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Review by Felix on May 20, 2019.
The antique drama has always fascinated the audience and the rise and fall of the National Socialist movement of Adolf Hitler was probably the ultimate, most devastating and most criminal perversion of its script. This might be a reason why the horrors of World War II are still present, at least in Germany, but also in further parts of Europe. And the sheer size of the military, ideological and moral disaster of uncle Adolf and his dubious circle of friends seems to be a never-ending inspiration for the extreme metal scene. Sweden was not really involved in the European catastrophe of the years 1939 to 1945, if we leave the constant delivery of ore to the Third Reich out of consideration. Anyway, even the descendants of the more or less neutral observers are not able to close the book called World War II. Marduk's Viktoria proves evidence.
The iconic artwork is Marduk's answer to "Slaytanic Wehrmacht" shirts and "Heydrich" stickers. It relies on the aesthetics of the German propaganda and makes its mark. It’s simple and clear message lies in close proximity to the glorification of the German Landser and the music does not leave much room for interpretation as well. The Swedes love to play with fire... Either way, air raid sirens welcome the listeners and pull them directly into the combat. Marduk invite the hordes to a feast that connects Frontschwein with Panzer Division Marduk and the German title Viktoria - instead of "Victory" - seems to indicate that there is an inner coherence between these three works. "Werwolf" with its merciless aggression and the hysterical choirs sounds like the forgotten ninth piece of their black metallic "Reign in Blood" from 1999, while "Tiger I" presents a riff which picks up the vibrations of songs like "Wartheland". In addition, parts of "Equestrian Bloodlust" are similar to some of "Blooddawn". So, what? The nine cannon crackers commute between high-speed eruptions and sinister slowness, but one thing is for sure: the material is a pure slap in the face without extraordinary effects, without frills and without experiments. Marduk deliver pure insanity and it is not only the short, Blitzkrieg-compatible playtime that builds a bridge to their most stubborn album so far.
What about the individual performances? Mortuus conveys the maximum quantum of hate, aggression and contempt. His vocals would turn the old grandmaster of hateful speeches and king of propaganda, Dr. Goebbels, green with envy. Morgan delivers the whole spectrum of black riffs, sinister leads and every now and then he intersperses triumphant lines ("Narva" and "The Devil's Song"). Devo's bass guitar is fine, but not responsible for spectacular elements, while Fredrik sometimes seems to have more arms than an octopus. I always enjoy the mega-fast sections of Marduk very much and "Viktoria" does not need to be asked very long in this context. It fails to show new sound facets and the lyrical themes are anything but original. However, this is not the crucial fact. What really counts is that Marduk still (or again) celebrate an utterly atrocious style of extreme metal which evokes much more emotions than the approach they presented on rather slow-moving albums such as Rom 5:12 or World Funeral. A ponderous killer like the closer "Silent Night" does not cause any damage, quite the opposite, but the pure essence of Marduk comes to light whenever they accelerate speed.
That's the reason why bullets like the excellent "Narva" make my day. Their unrelenting vehemence will not disappoint any fan of Marduk, and the same goes for the production of the album. From my point of view, the sound engineers have done a more or less flawless job. The album sounds powerful and marginally mechanic. It spreads a cold aura and the ironclad guitars are the main reason for this. This sound fits the lyrical topic. Speaking of the lyrics, Marduk supply, among other things, old Wehrmacht or Nazi slogans like "sweat saves blood" ("Schweiß spart Blut") or "fast as greyhounds, tough as leather and hard as Krupp steel". The latter described the propagated conditions for the German youth and I will never understand the cynicism of asshole Adolf who sent this promising youth on the battlefields. However, it's too late... but now it's time to listen to a great work: Viktoria, an album like a successful Blitzkrieg without any major flaw. Germany has lost the war, but 73 years later, I feel like a winner - and I definitely don't need another drama of this kind.
Rating: 9 out of 10