MARDUK (Swe): “Dark Endless” Cd 1992 No Fashion

Naming the band after a Babylonian god and talking about blasphemy of the Judeo/Christian religion might sound a bit weird, but after all that’s the Morbid Angel way. The first thing that kicks ass in this album is the killer cover art by no one else than Dani Vala, guitarist and singer of the band I reviewed yesterday, Obscurity. Why this guy didn’t do more of these splendid works is beyond me. This painting is really “evil”, and grotesque.

Marduk - Dark EndlessSeveral of the best bands that turned into pure Black Metal in the nineties have common roots in the Death Metal scene (not that I think there is so much difference between the genres after all anyway). Marduk‘s first album “Dark Endless” has all the great elements of the classic Swedish Death Metal sound. Dan Swano did a good job at fiding the right sound for this recording – the obese trademark crushing sound of the Swedish axe permeates all songs, with a good balance of mid tempo, Bolt Thrower reminiscent riffs, hints of melodies in the vein of old Crematory, and even a sporadic use of keyboards a la Thou Shalt Suffer towards the end. While the album closes with an epic, elaborate and evocative guitarwork, the first songs, while generally faster, have their good share of sluggish, almost symphonic bridges. All of this has been obviously cooked with the classic Swedish receipt of sickness – none of this sounds mellow. My only regret is the vocals are a bit too raspy and high. I guess how killer this would have sounded with a real singer like Rogga of Merciless or a young Matti Karki. The main theme on this album could be misanthropy and obscurity, elements that were lost with time. I admit I like this stuff, but also their newer albums. This might not be an album that can be credited as legendary in the Death Metal world, but it’s a good compromise of Swedish Death Metal, crushing heaviness, misanthropy and a pinch of classic Scandinavian taste for dark melodies.

My copy, on No Fashion, has no lyrics on it, but I guess the new version has a better booklet. For sure the titles themselves follow the music perfectly: they are all about departure, funerals, damnation…

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