It’s always a shame when you listen to a band’s new release, and have to turn it off to listen to an earlier album, while thinking of a happier time before their music changed for the worse. Thankfully, Serpent Sermon is nothing but proof that Marduk’s music has not only stayed consistent, but has something different to offer for each album. Now 12 albums into their discography, Marduk has managed to create yet another masterpiece with the same dark atmosphere that the band is known for.
In 1990, the band formed in Norrköping, Sweden, starting off as a death metal band with black metal elements. After the original line-up released a demo with the controversial name, Fuck Me Jesus (1991), a guitarist was added and the bassist was replaced. The line-up changed again with the release of Opus Nocturne. Following the re-release of Fuck Me Jesus, Grave, the vocalist, was replaced by Legion who stayed with the band until 2004, and then again, the line-up changed with Arioch (better known as Mortuus) of Funeral Mist joining the band. With a small gap of time in between studio albums, Marduk returned with the release of Plague Angel. Currently, Mortuus keeps the band alive with his coarse vocals, and much like their first full-length album, Dark Endless, Marduk continues to create a chaotic atmosphere despite the many line-up changes. The band’s current lineup of Mortuus, Evil, Devo, and Lars, may just be their most potent one yet.
Sharing the same name as the album, the first song Serpent Sermon has a dark first impression with the intro fading in from silence, it gives insight of the album to come. Between the riffs and fitting production of Mortuus’ vocals, Souls For Belial showcases a cold feeling that made it my most repeated track off of the album. With Into Second Death’s abrupt, fast-paced intro it creates an intense rush of adrenaline; while the song Temple Of Decay is slower, giving off an eerie feeling. Damnation’s Gold, is very well-composed with a rough sound while the harmonious intro is repeated through out the song. M.A.M.M.O.N., is a mixture of both slow and fast melodies with an ending that leaves you wanting more, and easily falls second as one of my most repeated songs off of the album. Overall the album met my expectations with it’s melodious riffs, clear yet rough vocals, and complex percussion. It’s definitely something a Marduk or any Black Metal fan should pick up.
As a whole, Serpent Sermon harbors the sinister feeling Marduk is known for, without needing to sound like it was recorded in a closet with a toaster (or a headset if you will), which many Black Metal bands have to resort to in order to attempt to attain the same ambiance. Their upcoming U.S. tour in support of the album will undoubtedly, be a “can’t miss”. Between their frequent cancellations of tours due to problems with the American embassy, and the quality of the album the tour was named after, the show will be amazing, as well as a perfect representation of their music; dark, sinister, and mind-blowing.
We had the chance to interview Steinmeyer, a couple weeks back.
The album is set to be release on May 28th in Europe, and on June 5th in the US. Tour dates can be found here
1. Serpent Sermon
2. Messianic Pestilence
3. Souls For Belial
4. Into Second Death
5. Temple Of Decay
6. Damnation’s Gold
7. Hail Mary (Piss-Soaked Genuflexion)
9. Gospel Of The Worm
10. World Of Blades