Marduk have a long and storied history that not all our readers are aware of. So before getting into the Marduk Serpent Sermon review, let us first provide a quick overview of Marduk’s past.
Marduk, the band…
In the early 1990s, Norway was the land of black metal. Burzum, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Immortal, Emperor, these were the bands pushing the boundaries of heavy metal. But Norway was not the only European country to breed musicians with rebellion and blasphemy in their hearts. In 1990, the Kingdom of Sweden produced a group that have been playing black metal for over 2 decades now, Marduk.
Fast forward 22 years later and Marduk are releasing their twelvth studio album, Serpent Sermon. Half of the original line-up are not on this release, but founding members Morgan “Evil” Steinmeyer Håkansson and Magnus “Devo” Andersson are still around to lend musical sincerity to this classic black metal group. The vocalist on “Serpent Sermon”, who joined Marduk in 2004, is Daniel “Mortuus” Rostén. Mortuus ain’t fucking around when it comes to black metal either; he once stated, “A band that claims to play Black Metal must always have Satanism and nothing but Satanism as the highest priority in their music and concept as well as in their personal lives…”
Marduk “Serpent Sermon” Review
When a group has been playing the same specific sub-genre of metal for so long, some will question how original or creative a band like Marduk can be. Well let me assure everyone that Serpent Sermon is one of Marduk’s most creative releases to date. Marduk stay true to the spirit of black metal with goblin vomit vocals, chainsawed guitar riffs, and embattled blast beats. However, they also add a level of musicianship that includes enough hooks and rhythm changes to keep the listener’s attention for the entire 55 minutes.
Serpent Sermon opens with the beating of epic war drums that quickly erupt into a classic Marduk track with blast beats and the occasional down-time to allow blackened spoken word.
“Messianic Pestilence” follows the title track with more ferocity and speed. This song is also layered with a dark melody that continues throughout a lot of the song, though in different arrangements. “Messianic Pestilence” was one of my favorites by Marduk this time around.
Skip ahead a few songs and you’ll come across “Temple of Decay”. This track slows down a bit and is carried by a couple real sorrowful and dark riffs, and deep growls backed by doom chanting. While this is definitely a more accessible track by Marduk, it would still scare the shit out of any turd rock fan.
The second to last black metal concoction on Serpent Sermon is “World of Blades”. I love the chorus in the song; Marduk goes with a discordant and mixed time signature arrangement, that really brings out the extreme nature of their worldview. I couldn’t find lyrics for “World of Blades” but I’m assuming war is the primary metaphor of this song, especially with its shouted monologue about half way through. About two thirds into “World of Blades” the song takes a more ambient turn, as the final minute is a real melodic and darkly soothing jam.
Marduk closes out Serpent Sermon with “Coram Satanae”. Clocking in at eight minutes this is the longest song on the record. “Coram Satanae” begins with a 1970s Black Sabbath/early doom metal sound. Marduk’s use of a clock tower bell and heavy metal riff are then transformed into a more black metal appropriate arrangement about two minutes in. For the next 4 minutes or so it is fast melodic black metal. Then Marduk go back to that old school heavy metal riff to close out Serpent Sermon.
Marduk have been around a long time and have consistently put out some solid black metal albums. They’ve remained true to the brand of metal they perform and are unwavering on the philosophy and worldviews they hold. Serpent Sermon is a more solid production of the classic Marduk sound and is, in my opinion, a really good black metal record.
If you would like to leave a Marduk Serpent Sermon review, we encourage you to do so in our comments/ratings section.
Here’s the new Marduk video for “Souls For Belial” from Serpent Sermon. It’s some real evil shit.
Album: Serpent Sermon
Release Date: June 5th, 2012
Label: Century Media