CD Review: ‘Frontschwein’ by Marduk

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Marduk’s formation. The Swedish black metal unit celebrates its formation with Frontschwein, its 13th record. The band returns to the theme of war on this record as each track details the tragedy and triumph of combat. The title track fires off the album in intense glory. “Frontschwein” is an all out assault of drums, guitars and screeching vocals. Things slow down on “The Blond Beast” to a mid paced groove as Mortuus details the horrors of global conflict. The lyric that particularly stands out is “a funeral nation with a funeral urge,” which encapsulates war’s senselessness. Marduk gives listeners a history lesson with “Afrika” which is about the North African Campaign of World War II. It is not everyday that one head bangs to history, but this is certainly an exception. The standout track is “Wartheland,” which advances like a battalion through a desolated city. The pummeling drums are a highlight, but it is Morgan’s guitar work that drives this track. The riffs roll like Panzers across cobblestone streets. The vicious stomp of “Between the Wolf-Packs” accentuates the lyrics; “Blood and ash/ severe reprisals ahead/ the blood is shaken in the Reich/ As thousand-fold vengeance takes form.”

The albums sound fine. The guitars, vocals and drums are clear and there is a raw attitude on this release. The production is not such that one will stand and take notice, but it suffices. Still, it is black metal, so black metal purists will deride Frontschwein for not being “true.” Then again, those purists have probably long abandoned Marduk.

Frontschwein is a good record. Marduk delivers the goods on this one and it is another notch in the band’s belt. These veterans of combat are just getting started.

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