Norma Evangelium Diaboli, 15.06.18
Swedish Funeral Mist doesn't need much of an introduction, but I'll give 'em a quick intro anyway. The band has rattled their sabres in the underground since the 90's, and their two previous albums (plus, plus) have put the band on the map.
The band was established in 1993, and released three demos and an EP before the turn of the millennium. People from among others Dark Funeral, Thyring and In Aeternum were involved in this period, but after the first album Salvation (2003), Arioch, also known as Mortuus from Marduk, has been alone at the helmet.
Although, with rhythmic guest contributions. For the second time around, former Marduk drummer Lars Broddesson has delivered percussive perversion.
None of the earlier releases could in any case fully prepare the unsuspecting victims of what they had in store when Hekatomb initiated the spread of its black poison.
Hekatomb doesn't stand a well-known and appreciated recipe on its head, but Funeral Mist incorporates a new dimension this time. By making use of unorthodox spices, the expected is pushed out of balance. Their brutal black universe appears strange and foreign enough to make one recognize the surroundings, yet still lose ones sense of direction. Despite a foreboding sensation of feeling lost and disoriented, one is still able to rejoice in all the delicate details. These strange hallucinogenic curiosities create a bewitched hypnotic and unreal mood, somewhere between dream and nightmare.
The sonic bottom line still consists of rough and grim black metal. Blasphemous, violent and ugly. With an extra layer of eclectic additives, Hekatomb nevertheless appears as a fresh approach to an unreal dream. Or nightmare. What hides beyond the next turn is never entirely predictable. This erratic behaviour, whether one encounters semi-Gregorian choirs, ambient astral effects or rather hysterical children's voices on ones bad trip, in my view helps raise Hekatomb well above the vast majority.
Without revealing too many details, I therefore recommend Funeral Mist's new and close to perfect opus unconditionally. Rating: 5+
Century Media Records, 22.06.18
For the fourteenth time, the Swedish veterans are out with a new full blood manifesto. The content of Viktoria is once again war propaganda à la Marduk.
Viktoria is high paced and concise, like an effective military onslaught, characterized by massive bombardments with extreme precision. In 34 minutes, 9 warheads are detonated to a deafening barrage of grenades and mitrailleuses.
Marduk had several potential directions to choose from, but World War II refused to let go of them. Thus Viktoria took the form of a stylistic continuation of Frontschwein. The cover is simplistic (as a counterreaction to the extremely detailed covers that floods the market), clearly inspired by German propaganda posters. Despite my first associations with Frankenstein's monster, the cover (designed by vocalist Mortuus) represents a soldier over what seems to be a rewriting of the word Victory. It's seems evident that Marduk don't let the fanatical brats in Antifa frighten them. If the Swedes held seriously right-wing conceptions (or just really wanted to provoke), they could've provided the soldier's helmet with Wehrmacht's well-known Reichsadler, and replaced the title with the German equivalent “Sieg”.
When the Babylonian god Marduk is on the warpath in Swedish form, the front line is characterized by adrenaline and aggression. The frontal assault are perceived as direct, going straight for the kill, disabling the enemy before they can blink. Those witnessing the scenario at some distance, will however see intricate nuances in the strategies used. There is more going on than just thundering tanks pound away, racing into enemy territory flanked by fighters doing umpteen-hundred-and-hell. Each song attacks from a different angle, and contains enough subtle details to offer a few elements of surprise.
Despite a breathless pace in the dust cloud of gunfire and explosions, the pace also calms down during occasional songs and sequences. Especially in Silent Night. (Not to be confused with a certain carol.) A form of overtone makes its mark on the soundscape of a hypnotic song reminding somewhat of Satyricon around Now, Diabolical. With this track, the listener is left paralysed on the battlefield.
The rating could have been upped a notch up, but although I thrive very well in the midst of the war, Viktoria can't be said to be among the very strongest in the Marduk catalogue. Therefore, “only” 4 points on the verge of 5. Rating: 4+
As Sony Music owned Century Media doesn't allow embedded streaming, I'll send you to YouTube to see and hear the video for the title track Viktoria and the lyric video for Werwolf.