Marduk: Wormwood

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By Jonathan Smith

In the midst of harvest time, Swedish metal veterans Marduk have offered up Wormwood. It’s a grotesque feast of sonic gore, and as such brings to mind the best in bombastic and blasphemous splatter movies. Like a lot of its cinematic counterparts, however, the album is a mixed-bag. Most of the first half is fine but fairly standard stuff, not really breaking any ground within either the sub-genre or Marduk’s canon. The traditional suspects are all here – plentiful blast beats, shrill tremolo riffs, and buzzsaw chords. Second track “Funeral Dawn” gets things into the mood, an energetic attack with Daniel “Mortuus” Rosten’s garbled and strangled vocals being sharply cut off with a small gasping squeal as the track abruptly ends. The songs are relatively short and to-the-point — the album will make great fodder for live performances.

The second half of Wormwood is, overall, stronger than the first half and is worth the wait. “Phosphorous Redeemer” starts off slow and atmospheric but then comes crashing through the gate and starts off a fierce energetic burst that is sustained through “To Redirect Perdition.” “Whorecrown” is arguably one of the strongest track on the album, delivering some great screamed vocals and some catchy chord progressions. Though things almost slip again with the abrupt slow-down that is “Chorus of Cracking Necks,” a track that shows more potential than it delivers,“As A Garment” closes the record on a good, groovy note. Wormwood does not shatter expectations, but nor does it disappoint them. Marduk fans and black metal aficionados should definitely check it out.

(Regain Records)

Rating: 7.0

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.