MARDUK - Those of the Unlight (OSMOSE - LP 1993)
I think it’s easy to say that Marduk history can be divided into three periods. And among these three, the earliest Marduk chapter – with their first three albums and demo - is one, which I like the least. Not that they’re bad or something, but I just prefer such “Heaven Shall Burn” or “Plague Angel” and “Serpent Sermon” over “Opus Nocturne”. And “Dark Endless” especially is for me rather mediocre record and I don’t even listen to it so often. Obviously Marduk style of black metal on these early albums was different than on the later stuff. It was kind of more primitive and harsher and it had sort of morbid death metal influence as well. Sure, it’s evil, grim and obscure as fuck, with some crazy vocals and ominous aura, but I just don’t necessarily like some of the riffs or arrangement style they had back then. Luckily, if the debut record is rather boring, then the second opus “Those of the Unlight” is surely a nice improvement and it’s a memorable album with some classic Marduk songs.
I think that basically everything about “Those of the Unlight” is better, when compared to the debut. The album is stronger, so even if the general style is similar, I find this second album as more worthy. More so, nowadays it doesn’t sound as outdated as “Dark Endless” does, it surely grew old better. Why? First off, the songs are better! There are some killer tunes, many of which were constantly performed live during the past years like “Wolves”, “Burn My Coffin” or “On Darkened Wings”, so they’re well known songs, with some truly great riffs. But my favourite song is probably the title track, as it has some truly awesome, eerie melodies, some killer riffs and it’s also insanely fast. More so, it is really well arranged, I mean that slow, melodic fragment near the end of this song is among my favourite riffs on the album, it sounds just damn fantastic. Also “Darkness Breeds Immortality” is fast as hell, but damn… that title song is truly excellent. They both may remind you some of the very early Dissection tunes, but in a raw and more uncompromising vein. “Wolves” obviously is a classic dark anthem as well, it’s almost catchy, because the main riff in it is simply infectious and the howling of Joakim Göthberg is fantastic. And even if it’s rather slower track, it creates great, evil aura.
What I like also about “Those of the Unlight” is the atmospheric side of the album, with “Echoes from the Past”, which is an acoustic / keyboard long intro with a doomy ending. This song sounds just great and is surely different to the whole vicious and raw album. More so, “Stone Stands Its Silent Vigil” continues with that more melodic and atmospheric playing, in mid tempo, but with more ravaging sound towards the end. I need to also mention killer arrangements, I especially like the crushing bass parts and simply possessed vocals (performed by Joakim Göthberg, a’ka Gravf, later known from some more melodic and surely not black metal, bands like Dimension Zero).
Standout tracks: "Those of the Unlight", "Burn My Coffin", "On Darkened Wings", "Echoes from the Past"
Final rate: 70/100