There’s no need for any introductions for a band like Marduk, their 20 year long career proves it all. In 2012 they come with “Serpent Sermon“, the successor of the very good albums “Rom 5:12” and “Wormwood“. Besides all, I can hardly recall as mediocre any record in Marduk’s discography. The new album is slightly more sophisticated and a bit more atmospheric than the past albums, but surely is a new deadly weapon in Marduk’s arsenal, and the main responsible for this is Mortuus who gave an extra boost to the band’s sound, after his stabilization in 2004.

Beginning with the self titled song, the main character of the album becomes evident. The glorious bestial sound of Marduk, the smashing blastbeats, the sickening growls and the fucking raw refrain riff consist generally the music structure of the record. “Messianic Pestilence” reminds a lot the epic “World Funeral” with its crazy triplets and thirty-second rhythmic, before we have the best song of the album in my opinion. I think that “Souls Of Belial” is the darkest and sickest song that the band ever wrote and Mortuus ever sang. From the start with the grim drone-like guitar sounds with the grim vocals, the endless carving tremolo pickings on guitar, along with Lars who seems to destroy the kit, ’til the dark breakdowns in the middle and the melodic pickings who cut it off, the track is a total black metal hymn. “Into Second Death” somehow brings in my mind the tracks from “Wormwood” and although it could fit perfectly in that album, its ritualistic composition can match in “Serpent Sermon” too.

As I said, “Serpent Sermon” moves a step further from the previous raw (in the majority) albums. The proof is “Temple Of Decay”, a unique Marduk song with a lot of atmosphere and slow tempo and its composition doesn’t remind the composition of black metal music. But Mortuus succeeds with his poisonous vocals to turn this track into a dark and occult black metal song. “Damnation’s Gold” is the second favorite song of mine and the fans especially of “Nightwing” and “Panzer Division Marduk” era will like it. It has everything that a proper black metal song could have. Raw tremolo pickings, smashing drums, guitar melodies, growls and with the addition of drone break downs and some bombastic elements in the song, consist a total black metal storm that takes heads off. Well, other songs like “Hail Mary (Piss-soaked Genuflexion)” and “Gospel Of Worms” are usual Marduk songs, and though they are simply hellish black metal songs, they are still effective. In the ritual character of “Serpent Sermon” can be added “M.A.M.M.O.N.”, too. The guitar melodies and the deep growls emerge a dark cold atmosphere, which is fusible in the whole three-minute song’s duration. The final “World Of Blades” is the peak of the “Serpent Sermon” character. These chords, the bass lines and slow drumming creates a mystical atmosphere which drifts the vocals to a black metal ritual.

As usually, every Marduk record is a great black metal landmark, no matter who the vocalist is. Of course with Mortuus on their side, the Swedes are getting better and better as “Serpent Sermon” reveals. It has everything of Marduk’s music in it, with an additional atmosphere that is distinctive inside the raw black metal sound and combined perfectly with it. For that reason, “Serpent Sermon” is simply one of the best black metal records of the year. And so do Marduk, they are getting one of the best black metal bands. The new album was an ultimate hit for me, and this is not because the Swedes are a big name.

Track List Line Up
01. Serpent Sermon
02. Messianic Pestilence
03. Souls Of Belial
04. Into Second Death
05. Temple Of Decay
06. Damnation’s Gold
07. Hail Mary (Piss-soaked Genuflexion)
08. M.A.M.M.O.N.
09. Gospel Of The Worm
10. World Of Blades
Mortuus – Vocals
Evil – Guitars
Devo – Bass
Lars Brodesson – Drums