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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Marduk: Panzer Division
Osmose Productions

The fastest album ever? So promised MARDUK axeman Morgan, and the idea has existed for at least three years, first introduced in the sleeve of HEAVEN SHALL BURN WHEN WE ARE GATHERED. There is no shortage of manic speed in extreme music, but PANZER DIVISION MARDUK offers something unprecedented - the speed literally maintains for the whole album. In Battle, Setherial, Pagan Winter, Dark Funeral, and other aggressors decrease the tempo throughout, but unless he's crashing cymbals awaiting the next riff or fading a song with double bass, artillery man Fredrik is machine gunning with the force of Blaine's Gatling in PREDATOR. Morgan's riffs decimate like a fleet of stealth bombers, issuing a very calculated attack. Legion supplies the vocal napalm, blazing forth a rapid fire delivery that stays very audible. Bassist B War serves the ground assault, particularly in "502."

One of the album's greatest triumphs is that the songs are distinguishable despite their singular aim, and along with that is acclaim for the ability to make some songs seem even more brutal even though technically they are all the same speed. Credit Fredrik with this, as it is his frenzied cymbal crashing that elevates "Scorched Earth" and "Baptism by Fire," though Morgan shares intensity credit with tone increase, as on personal favorite "Beast of Prey." Hardly the unsung hero thanks to the sickening masses of production fetishists wasting our oxygen, Pete Tagtren deserves hails as producer all the same, keeping the battle audible and interweaving the affair with some appropriate warfare samples. Make no mistake, this is the soundtrack for total war, and it will take someone with balls of titanium alloy to match this aggression, much less exceed it.

5 Perplex Skulls

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This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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