Marduk, "La Grande Danse Macabre"
These Swedes have been at it for a long time. Their sound is recognized throughout the scene as hate filled, evil black metal that is faster than probably every other band out there. In fact, some of their works have become difficult to digest and their musical ideas convoluted due to their speed (Panzer Division Marduk and Heaven Shall Burn?). On some discs the band managed to intermingle slower tracks with fast ones, and the result was much more palatable (Nightwing and Those of the Unlight), but for their debut with Century Media, La Grande Danse Macabre, Marduk's sense of control and moderation has not really helped them. The disc is just plain dull. "Azrael," "Obedience Unto Death" and the tracks listed at the bottom of this review are fast, but the other six songs on the album are slow, and some are downright plodding. For a group whose biggest draw is their speed, this disc just doesn't make sense. It's really disappointing because I could see Marduk doing a great album with songs this speed; they just don't manage to pull it off this time. Oh, and one more gripe, once again, Tommy Tagtgren's clear yet intrusive Abyss Studios overproduction has hindered a band's sound, making it too crisp and taking away any sort of individuality (other bands who have suffered this fate recently include Dominion Caligula, Unmoored and The Forsaken).