MARDUK – Rom 5:12

Coming off one of their best albums in Plague Angel, MARDUK’s Rom 5:12 takes the listener on a more diverse and atmospheric album. While Plague Angel could be generally characterized as one of the band’s fastest and most scorching releases, Rom(ans) 5:12 contains a more prominent blend of slower, mid-tempo songs mixed in with the blasting ones. Third track, “Imago Mortis,” sees MARDUK exploring sublime, dark atmospheres at a mid-tempo pace. It’s definitely a song that has to grow on you as its 8:36 length may be too much for some. In the end, it proves its worth as one of the better songs on the album. Fifth song, “Damnation 1651,” contains distant battle drums and quiet, ominous horns along with Mortuus’ bloodcurdling vocals. It seems more like a segue track than an actual song and will probably have listeners pushing the fast forward button due to its length. The 8:44 “Accuser/Opposer” sees PRIMORDIAL frontman Nemtheanga contributing his Quorthon-like shouts and cries and has a main riff inadvertently similar to the verse riff of METALLICA’s “The God That Failed.” The song purposely drags along before ending with an old xian hymn. “Womb of Perishableness” follows a similar course by attempting to drag the listener down into a cold and dark oblivion. The final track just fizzles out before it gets anything going. Rom 5:12 follows a general pattern of fast and long, slow songs alternating between each other. This might actually compel some listeners to skip through to only the fast songs as the fast songs turn out to be the best songs on the album. Overall, the long, slow songs just don’t match up in quality and just don’t have the same impact. Rom 5:12 is by no means a bad album. However, this is MARKDUK and they should be held to the high standards that they’ve set for themselves with past albums. Thus, Rom 5:12 ultimately fails to immobilize the panzer division to bring about the soundtrack to xian annihilation. (Regain Records)

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