Ah, the Black Metal War Machine's pre-millennial campaign, hyped out of all proportion but required listening at least once. A slash and dash delight as MARDUK stick the boot in one track after the other, moving from one victim to the other, leaving a bloody mess in their wake.
Ironically the cover art belies what “Panzer Division Marduk” sounds like to some extent, the depiction of heavy tanks might suggest a trundle of heavy Black Metal but, to me, it sounds like a storm of blades. The riffs slice and dice rather than pound and as a consequence the ever blasting drums have to be kept lower in the mix so as not to overwhelm the guitars. Does it matter? Hell no, the incisive gutting provided would hold an Icelandic fish wives convention in rapture such is the speed and deftness of the blade-work.
The dark clouds gather from the start, it has to be said that for evoking the chaos of mechanised battle this album hits the mark, you can imagine the Panzers and T-34's turning each other into explosions of fuel and red hot flying shards of metal. That's the point really, it is the burning diesel jetting from tank carcasses and steel splinters lancing through the air that are brought to mind rather than the whoomf of the detonations themselves. Imagine the result of a bomb going off in a Swiss army knife factory and you'll have a clue as to the type of carnage “PDM” evokes.
You must have been on a South Pacific island rendered deaf by the ample bosoms of polynesian beauties pressed against your head if you haven't heard that this album is a bit fast. It is jolly fast indeed but so are lots of other albums, the difference is in the execution and here MARDUK make like a BM guillotine. To say that this is relentless is stating the bleeding obvious, there really is no let up from start to finish, those drums in particular just machine gun it without any thought of a pause. The six strings are a house of flying daggers, you'll lose your ears and other dangly bits in no time at all. All this edge is complimented by the uber rumble of the bass which jack hammers with anvil clarity throughout.
There are some glorious riffs to fence away the monotony of such furious fleetness, such as the vampiric embellishment at the end of the title track (and I mean nasty bastard throat ripping not flouncy frill shirted romantic bollocks.) Crowd favourites “Christraping Black Metal” and “Fistfucking Gods Planet” also rip you from any reverie and slice your face off. As you can imagine, MARDUK are not about spreading a message of sweetness and light and the snarled vocals hammer home in no uncertain terms what God's children can do as well as illustrating on the war orientated songs one way of doing it. All in all this as vicious an experience as sharing a paddling pool with a school of Piranhas.
Despite revelling in the glory of “Panzer Division Marduk” when I first got it, I have to say I now listen to it less frequently. Repeated listening does reduce the impact somewhat and so I tend to play it when in the mood for some uncompromising all out aural assault that comes with immediate impact. The flesh flaying result ensures I can have the house to myself (and if I turn up the volume, the whole street.) Despite the extremity, there is a groove to the album, thanks mainly to that rich bass rumble and insistent riffing. Forget the RAMONES, this is the real Blitzkrieg Bop. (Online August 17, 2006)