Opus Nocturne (Reissue)
posted on 7/2007 By:
Opus Nocturne, Marduk’s third landmark among their seemingly infinite catalog, is the first in this batch of reissues to be deemed moderately essential. Yeah, Dark Endless is a charmer, but in the end, it’s far from mandatory. This album is filled with far more piss and venom than their previous spinners, and is the fullest realization of their intended mission. A 45-minute exhibit of youthful vitriol stacked with just enough songwriting swagger to keep things lively, this is arguably the band’s finest moment.
With the addition of drummer Fredrik Andersson, the band makes a marked shift in emphasis. This time around, the guitars are no longer the focal point--Andersson’s ultra-tight, lightspeed drumming is front and center. No mere blast robot, he displays some damned impressive footwork here as well, and his artistic presence allows B. War to truly shine on bass for the first time. His bubbling, sinewy lines rip recklessly, threatening to fall off the rails at any second. Somehow, he keeps himself together and turns in one of the sickest bass performances in black metal history…Necromantia aside.
This is a rhythm-driven record, and the production drives that point home. When jacked to maximum volume, the drums are heart-smashing. And you’ll have to jack it up to fully appreciate it, because despite the suitable production, this recording just isn’t loud enough. Picking up the nuances of the guitar work is an impossible task at lower volumes. This is only a minor detriment; think of it as Litany’s older BM cousin. In truth, by retreating from the forefront, Morgan Håkansson actually enhances his 6-string presence by stepping up to the plate only at the most appropriate moments. Melody is sparse, as symbiosis with the kit annihilation is the objective.
That symbiotic energy makes this the first (last?) great Marduk album. In perfect lockstep, each of these tracks is a skull-shattering, bile-spraying shotgun blast. It’s the work of a band who’ve set out to create a bullshit-free sonic maelstrom, but never abandoned the desire to ride a catchy groove. This is Marduk at their lowest level of self-awareness, before they spiraled into self-parody by trying to one-up themselves. And, adjectives aside, there’s really only one good reason to listen to this album: there’s just something special about hearing a then-young black metal band play their balls off while firing on all cylinders. Back in 1994, this must’ve been a serious Satanic kick in the sack…and here in 2007, it still is. Bloodsoaked minions looking to round out their collection would do well to seek this out and blast the hell out of “Sulphur Souls” until their lawn dies.
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