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MARDUK - Serpent Sermon (12" Gatefold LP)

Sweden | Black
Price Range:   $22.99
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298x grey with red and black splatters, 400x black, 300x blood red with black marble effect 12" (180g) in a black poly-lined innerbag, 12 page booklet full-color on 140gsm offset paper, gatefold, full-color, black flood inside on 350g, all assembled in a PVC overbag. 

Renowned for their position at the forefront of anti-Christian black metal, Marduk returns, commanding their Panzerkampfwagen with an unwavering determination to annihilate all in their path. With a lengthy career marked by variable sound changes, Marduk consistently embraces the barbaric essence of their craft. Despite mixed impressions of their recent Mortuus-era albums, the anticipation for their 2012 offering, "Serpent Sermon," was fervent.

A notable departure from their previous output, "Serpent Sermon" reveals a less straightforward approach. Marduk has crafted a more atmospheric and progressive sound, relying on Mortuus to captivate the listener. "Messianic Pestilence" delivers the furious onslaught characteristic of black metal, satisfying those yearning for a traditional sound. The track "Souls For Belial" showcases welcomed variation, adding layers of complexity to Marduk's music.

While the shift in direction may surprise some, it injects excitement, offering more than a typical black metal album. Amidst the expected black metal elements, Marduk's creative liberty shines. Mortuus explores various vocal approaches, enhancing the atmospheric experience. Tracks like "Into Second Death," "Temple of Decay," "M.A.M.M.O.N," and "World of Blades" venture into controlled and melodically epic territories, showcasing Mortuus's chilling performance.

Emphasizing elements beyond traditional expectations doesn't mean a lack of blistering blastbeats and razor-sharp riffing. "Messianic Pestilence," "Damnation's Gold," "Hail Mary (Piss-soaked Genuflexion)," and "Gospel of the Worm" exude unbridled hatred. Particularly, "Damnation's Gold" seamlessly blends Marduk's older style with innovative ideas, making it a standout track.

Addressing potential negatives, Mortuus's prominent mix occasionally overshadows other elements, and the snare's lower mix, especially in faster sections, could be improved. However, Devo's audible bass lines, notably in "Damnation's Gold" and "World of Blades," integrate seamlessly.

In conclusion, Marduk's bold venture with "Serpent Sermon" pays off, showcasing a commendable commitment to experimentation. The album's flawless execution and meticulous craftsmanship elevate it to the level of Marduk's best work since "Panzer Division Marduk." Undoubtedly, it stands as a highlight in the black metal landscape of 2012.

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