After "Panzerdivision Marduk" the Black Metal-community had been anxious for the next album of the Gentlemen Steinmeyer and co. As I had found no liking to the high-speed-Black of that album it was both surprising and appealing to hear that MARDUK have not tried to continue in the vein of it, but, as they don't have anything to prove in terms of heaviness, they put more emphasis on song-structures and also melodies and atmosphere, yet without "whimping out", as some might fear because of those words alone.
After the slow-paced introduction-instrumental "Ars Moriendi" the four blackhearts prove with "Azrael" that they still master the brutal and nihilistic Black Metal-attack, yet don't speed through it all the way, but include less intense passages. Roughly in the same vein, just even more uncompromising, go "Death Sex Ejaculation" and "Jesus ChristůSodomized".
On the opposite side we have the very melodious instrumental piece "Pompa Funebris 1600" and the very epic and melodic "La Grande Danse Macabre", in which MARDUK clearly show that they don't have to try to go through the wall, while "Summers End" shows the Swedes as melodic as never before. Musically it hasn't got any real connection with Black Metal anymore, slow-paced with melodic guitars and a very audible bass, only the voice reminds of the band that is responsible for it, very good!
But all who already have words of accusation ready, that MARDUK are just the next band "selling out", yadda, yadda, yadda, should first listen to the album, because "La Grande Danse Macabre" clearly shows how much this band truly has in store, everybody, who can befriend Legion's voice, will find something here, for the first time I give a "thumbs up" for MARDUK!