The year is 1992, Black Metal was a burgeoning scene filled with youngsters wanting to fill the audiospace with unfiltered hatred, or at least whine about something, but in a manly way. MARDUK was a young band who already left their scorched path on the Swedish scene by releasing the (obviously) offensive “Fuck Me Jesus” and “Here’s No Peace” which were both (relatively) well accepted. A year later MARDUK dropped their first LP: “Dark Endless”, a hybrid of Black Metal style and Rock Out. The haunting vocals of Andreas “Dread” Axelsson, the static drumming of Joakim “Af Gravf” Göthberg, the bass lines of Richard Kalm and of course the riffs of Morgan (then) "Evil" Häkansson combined to make an album that was both solid and relatively fresh.
The album now opens up with “The Eye Of Funeral” which is just the creepy intro but a separate track and right then and there a classic was born as “Still Fucking Dead (Here’s No Peace)” starts up and kicks your teeth in. Other classics like “Departure From The Mortals” shows a fairly slow MARDUK with keyboard highlights, while other songs like “The Funeral Seemed To Be Endless” or the title track show a much more Rock Out (not in a gay way) MARDUK. I really don’t feel the necessity of explaining each track as if anyone who is familiar with early MARDUK knows it’s pretty straightforward.
So with the widely spreading popularity of MARDUK Blooddawn decided to re-release all the older MARDUK albums, “Those Of The Unlight”, “Opus Nocturne”, “Heaven Shall Burn” and the one under review: “Dark Endless” all with snazzy new features. So what do we have on the new version of “Dark Endless”?
Well for starters the live tracks are a real kick, a small intimate club where MARDUK played way before anyone knew what “Wolves” sounds like and before anyone really knew who MARDUK was. The sound is actually pretty good, having a less bootlegged sound and one more akin to a professional (or as professional as MARDUK was then) mix. The crowd interacts and MARDUK and you can hear cheering and some fans speaking about something in the middle of tracks and I like this, a lot. MARDUK plows through classics extremely well, and already shows the workhorse mentality we've come to expect from live MARDUK. The really raw feeling of these tracks makes the re-mastered “Dark Endless” worth the price. This is another thing worth mentioning, the sound is much better although "Dark Endless" still has a hollow sound to it, everything is much cleaner in the mix.
So with “Rom 5:12” just being released here in the States, new versions of both “World Funeral” and “La Grande Danse Macabre” available and the new DVD “Blood Puke Salvation” widely distributed, it might be a good time to revisit the boys of the Panzer Division. While the album itself is not really that great, the bonus material on “Dark Endless” bumps the score up and makes it a good purchase for fans.
(Online June 27, 2007)