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Marduk - "Serpent Sermon" (CD)

Marduk - "Serpent Sermon" CD cover image

"Serpent Sermon" track listing:

1. Serpent Sermon (4:38)
2. Messianic Pestilence (2:50)
3. Souls For Belial (4:45)
4. Into Second Death (5:11)
5. Temple Of Decay (5:25)
6. Damnation's Gold (6:48)
7. Hail Mary (Piss-Soaked Genuflexion) (3:27)
8. M.A.M.M.O.N. (3:29)
9. Gospel Of The Worm (2:37)
10. World Of Blades (7:09)

Reviewed by on May 27, 2012

"With the end times nearing, we need to damn as many souls as possible before the coming apocalypse, and Marduk is just the prophet to see it done with a chorus of hellish black metal that can bring the gates of heaven crashing down."

After the detour of the war-themed “Iron Dawn” EP, the Swedish black metal horde Marduk is returning to standard Satanic form with latest full-length offering “Serpent Sermon.” Continuing on with the same basic musical formula from the last few releases, this unholy fire and brimstone sermon is packed with throat-shredding growls, blistering drum beats, and all the evil black metal guitar tones a fan could ever ask for.

Anyone familiar with the last album “Wormwood” will immediately feel right at home with these 10 malevolent tracks, as “Serpent Sermon” sounds like an immediate continuation and uses many of the same diabolical methods of black metal delivery. The blast beats rarely give up, and the growls coming from Mortuus are just as hateful and gargled as ever, although there aren’t as many drawn-out, bowel-destroying shrieks as on the last album. With only a few variations in form, the album overall maintains a high level of intensity to keep the heads banging and the horns thrown high.

On the variety front, tracks like “Temple of Decay” take a slightly more measured and deliberate pace than the faster songs surrounding it, as well as using some fuzz and booming drums ala Deathspell Omega. “Souls For Belial” also creates a fuzzy and analog sounding opening as an effective lead-in to the crashing explosion of blasting drums and screams through the rest of the song. The ending track “World of Blades” finishes the sermon off with a slower tempo and eerie spoken words for added atmosphere, before father Mortuus sends the flock back out into the world properly energized to spread the bad news.

As with any message delivered from the pulpit, some of the doctrine won’t perfectly resonate with the faithful, however. The ending to “Damnation’s Gold” has an irritating amount of guitar reverb that drags on far longer than necessary, and the whole thing overall does have a deal of repetition, as the unending blasting drum and scream combination can make it difficult to distinguish songs from each other.

Don’t let a few differences in preferred dogma get in the way of hearing the whole “Serpent Sermon,” though. With the end times nearing, we need to damn as many souls as possible before the coming apocalypse, and Marduk is just the prophet to see it done with a chorus of hellish black metal that can bring the gates of heaven crashing down.

Highs: Non-stop diabolic black metal from the masters of the genre still peforming in tip-top shape.

Lows: Much of the album ends up sounding the same, and there's an unnecesary guitar feedback part that's just plain annoying.

Bottom line: Marduk preaches a diabolic Serpent Sermon backed up by top-notch black metal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)