Marduk: Dark endless
16/10/12 || BamaHammer
“- Great. A Marduk album. I already know what that sounds like”, said everyone reading this who hasn’t heard the band’s 1992 debut, “Dork Penis”. No, but seriously. This album is actually a fine example of raw, primitive, uptempo Swedish death metal splattered with a only a subtle hint of the blackness that was to come. It’s even hard to listen to this album and know that this is that band that would become what we’ve all come to accept as being the Marduk.
The first thing I notice every time I hear this album is that fucken bass by Richard Kalm. From the get-go in the very first seconds of “Still fucking dead” (which is a killer fucken tune if there every was one), it thumps and pounds in beautiful unison with the kick drum and creates an utterly unshakable foundation for every powerful melody that every riff offers. It’s also exposed quite often (check out “Within the abyss”) and holds its own as a driving force in the forefront of the music. The tone isn’t necessarily one that will be sought after or reproduced on thousands of other recordings, but it does get the job done and make the instrument noticed.
The vocals, which were done by Dread, A.K.A. Andreas Axelsson, former guitarist from a little band called Edge of Sanity, are quite different from what you may expect if you’ve heard later Marduk releases with Legion or the always awesome Mortuus on the mic. Dread emits a hissing, raspy torturous scream that’s really one of the key characteristics that vaults this record out of the realms of pure death metal and into the vicinity of early blackened death metal, at least in the albums early minutes.
As the album steams forward, things take a noticeable turn toward more traditional black metal as tempos speed up and riffs become filled with tremolo-picked goodness, but nonetheless, the songs never really shake that primeval death metal air about them, and for that reason, this album will always maintain a certain charm about it.
One of my only real complaints about “Dark Endless” are the way songs fade out at the end. It just sounds amateur for no real reason other than how quickly things fade out, and it occasionally damages any flow tracks may have built and sometimes ruins interesting riffs or sequences at the end of songs. Just imagine hearing a riff or groovy part of a song you really dig only to have it fade from full-throttle to silence over the course of a half of a second. Not good times.
The bottom line is that Marduk’s debut is not the best album they would go on to release. Not by a long shot. It is however a truly solid piece of early black metal that’s more than subtly influenced by Swedish death metal at the time, and the result is a punchy, groovy, and very enjoyable slab of music. If you’re not a fan of Marduk and haven’t heard this album, do yourself a favor and check it out. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. It sounds like a totally different band. If you have heard this one, you already know. It’s damn good.
- Released: 1992
- Label: No Fashion
- Website: www.marduk.nu
- Dread: vocals
- Evil: guitars
- Devo: guitars
- Richard Kalm: bass
- Av Gravf: drums
- 01. Still Fucking Dead (Here’s No Peace)
- 02. The Sun Turns Black as Night
- 03. Within the Abyss
- 04. The Funeral Seemed to be Endless
- 05. Departure from the Mortals
- 06. The Black…
- 07. Dark Endless
- 08. Holy Inquisition