"Front Schwein"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I wonder if any member of Marduk has ever shot anything with a gun? Or been shot at by someone else? Have they ever been in battle and faced death? On "Front Schwein", we see endless description of war...specifically, the Nazi war machine of World War 2. I'm not a hippy and I don't believe for a moment that Marduk are Nazis or anything like it, but "Front Schwein" is a disturbing album to contemplate with its sepia pictures of war and death and slogans such as "Death To Peace" and "War At Last" festooned all over it. I wonder just how these face-painted men would fare facing a Nazi blitzkrieg or a Russian counterattack? Food for thought...

On the strictly musical level, the band remains one of the best in the orthodox black metal world. Every album is a guaranteed ferocious assault and this is no different. What makes these guys so successful is how they alternate blinding speed rippers like "Rope of Regret", "Afrika" and the insane "Thousand Fold Death" with lumbering tank-like doom numbers such as "The Blond Beast", "Nebelwerfer" and "503". Even at their most brutal, there's usually an underlying trace of melody that adds to the power. "Thousand Fold Death" might be the fasttest song this band has ever done....fully the equal of anything on the notorious "Panzer Division Marduk" album"...yet there's some cool black metal melody to it as well.

The album runs a little longer than it should, but the musical quality is consistent. Those who like their black metal hateful, militaristic and varied can enlist with "Front Schwein" without delay. But the talk of the glorious Nazi war machine...even if the band doesn't endorse that point of view...puts a sour taste in my mouth.