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Marduk - Opus Nocturne
Review: Simple but compositionally aware fast black metal, Marduk evolved from the death metal camp to write fast elemental riffs overlaid with melodic subtext to create engaging material of enduring interest.
Complexity is not the goal but compositional awareness and some avoidance of totally predictable tonal progressions augment the power of this music which is in the rigorous guitar rhythms and the unrelenting high speed drums which blast precision double bass under furious bashing snare and delicate, inflected highhat nicking which rides over the blast as a rising spirit of decease.
Using the simple elements of basic chord construction Marduk strum overlapping elements of triads to form melodies, or bend them out of a succession of power chords on a stamping snare beat. Vocals are fast and growling shriek, a squirreling voice coming screaming out of eternity one moment and a paced war-chant the next, all under dubs and echo spreading the diffuse chalkthroated howl.
All rhythms fit together like self-enclosable units overlapped to provide a simple sense of connectedness to the whole, while distributing an individual signature made essential by their tonal similarity. Deconstructionist theory functions here, although not on the conceptual level of Immortal or Burzum and more essentially at a fast dark music level, where the sound and timbre of power chords creates an entirely different compositional style denigrated by the uninitiated.
The military undercurrents of such precision based music are not emphasized but the essential violence shines through, providing a strange currency of negativity to the aspirant rhythms and melodies. No awards for vast profundity but this album delivers satisfactory metal with a unique style and distinctive attribute of insanely fast, precision drumming.