|4.4 (2 votes):
“”Memento Mori” is, all at once, a bold leap forward, a calculated sidestep, and a wistful backward glance. Meaning, we have broken new ground without forgetting our legacy or the journey that brought us to this point.”
It’s not every day that Uncle Mortuus decides to write something on the internet so quotes like these should be taken seriously, almost like a warning. One thing you got give to Marduk; unlike most of the bands today who take their albums as merely a tool to satisfy the record deals and drag their ass to the tour busses for the next six months and cover all the expenses of today’s lovely music industry. With Marduk on the other hand, you kind of don’t expect what you are gonna get yourself into this time with the album. Like or don’t like the album, at least is not it will be a carbon copy of the last album or a formula that went rigor mortis a decade ago. Which we got with Memento Mori in a way but I will get to that further on.
Its been five years since their last album Victoria which served musically more as a polar opposite to perhaps their most progressive album Frontschwein. Despite that, both albums serve as excellent companion pieces. Memento Mori on the other hand, is truly an oddball in their discography but at the same time very familiar to their other records, to the point of self-plagiarism.
Starting with the solid self-titled track, the album quickly bleeds into familiar territory, almost sounding like a band that attempts to sound like Marduk with little depth or interesting ideas. The thing is the next tracks “Heart of the Funeral”, “Blood of the Funeral” and “Shovel Beats Sceptre” feel like b-side leftovers from Funeral Mist´s last album. A few solid ideas, but nothing that really captures your attention. Seamlessly going from track to track and if you lose attention (which is a good possibility), already a few songs had gone by without you noticing it. This is how much the tracks are similar one to another in basic structure.
The first half of the album has half-baked ideas that needed more twist and turns before becoming a quality material that should had been a standard for a band like Marduk. The other half of the album… well, besides decent tracks like “Charlatan” some songs feel like a lazy revision of Panzer Division riffs; particularly tracks like “Coffin Carol” and “Year of the Maggot”. Listen to these tracks and put on “Fistfucking God’s Planet” and “Baptism by Fire”.
This really reminds of their recent videos; same shit with the different color shades, last time it was worms or tanks, now it’s a shovel or an hourglass.
On a brighter note, the production still delivers thanks to Devos black wizardry and really brings me joy that he is back in the line-up, albeit as a live member. Morgan´s guitars soar and Simon´s album debut on drums thunders with laser precision and intensity. The album is performed and recorded with the commitment and confidence of a veteran band that almost shadows the impression that the material sounds rushed or dare I say, uninspired.
Looking back on Daniel Rosten´s quote describing this album as a calculated sidestep; the thing is, for any step there should a be decent degree of effort which this album has less than a few. Which falls into the worst category for this sub-genre: predictable.
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