Although last album “Frontschwein” was no exception to the above statement, it was perhaps seen as a tad more experimental, in places, and therefore, many were keen to see what was coming next. Well they have kind of kept some of those elements here and there and “Viktoria” is a logical next step. It is undoubtedly a Marduk record though. With main composer and only ever-present member, Morgan, at the helm, you’re always getting that continuity. Let this be clear, Marduk are beyond reproach, are original second-wave, loved by Euronymous and really do push the bar with their lyrical approach.
So just how good is “Viktoria?” Well for me,it has a head start as it contains ‘Narva’, which is easily one of the best tracks the band has ever put their name to! The riffs are fantastic and unrelenting, the drumming intense and technical without being imposing. In Mortuus, the band boast one of the most revered vocalists in Black Metal history and he shows much of his many talents on this track. There is even quite a bit of foreboding melody that Swedish Black Metal is so good at.
Marduk have a reputation of being an outfit that warp speed their way through albums and do little else but that’s only based on one record, perhaps their best known, 1999’s “Panzer Division.” Yes, they do hyper speed well and the riffs remain memorable, but they do a whole lot more and there is plenty of evidence exhibited here. ‘Tiger I’ is based around a real slow, nearly lumbering pace that the band use to show their understanding of dynamics and, shock horror, groove!
Marduk are also from that school of Black Metal that doesn’t subscribe to the sound like shit intentionally to remain trve and cvlt and be anti-everything. No, although not over-polished (that would be ridiculous) they have a clear, strong and in your face mix that means that impact is as brick-to-the-face as possible, and it is very welcome and always has been with their output.
“Viktoria” is great, not game changing but great. There are some tracks here that are going to be devastating live. If you are into Marduk then you will be all over this but if you aren’t, then here is as good a place to start as any.