La Grande Danse Macabre
Released: 2001, Century Media
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
This is the month of Marduk here at Metal-Rules! I had hoped to be able to augment my positive review of the Marduk show in Portland with a positive review of their new album, LA GRANDE DANSE MACABRE. My wish has come true, because I thought this album was a hell of an ass-kicker!
First of all, some business to tend to: yes, this is much slower than PANZER DIVISION MARDUK. If you were expecting Sweden’s premier black metal band to top themselves yet again by breaking their own record for the fastest or most extreme album ever detonated, you should come back down to earth for a moment. But for what it is, LA GRANDE DANSE MACABRE is excellent. After a snappy intro, “Arazel” chills the blood with some very traditional, blasphemous, early-90s style black metal action. Slowing down – yes, PANZER DIVISION fans, I said slowing down – is the next track, “Pompa Funebris 1660,” an instrumental, which actually manages to sound (GASP!) doomy in some of its tortured, down-tuned stretches. It was probably something of an afterthought on the album, but it’s one of my favorite tracks. Clearly the highlight of the album is the title track. It marches into audibility with the slow, inexorable certainty of a medieval army, and also has a doomy rhythm, but it’s unmistakably black metal. It’s also something of an epic, clocking in at just over eight minutes. As we saw at the Marduk show, the live crowd pleaser on the album is unquestionably the final track, “Jesus Christ…Sodomized,” which serves up Scandinavian-style black metal blasphemy every bit as offensive and blistering as you’ve come to expect from a band of this caliber.
Thus, while much slower than its predecessor, and much more of a different tenor, for me personally LA GRANDE DANSE MACABRE is a triumph. There aren’t that many black metal albums I listen to on a regular basis, but I’m seriously considering adding this one to the rotation. Then again, I like Rotting Christ’s later albums – so what do I know about black metal? But, overall, I whole-heartedly recommend this album to anyone with even a tepid interest in black metal.