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Marduk
Warschau

Company: Blooddawn Productions
Release: 2005
Reviewer: Etiam
Genre: Black

  • For devoted fans of the band; for the rest of us--superfluous



  • Live metal albums are tricky business. Considering the sheer output of decibels that is critical to the live heavy metal experience, getting high-fidelity tracking on a limited budget (almost always the case) presents manifold issues. Of course, even if one does manage to coax a clear mix from the master tapes, that's no guarantee that it will convey the show's atmosphere, which is the most critical element of all. These concerns are multiplied when the band is performing black metal--a genre so reliant on atmosphere that the line between sound 'so bad it's good' and unmitigated dreck is sometimes nonexistent.

    In this respect, if few others nowadays, Marduk are breaking the mold, since 'Warschau', recorded in 2005 in the same city, is the band's third live album. Commemorating the band's 15th anniversary, 'Warschau' boasts a surprisingly good mix that is not too dominated by any one instrument (e.g. often deafening drum triggers), and actually features better production than the band had on some of their early studio work. The bass is slightly less audible, but Marduk always did have a loud low end, and any four-string representation on a live metal record is more than standard.

    'Warschau' was taped during the tour cycle for the 'Plague Angel' LP, and consequently features a heavy sampling of its songs. This is a little inconvenient, since few would cite 'Plague Angel' as the band's foremost release, and less room is left for earlier works. The tracklisting breaks down as follows: one from 'Nightwing', 'La Grande Danse Macabre', 'Panzer Division Marduk', 'Dark Endless', and 'Opus Nocturne', three from 'Those of the Unlight' and 'World Funeral', and a whopping six from 'Plague Angel'. None, it is interesting to note, from 'Heaven Shall Burn...' (and also none, of course, from 'Rom 5:12', which was two years in the band's future).

    Aside from track listing, another paramount element of live recording is the crowd noise, which on 'Warschau' is rather limited. At some points we can clearly hear the shrieks and chants of 'Mar-duk!' that were surely continuous throughout the night, but in this perennial paradox of live records 'Warschau' errs a little too much on the side of caution. Yes, the crowd is present, but they lack the full-throated sound that gives the best live records their ambiance, and when Mortuus croaks, 'Are we awake tonight, Warsaw?', the lack of audible response is uncomfortable.

    As for the band's performance, the members are generally in synch, their performances mostly crisp, and only rarely do they waver around their tempos once the concert passes the 45 minute mark. At the head of the mix, Mortuus sounds absolutely wretched, both during the songs and in his terse addresses to the crowd. Despite Legion's extensive contribution to Marduk's catalogue, most agree that Mortuus is a superlative pickup for the band, and on cuts old to new he proves his worth. His shriek is a bit less ghastly than Legion's, but the malice and pestilence in his voice are perfect for Warschau's grim militancy. In fact, 'Warschau' may be considered a re-recording of sorts for the earliest material with an updated and more experienced lineup.

    Though interesting to collectors, this 're-recording' perspective is not all good. To return to 'Burn My Coffin': the song has been shifted up a few steps, the solo has been totally excised, and although it is longer than the original studio version, this is due to a prolonged interlude before the next track. Altogether, 'Warschau' is a decent representation of the band's works, but, frankly, who needs 17 straight tracks (and 68 minutes) of Marduk? Around 'With Satan and Victorious Weapons' (track 12), the show flags a bit in intensity and freshness, and the song progressions begins to sound a little random. For devoted fans of the band, 'Warschau' will no doubt be a grand repast, but for the rest of us it is merely superfluous.



    Bandsite: http://www.marduk.nu/
    Company Link: http://www.blooddawn.net/
    Cover Link: http://www.spirit-of-metal.com/les%20goupes/M/Marduk/Warschau/Warschau.jpg
    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: MARDUK
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Dark EndlessMarduk
    2007
    Etiam9/19/2011
    FrontschweinMarduk
    2015
    David Loveless2/6/2015
    NightwingMarduk
    2008
    Etiam5/3/2012
    Opus NocturneMarduk
    1994
    Etiam6/25/2008
    Plague AngelMarduk
    2005
    Axeman4/29/2005
    Rom 5:12Marduk
    2007
    David Loveless9/28/2007
    Those of the UnlightMarduk
    1993
    Etiam4/25/2008
    WarschauMarduk
    2005
    Etiam10/31/2008


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: MARDUK

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: MARDUK
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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