Marduk – Memento Mori (Album Review)

Swedish Black Metal was certainly on the rise in the ’90s era, and one of the key contributors was no other than Marduk. Starting out in a Black and Death Metal combo style, they soon branched out to a more brutal, yet slightly melodic style of Black Metal that is still being blasted today. On the live front, they just finished festival season, where they brought back Bassist Devo Andersson for their Steelfest headlining performance, after an incident with a former member at a prior UK festival. The rest of the team, Vocalist Daniel Rostén, original Guitarist Morgan Hakansson, and Percussionist Simon Schilling remain as purely evil as can be with their Black Metal song structuring. Together, they recently released their new studio album Memento Mori on September 1, 2023 through Century Media.

Their fifteenth overall studio album, Memento Mori certainly holds a candle to some popular previous albums in the musical quality, and creativity presented. With ten songs in total, it starts off with the title-track, opening with a large crack in the sidewalk like an earthquake would, before the band rises up and out in all their dark energy. The second and third songs – “Heart Of The Funeral” and “Blood Of The Funeral” – are the equivalent of a sinister couple desperately burying their lies.

In other words, Marduk provokes a feeling that runs deep into the fingernails of the buried undead. The vocals are truly channeling the disparity of the painfully tortured soul. A great example, and very highly rated tune from this collection would have to be “Shovel Beats Sceptre.” This in mind, Marduk often creates themes that encompass a battle leading to a war, and Memento Mori seems to depict a battle of the dying versus the undead. It is almost as if this is how modern day humans metaphorically live their lives. As sad as this may sound, Marduk very powerfully releases this pain out into the world.

All this negative energy every human holds somewhere within, must be released, in order for the individual to feel at peace. In truth, this is actually what Marduk accomplishes on Memento Mori’s songs including “Coffin Carol,” “Marching Bones,” and “Year Of The Maggot,” among others. The strength of an individual to sit with these most uncomfortable feelings is a magical escape to freedom from their own turmoil. This anguish is further bleed out in “Red Tree Of Blood,” a highly calming cut to those who can feel the energy and darkness of this art form. Although, the only way out is through, and Marduk ends this tragic battle with the tune “As We Are.” This exploration of the aftermath of chaos has a noble melody leading to the completion of this story called Memento Mori.

Sometimes, breaking down the technique of the music is miniscule in its importance compared to the overall feeling of the listener’s experience. Pondering this, it must also be stated that Memento Mori is is extremely well produced with all the intricate sound effects that you can visualize to further dive into the artistry of Marduk. For never giving up, despite the member changes and unnecessary hurdles they experienced over an abundance of thirty plus years, Cryptic Rock gives Memento Mori 5 out of 5 stars. 

Marduk – Memento Mori / Century Media (2023)

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