In some ways Marduk have been incredibly stable in that founder guitarist Evil (Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson) has been at the helm for more than 20 years while singer Mortuus (Daniel Rostén) joined all the way back in 2004 but in other areas not so much. Drummer Bloodhammer (Simon Schilling) only joined in 2019, after the last album, while long-term bassist Devo (Magnus Andersson) left in 2019 to concentrate on session work (although he has guested on this album, while Mortuus and ex-bassist Joel Lindholm also contribute). One always knows what to expect with Marduk, and with their fifteenth studio album they have not disappointed.
When asked about ‘Memento Mori’ Daniel Rostén said, “Memento Mori is, all at once, a bold leap forward, a calculated sidestep, and a wistful backward glance. Meaning, we have broken new ground without forgetting our legacy or the journey that brought us to this point.” This actually makes sense as while there are obvious links back to the last album, ‘Viktoria’, and others going all the way back to the Nineties, the band are still attempting to progress within the black metal scene while never moving out of it. There are times, such as on “Charlatan”, where the drums, vocals and guitar are all moving in one direction while the bass is very much in another, which creates some space within the music and then when the bass aligns itself again it feels quite dramatic and more forceful. The use of micro breaks of space allows the music to reset and come back hard again while drummer Simon Schilling is a real find and it is no surprise that he is in so much demand (At the Grave, Eucharist, Hate Manifesto, Nervecell (live), ex-Belphegor, ex-Panzerchrist, ex-Paragon Belial, ex-Streams of Blood, ex-As Stormclouds Gather (live), ex-Der Weg einer Freiheit (live), ex-Fleshcrawl (live), ex-Infestus (live), ex-Kaoteon (live), ex-Monument of Misanthropy (live), ex-Nargaroth (live)) as he is a force to be reckoned with, providing an over the top dynamic attack yet he also knows when to pull back and provide more space.
More than 30 years since their inception, Marduk show no sign at all of slowing down yet.