Friday, September 21, 2018 12:44

Posts Tagged ‘Century Media’

MARDUK – VIKTORIA LP (Century Media Records)

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Marduk - ViktoriaOn ‘Viktoria’ – Marduk’s 14th full-length and the sixth with Mortuus behind the mic – the Swedes treat us to just over half an hour of war-mongering bloodlust. World War Two seems to be the pervading theme once more and, even though the album is hardly mandatory if you already own some recent-vintage Marduk, it’s still a fine LP and a reminder of why Marduk is one of the truly great BM bands.

Proceedings can seem a little monotonous at times and it does appear that they might be going through the motions to a small degree but, all in all, ‘Viktoria’ is a superb, powerful record and a worthy addition to the Marduk can(n)on. Critics should bear in mind that a shitty, blighted-by-bastards world with a new Marduk album – even if it’s not their best – is a vastly preferable alternative to one without it.

Evilometer: 666/666

MARDUK – FRONTSCHWEIN LP (Century Media Records)

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Marduk - FrontschweinTwenty-five years in, Marduk unleash their 13th full-length and the fifth of the Mortuus-on-vocals era – easily the most accomplished period in the Swedes’ blistering recording history. Returning here to the killing fields of WWII, they’re a real force to be reckoned with now and a rare example of a Black Metal band signed to a major label who don’t also happen to be shit.

Frontschwein’ translates loosely as ‘front swine’ and is a colloquial term the Germans coined for the hapless, cannon-fodder soldiers / pigs in the frontline of battle, where they are unceremoniously killed, maimed, butchered, splattered, smashed, exploded, obliterated, pulverised, hammered and fucked to pieces. That’s what this record will do to your speakers.

Hardly the underground’s best-kept secret, in fairness, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Suffice to say, Marduk live up to their big-guns status and everything about this record is as one would expect from such seasoned campaigners (apart from the fact that the bonus track is not included on the vinyl edition). A marked improvement on this anyway.

Evilometer: 666/666

TWILIGHT – III: BENEATH TRIDENT’S TOMB LP (Century Media)

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Twilight III Beneath Trident's TombWhen Twilight released their eponymous debut album nine years ago, the line-up was about as close to a Black Metal enthusiast’s wet dream as you are likely to get: Malefic from Xasthur; Wrest of Leviathan; Draugar mastermind Hildof; Azentrius of Nachmystium infamy; and N Imperial from Krieg. Fucking unbelievable! Alas, while ‘Twilight’ was a reasonable record, the composite didn’t come near to equalling the sum of its individual parts. At the time, that was a massive disappointment (and still is).

Only two members of that original combo remain. On ‘III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb’, Wrest and Imperial are joined by two guys I know fuck all about – keyboardist Sanford Parker (Minsk, anyone?) and 55-year-old Thurston Moore from bloody Sonic Youth. What the fuck! Ironically, with such a bizarre line-up … one that clearly should never work … this for me is the stellar album that Twilight failed to produce in 2005.

I love everything about this record, particularly the least Black Metal track of the six, closer ‘Below Light’. I almost hate to admit it but III: Beneath Trident’s Tombis thoroughly superb stuff  – and on a bigger label. Well I’ll be damned and fuck me purple up the ass with a fallen tree trunk.

Evilometer: 666/666

WATAIN – THE WILD HUNT (Century Media)

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Watain - The Wild HuntThe title track on Watain’s fifth full-length sounds – at best – like a hybrid of Europe and Pink Floyd. In other words, it is complete and utter garbage. The sixth offering, ‘They Rode On’, is even worse: probably the greatest abomination I have ever heard under the flag of Black Metal. Imagine a mixture of Poison and ‘Dead Or Alive’-era Bon Jovi only with crappy Eurovision-style vocals, if you can.

Sounds bad, eh? Well, believe me, it is even worse than that. Fucking shameful, shameful, shameful shit. It doesn’t matter what the rest of the album sounds like (bland as a salad sandwich, by the way), Watain have shat all over their legacy and they no longer deserve support. I don’t give a flying damn how many glossy limited editions of this album exist or whether the double vinyl will be on red or black wax or about stupid box sets with bonus seven inches and fucking altar cloths.

