La Grande Danse Macabre (2008)
2008, Regain Records
Marduk, "La Grande Danse Macabre (2008)"
The 2008 re-release (damn, most albums at least make it to a decade before they're remastered) of Marduk's 'La Grande Danse Macabre' finds itself situated with a live performance DVD featuring mostly songs from the album littered with some all-too-familiar classics ('Panzer Division Marduk,' 'Sulphur Souls,' etc.). You know what to expect from a Marduk live show: fast, evil, engaging black metal. Legion's kinda funny to watch (the hip-thrust move he does is priceless), and B.War's really, REALLY fun to watch. Suffice it to say, Marduk fans should enjoy the set, and newcomers should be converted.
That leaves the CD, which is often seen as the worst Marduk album recorded. In the eyes of this reviewer, a bad Marduk CD beats out a lot of other music, and if 'La Grande Danse Macabre' is in fact their worst effort, then Marduk really have quite a pedigree of terrorizing, slightly cheeky, but ultimately satisfying black metal under their belts. From the supercharged firestorm 'Azrael' to the doomy, plodding 'Bonds of Unholy Matrimony,' and back to the scourging speed of 'Death Sex Ejaculation' and 'Jesus Christ...Sodomized,' there's a lot to be found on this album that warrants a listen or two. The instrumentals are skippable (though I kinda like 'Pompa Funebris 1600'), but where Legion enters and decimates the microphone is where Marduk shines like the brightest, reddest, most-upside-down five-pointed star in the sky.
The best part of this album is B.War's bass playing, enhanced by a Tägtren production. I felt he had already established himself on earlier Marduk albums ('Heaven Shall Burn' wins something hard), but on this he punches out such intricate, groovy, but still Christ-molestingly metal bass riffs, and on songs like 'Funeral Bitch' and especially 'Bonds of Unholy Matrimony,' he flies all over his neck without compromising the dark atmosphere. Whatever he was fed as a kid has mutated him into one of the most malicious and dynamic bass players in black metal.
The reason this album takes such an overwhelming amount of flak is because it's the follow-up to 'Panzer Division Marduk,' which is admittedly the crown jewel in the Marduk discography. But to completely discredit 'La Grande Danse Macabre' because of the album that preceded it would be a big, bad mistake. I really dig this album...no, not as much as 'PDM' or 'Those of the Unlight,' but it's still a face-kicking bloody black metal mess.
Besides, could YOU have done a better job following up 'Panzer Division Marduk?'