Released: 2007, Regain Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Sweden´s long running and productive Black Metal pioneers, Marduk, have returned back with... Well, actually I haven´t managed to keep the record about all of their releases to this very date, so let´s just say ´another new album´ on their respectable long album roster. ROM 5:12, being the title of Marduk´s new 10-song opus, was also the last album to feature the band´s drummer Emil, who has been replaced by Lars B - just to give this tiny update to all of you for background info.
As we talk about Marduk here, fans of the band should know what to expect from the blistering high-octane panzer division called Marduk. These Swedish Black Metal mongers truly know how to add more ´Rambos´ into their uncompromising, blitzkrieg-ish assaults in order to achieve a full effect for their total annihilation. This sinister troop has always been very good at high-speed tempos. Those well-known elements are strongly present on the band´s new album, ROM 5:12. The songs that reach typical Marduk speeds on this latest effort, are “Cold Mouth Prayer”, “Though the Belly of Damnation”, “Limbs of Worship”, “Vanity of Vanities”, and “Voices from Avignon”. Total annihilation is guaranteed in the good n´ ol Marduk -style. The other half of ROM 5:12 introduces Marduk´s slower side, and in my opinion Marduk has never really managed to shine THAT convincingly with their slower material with only a few exceptions. The album´s opener, “The Levelling Dust”, is for the most part, a mid-paced song, but it also is one of my favorites numbers off this new album with its totally catchy, spellbinding riffs. Let’s not forget Mortuus´ excellent, morbid sounding vocal performance completely either. “Imago Mortis” belongs to that league of ´a chosen few exceptions´ in which they prove to have enough skills to write well-crafted, slower songs. “Imago Mortis” is built with simple ingredients, but as soon as you get these pieces together the right way, the song starts to speak for itself. Also a song titled “Accuser/Opposer” gets a fair mention for introducing itself as the album’s most hypnotic and doomy song, featuring Alan “Nemtheange” Averill from the Irish band Primordial for the session vocals.
Marduk is one of those bands that just are there, making a new album almost every year - and it’s really hard to bring out any groundbreaking news about them. With ROM 5:12 they continue spewing out mercilessly their blasphemous themes in the most vicious and hateful style we know. If you are a Marduk fan, then there’s simply nothing there that could stop you from checking out this latest opus. Marduk cannot sound like any other band except Marduk itself – and that´s the case with ROM 5:12 as well. A very solid release from them again, nothing extraordinary, nothing outstanding, just a good Marduk release with all that wickedness involved therein.