posted on 12/2004 By:
With the return of Magnus Devo on bass and the recent addition of new vocalist Mortuus (known as Arioch for his work in Funeral Mist and Triumphator), Marduk churn out another mind-numbingly fast album of polished black metal. So after nine albums, have the WWII enthusiasts suddenly taken a new approach or...changed anything? Thankfully for most people, not much.
Still warlike and barbaric, the songs are shorter but just as intense as before. Easily some of the better vocals of the genre, Mortuus fits perfectly amongst one of the most established acts in metal. His snarling rasp and rhythmic delivery doesn't throw the band off or provide a completely different sound. Still incredibly forthright, vocal effects are on occasion added to deepen the sound, and you can also detect the closest thing to singing (extended yelling) found in a Marduk release. As assumed, they still have their Egyptian/Assyrian leanings in their guitar playing. The bass presence is stronger this time around, but the unreal drumming feels overshadowed by the rest of the instrumentation. "Warschau", with a slight thrashy tendency, could draw comparisons to Angel Corpse, while "Everything Bleeds" is more akin to other countrymen of the same genre due to the use of melody. Discluding the noise/instrumental/sample-laden track, "Deathmarch", there's actually two slower and relenting tracks, "Seven Angels, Seven Trumpets" along with "Perish In Flames". Here is where I feel the band moves into hostile territory, as the songwriting becomes more apparent after being masked behind speed for so long. Given that one of these tracks is only three minutes, and the other is seven with an intense melodic interlude, it's forgivable. "Blutrache", the final track, is the crowning achievement of the album. Relying on anxious guitar playing in the verses, the song breaks down into actual time changes.
Despite how refined and vicious Plague Angel is, it's almost forgetful. Somewhat of a downfall/characteristic of the genre in general, there's just a few problems with finding parts to really hold on to. While still falling behind their earlier releases which left such lasting impressions, Plague Angel is what you'd expect from one of the largest black metal bands around. It won't win any awards, necessarily, but it's a fine addition to the Marduk catalogue. Fans will be pleased.
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