Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Marduk - Infernal Eternal

Marduk - Infernal Eternal
2001, Regain/Century Media

Well, let's get straight to the meat of the matter: eighteen tracks, spread over 2 discs (which can be had at single disc price, I believe - at least here in the States) from a series of recordings in France during the World Panzer Battle Tour - basically Marduk's last tour of Europe supporting 'Panzer Division Marduk'. The second disc also includes a few video clips of the band live, for PC users only - which explains why there's only six audio tracks on it. Having made the necessary arrangements to view these clips, I was pleasantly surprised to see that their overall quality, presentation, etc. was excellent, in line with the great sound on this recording as a whole. So, a soundboard recording, taken from several dates (or at least a few - this isn't all from one show), digitally edited and pieced together and then mastered all adds up to an impressive package, and a more than adequate live 'representation' of this band, who are known to be a great, tight, masterful stage unit. At least this is what I've read - I missed them on their tour here with Deicide, and I'm still kicking myself over that, as it was probably my only chance to catch them. I don't see them returning to Dallas anytime soon...

Anyway, there's isn't really any use in 'reviewing' the music included here - if you aren't a fan of Marduk, this album wouldn't really be the best way to be introduced to them (try 'Opus Nocturne' or 'Nightwing'), and if you are a diehard fan of this band, then you probably have all of these songs in your collection already, in a much better format. All you might be missing would be their cover of Celtic Frost's 'Into The Crypt of Rays', in case you still haven't picked up their 'Obedience' EP, which was issued again here in the US at the same time this came out. No, this album really would be great, I am thinking, for those of you who just can't get enough of live albums, for whatever reason, or the fans of this band that have never really got the chance/opportunity to delve into their back catalog...let's face it: until a short time ago, all of Marduk's prior releases cost in the range of $19-21 domestic here, and not many people, I am guessing, shelled out the $100+ to gather all their albums together in one place. Besides, any Marduk album is pretty much representative of the rest.

A live 'situation' is commonly where the men are separated from the boys, and in case you were wondering, Marduk do not really have any problems at all reproducing their material live...if anything the songs are more energetic, more chaotic, and - in general - even more vicious here than on the original records...

So, for people like this, 'Infernal Eternal' is a pleasing glimpse into the slow evolution of this band over the years, going all the way back to 'Dark Endless' and then running through their records to the present, with a major slice of the material (a third) here being from 'Nightwing' and 'Panzer Division Marduk'. It's especially interesting to hear old(er) classics like 'Burn My Coffin' up against '502' and 'Slay the Nazarene' (which Legion harshly introduces by screaming: 'If you don't know which one this is, what the fuck are you doing here?'), even though I believe the more recent songs are so viciously over the top they make the older ones pale in comparison...which is a rarity among bands, if you stop and think of it...'Slay the Nazarene', in particular, is played so blurringly, blindingly fast that it sounds like Fredrik is going to rip his drums to pieces and just start spinning around like a tornado...amazing.

The sound here, as I noted above, is more than adequate, reproducing all the instruments (and Legion's voice) clearly, without a large amount of distortion or echo. B. War's bass comes through with his finger-twisting lines again and again, much like on their most recent album, and I believe he is finally getting the amount of 'coverage' in their mixes that he deserves. As to the rest, there is a minimum of crowd noise or in-between-song, this is all out war, from start to finish, adding up to (the audio portion only) seventy-nine and a half minutes (!) of grinding Swedish black metal torment. More Marduk than you can shake a stick at - more, in fact, than most people can take in one sitting. I should know, because when I first got this I stupidly listened to it all the way through and ended up with a monstrous migraine. You definitely get your money's worth (of pain) with this release...also, one thing I can say for certain is that this album is so much better than Mayhem's live release ('Mediolanum...') that it makes the Norwegian scene look embarrassing in comparison. Even though this release is lengthy, voraciously rabid, and hurts my ears in the long run, it is addictively listenable...I've spun it a number of times now, and I haven't had it that long.

Included in the total package is a thick booklet, complete with full lyrics (finally) and a middle section (I want to call it a centerfold, but it's not) full of adequate-to-good pictures of the band playing live - including a great snapshot of Morgan and B. War gleefully walking down a city street in (I am guessing) Japan wearing full corpse paint. The cover art - magnificent as usual, and slightly reminiscent of Frazetta's 'Death Dealer' - is by Petagno. Any questions? You should know if you want this...