Album Reviews

Marduk – Viktoria Review

Released by: Century Media

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Swedish Black Metal

 

Line Up:

Mortuus – vocals
Morgan – guitars
Devo – bass
Fredrik – drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Werwolf (2:02)
2. June 44 (3:49)
3. Equestrian Bloodlust (2:51)
4. Tiger I (4:12)
5. Narva (4:31)
6. The Last Fallen (4:25)
7. Viktoria (3:06)
8. The Devil’s Song (3:46)
9. Silent Night (4:12)

 

Marduk’s 14th studio album Viktoria has finally arrived via Century Media, and it proves that these Swedish black metal veterans continue to excel. This time, they used a different approach and got lost in experiments. Whether you were there for their first three black metal assault albums or joined in later with their blistering and softer edge, one should have learned by now, to expect the unexpected.

Many listeners tend to anticipate a similar style or sound from a band they admire. Repetition has its comforts, many do it daily by their redundant 9-5 work schedule. It’s similar to expecting a new fabric, and then being disappointed that their favorite brand has ridged edges or no longer comes in the color purple. You would then discover that people tend to freak out over change rather than accepting it. The same applies to music. Marduk’s Viktoria is no different, and once you strip down the constant contentment, you will learn to enjoy the new album.

With that said, Viktoria needs at least three spins before getting accustomed to its overall sound. Although the record clocks at just over 30 minutes and does feel it could have had a better result if they extended its timeframe, there is a vast amount of substance. One could say, Vikotria starts where 2015’s Frontschwein left off with the first track “Werwolf.” And no, they didn’t spell “Werewolf” wrong, this isn’t an updated version of say, A Swedish Werewolf meets Antifa, this is a continuation to WWII, which Werwolf was a plan formed by the Nazis back in 1944 meant to create a resistance force that would operate behind enemy lines. Moving ahead, the track kicks off with sirens, which sets the tone for a preferred introductory track. Fast pedalling and blast beats move in shortly after, which makes it sound similar to an earlier black metal song. “June 44” amplifies the album’s overall aesthetic as war and chaos continues. There’s a darker essence as it aggressively moves along with the vocals and at some point, you will hear “haunting memory.”

“Equestrian Bloodlust” continues the fast-pace melody as the blast beats continue to unfold with demonic vocals. It’s a chaotic tune that moves incredibly fast as though they were trying to rush the song instead of giving it time to breathe and blossom. The album changes its tone with the slow guitar intro to “Tiger.” It has more of a blackened doom sound, as the chorus of this particular track breaks down in a particular way, making you metaphorically handicap from controlling your own destiny and future. Chaos picks up with “Narva” as the bass shines in this track. “The Last Fallen” is a blend between the sludgery we’ve heard in “Tiger” and the truculent rhythm throughout the rest of the album. However, there’s a unique instrumental towards the end which has a dramatic build up, making you once again, crave for more.

The title track “Viktoria” comes in next, as one would sound or assume it’s a hidden word for victory. It’s another chaotic tune as it moves at a rapid pace. Next up is another fast track with “The Devil’s Song.” However, the opening slowly chimes in with a small ruffled sound as it lapses to a guitar riff right before the gates of musical hell explodes. Lastly, “Silent Night,” concludes the album as though it’s introducing sludge riffs to a world of darkness for the first time. Unfortunately, once the song ends you will say to yourself, “is this it?”

Overall, Marduk’s Viktoria has fallen a bit short in terms of length. While it does require a few listens to absorb, it will eventually sink in and you will look forward to hearing these songs live.

 

Written By, Zenae D. Zukowski

Rating  8/10

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