Marduk - Viktoria
Century Media
Black Metal
9 songs (32:54)
Release year: 2018
Marduk, Century Media
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Yesterday I saw someone in a comments thread describe Marduk as "black metal's Sabaton" and it made me laugh quite a bit - the two Swedish bands having a similar historical focus if very different musical styles. Marduk have swerved on and off the topic several times, but as 2015's Frontschwein proved, their World War II obsession can help make for some intense, varied songwriting. That, sadly, is not the case here. Much like Watain (another Swedish band!) Marduk have here gone back to basics, simplifying their formula and songwriting to the point where initial listens can leave you thinking the album is completely without highlights. Watain at least kept the intensity and violence in their music; what on earth were Marduk thinking with the downright simplistic Werwolf, a repetitive riff driving the song atop air-raid sirens until a children's choir shouts the song title as a very gimmicky chorus? I hated it on initial listens, and it has barely grown on me since, the overused sirens helping give some intensity at least. Slow it down a little and we have something that Satyricon may have produced a couple of albums ago…

At least it's soon over and the album as a whole does improve from that low point, starting immediately with June 44 and Equestrian Bloodlust, fast, vicious, and epic in the style we've come to expect from the Swedes. My favourite Marduk is when the band are at their most atmospheric, and there's just about enough of that throughout Viktoria to keep me happy; not counting the closing dullness of Silent Night which is saved only by the vocal performance. Tiger I slows the pace to a death-doom crawl to allow Mortuus' vocals full power as he retches out a hymn to the German tank, while Narva's speedier pace allows for some melodic guitarplay for much-needed flavour. Yet there are too many songs like the title track and The Last Fallen that blast along without much to distinguish them, reminiscent more than a little of the post-Panzer Division Marduk days when the band were known for their speed but not their songwriting. The hints of experimentation on Frontschwein, the melodic riffing and varying tempos, have been swept away in favour of something blunt yet bland, and it's anything but a positive step. Perhaps it should have been a stopgap EP rather than a full length, but Viktoria definitely does not show Marduk at their best.

Killing Songs :
June 44, Tiger I, Narva
Goat quoted 60 / 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 15 reviews click here
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