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Marduk - "Frontschwein" (CD)

Marduk - "Frontschwein" CD cover image

"Frontschwein" track listing:

1. Frontschwein
2. The Blond Beast
3. Afrika
4. Wartheland
5. Rope Of Regret
6. Between The Wolf-Packs
7. Nebelwerfer
8. Falaise: Cauldron Of Blood
9. Doomsday Elite
10. 503
11. Thousand-Fold Death

Reviewed by on February 18, 2015

"It's not revolutionary, but 'Frontschwein' keeps the flames of black metal war burning for another year."

Marduk has always split its releases between hymns to Satan and chronicles of real world war – keeping the two fairly segregated from one another. Deciding to return to the front line and engage in another barrage of war-themed assaults this time around with “Frontschwein,” Marduk gives fans the same iconic sound they've come to expect, from the insane growls of front man Mortuus to the relentless blasting drum beats of Fredrik Widigs.

Personally, I've always leaned more towards the occult themed releases like “Serpent Sermon” and “Wormwood.” For those who have longed for a return to panzer divisions and U-boats however, “Frontschwein” is a more satisfying album overall than the previous “Iron Dawn” EP excursion, which gave a little taste of black metal tank combat in between two Satan-focused full lengths.

With “Frontschwein,” Marduk does a better job than many other old school European black metal bands in making the tracks distinguishable from one another, even if the final execution is very similar across the disc as a whole. Each track is a separate sortie against enemy forces, strategically placed across the album in the proper order so there's an overall varied tempo between songs. The unstoppable blast beats do still create bleed-through however, and as with all Marduk there really isn't any downtime to be found, so the formula does get stale in parts if you listen from beginning to end in one sitting.

There are a few exceptions to that rule, with the extra long “Nebelwerfer” probably being the most noticeable.“Nebelwerfer” changes the tempo by going much slower and trying for a bit of a Behemoth style with epic growls. The changes are welcome, but at a full two and half minutes longer than the average track, it feels overlong. That same problem occurs with “Doomsday Elite,” which consists of 8+ minutes of non-stop blast beats and mid-tempo black metal. “503,” on the other hand, hits more of a balance, going slower than the rest of the songs but using the guitar chords to create a cyclical, revolving feel and also throwing in a vocal delivery change with more of a yell and less of a growl. Ensuring that the war ends with a bang, the album finishes with the incredibly fast-paced rager, “Thousand-Fold Death.”

If you've already been a fan of the Swedish outfit for years, you already know what to expect here. It's not revolutionary, but “Frontschwein” keeps the flames of black metal war burning for another year.

Highs: Marduk doesn't disappoint with iconic blasting Swedish black metal.

Lows: The formula could use an overhaul, and the extra long tracks overstay their welcome.

Bottom line: Marduk returns to the front lines again to ignite the flames of black metal warfare.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)