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Marduk - Viktoria

Label: Century Media
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7/10

For good or ill, better or worse, Marduk cast thunder and shadows without nuance. Subtlety be damned, their 2018 “Viktoria” album is one-dimensional, full throttle, Black Metal aggression to appease the grandchildren of Slayer, Venom, Death, Kreator, and, well, Marduk. These guys have been banging your heads and shocking your parents since 1990. Twenty-eight years later, they’re still Thrashing with the intensity of men half their age, with no midlife crisis anywhere in sight.


Marduk are not for everyone - - in fact, they’re not for most people; they never have been. They set out to be the most blasphemous band in the world, and have continued to push buttons over their entire careers, even with guitarist Morgan Håkansson as the only remaining original band member. Many shock and awe Metal bands get laughed off or excused as not really meaning it, but Marduk somehow seem to succeed in their quest to outrage and controversy. For what it’s worth, it seems to me that they're Nihilists trying to shake shit up. Call me naive, but I think you can enjoy their stuff with a clear conscience. Morgan has said in interviews that Marduk try to make the music and lyrics match, in order to paint the same picture - - so it could be nothing more than matching maximum harshness with maximum harshness.
And so, “Viktoria” is for you If you dig extremes in Metal. Marduk’s history is littered with shock factor song titles and lyrical subject matter, running the gamut from Satanism to gore to nazis in World War II, but - - and maybe I’m not listening closely enough; it’s not as if the words are easily discernible - - they seem to have toned down that part of their act on “Viktoria.” So maybe they have mellowed a bit? Ha. Don’t get me wrong, “Equestrian Bloodshed” is still a long way off from “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The lead single, “Werwolf,” (sic) focuses on war themes, utilizes sirens and atonal shouts from a children’s choir; it doesn’t sound like the rest of the record, but still keeps the ferocity on the forefront. They do a nice job of switching tempos, and skipping deftly from vicious blast-beats to slow to slower tempos. Impressively, Morgan is their only guitarist, and he manages to carry a lot of sound on his six strings.
You know who you are, if this is your thing. If it is, then I can’t say that this will be your favorite Marduk record, but it will be near the top of your list. It’s definitely too much for the majority of the music world, and probably even too much for a large portion of the Metal world, but I don’t think they give a fuck. I can guarantee that “Viktoria” will satisfy your need for brutality.

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