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5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
2.5-2 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors.
1.5-1 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible - Waste of your life and time.

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Band
Marduk
Title
Dark Endless
Type
LP/EP
Company
Regain
YOR
2007
Style
Black
9/19/2011 - Review by: Etiam

Marduk
Dark Endless

Company: Regain Records
Release: 2007
Genre: Black
Reviewer: Etiam

  • Still serves as the band's mission statement



  • Although it is hard to fathom today, the exhaustingly prolific black metal forefathers in Marduk were once youths with only a single demo tape to their name. Provocateurs from the start, that demo's parenthetical title was 'Fuck Me Jesus', and would win the attention of the newly minted No Fashion Records. Marduk's debut LP followed in 1992 as the third release on that label and the first of many milestones, beginning an odyssey of blasphemy that continues to this day. For all its divergences from Marduk's current style, 'Dark Endless' still serves as the band's mission statement: relentless black metal less thematic than their countrymen but better produced than the stereotypical Norwegian fare; unfailing pessimism (nihilism, satanism,or whatever bad -ism is least fashionable at the time); a lyrical preoccupation with war and its accoutrements, specifically tanks; and a cycle of vocalists who have become only more wretched over the past twenty years.

    This version of 'Dark Endless' comes to us via Regain Records, who have reissued a bevy of 90s metal gems in the past several years (bone fide classics and cult favorites both), featuring five live bonus tracks and a quirky keyboard opener. The latter sets a dreamily macabre tone before the album begins in earnest with an early highlight,'Still F**king Dead' (as the tracklist names it), in an amusing nod to censorship amidst all this anti-religious gratuity. Two minutes into that blackened madness, the song throws down a chugging sludge riff that would do Tom Warrior proud: simplistic to the utmost, the groove is the forerunner for Celtic Frost's monolithic 'Monotheist', which would not arrive for another 15 years. On later albums, such slower passages would turn into moody black metal stomps like 'Dracul Va Domni Din Nou in Transilvania', but in '92 Marduk's affinity for death metal still held sway. A similar interlude turns up in 'The Black', and the downtempo breaks in the song's latter half evoke the obscure hypnotism of The Chasm much more than Transilvanian black metal pomp.

    The album's production, partially owing to the band's early roots in death metal, has a fullness and body that is missed on some other reissues of their early discography. Too, Marduk had not yet developed the reverb fetish that is the mid-90s hallmark of the genre, so the entire album has an unadulterated presence that is unexpectedly modern. Musically, the style of 'Dark Endless' is not without its charms, but is still queerly given to extended passages of two-bar phrases that sound more like scale practice than actually inventive riffage. Although standout passages do occur, as on every Marduk record, it isn't too often that they form a cohesive arc, and many songs' riffs might as well be interchangeable. For atmosphere, though, it doesn't get much authentic than this, and fans of primal groups like Master's Hammer or Hellhammer may find 'Dark Endless' to be the best of Marduk's output.

    As for the bonus tracks, they are of poor quality even compared to the production job that precedes them. But after a couple songs our ears acclimatize, and genre historians will no doubt appreciate the raw character of these 1991 performance recordings. Occasionally the distortion on the microphone even eases enough to even make out the crowd's obvious enjoyment, and to close things out the band unleashes a perfectly horrific cover of Death's 'Evil Dead'. Sound quality notwithstanding, these clips are a compelling time capsule back a full two decades, when black metal was still an abhorrent scourge, an abomination, and the members of Marduk could hardly know that they would become a worldwide institution. That said, solely based on the strength of 'Dark Endless', the name of Marduk would likely not have been enshrined as unassailable--as opposed to other one-album wonders like, say, Vinterland--but it did establish them as serious players in the formative years of Swedish metal. What's more, years after the great swarm of "Darkthrone clones", this reissue reminds us of how many bands today have just moved on to mimic Marduk--fully two decades late to the party.


    • 1 :REVIEW COUNT
      3 :AVE RATING

    ALL REVIEWS FOR: MARDUK
    TITLE
    DOR
    COMPANY
    REVIEWER DATE MADE RATING
    Dark Endless
    2007
    Regain
    Etiam9/19/2011
    3
    Frontschwein
    2015
    Century Media
    David Loveless2/6/2015
    4.5
    Nightwing
    2008
    Regain
    Etiam5/3/2012
    3
    Opus Nocturne
    1994
    Regain
    Etiam6/25/2008
    3
    Plague Angel
    2005
    Candlelight
    Axeman4/29/2005
    -
    Rom 5:12
    2007
    Blooddawn Productions
    David Loveless9/28/2007
    3
    Those of the Unlight
    1993
    Regain
    Etiam4/25/2008
    3
    Viktoria
    2018
    Century Media
    David Loveless6/6/2018
    5
    Viktoria
    2018
    Century Media
    Greg Watson6/6/2018
    2
    Warschau
    2005
    Blooddawn Productions
    Etiam10/31/2008
    2

    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: MARDUK
    INTERVIEW INTERVIEWER DATE TAGLINE

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