With their tenth full lenght album 'Rom 5:12' swedish black metal veterans Marduk continue their move away from earlier militaristic themes to the death-obsessed medieval aesthetic evident in their previous 2004 album 'Plague Angel'.
The songs are an entertaining mixture of fast tremelo-riffing and frequent sections of relentless mid-paced guitars, and its a very consistent listen, with engaging song-progression and lots of atmosphere, helped along by the rasped, half-gargled vocals of singer Mortuus.
The production is quite big without being too clean, with the drums sitting quite prominently in the mix but the guitars still sounding powerful, and the songs tend to reveal a level of inventiveness, bounding from bouncy, catchy melodic riffs to drawn out, procession-like passages, melancholy mid-paced melodic leads and periods of blistering, blastbeat-heavy hammering.
There is an interesting use of samples throughout, including gregorian chanting, old badly-recorded church singing, tolling bells and recordings of prayers in Latin, and on the mid-paced track Opposer/Accuser Mortuus even engages in an interesting vocal duet with Primordial singer Naihmass Nemtheanga, whose clean and melancholy yearning vocals contrast nicely with the former singer's coarse, bubbling growls.
Rom 5:12 can be less than wholly engaging in places, but overall it is an interesting and enjoyable listen that merges different tempos to create an entertaining and fairly original black metal album.
1. The Levelling Dust 05:11
2. Cold Mouth Prayer 03:28
3. Imago Mortis 08:36
4. Through The Belly Of Damnation 04:19
5. 1651 04:54
6. Limbs Of Worship 04:24
7. Accuser / Opposer 08:43
8. Vanity Of Vanities 03:40
9. Womb Of Perishableness 07:01
10. Voices From Avignon 05:08
Total playing time 55:24
I'm not an enormous black metal fan, I loved some of the older stuff (Venom etc) but the genre tends to be filled with tracks which are a bit long and tedious, quality Swedish band Marduk have black metal down to a tee though and are able to combine fast and furious with melody with sludgey doom like riffs whilst still booming out the growling vocals and vicious lyrics which are expected in the genre.
Rom 5:12 is the band's 10th album and although I haven't checked out all of their discography, I'd say it's ny on one of their best albums if not their best. "Through the Belly of Damnation" is as an enjoyable song as the album has to offer and the most likely to appeal to people of different tastes, meanwhile the relentless brutality of "Limbs of Worship" will satisfy the world of Black Metal fans no end but most likely see people of other persuasions reaching for the "skip" button whilst pets and small children will likely be cowering behind the sofa!
Musically it's an awesome album, it may get a little chaotic at times but there's plenty of switches in tempo to ensure variation. The title of the album refers to the Bible - with Rom short for Romans and 5:12 being the verse which refers to sinning!
1. "The Levelling Dust" - 5:11
2. "Cold Mouth Prayer" (featuring Joakim Göthberg) - 3:28
3. "Imago Mortis" - 8:36
4. "Through the Belly of Damnation" - 4:19
5. "1651" - 4:54
6. "Limbs of Worship" - 4:24
7. "Accuser/Opposer" (featuring Naihmass Nemtheanga a.k.a Alan Averil) - 8:43
8. "Vanity of Vanities" - 3:40
9. "Womb of Perishableness" - 7:01
10. "Voices from Avignon" - 5:08
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Levelling Dust
2 Cold Mouth Prayer
3 Imago Mortis
4 Through the Belly of Damnation
5 Damnation 1651
6 Limbs of Worship
8 Vanity of Vanities
9 Womb of Perishableness
10 Voices from Avignon