Don't let the opening church organ of "Apperance of Spirits of Darkness" fool you into thinking that Marduk's third album Opus Nocturne is going to be a walk in the park. Once that brief instrumental ends and the crashing sounds of "Sulpher Souls" begins, you'll know that you are once again in store for violent and extreme black metal as only Sweden's Marduk can deliver. Originally released in late 1994 and again mixed by Dan Swano, Opus Nocturne sees the band honing their style more, and by this time much of the death metal influences were gone in favor of a full-on black metal assault.
The first thing you notice is that the screeching vocals of Joakim Af Gravf are especially chilling and maniacal, which fits the raging blast beats from Fredrik Andersson and Morgan's razor sharp guitar work. Check out the almost Steve Harris-ish bass lines from B. War on "Sulpher Souls", which meets up with some melodic, almost prog-rock styled guitar passages from Morgan. "From Subterranean Throne Profound" is as intense a black metal piece as you can get, as the juggernaut of blast beats and vile screams from Gravf stab you mercilessly, allowing the warm blood to drain from your body leaving you cold and wasted. Things don't let up from here, as the brutal "Autumnal Reaper", with lyrics about the cold icy wastelands, gives you a feeling of icy despair while it's pummeling you into submission. The pronounced impact of B. War's beefier bass lines on this album is really felt throughout, and his melodic grooves on "Materialized in Stone" add another lead dimension to Marduk's already potent arsenal. Waves of manic yet melodic tremelo picked riffs permeate the 'full-speed-ahead' fury of "Untrodden Paths (Wolves Pt. 2) ", while the title track is an epic sounding piece that sees B. War's bass used almost as a keyboard, adding a huge symphonic element to this plodding death march of spoken work vocals and ethereal atmosphere. Crazed blast beats and blasphemous shrieks highlight "Deme Quaden Thyrane", while the closer "The Sun Has Failed" is simply a brutal slice of violent black metal, but with a dash of melody thrown in.
This reissue contains a few bonus rehearsal tracks, which are great for the Marduk collector, as you can hear how these songs progressed over the course of time before finally recorded for the album. The booklet is packed with photos of the band (donned in corpsepaint and spikes of course) and lyrics, so if you haven't yet taken the jump into Opus Nocturne by the mighty Marduk, this Regain Records re-release should be a mandatory purchase.
1. Apperance of Spirits of Darkness
2. Sulphur Souls
3. From Subterranean Throne Profound
4. Autumnal Reaper
5. Materialized in Stone
6. Untrodden Paths (Wolves Pt. 2)
7. Opus Nocturne
8. Deme Quaden Thyrane
9. The Sun Has Failed
10. Sulphur Souls -bonus rehearsal
11. Materialized in Stone -bonus rehearsal
12. Opus Nocturne -bonus rehearsal
13. Autumnal Reaper -bonus rehearsal