Marduk is one of those groups that have trashed their overall legacy by sticking to one sound and nothing else. Often hailed as one of the first second-wave black metal bands, Marduk have released a few good records, and then lots of CDs that have nothing but blastbeats, stupid riffs, and some moron drooling into his microphone. Still, fanboys continue to rub themselves over whatever has that over-the-top band logo of an inverted cross laced with the squad's name.
Case in point, Marduk is not original
at all, but the concept of a record that's not just total blasterbation would definitely be welcome to my ears. So when Marduk began stroking genitals with their supposedly-masterful Rom 5:12, I became interested. Why? Because it was described as a total redefinition of their sound, and it is, but it fails to impress. Rom 5: 12 is a very different record; however, it's almost too different for Marduk to swallow. After pointlessly hitting notes for over a decade, Marduk has finally decided to take a new musical direction with Rom 5:12, but it comes with a price of several costly inconsistencies.
It might be shocking to a lot of people, but Rom 5:12 has hardly any blastbeats or rapid picking sections at all; only a few tunes possess that terribly random pounding style. Instead, these Satanic clowns present themselves in haunting atmospheric compositions filled with mid-paced riffing and simplistic percussion patterns. Surprisingly, this laidback style creates a different outlook on black metal, in which the focus is on deep, slamming pressure; not random blasting. The lethargic musical spine supports this record wholeheartedly, and it certainly makes Marduk look more original than what their other material could offer.
But there is a consequence for every action, and Marduk's beneficial alteration has its fair share of woes aside from its clear advantages.
Rom 5:12 is heavily damaged by the ever-lasting repetition factor induced by the atmospheric qualities that go on and on; we're talking like seven or eight minutes of the same thing, which isn't a blessing at all. Also, Mortuus' slobbering yelps have no place in this musical rebirth as he sounds out of place and off-key. Ironically, Naihmass Nemtheanga's guest clean vocal contribution on "Accuser/Opposer" actually clarifies the musical transformation into a more meaningful sounding perimeter; someone like him should be singing on such an epic release, not Mortuus.
Adding to the curses is the production, which is actually very good, minus its effect on the vocals. Honestly, Mortuus sounds like a cretin with a speech impediment; his drooling vocals are caught appearing rough, off-key, and with no pitch control at all, but it's the production that shows this. All the nice quality brings out what is typically missed, and since Mortuus is put at the very front of the recording, it's very easy to hear. The overall result is nothing short of a catastrophic meltdown caused by the single-pitched shrieks, but with the messy factor at an all-time high. What a terrible performance!
While it has a few good moments, Rom 5:12 is teebagged by the typical Marduk issues and some newer repercussions; change has aided the overall effort, but it is still a very mediocre effort. On a side note, it's certainly a good display of attempted progression on Marduk's behalf, but they still have a long way to go before the atmospheric element sinks into their sulfur-encrusted souls. I really hope Marduk continues down this uncharted musical path without looking back; it's definitely a healthier option than the blasting nonsense they did before.