Review: Marduk – Memento Mori

Death is imminent; introduction:

Marduk, the Swedish black metal outfit, released a new terror upon the world, which bears the name Memento Mori. And to be honest, this band doesn’t really need an introduction. I have been listening to them since 95 and have been a fan ever since. Around the end of the 90s, I saw them perform live many times, and it was always a blast to see them.

Marduk band members

And so here we are many years later and Marduk still going onwards like the panzer division. It’s been 5 years since their latest album, Viktoria and, to my knowledge, there hasn’t been this much time between albums yet. It’s been 5 years, so they really took their time to bring us Memento Mori.

Memento Mori

The first track of the album starts of with the sound of the tracks of a panzerwagen and that sound and feeling captures the essence of this album perfectly. They keep crushing everything in their path, even after all these years.

The general theme of the album should be clear by the title of the album alone, but for those that don’t get it; the album is about Death and the fact that you are going to die. In the song “Shovel Beats Sceptre” there is a line that really hits home with the idea of that we all die.

“Has it dawned on you yet?
Have you begun to grasp
That life is not a clock
But an hourglass?”

Lyrics from Shovel Beats Sceptre (Track 4)

So you bought the album or opened up your favourite streaming platform and want to give the album a first spin? What can you expect? The album has a decent runtime of almost 42 minutes and contains ten tracks.

  1. Memento Mori
  2. Heart of the Funeral
  3. Blood of the Funeral
  4. Shovel Beats Sceptre
  5. Charlatan
  6. Coffin Carol
  7. Marching Bones
  8. Year of the Maggot
  9. Red Tree of Blood
  10. As We Are
Memento Mori

But what this album gives you the most is a feeling of dread. That something is about to happen. That feeling is strongest in the song “Blood of the Funeral” that song is just relentless which some furious drumming and nice riffs. Around the 3-minute mark, there is a sound that just sounds terrifying if the grim reaper himself is about to knock on your door.

The entire album is top-notch and really a step-up again after Viktoria, that album didn’t really land with me. This album though reminds me a bit more of the old Marduk I fell in love with many years ago.

Highlights

For this album, we thought, let’s switch it up. So instead of the opinion of one, we also give you the opinion of another writer of BMZ. So we start off with the opinion of MyrkAlv:

“Memento Mori” delivers precisely what you’d expect and desire from Marduk. The title-track setting the tone with suspenseful tank belt sounds, and guitars that gradually build up to the signature wall of sound that characterizes Marduk so well. With ferocious vocals, machine gun-like blast beats, and lightning-fast guitar riffs, Marduk unrelentingly pummels you to the ground. 

The arrival of Simon “Bloodhammer” Schilling, the former drummer of Belphegor, has undeniably enriched Marduk’s sound. His ability to execute blast beats at a mesmerizing tempo is one of the album’s standout features. The drumming’s speed, reminiscent of a machine gun firing, is a significant reason why “Memento Mori” deserves recognition as one of this year’s most ferocious and brutal records.

In my opinion, “Memento Mori” is an improvement from “Viktoria”. The latter album has mixed reviews, with some ranking it low among Marduk’s releases. Whether “Memento Mori” marks a comeback or not, it undoubtedly stands as a formidable album that I will continue to listen to throughout the year.

MyrkAlv tracks highlights; As “Memento Mori” translates to “remember you must die”, the fourth track, “Shovel Beats Sceptre” encapsulates the essence of time running out. It begins with church-like bells chiming, subtle drums resembling a beating heart or a ticking clock, and an ominous echoing vocal delivering the lines:

“Are you prepared?
Is your rat-nest in order?
Will your mind be at ease
When the shadows grow taller?”

Lyrics Shovel Beats Sceptre
YouTube player

Another highlight track; My favourite segment of the entire album occurs during the third track, “Blood of the Funeral”. This song is a relentless wall of sound, charging forward with ferocity and incredible speed. My personal highlight comes around the three-minute mark of this track when the brass trombone elements are introduced. They create an ominous atmosphere, melding in with the brutality and speed of the music. This section transports me into the depths of Mordor on a pitch-black night, being chased by an army of orcs, and I absolutely adore it.

The highlights of Kermit; One of the highlights for me is the first track, “Memento Mori”. It starts off with the tracks of a panzerwagen (at least for me, that’s what it sounds like, so ill stick with that). The mustic starts to swell, and you hear the growls and screams, and you just know they mean business right from the start. I really love that. The drums are great and like MyrkAlv said, it’s a good thing they brought in a new drummer, that indeed gives another dynamic to the sound.

Another highlight for me is “Year of the Maggot”. This track also has an ominous sound to it that just brings a feeling of dread. It starts off fairly slowly with a build-up, but when it goes, it really goes! Pummelling drums like machine guns, the vocals sound angry and the riffs are great. This is one of the must-listen too tracks to get a feeling what this album is about.

KingGorthaur’s highlighted track: One of my favourites out of the album, “Coffin Carol” greatly depicts the skill of new drummer “Bloodhammer”. The drums plummel as gunfire above a trench-dugged soldier’s head. The drums carried throughout the 4-minute-long song at rapid speed and with various fillers feels like beeing under bombardment. The small breaks that are given lets you draw a breath of fresh air before guns ablaze again!

Conclusion

Like said in the beginning, it took Marduk 5 years to deliver us a new album, was the wait worth it? For me, that’s a definite yes. All the tracks are great, the lyrics are good, and it’s a good step up from the last album, “Viktoria”.

I could go on and on about it, but just buy it or listen too it on your favourite streaming platform and enjoy the ride.

BMZ Score: 9 / 10

Links

Facebook: Marduk
Metal Archives: Marduk – Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives (metal-archives.com)

Your thoughts?

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