There were signs of decline on ‘Lawless Darkness’ but nothing prepared me for this. ‘The Wild Hunt’ is so terrible, ill-advised and pompous that I will never be able to listen to my old Watain records again. It’s no surprise that Century Media is associated with such an awful album but the pathetic nature of this outrage is 100% Watain’s own fault. This is so bad it hurts.

They Rode, indeed. Fuck off, Watain.

Evilometer: 000/666

MARDUK – SERPENT SERMON (Century Media)

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Serpent Sermon’ is Marduk’s twelfth full-length and their fourth with Mortuus on vocals. I’ve always preferred the Swedes’ work with the Funeral Mist mainman at the mike – particularly ‘Rom 5:12’ and ‘Wormwood’ – to their earlier, more-widely-celebrated material but I’m not so sure about this one.

Apart from the obvious question of where does Funeral Mist end and Marduk begin (and I don’t mean to be pedantic as, obviously, Arioch has a very distinctive voice…), there’s also a definite feeling that Marduk are going through the motions a bit on their latest album.

To my ears, there are a lot more fillers on here than you’d normally get on a Marduk album and the whole thing ultimately sounds a bit monotonous, stale and uninspired. Of course, it’s still Marduk so you know ‘Serpent Sermon’ is going to be better than many other albums released this year. But – selfishly, perhaps – I expected more from one of the all-time greatest Black Metal bands.

In the heel of the hunt, this is a solid enough release, containing three or four genuinely outstanding songs (and at times it borders on the magnificent, especially the stunning bonus track ‘Coram Satanae’). But, when it comes to writing Marduk’s epitaph, I don’t think ‘Serpent Sermon’ is going to be mentioned as one of their most magical hours.

A classic case of a superb band failing to live up to their own incredibly-high standards. Good but not great.

Evilometer: 333/666

NAPALM DEATH – UTILITARIAN 2LP (Century Media)

Monday, April 9th, 2012

It’s almost like the last 25 years didn’t happen at all. A full quarter of a century after Napalm Death first reached the ears of an impressionable, angry young man finding his feet in a dull and hostile housing estate in Monaghan, they are blowing me away all over again with their fourteenth studio full-length. Astonishingly, ‘Utilitarian’ is easily on a par with anything these legendary grindcore innovators have produced during the course of a stellar career. How the fuck do they do it?

Instrumental ‘Circumspect’ kicks proceedings off in a rather understated, serene-by-ND-standards sort of way before ‘Errors In The Signals’ and the jazz-infused ‘Everyday Pox’ quite literally send the speakers cowering. The anger is still there, the rage and the invective all evident as they were way back in the day. And, crucially, the uncanny song-writing prowess that has always separated Napalm Death from their peers (not that they truly have any) remains intact, too, which means catchy, instantly-accessible socially-conscious Death Metal (for that is what it is) of the very highest calibre.

The Wolf I Feed’ brings Side A to a close in thrilling fashion, with incredible trademark screeches and squeals and some Fear Factory-style harmonies that add greatly to the variety on offer. Throughout the 16 tracks on offer over three-quarters-of-an-hour, there exists an incredible amount of variety within that monotonous-to-the-unwary-ear template that Barney, Shane, Mitch and Danny have honed over the years / decades.

At the end of the day,  this is a Black Metal site first and foremost so I’m not going to go into this one in great detail (not that I ever do with any other albums, either, ahem)  but DM has always been a big part of my life and it is only fair to give credit where credit’s due: ‘Utilitarian’ is immense and it proves that middle-aged commentators can mix it up with anyone. Perhaps we are as young as the anger we feel? The injustices of the world will never go away and these are what fuel Napalm Death; so, they are ageless, really.

I sincerely don’t expect to find a better album anywhere this year. And the double-vinyl format does the recording huge justice.

Evilometer: 666/666