggest reasons why I feel Nightwing edges Opus Nocturne. It does not sound like they really pushed their musicianship any further. The songwriting follows similar nodes, with Opus Nocturne incorporating a significantly higher dosage of melody where it can be inserted. The difference between whomever the Hell their original vocalist was and Legion is significant though. He has a full bodied and audible growl, with the ability to sing clearly over slower tracks and lend his voice as another weapon to the instrumental chaos of their fastest songs.

The next three songs are titled in a foreign language (possibly Babylonian? Marduk is the Babylonian Sky God) With track 7 sounding as if it is merely an extension of the previous track, Dreams of Blood and Iron. This track has a driving guitar rhythm with that classic distorted tone Nightwing perfected. Kaziklu Bey begins a rapidly crawling demonic high registered riff before another round of blast beats take over. This song surely influenced the high pitched riffs that so many excellent Black Metal bands have used (see Suicide by Merrimack ). The band just has a way with riffs, playing similar patterns at similar speeds almost the entire album yet keeping the listener reaching for the next track in a satanic hunger.

The final track is Anno Domini 1476. Usually when there is a year or a historical notation in a song title I will seek out the answer but to be honest I am on an airplane to Colorado and I do not feel like spending the $5 to get wifi for an hour more of flight. I have too many things to keep me busy. Feel free to research on your own.

Whether you are a doubter and a naysayer of the current Marduk or a feverish supporter such as myself, no digression in their music can take away from their first few albums, each being so impressive in so many ways. Much like we cannot reprieve Metallica from their early works when they had long hair and drank like fish, the current consensus on Marduk cannot remove the accomplishment of Nightwing, the only musical blasphemy horrifying enough to keep Christ in his grave.

Killing Songs :
All
Tony quoted CLASSIC
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 - Iron Dawn EP reviewed by Tony and quoted no quote
Marduk - Opus Nocturne reviewed by Tony and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 14 reviews click here
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