MARDUK – Frontschwein
If my maths is correct, then ‘Frontschwein’ is the lucky 13th full-length from Swedish blasphemers Marduk. As you can guess from the cover, ‘Frontschwein’ sees the band return to one of their favourite topics – WWII. The title translates as ‘front pig,’ a reference to the soldiers who served as cannon fodder during this dreadful conflict. Thematically, all satanic imagery and reference is dropped this time around as the band dedicates the full album to cataloguing the horrors of war. Having spoken to Morgan about his choice of subject matter in the past, we at ET know that he professes a great interest in this, one of the darker periods in mankind’s history. However, some critics have questioned the use of imagery and narrative focus that could perhaps broadly be interpreted as leaning towards the Nazi side. Morgan’s answer was that Marduk are examining things they find interesting and that those who have a problem with that can go fuck themselves. So there you have it! Personally though, even though I am a massive history buff, I find the satanic angle more appealing in terms of atmosphere and feel. Song titles like ‘Afrika’ do nothing for me. Check out the lyrics – ‘Fever, cramps and diarrhoea – as easy as 1 2 3.’ Sounds more like my local take-away than a BM anthem!
On to the music, then. First thing of note is that Rage Nucleaire sticksman Fredrik Widigs makes his studio debut for Marduk here. Those familiar with Fred’s work will know how solid he is behind the kit (and would Marduk fans expect anything but the best to replace Lars Broddesson?) Happy to report that he does an excellent job here. Musically then, it is business as usual for Marduk. ‘Frontschwein’ continues the decade long run of very strong albums starting with Mortuus’ debut with the band. There is no great change in approach – Marduk offer up the same mix of fast and slow tracks, all carried off with equal skill and ease, and all of them hitting the mark. Even though many of the numbers show off Marduk’s blistering speed, overall ‘Frontschwein’ feels a tad less brutal than some of the band’s previous records. Mortuus feels more ‘contained’ and less experimental too, but neither of these points does anything to lower the appeal of this album.
Overall then, another fine release from Marduk. Not quite up there with ‘Rom 5.12′ and ‘Wormwood’ for my money, but certainly one of the best BM releases I have heard in recent months and will do nothing to damage the ardour of fans. Definitely worth the price of admission.