The Swedish black metal juggernaut known as Marduk have never been known for their subtlety, and they are back with their 13th release of war-themed chaos, titled Frontschwein. As with all of the Marduk discography, this one's not for the faint of heart, as Mortuus (vocals), Morgan (guitars), Devo (bass), and Fredrik Widigs (drums) have put together a collection of songs that pummel the listener from all angles, with buzzsaw guitar riffs, relentless drum blasting, and maniacal growling all providing for a wealth of brutality.
Lyrically, the band are back on their WW2 themed kick again, which you can plainly see by some of the song titles. The title track kicks thing off in fine fashion, complete with some of the juiciest riffs of Morgan's career and effective screaming from Mortuus. "The Blond Beast" crushes, and "Afrika" steamrolls everything in its path, a clear nod back to the raging violence of Panzer Division Marduk days, with non-stop blasting, savage riffs, and Mortuus wailing away like a demon possessed. Things slow down ever so slightly on the dirge-like "Wartheland", complete with chilling screams from Mortuus, while the pace once again takes a frantic stance on the raging maelstrom that is "Rope of Regret". Things don't let up on "Between the Wolf Packs", so if you though the blasting would take a breather, forget about it. Morgan's riffs on this one are immense, and once again, Mortuss is shrieking like a man in complete agony. The band dip into some experimental doom on " Nebelwerfer", a style they've dabbled in on the last few albums, but launch right back into chaotic, primal black metal on the intense "Falaise: Cauldron of Blood", complete with some unbelievable drumming from Widigs. That takes us into the 8+ minute "Doomsday Elite", a dense, intricate stew of textured riffs and tortured vocals as only Marduk can deliver. Despite its length, this one flows quite nicely and delivers the brutality as well as some passages of pure beauty. "503" once again delivers crushing doom, and the album closes out in manic fashion with "Thousand-Fold Death", a non-stop assault on your senses with riffs, screams, & blasts pounding like a jackhammer, not content to let up until the victim has been rendered senseless in a bloody heap.
Thankfully, Marduk has learned over the years to throw in some variety on their albums to temper the fury a bit. A handful of the tracks here are unrelenting, and we've already had plenty of albums from them where the non-stop assault can get taxing, so it's a good thing for the presence of some of the more doom laden numbers that can be found here. The end result though is another crushing album from this veteran band.
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2. The Blond Beast
5. Rope of Regret
6. Between the Wolf-Packs
8. Falaise: Cauldron of Blood
9. Doomsday Elite
11. Thousand-Fold Death