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Review: Marduk - La Grande Danse Macabre
La Grande Danse Macabre

Label: Century Media Records
Year released: 2001
Duration: 45:20
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: August 1, 2001
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
La Grande Danse Macabre

Rated 4.13/5 (82.61%) (23 Votes)

Marduk's latest is their first full-length studio album under their own label "Blooddawn Productions". While not nearly as speedy as its predecessor "Panzer Division Marduk", this album doesn't contain some pretty fast songs. Speed is not everything however, and I personally appreciate more an album like this than a speed demon where you can barely distinguish the songs apart from each other. Songs with lots of tempo changes just sound better than ones that are played at full speed.

The album kicks off with a 1:50 instrumental that has sort of a middle-eastern feel to it. The second track, "Azrael" starts very fast but does slow down a little has well - not much though. Have I mentionned their drummer is insane? "Pompa Funebris 1660" follows, a slow instrumental, not bad at all and it gives some time to breathe after "Azrael". :) "Obedience unto Death" is another pretty fast one with some interesting tempo changes, and a somewhat catchy beat. It's worth mentionning that while the vocals are BM screeches, listening closely it's actually possible to understand the lyrics, something I find is very rare in extreme metal.

"Bonds of Unholy Matrimony" starts pretty slowly and speeds up a little, some of the riffs even remind me a little of "Ride The Lightning"-era Metallica. This is one of the best songs on the album, not too fast, very well played, powerful and catchy drumming. The title track is next and is my favorite on the album. Starts off slowly with drum-lead guitar riffs and then maintains a mid-paced beat for most of the duration of the song (over 8 minutes.) Next come the juvenile song names... "Death Sex Ejaculation" (oh my...) is another fast track that will wake you up if the title track was too slow for you. This one is "ok" but far from the best song, fast but a bit monotone. "Funeral Bitch" (haha?) follows at a much slower pace, a very heavy song and also a favorite of mine.

"Summer End" is next and starts off very slow, again with a little middle-eastern feeling (I keep saying that but that's probably not it, but you get the idea - hehe). The actual singing starts only past the 3 minutes mark (the song is 4:40) and keeps the same slow pace for the whole duration. Very good melodic work here, ending with heavier riffs that slowly fade away. The album closes on the very stupidly named "Jesus Christ... Sodomized" (I guess I'd find it funny if I was 12 or so...) Still a pretty good song however, and a fast-paced one at that. "Jesus Christ" is repeated so often that to the uninitiated it could sound like a Christian song or something. :)

This album shows Marduk as a very accomplished musical outfit, with tightly played metal and the slower material shows they're not all about speed and can do a good job on slower, melodic, yet dark material. I think they should leave the juvenile song naming to Crap of Filth though, maybe then some would take them a bit more seriously. "La Grande Danse Macabre" offers more variety than its predecessor, and I think this is a good move by Marduk, as there was no need for a second "Panzer Division Marduk" - at least not at this time. ;)

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