Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Marduk - Plague Angel

MARDUK - Plague Angel (BLOODDAWN Productions - LP 2004)
It’s an end of the era! Legion, such a charismatic and important vocalist of Marduk, leaves the band in 2003. But his replacement couldn’t be better, because Arioch known from Funeral Mist and Triumphator, joins the legion!!!! And as it turns out, this replacement gave Marduk a lot of freshness and new energy to create even more destructive and possessed black metal. "Plague Angel" from 2004 was the first attempt of newer Marduk to cover the world in total darkness again. An attempt, which I think is very successful and gives us one of the strongest and most ferocious records in Marduk discography. 
Let's be honest, from the first seconds of "The Hangman of Prague" you know that musically Marduk remained very much the same. They kept their characteristic weapons intact, but added more ammo to it, to sound more lethal than ever before. And this album from the beginning bursts with violent and ultra aggressive sound of hyper-fast black metal. Which is what Marduk fans love the most. Me too. These blasting tracks are just fuckin awesome, not only "The Hangman of Prague", but also such "Throne of Rats" or "Warschau". Or "Steel Inferno". The intensity of these songs, tempos and savage string attack are unbelievable, you can only listen to it in admiration. Personally, I think with songs like "Warschau" it feels like you're under the most intense and ferocious bombardment in battlefield, with no time to grasp air, no time for reaction... And it's even faster than Marduk from "Panzerdivision Marduk". Unbelievable. 
Obviously there are also some slower songs, so the album isn't one dimensional, endless fast ejaculation. And again these slow tracks are an icing on the cake, especially such "Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets", "Perish in Flames"... Or the fuckin "Deathmarch", an orchestral piece with fantastic malicious shrieks of Mortuus... Wow, it always gives me goose skin and feeling of the most obscure and eerie music you'll ever hear. Auroch... yes, his voice is truly sinister and vicious, he sounds like someone possessed. I love his arrangements, how he spits forth all these fast passages, with voice, which you cannot compare to anyone else. His vocals are also much more diverse and not so one dimensional as Legion's, just listen to tracks like "Life's Emblem" or "Deathmarch" and give me your opinion. Or admit immediately that he's the best black metal vocalist! Because he probably is! 
One of the most recognizable aspects of "Plague Angel" is its war - like feel. It is a direct reflection of Morgan Hakkansson's interest in II World War history. The imagery they started to use, some orchestral introductions from those dark times and lyrics for such songs like "Steel Inferno", "Warschau" or "The Hangman of Prague" (which was a name given to Reinhard Heydrich, SS Obergruppenführer from Prague)... It's a bit different then that the satanic concept of their older albums. But it's another fine aspect and worthy change in Marduk's style. Definitely we have here one of their better albums. 
Standout tracks: "The Hangman of Prague", "Throne of Rats", "Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets", "Everything Bleeds", "Deathmarch" 
Verdict: 90/100 

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