There are times on this album when it becomes obvious that Marduk is building their songs off of classical and symphonic sound structures, such as the title track and the brilliant Death Sex Ejaculation, which trades off blastbeats with furious breakdowns and a symphonic war march created by dueling guitars. The music on this disc is slowed down a little, giving considerable room for the guitars to breathe and work some real atmosphere into what was previously just a wall of noise. Their bass player is fucking genuis. He has some interesting and complex almost progressive sounding fills that come out prominently in songs like Azrael and Marduk's sensitive love ballad Funeral Bitch. The bass is amped a lot in the mix and it adds subtle textures to the wall of guitars and drums. Maybe it's up too high in the mix for a black metal band but the guy definitely has his moments. The drummer is great throughout, switching from blastbeats to classic metal rhythms at will. All you have to do is listen to the title track to see that this guy is fucking quality. He has a sense of rythym and structure that is uncommon in music this extreme.
Marduk's lyrics have also improved a lot over time. What originally were just overt blasphemies have now become works of incredible depth and intelligence, showing a considerable knowledge of classical poetry, mythology, and religious themes in classic literature. The quality of the lyrics approaches this classical writing style often, and this gives the band a more epic feel to their sound. The singer is perfect for this type of music. His vocals are pure black metal, harsh, grating, and completely fucking evil. This guy is obviously committed to what they are doing, and in a genre which embraces the things that it does, that effect can be more than a little unsettling. At times listening to this, I feel like Marduk is travelling dangerously close to the black metal version of Spinal Tap. With a guy named B. War in the band and with unintentionally hilarious song titles like Christraping Black Metal, it's hard to take Marduk seriously sometimes with all this evil darkness shit. They walk the fine line nicely though, providing just enough moments of real terror to remember that black metal is not something to be fucked with and that they are serious, about all of this. That realization alone is worth five stars.* * * * * Reviewed: May, 2003