I woke up this morning thinking “I want to listen to some new black metal.” I pulled up my usual sources and subsequently spent about 20 minutes scrolling through “shoegaze black” and “post-black” and “progressive black” “transcendental esoteric aesthetic neo-black” and, well, I was getting annoyed. Then I remembered I’d overlooked a new Marduk EP back in May, and now I am happy.
Warschau 2: Headhunter Halfmoon
Because Marduk never disappoint. They certainly aren’t among my favorite black metal bands, but they come with a sort of guarantee. When you see “Marduk”, you hear violent, completely unforgiving Swedish-style black metal, pretty much without exception. Even their mellow moments are by average standards brutal. That has at least been the case since I started listening to them (Panzer Division Marduk, 1999), and it certainly holds on Iron Dawn.
Typical Swedish-style black metal has always been a little bland to me, and I think that’s the only reason I don’t sing their praises more. Within that limited genre, of the bands I’ve heard they’re second only to Endstille.
Modern warfare has been a common theme in their music for a long time now, and they don’t necessarily bring anything new to that perspective on Iron Dawn, but I do think this EP, especially this song, makes exceptionally good use of sound effects. The sirens and exploding bombs seem to meld with the relentless blast beats perfectly to maintain the song’s intensity.
Prochorovka: Blood and Sunflowers
The album progressively mellows out, though “mellow” is a very relative term here. For the sake of not posting the EP in its entirety, I’ll go ahead and skip the middle track. (Though I must say, until I read the track title, “Wacht Am Rhein: Drumbeats of Death”, I thought he was screaming “droppings of death”, as in a broken English attempt at describing aerial bombardment, and had in mind a vision of especially volatile poop.)
Prochorovka is a slow plod that maintains the brutality in spite of dropping the blast beats. Again the warfare sound effects serve as percussion and paint a nasty vision of sub-human slaughter. Good times.
I don’t have much to say about Iron Dawn, or any other Marduk album for that matter. They’ve just kept doing their thing over the years, and if you like one album there’s a good chance you’ll like them all. In a time when straight up brutal black metal with no pretentious trappings is getting harder and harder to come by, it served my momentary mood well.